Trends in Promotional Products and Marketing

There are plenty of reasons you might want to do business with Hasseman Marketing.  We have that bubbly personality, our engaging smile, the ability to tell dad jokes, and more.  But our goal is certainly to provide more reasons than just being fun at a party!  We want to make sure we stay up on all of the latest trends that will affect our business…and yours.  That is why we come to you today to discuss some of the trends we see in promotional products and marketing now.

The Costs Will Be Rising

We hate to be the bearer of bad news…but here we are!  Challenges with shipping items into the country are no secret.  For the past few months, getting large ships into port has been a challenge.  We can blame any number of factors…but more and more shipments have been affected.  Combine that with the ship that was stuck in the Suez canal that backed up shipping for days and cost billions, and you have a recipe for increased costs.  It’s not just in the promotional industry to be sure.  But it will be coming, as soon as later this year.  This is not a doomsday prediction.  Everything will be fine.  But just be prepared.  As a matter of fact, if you are planning for events later in the year, you might get ahead of the game by getting orders moving sooner rather than later.

Work From Home Is Still A Thing

While some companies are calling people back to the office, a large number of organizations may have changed the way they work forever.  While I personally wonder what this means for company culture moving forward, many point to increased flexibility and productivity.  And let’s face it, for many organizations it means a decrease in rent!  What does that mean for you?  It means you still need to consider delivery in your promotional products campaigns.  Some suppliers have really become amazing at creating drop-ship programs that can reach your team or customers right where they are.  Make sure you factor that in your cost and your timeline when you create your next campaign.

Doing Brand Good Is Important

We have talked about this for over a year now.  Brands want to not only tell their story.  They want to leave some bread crumbs of “brand good” behind.  This means creating promotions with a purpose.  You can do that in a ton of ways.  One of them is to support suppliers or products that have a giveback component to each item.  There are more than you might think.  One example is the Basecamp line of products from Sweda.  Every purchase from this amazing brand donates money to the Wounded Warrior product.  They donated $100,000 in 2021!  You can learn more here.  There has never been a better time to use your brand to do good.

Online Learning Is Here To Stay

While no one is more excited to get back to in-person events than me, online learning is here to stay.  The technology has been here for years, but now we have come to accept that we can level up our game from home…then use it right away.  This has created the chance to learn at a much more affordable cost.  That’s great news.  That is why we have helped to create Better Business University.  Our goal is to create a low-cost learning option for those that want to level up…and help their team do the same.  You can learn more about this project here...and help us shape it as well.

These are just a few trends that we see in promotional products and marketing.  As I said, we love that you do business with us because of our sparkling personality, but I hope this adds some value to the relationship as well!  If you want to chat more about any of these, please reach out to your rep or click here to schedule a time to chat!

What’s The Worst Thing That Can Happen with a Branded Beach Towel?

When I first got into the promotional industry, I had a sales trainer (who also happened to be my dad) ask me a simple question.  “What is the worst thing that can happen to a promotional product?”  Being the young smartass I was (as opposed to the older one I am now), I grabbed the calendar he was holding out, looked at it, and then threw it in the trash can in the corner.

Smiling.  He looked up at me and said “Exactly!”

He went onto explain that I noticed the promotional item.  I looked at it.  Then I discarded it.  “That is the worst thing that can happen to a calendar (or any piece of branded merchandise).  But that is the best thing that can happen with most other advertising!”  This might sound like a simple story, but it has powerful implications for your marketing.  When you are deciding how to market, you should consider the results you get with promo and other advertising.

I tell you that story to tell you this one.  Sometimes there are problems when ordering branded merchandise.  I have actually talked about that before here.  So let me tell you about the time a Beach Towel order went sideways…and what happened.

It started like any other order.

I met with one of my favorite clients.  Lisa Reed, Executive Director at RHDD, and I have a great relationship.  I work hard to understand her business.  She talks about that here.  In addition, she asks me to push her on deadlines.  She has so many details in her brain running RHDD (an amazing organization that serves people with Developmental Disabilities) that sometimes she needs me to help keep her on task on promotional projects.

I tell you this because of what happened next.

Lisa and I had discussed getting beach towels to recognize her team.  She wanted to do something other than just her logo.  She wanted a message recognizing how much she appreciated her team.  We had bounced around a few ideas and landed on a message that said “My boss kinda thinks I am a big deal!”  We had our theme and worked on a design to make it fun on the towel.  In addition, we had discussed our deadline.  Lisa had an event where she wanted to hand the towels out…and it was coming up quickly.

I sent over the proof for approval and did not hear back.  As I mentioned, Lisa is super busy, so I sent another reminder.  Still nothing in response.  After I sent the proof over a third time with no response, I was starting to get nervous.  The deadline was coming up fast.  I got a message from the supplier that if we did not the proof approved today, they would not have their towels on time.

So I made the decision to approve the towels.

The supplier worked their miracles and the towels arrived on time for the event.  There was one really significant problem.  Lisa and her team had decided they were not going to do the beach towels.  They had not approved the proof because they did not want to move forward.  It’s not that they did not want to recognize their employees, they were not just not sure about the design.  Lisa called me to tell me the “good news/bad news” situation.  The good news is that the towels arrived on time.  The bad news is, they had decided they did not want them.

Lisa was gracious and kind.  It was my mistake.  While I was trying to do the right thing to take care of my client (and keep them on deadline) I had most certainly over-stepped.  But after seeing the towels, she decided to give them to her team anyway.  At the designated event, Lisa and her leadership team gave the towels to her employees.  The response at the event was great…but then something cool and unexpected started to happen.

One by one, when her employees went on vacation, they started to post pictures of themselves on the beach with their new towels!  Without being asked, the team tagged RHDD on Facebook to show how much their boss “thinks they are a big deal!”  For an organization that is proud of their employees, this was magic.

branded beach towel

As a matter of fact, I would say “it’s kind of a big deal!”

While the situation was not ideal (I will never do that again), the outcome was really great.  It does go to show you that, when you recognize your employees using beach towels (or other branded merchandise), good things happen.  Even when the delivery does not go as planned, the outcome really can be powerful.

Special thanks to Lisa Reed for her leadership and understanding on this project!  If you are looking for a great place to work that really does value their team, you can learn more about RHDD here.  

And if you want to discuss an appreciation project for your team, let’s talk!  

Is It Okay To Post Content More Than Once?

I was on a call with a bunch of amazing content creators the other day and the topic of “re-posting content” bubbled to the surface.  The people on this call are talented.  They create great content that is created for the audience.  They “give first.”  That is to say, they create content that provides value.  Even this group struggles with this simple question.

Is It Okay To Post Content More Than Once?

Let’s start with the assumption that the content is evergreen.  In other words, it’s a blog post, podcast, or video that is just as timely today as it was when it was created.  We also can assume that it was well-done.

If the answer to both of those questions is “yes,” then the answer is very simple.  Yes.

To me, this is a funny discussion.  And the reason most people struggle with it is a combination of hubris and insecurity.  It’s a funny mix, I know.  The hubris comes from the idea that everyone has already seen the content.  Intellectually, we know this is not true.  Even the best blog post is not read by even a tiny percent of the population!  That is why I mentioned the group of content creators.  This group understands the metrics better than most.  Most of the time, we are frustrated because only our “25 readers” are seeing our blog post.  But somehow we can’t repost it because “everyone has already read it.”

That is silly.  If you believe the post has value to your audience…share it again.

But that leads to the second reason, our insecurity.  We don’t want to re-post because we are fearful we will get called out.  Or even worse, we think people will notice and think we are being insincere.  These fake opinions of imaginary people hold many people back in life.  Don’t let them hold you back from sharing (or re-sharing) your content in the world.

  • We watch movies and television shows again all of the time.
  • The same commercial airs on a loop, and no one thinks the advertiser is not being creative.
  • Facebook has even created “memories” to share because we like revisiting things from the past.

So set yourself free from the chains of insecurity.  If you have a great piece of content, share it with the world…again and again.

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3 Sanitizing Products That Everyone Will Still Appreciate After the Pandemic

Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have tried to help you stay on top of what you (and your business) would need to do business safely.  We all want to get back to some semblance of normal (whatever that means now), but we want to keep our employees, our customers, and our loved ones safe.  We talked about what organizations needed to do to safely open back up here.  And now, as the vaccines are starting to roll out and the government begins to cautiously talk about restoring normalcy, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a bit brighter.

And seeing that light get brighter is very exciting!

While we are starting to see signs of the pandemic easing up, there are certainly lessons we won’t soon unlearn!  There are likely precautions we won’t stop taking even as the restrictions ease up.  And that is not a bad thing!  Not only does this hopefully mean we will be smarter about spreading germs but also presents an opportunity for branding to the savvy marketer!

3 Sanitizing Products That Everyone Will Still Appreciate After the Pandemic

That’s right.  Even though things are changing for the better, there are still some great marketing products that smart marketers will use well into the future.  These are things that will be sought after at trade shows (yes they will come back) and appreciated as marketing gifts.

Paper Soap

Hopefully, the number one lesson we have all learned is that we need to do a better job washing our hands!  I know…it still seems weird that we needed to be taught that.  That being said, some locations are just not as easy to wash our hands as others.  If a restroom is out of soap, you are just out of luck.  But Paper Soap helps you solve this problem with soap on the go.  Each packet is filled with 30 thin (citrus scented) pieces of soap.  It’s useful, appropriate, and a conversation starter.  We love this one!  Learn more here and order here.

Hand Sanitizer

When this pandemic started, the whole world seemed to run out of hand sanitizer (and toilet paper).  It makes sense, as everyone was scrambling to keep their hands clean.  But supplies are back and now is still a great time to show your customers you care by giving them hand sanitizer to go.  Think about every time you pump your gas, or grab a door, or (gasp) shake someone’s hand!  It is nice to have a travel size of hand sanitizer handy.  There are several options here.

Wireless Charger and Sanitizer Box

As I have long said, one of the most valuable marketing spaces in the world is around your customer’s phone.  We have it with us all of the time.  But your phone also tends to be way more “germy” than we would like to think!  That is why this item is an amazing gift for any employee or top customer.  It’s not cheap…but there is a reason.  This is an item that will be used each day…and remembered for years.

These are just a few of the Sanitizing Products That Everyone Will Still Appreciate After the Pandemic.  Learn more and order here.  And if you have questions, please let us know.

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The Problem With Marketing Shortcuts

I was sitting in my office yesterday editing a video.  The sun was shining in my window as the signs of spring start to surface in Ohio.  My laptop was sitting beside me and the email application was sitting open.  It was 11 am eastern when the ads started to arrive.

Ding.  Ding.  Ding.

Ding.  Ding.  Ding.  Ding.

Ad after ad after ad.  All right about the same time.  This went on until about 11:03 am.  Then it stopped. (Actually it slowed down.  Emails never really stop, do they?).

The emails dinging interrupted my concentration on the video…and got me thinking about chasing marketing shortcuts.  (We can have a discussion about why I had my email open while I was trying to edit a video another time).

Chasing Marketing Shortcuts

When you are trying to tell your story or spread your message, it makes sense to look for the most optimized way to do it.  We see these suggestions on social media scheduling apps.  They suggest the most optimized time to post each time.  You can google the best time to post to Instagram on Thursday or the best time to send your email newsletter.  As you get started, it makes sense to do that research.  It would be foolish not to.  There is a ton of data out there that can help inform you on how to get started.

chasing marketing shortcuts

What I am saying is, don’t keep chasing that time.  Once you have decided that you are going to send your email newsletter to your subscribers at 10 am on Tuesday, stick with that.  Don’t be a slave to jumping around to different times, trying to find the most optimal time.  The idea behind many of those metrics is to combine when most of your audience will be able to see the message with when not everyone else is posting or sending their messages.

The problem of course comes when everyone tries to be different at the same time.  You know, at 11 am eastern.

The Power of Consistency

It’s better to pick a time and stick with it.  This consistency helps your audience to know when you will be communicating with them.  This builds anticipation and trust.  It can also shape the message you send.  Our newsletter is a good example.  I started sending email marketing messages MANY years ago as I got into sales.  I decided I wanted to take pro-active activity on Monday, so I decided to send out the message on Monday morning.

Now, if I started my email today I don’t think I would have chosen Monday morning.  But I have been doing it for years…so our subscribers are not only used to it, they tell me they look forward to it.  And since it is on Monday morning, I work hard to fill it full of inspirational content to help our customers start off their week on the right foot.  (You can sign up to get your Monday inbox filled with inspiration here).

So while it’s important to understand the basics of when to post or send an email, it can be fools gold to chase marketing shortcuts.  Your messaging and your message will be all over the place.

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Best Branded Tech Products for February

We all want to get “back to normal.”  You can tell that we are excited too.  We have recently talked about when events would be coming back, and we have given you a preview of some great products for reaching your customers in the great outdoors.  These give you an important preview of things to come.

And while it seems the news is improving (with vaccine roll-out and lower numbers), we are not there quite yet.  So we wanted to give you a few hot branded products that will help you show appreciation to your team right now, and reach your customers right where they are.

So here our list of the Best Branded Tech Products for February.

LED Desk Lamp with Wireless Charger

Many organizations are making the decision to work from home permanently.  And while we certainly got a real taste of it, many people are still trying to get all the tools to make it productive.  This LED lamp and charger is the perfect addition to your home work space.  It has an adjustable light with 3 levels and a wireless charger to make sure you can keep productive, even when on the move.

10W Wireless Charger Pad and Phone Stand

There is nothing worse than getting up from a work day and realizing your phone is dead.  It’s time to workout, or do something fun, and you feel trapped.  This wireless charger pad and phone stand help keep that from happening…and help you keep an eye on your messages all day.

Swivel TWS Wireless Earbuds and Charger Case

Functional and cool.  This is a great item to give your team (and your best clients) as it will be appreciated nearly every day. Wireless earbuds housed in a 400 mAh recharger case, these can be use to better concentrate at work, listen to music on the work out or to communicate on calls.  When it comes to your brand, functional and cool seems like a message worth sending.

15W Wireless Charger & Sanitizer Box

Living in the world we live in today, this might be the most functional of all.  The idea is simple.  Put your phone into the box and have it cleaned with a blue light to make sure you are not putting unwanted germs on your hands and face!  When you are done, place the phone on top and use it as a wireless charger.  Oh…and you can use it for more than phones!  You can use it to sterilize glasses, watches, jewelry, smartwatches, fitness trackers, ear buds, credit cards, keys, small personal grooming tools, and other small objects.

There you have it!  It’s our Best Branded Tech Products for February!  If you want more information on any of these items, or you want other ideas to help build your brand now, click here and we can schedule a time to talk about your marketing.

When we Deliver Marketing Joy…your business thrives.