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.

When Will In Person Events Come Back?

The past year has taught us a lot.  We have learned to sell from home, groom ourselves, and Zoom.  And while there are some things that have been surprisingly positive, most people I know miss being able to attend events in person.  There is just something about the energy and the ability to interact face to face that is hard to replace.  I know I can’t wait to get back to this level of “normal.”

But when will in-person events come back?

One thing I learned quickly in 2020 was, “don’t make predictions!”  It seemed like, starting in March of last year, situations were changing so fast that there was no way to predict the future.  We just needed to deal with what was in front of us.  But as we look forward, I am getting a little more comfortable breaking this rule.

So here is my prediction…look for small and medium shows to come back in the 3rd quarter.

With the vaccine rollout going forward, more and more people are getting inoculated every day.  The more people that have the vaccine, the more people will be comfortable heading to in-person events.  The fact is, some smaller events have already started.  I talk about a recent show I attended here.  Look for more of that to continue.  My sincere hope is that it will be closer to summer.  But giving event organizers time to get ready, 3rd quarter seems more likely and more realistic.

What Does This Mean For You?

While I don’t see the mega shows coming back right away, this means that many businesses will be able to go to market at these small and medium-sized shows.  If you are planning events, you can start to get these events back on the calendar.  We have actually made that decision.  Our annual Customer Appreciation Show (canceled last year) is back on the calendar for October 14th (more on that soon).

If you are an attendee at this style of event, it’s time to get ready!  Most of us have not taken our signage and display information out of the boxes in a year!  It’s time to take a look at that material.  Is it still accurate?  I mean, a lot has changed since last year this time!  I often joke that last March seems like 5 years ago!  Do you have new messaging?  Is it time for an update?  Have mice decided to move into the boxes and eat your display?  These are questions you want to ask now…not a week before your show!

An Amazing Virtual Showroom

So let’s assume for just a moment that your signage needs help.  Where do you go from here.  As always, we would be happy to help.  Click here and we can schedule a time to talk.  But in the meantime, I want to share this super cool new tool for you to check out for yourself.  Our partners at Showdown Displays have created this amazing virtual showroom.  You have to see it to believe it.  It’s their 7000-foot showroom at their facility with nearly all of the products they sell.  You can “walk” through the showroom using your arrow keys.  Then when you come to a product you are interested in, just hover on the purple dot for information on the product.  You can click on it to get more information and pricing.  I think this is so cool!

So there you have it.  I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Events will be coming back soon.  Will you be ready?  We would be happy to help!

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5 Products To Reach Your Customers in the Great Outdoors

During the past year, American’s spent more time outside.  To be fair, this is probably true around the world, but after being cooped up in quarantine, we were all thirsty for the outdoors.  Sales on RV’s, kayaks, and boats were all off the charts.  We wanted to take advantage of any chance to enjoy some time in the outdoors.  Prognosticators will tell you this trend is going to continue into 2021.

So how do you take advantage of this trend?  Create marketing and branded merchandise that reach your customers, employees and prospects when they are happy…and out enjoying nature.

Here are 5 products to reach your customers in the great outdoors.

Urban Peak® Blue Ridge Trail 20 oz Water Bottle:  We all know it.  When you are out in the great outdoors it’s important to stay hydrated.  Whether out on the boat, hiking the trail or at the beach, we need to have our favorite beverage with us.  This awesome water bottle will keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot for hours.  And with a great imprint area, you have a chance to really leave a mark.  Get more information here.

Urban Peak® Slate 36 Can Waterproof Cooler:  When you are out enjoying the fresh air with some friends, it’s great to bring a cooler.  This 36 can size is not too bulky and can be great for a small gathering.  No matter if you want to cola, water or your favorite adult beverages, this cooler bag with a leak proof liner has you covered.

BIG UN’ Camp Chair:  When it’s time to take a load off, we have a great item for you.  Travel chairs are always a great gift…but they are not all built the same.  The Big Un Camp Chair was designed with comfort in mind. This chair features an extra-wide design, cushioned headrest, full length back pocket, mesh armrest pocket, and a cup holder to provide for the day’s necessities. The 400 lb. tag rating will give full confidence to the burliest user.  Learn more here.

Coleman® 36-Hour 42-Can Marine Soft-Sided Cooler:  I personally fell in love with this cooler at a golf outing.  It has a great look and a perfect branding location.  In addition, the quality of the cooler is top notch.  And the top lid makes it easy to grab a beverage and go without opening the whole bag.  You can find more info here.

FUSION BACKPACK CHAIR WITH COOLER:  This is the chair you and your customers need if you are “going to be there for a while!”  As the vendor says, this chair has so many features, you may want to make it your new office.  Including a backpack, cooler, a shelf and so much more, the Fusion Chair is for the most discerning of outdoor experts!

There you have it!  Here are 5 amazing products to help you reach your customers while they enjoy the great outdoors!  Want more ideas?  Please reach out to your HMC rep or click here to set up a time to chat!

7 Products That Stuck Out At The TOM Show

At Hasseman Marketing, we welcomed in the New Year with a (gasp) in person trade show.  The OPPA (Ohio Promotional Professionals Association) held it’s annual road show in Columbus and Cleveland this past week.  While the event looks a little different, the response was really great.  Both suppliers and distributors were excited to get back on the road, and get back to business.

And don’t worry…safety protocols were in place.  Temperature checks were in place to everyone that came into the event.  Masks were required and there was hand sanitizer everywhere.  We have talked about how to host an in person event safely here…and all of the boxes where checked!

In the meantime, there were also some great products that you might want to know about as you plan to market your organization this year.

Here are 7 products that stuck out at the TOM Show.

#1  Paper Soap from Webb Collection:  If you are looking for a low cost promotional item that is useful and timely, this might be your answer!  I mean…who is NOT looking for that combination in a branded piece right now?  http://www.webbcompany.com/product-detail/Citrus-Scented-Paper-Soap/148

#2  Big-Un Camp Chair (holds up to 400#) from Brentwood:  The great thing about camp chairs is they have a high perceived value.  People love to get them.  But when you go cheap on them, it shows.  This piece will hold a more “juicy” individual and still have room to spare.  And when you combine that with a big imprint area, this is a great piece!  https://www.brentwoodline.com/products/cpxr

#3 Speckled Finish Double Wall Stainless Steel Tumbler from Moderne Glass (Glass America):  We love our drinkware, and this is a new style that might get you feeling “campy.”  This speckled style is like the camp style mugs, but in a tumbler. https://glassamerica.com/#!/product/18820?color=black

#4 PPE Kit from Galactic Line:  While it’s great to go “ala carte” on your safety branded merchandise, this kit allows you to outfit the team in once place.  And at a price of only $5.99 you won’t break the bank to help keep people safe.  http://www.galaxyballoon.com/Search.do?keyWords=PPE+Kit&Search.x=17&Search.y=12

#5 2 OZ Gel Hand Sanitizer (IN STOCK) with full color process die cut label from Galactic Line:  On the other hand, sometimes it’s just great to get a good deal on hand sanitizer.  Here is one for only $.99.  It might be time to stock up.  http://www.galaxyballoon.com/pl/2-oz-GEL-Hand-Sanitizer-Imported/181

#6  Washable Kraft Paper Grocery Tote Bag with Web Handle from American Ad Bag:  We have all seen tote bags.  They have great imprint area and they are super functional.  This Washable Kraft Paper Grocery Tote Bag is different…and super cool.  Oh…and did we mention that this one has a give back component?  https://www.adbag.com/product-detail/TSUNAMI—Washable-Kraft-Paper-Grocery-Tote-Bag-with-Web-Handle/936

#7 New Versions of the Viking Nova Tumbler from Crown (Koozie):  One of our favorite pieces of drinkware of all time has some new updates.  The double wall vacuum sealed tumbler is still a best seller and an amazing value.  And when you add some of these snazzy new colors, you almost have a new product entirely!https://www.imagenbrands.com/Product/20-space-oz-dot–space-Rainbow-space-Viking-lt-sup-gt–reg–lt–slash-sup-gt–space-Nova-space-Tumbler/CDKW056

Bonus:  Jack Nicklaus 1/4 Zip Pullover:  I will make this quick.  This is beautiful and SO soft!  http://cgcorporate.com/JackNicklaus/men/JNM212/JNM212_910.asp 

And this was just the tip of the iceberg.  Special thanks to Kelly Bowe for attending the show and helping me put this list together.  We are excited to jump in and help you make 2021 a great year!

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Tips on Creating A Company Store

Let’s say you are in a leadership role in a growing company.  Good for you!  Whether you are in purchasing, marketing, sales or the C-suite, this might sound familiar.  You have worked hard to create a logo and brand messaging that works.  The key players were all involved.  You might have worked with an outside firm, or handled it with your internal team, but now you have a logo that you love.  The colors are perfect.  The feel is just right.  And you have even created a set of brand guidelines that make sure everyone understands what you can and can’t do with your beloved brand.  This is awesome…it’s how you create a tribe!

Then one day you see something that is very upsetting.

You are walking through the halls of your beloved institution and you see a fellow employee wearing a shirt that CLEARLY is outside of the brand guidelines!  At first, you think it’s just an anomaly…but then you see another.  And once you see it, you can’t unsee it.  There is “off brand” merchandise all over!  Apparently, a rogue manager (with the best of intentions) wanted to appreciate their staff, so they went and got some branded merchandise on their own.  Since there was no clear internal option to make this happen, they did it on their own…and the logo brand guidelines got flushed down the toilet.

This is every brand manager’s nightmare.  And this is just one good reason to create a company store.

A company store is an online e-commerce solution that offers branded merchandise for members of your organization to order.  Done right, this solution can be simple and easy to use.  And it will help to decrease the number of times that well-intentioned managers will “go rogue” for branded merchandise.  It gives members of your team a place to shop and find curated branded merchandise that is consistent with your brand AND can be vetted to make sure you can imprint the correct information.  While they do take some time to set up, they can help both marketing and purchasing be sure that promotional purchases are done right.

Understand the Kinds of Company Store

If you want to create a company store, it’s important to know what kind you want.  While there are plenty of variations, let’s stick with two basic types of stores.  These are inventory versus non-inventory stores.  Both types of stores have their place, but you need to understand them before you pick the one that’s right for your organization.

Inventory Store

An inventory store is where you (or your promotional products partner) order all of the branded merchandise in and warehouse the items.  Then, as people from around your organization order, the items can be shipped out “on demand.”  Sometimes these items are warehoused at the customer location and sometimes the promotional products partner manages that.  The advantages to this kind of store are speed and minimums.  Simply put, if you have the item imprinted, done and warehoused, you can ship them to your team right away.  In addition, if you just want one shirt, this is a very easy way to do it.  You can order just one.

There are several disadvantages to this type of store too.  First, someone has to purchase all of these items up front.  Whether it’s the customer or the partner, someone is on the hook for these items.  So if at the end of year these items don’t sell, you will ultimately own them.  So you better be really good at choosing items AND the quantity you will warehouse.  In addition, someone has to warehouse the items and manage the items.  For larger organizations, this financial commitment might be easy enough.  But for smaller organizations this can be a big cash flow challenge.

Non-Inventory Store

The other option for a company store includes the non-inventory store.  This option has become more and more popular over the last several years.  It allows companies to address the brand issues that arise at the beginning of this post without having to commit to large amounts of branded merchandise each year. In this option, a company creates an online store with curated products that match the company brand.  Then, as departments need to order, they can order from these selections with a manufacturers minimum.  The order is then created “on demand” and the customer is only billed for the items as they are created.

The downside to a store like this is, you don’t have these items on hand.  So time and minimums are more of a challenge (though both can be mitigated).  If you just need one last minute polo for a golf outing, this is not a great solution.  But if want to manage the brand, manage budgets and keep control on both, this can be a great option…even for smaller organizations.

P.S.  Another store, which we talk about here, is an employee sale.  This is a great way to allow your team to show their company pride and order just one at a time.  If you want to learn how to do this…read this.

So now that you know what kind of company stores there are…how can you make a good one?  Here are a few tips on creating a company store.

Include the Basics

When you are creating a curated collection of items for your company store, don’t out think the room.  Yes, you might want to include some cool and hot new products in the mix.  That’s great.  We are in favor of that.  But don’t forget the foundational products that most people want and need.  You will want to include a drink ware, writing instruments, and apparel.  These are staples.  You want to have items that are functional.  I would also recommend getting multiples in a couple of these categories.  While you may love a Nike 1/4 zip (and I do) not every budget will allow for that.  Give people basic options so they can use the company store without breaking the bank.

Keep It Simple

On the other hand, though you want options, you don’t want TOO many options!  Keep it simple.  Just like at the grocery store, if you give people too many options, they might not be able to choose at all.  It’s a delicate balance.  And remember, you can always add items down the road.  Which leads nicely to…

Update Items Seasonally

If you want people to continue to check out your store (and ultimately stick to the brand), continue to add options.  I recommend adding items at least once a quarter.  First, this gives your team some new ways to award their team and promote your brand.  In addition, this is part of the fun for you!  Be on the lookout for cool new items, or have us do that for you!  This is a great place to add items to the list that are missing…or give you a place to try more “off the wall” items that might fit during a time.

Get Feedback From the Troops

When it comes to your organization’s company store, your team members are your customers.  Listen to their feedback!  While you won’t be able to add every single item that is requested, you will likely see some themes.  Giving your team input into the items that are on the store will give them more ownership in the idea.  That makes it more likely that they will stick to the program and won’t go rogue again!

These are just a few tips on getting your company store up and running successfully.  If you want to chat more about whether a company store is right for your organization, we would love to talk!   

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