The Most Powerful Word In Marketing

I was sitting at my desk, with the feet up, listening to Mike Michalowicz speaking at a recent Commonsku at Home event.  Mike is one of my favorite speakers, thought leaders and authors in the business space.  He has written several must read business books including The Pumpkin Plan and Profit First.  When he said he is working on a new book about marketing, he had my attention.  It was then that he told us about the most powerful word in marketing.

Mike’s new book (still in production) will be called Different is Better.  The concept is simple.  When there are thousands of options in nearly every business space, how do you stand out?  It’s not just about being better (though that is great).  It’s about being different.  You must do something to differentiate in the customers mind.

Simple right?  As we know, simple is not the same as easy.

While I am excited to dig into the book and try many of the tactics Mike discussed, there was one thing that caught my attention.  One way to stand out in a sea of competitors is to use the most powerful word in marketing.  What is that magic word?  What simple word can you put on a piece of marketing that will wildly increase the likelihood that your customer will not only read the piece, but maybe also KEEP it?  Let me give you the word…

It’s your customer’s name.

As Mike suggested, we are all attracted to our own name.  If we are in a conversation with someone in a crowded room, and someone mentions our name, it will break through the noise.  We will hear it.  Our name is special to us.  It gets our attention.  It makes our customer feel important…because they are!  If you want a simple way to make your marketing more effective, personalize it.  It’s the marketing equivalent of listening to Beyonce and “putting a ring on it.”

The implications of this are simple and powerful.  If you are going to create a direct mail piece, you are more likely to get it opened if it actually says the customer or prospect’s name rather than “current resident.”  And if you are created a piece of branded merchandise to say thank you to your customers (and you should), what if you personalized that as well?  If you create a vacuum tumbler with your logo on it, how much more would it mean if each customer, team member and board member had their own name on it?  The effect will be powerful.

And as a side note during this pandemic, it’s safer.  If each person has their own tumbler (or other branded piece), then there is a much lower chance of someone drinking out of the wrong tumbler and getting sick.

So now that we are in appreciation season, consider using the most powerful word in marketing to increase the value of your branded gift.  Use your customer’s name and personalize your gift for even more affect!

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Hasseman Marketing Hiring Junior Designer

Hasseman Marketing is growing, and we need a solid entry level designer to help us with the work load. We’re looking for someone with experience in the Adobe Creative Suite, specifically Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.  The position will likely be part time to start but will have the possibility to grow.
Responsibilities will include:
• Creating vector art from raster image files
• Creating Mockups of Logoed merchandise to assist the Promotional Products sales team
• Basic layout and design to assist the Print Division
• Basic Logo creation for clients
• Occasionally assisting with Print and Bindery
• Other related responsibilities as they come along
This position is ideal for someone just breaking into the field that wants to gain experience with the nuts and bolts aspects of design, and develop a stronger understanding of the programs and practices of design, both for web and print.
Our company prides itself on our culture, and work hard to hire candidates that fit in well. We are happy to help the right candidate refine their skills in design, as well as the use of the tools of the trade.
For more information about us, please head here.  If you are interested in submitting a resume, please email us at [email protected]

Calendars Are Foundational Branded Products

In today’s world, more than ever, we need to connect and communicate with our customers and prospects.  With that in mind, Calendars are foundational branded products…and they need to be in your marketing mix.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of really smart business people who get a case of the “yeah-buts” when they talk about calendar advertising. They have created all kinds of “yeah-buts” in their mind about why this form of advertising won’t work for them. They have many (in their mind) well-reasoned arguments about it too.

Yeah-but…they are wrong.

First things first, let’s “say this out loud.” Sometimes, in business, we overthink things that are not that complicated. I think maybe calendars might be one of those things. “Saying it out loud” forces you to simplify things and decide if (or if not) they make sense. Let’s apply it here. Say this out loud.

Do I want my customers and prospects to take my basic who-what-where message and hang it on their wall all year long?
Uh…of course you do!

Do I want these same customers and prospects to hang my brochure up on their wall all year?
Sure! That would be ideal for any type of business.

Do I want to have this sort of exposure (did I mention it was all year?) for the cost of one radio campaign?

At its most basic, calendar advertising just makes sense. I call it a “foundational piece of marketing.” You are not going to use calendars alone to market your business. But it should be the base from which you build the rest of your marketing campaigns. Make sure you get your message on your clients wall (or desk, or pocket, depending on the calendar you choose) and then build from there.

One final question before I get to some of the “yeah-buts.” What is the worst thing that can happen to a calendar that you give to a client? Think about it. In reality, the worst thing that can happen is that your client looks at the calendar and then throws it away.


Guess what. That is the best thing that can happen to nearly any other form of major advertising! If a customer consumes your radio ad, notices it, and then it goes away, it’s done its job! So consider that the next time you tell someone calendars won’t work for you.

Now let’s address some of the “Yeah-Buts” and see if we can get rid of the myths.

“Yeah-But” no one uses calendars anymore!

Hogwash. Don’t get me wrong there has certainly been a shift to technology for personal calendars. I get it. But studies show that there are printed (that means promotional opportunities) calendars in nearly 80% of homes and 80% of businesses (thanks PPAI). In fact there is more than one. Homes average 3 printed calendars and offices average 2.

As a matter of fact, you hear more and more people getting excited to receive calendars because they believe that “no one” gives out calendars anymore! That presents a real opportunity for business owners to fill a need…and get a boost of advertising.

Here’s another “say it out loud” moment. That’s right. Many of your customers will be excited to get this “as a gift.” This foundational marketing tool will be valued because of its utility and will be looked forward too.

When was the last time you could say that about a cable ad?

“Yeah-But” calendars are expensive.

I totally disagree. It’s all relative folks. As I mentioned earlier, done right you can get a year’s worth of exposure for the cost of one mass-media campaign. Whether it’s with radio, TV or even (to a lesser degree) print ads, small businesses will spend thousands of dollars on campaigns that come and go in the blink of an eye. But then these same marketers will balk at spending that on a year’s worth of exposure directly in the office of the customer they are trying to reach. This argument just doesn’t make sense.

Now it’s worth mentioning there are multiple ways to create a calendar campaign. You can use a stock calendar with great pictures and a basic area for imprint. Or you can create a completely custom calendar with your own pictures and information. Each of these options has real merit…depending on the target you want to reach.

As a rule, stock calendars can be less expensive. So if cost is a real concern for you, this might be a better option. But the cost of custom calendars has come down with digital printing, so you might be surprised with the cost-effectiveness of this option. You simply need to decide what you want to accomplish and then move toward that option. We will discuss that more later.

The basic point is calendar advertising is an extremely cost effective way to promote your business or organization. It is less than pennies per exposure. And I think most importantly, it is not wasted. Your message is reaching directly into the homes, offices, desks and minds of your target market.

“Yeah-But” calendars are passé.

Maybe it’s because calendar advertising has been around for 100 years. Maybe it’s because some business marketers are always chasing the new “shiny” thing. But sometimes the “yeah-but” comes because they think calendars are an old way to go to market. Maybe you think that.

Remember that “say it out loud” thing? Let’s do that again. I want you to say:

“I don’t want to use an advertising and marketing tool because it has worked for 100 years for thousands of companies.”

Sounds dumb, doesn’t it?

Calendar advertising is NOT passé. It is proven. Hundreds of thousands of companies have utilized this tool in the tool box to promote and grow their business. Nothing is around in the business world this long if it doesn’t work.


“Yeah-But” I get lots of calendars and I throw them away.

Congrats! You are super popular. But here’s the thing; you are the exception. Many people actually go to the mall during the holiday season and buy themselves a calendar. If that is your client, you just missed a huge opportunity.

The other problem with that argument is this you might throw a few away, but most people keep their favorite. So the issue is not that you get too many calendars. The issue is you get too few that move your excitement meter. I always tell people that the cost of a calendar is not determined at the point of purchase. It’s determined at the point of hanging.
If you spend $.50 each on 1000 crappy calendars and
only 1 of them is put on a wall, then that was one damn expensive calendar.

The rule is the same for mugs, mouse pads and calendars. Yes, most people have one. But if you give them one they like better, they will use yours. So don’t always go cheap on the calendar. It might be a very expensive mistake.

So now I have addressed just a few of the “yeah-buts.” You either believe me or you don’t. My guess is, if you are still reading, you do! So let’s talk about some options for calendars…and which might make sense for you.

Stock Calendars

There are tons of shapes and sizes and themes when it comes to “stock” calendars. Basically a stock calendar is simply a calendar that is mass-produced that has a specific space for you to put your business information on. Some examples of stock calendars include:

Appointment Style Wall Calendars: These wall calendars are the most popular style of promotional calendar. They often come with pictures ranging from scenic to puppies and kittens to motivation and thousands of others. These can be a great inexpensive way to reach customers in their home or cubicle.

Executive Style Wall Calendars: These are generally larger, grander calendars that are meant to be displayed in an executive office or board room.

Year At A Glance Wall Calendars: The name says it all. These calendars show the entire year on one page and are perfect
for planning.

Desk Planners: These calendars are used all over the world to plan hair appointments, schedule vacations, and
massages. Though some people believe that calendars are only being done on the computer, this type of calendar is still very popular.

Desk Pad: A great calendar to be able to have right on the desk to display appointments.

And there are lots and lots of other stock styles as well. What you need to do as a business marketer is simply decide where you should best try to reach your customer. Then choose the style of calendar best suited for that location.

A big advantage of a stock calendar is you can purchase a small quantity without breaking the bank. You have less flexibility on what you can put on them. But stock calendars can be extremely effective when done right!

Custom Calendars

As the name suggests, a custom calendar can be created from scratch to fulfill any of the above styles…but with your company’s pictures, styles, information and more. I always tell my clients that they are starting with a blank piece of paper. So within reason, you can do pretty much whatever you want to do on a custom calendar.

The custom calendar is fantastic because you go from putting your “who-what-where” message on the wall (which is great) to putting your entire company brochure on the wall. You can showcase products, services, case studies, success stories and more. You really have a chance to go all out and “story tell” on a custom calendar.

In addition, though Custom Calendars are generally more expensive than stock calendars, the cost has really come down. So reach out to your promotional consultant before you dismiss the idea of creating a custom calendar. It might be more in your budget than you think!  Click here to learn more about our print offerings.

What it boils down to is, you should be incorporating calendar advertising into your marketing budget. Create a calendar campaign that you can be excited about and then build the rest of your advertising the rest of the year on top of it. Once you create the solid “foundation” you will find a great year can be built with ease!

If you want more foundational marketing tips on how to use branded merchandise to grow your organization, here are some things you can do.  First, check out our blog page.  We have lots of information like this there.  You can sign up for our VIP newsletter.  We send out one email per week with our content.  Finally, you can check out the book this was originally written in Delivering Marketing Joy.

How Do I Market My Business in 2020?

So here we are in 2020.  A lot has been made about the “unprecedented times” we are living.  But here we are.  As I have said before, we need to stop talking about things getting “back to normal.”  The reality is, we don’t know when that might happen.  We do need to take an honest look at where we are…and start working to succeed from here.

We need businesses to get rolling again.  I mean, we NEED it.  But you might be asking  “how do I market our business in 2020?”  Times have changed.  People have changed.  We need to consider that as we tell our organizations’s story today.  So here are some things I see working (right now) to market your business in the world we live in.

Direct Mail

In a world where people are less likely to leave their home, direct mail has become more effective.  Yes, it’s a bit old school, but it’s a low cost way to reach the masses right where they are.  And if you can create a creative, valuable offer, you have a real chance to stand out in a mailbox full of bills.


One of my favorite things that Joe Pulizzi says is that we are very comfortable ( as marketers) with “rented lists.”  The radio, tv station or Facebook owns the list…and we just rent access.  But a real, vetted email list of people who have subscribed to what you have to say is a list that you own.  You get to decide when you send it, what they see, and who gets to see it.  You have to provide value, or that audience can opt out.  But there is real power in owning the list.  And I am not sure how long it will last, but email open rates have actually gone up during this pandemic.  Give value through your email list and you can make an impact in 2020.

Postive Content on Social

In this 2020 world of arguing politics, racial divides, mean spirited debates and complaining, your organization has a chance to stand out.  Just create content that is nice!  Regardless of the content platform, most of us are starved for something that provides us joy and inspiration.  If you and your organization can show up like that (consistently), you have the chance to gain a real audience and a real following.

Branded Merchandise Kits

You don’t need me to tell you, but the traditional way we see our customers and employees has changed right now.  Many events have been cancelled.  Trade shows have been put on hold.  Heck, even the idea of going to work has shifted (it’s hard to believe March was only like 4 months ago).  With that in mind, Branded Merchandise kits can be an EXTREMELY powerful tool to reach your target audience.  When done right, branded merchandise kits can improve brand affinity, affect behavior, help company culture, and yes, get people to pick up the phone.  I talk about one of my clients using branded merch to replace an event they were holding here.  If you have your team working from home, there is a kit for that.  What if your team is coming back to work?  You can create kit to (safely) welcome them back.  What about creating an online conference and mailing attendees some cool swag to get them fired up?  The possibilities are limitless.

Online Learning

I have been a believer is providing value first in marketing for a long time.  Heck, I wrote a whole book about it!  Well 2020 is a great time to do just that.  Create online learning to provide value to your clients.  Our friends at Commonsku created an amazing online conference to do that for their clients and over 800 people attended.  It was awesome.  That is the inspiration for us creating Hasseman U.  We also spent some time creating a FREE 5 Day Marketing Course for anyone that wants to take it.  The idea is to provide value for your clients in a new way.  When you do that during this time, you have the chance to build real trust with customers and prospects, and come out stronger on the other side.

Those are just 5 ways that I see companies successfully marketing in 2020.  I hope this gets your wheels turning!  While these are not necessarily prescriptive for your business, what I will say is, now is not the time for business as usual.  It’s a great time to really consider how you want to tell your story moving forward.

Good luck!

Want more content?  Head to our blog page here for more. 

Get Back To Basics With Your Marketing

It’s a crazy time to try and market your business.  On the one hand, you don’t want to be seen as insensitive or tone deaf to the current health and economic challenges that are facing the country.  On the other hand…payroll.  Your organization still has bills to pay.  And when this is over, you want to have a business to market!

Madison Avenue has decided the best way to do this is to let everyone know that “we are all in this together” (even though we have been ordered NOT to be together).  They remind you that these are “unprecedented times,” and we should not worry because no one is touching our pizza after it leaves the oven!  What?  I wasn’t worried about that…until now!

And while it’s tough to know exactly what to do and say during these “unprecedented times,” I think we are over thinking it.  It’s time to get back to basics with your marketing.  Here are a few quick tips on how to market your organization now…and always.

Decide WHO Your Customer Is

One of the biggest challenges I see with companies is when they try to market to everyone.  Not only is that impossible (and expensive) it makes for boring marketing.  If you identify exactly who your target is, you can create compelling marketing and content that resonates with them.  In addition, you find that your message does not need to be everywhere.  It needs to be where your perfect customer is…and there only.

Explain What Problem You Are Solving

Every good business was created to solve a problem.  The lemonade stand was created to quench your neighbor’s thirst on a hot day.  The pizza shop was started because people are hungry (and don’t want to cook for themselves).  Whatever the problem is that your organization solves, make sure you let your customers and prospects know.  So many times we are concerned that we might be “overly salesy” and we make our prospects guess what we do.  Don’t do that.  Make sure it’s clear what you have to offer.

Add Value Where You Can

Once you let your customers and prospects know what you have to offer, it’s a good time to add value.  I still believe that the Give First Economy is in full swing.  You have an opportunity to be generous here.  Help your prospects.  Give them information to help them solve their problem.  Not only will it establish you as the expert in the field, but it will build integrity and trust with your audience.

Cover Your Branding Foundation

This is a good time to look at your marketing and make sure the foundations are covered.  Is your website up to date?  Do you have flyers, brochures, and print materials that tell your story (consistently with your website).   Does your team look like a team?  Once  you have created that ideal customer, you need to make sure you are showing up the right way to them, all the time.  If you need some help with this, please reach out to us and we can help.

Make Your Offer

If you have identified your customer, explained the problem that you solve, and have added value, then please don’t forget to make an offer.  It doesn’t have to be over the top.  You don’t have to be in their face.  As a matter of fact, if you have take the other steps, it would be weird if you did NOT ask for the business!  This is not the time to “get the digits” from your prospect and NOT make the call!  Make your offer and give them a chance to do business with you.

It’s a great time to get back to basics with your marketing…and these are some ideas to get you started.  If you want to dig deeper, feel free to sign up for our (FREE) 5 Day Marketing Course here.  Oh…and make sure you never miss out on our content.  Head to our blog page now and see what you have missed.

Products To Re-Open Your Business

It feels like we have all been captured in some sort of weird time warp over the last month.  We have been asked to work from home, or not work at all.  Businesses that were not essential were shut down…mostly.  But this past week Governor Mike Dewine (who seems to be one of the nation’s leaders on response to the Pandemic) has announced that Ohio will begin to open back up on May 1st.  Dewine was optimistic, but cautious.

Dewine said, ““We want to do this in a thoughtful way that engenders confidence and ensures customers and employees are safe.”

If you are like me, this is welcome news!  I am excited to get back to work!  And let’s face it, I am excited to turn the “business faucet” back on.  Small businesses, which are the backbone of the economy, need to create revenue again.  On the other hand, I want to keep my customers, my employees and my family safe.  We all do.  So I put together a list of a few products to re-open your businesses in a safe and responsible way.

Face Masks

If you had told me 3 months ago I was going to be wearing a face mask every day, I would have told you “I don’t think so.”  But as we have learned, a lot has changed as comedian Julie Nolke hilariously explains to her past self here.  The reality is, face masks are very likely going to become the new normal for a while.  We are all going to need them, and probably more than one.  And if you are opening a business, you are going to want your employees to have them.  Not only will it help keep your team members safer, it will also provide your customers some piece of mind as well.

branded face masks products to re-open your business

So if you are going to need face masks for your team, why not make them an intentional part of the employee wardrobe?  Your team probably wears a shirt with your logo on it (if not, why not?), so why not provide them with a branded face mask as well?

But if May 1st is the deadline we are all shooting for (and I know I am), then time is of the essence.  There are some great branded options on face masks, but production time can take up to 4 weeks.  So if you want to provide employees a comfortable mask (that they will actually wear) and have some branding impact, now is the time to act.  If you are interested now, please contact your HMC rep or click here to shop now.

Hand Sanitizer

There has been a run on hand sanitizer across the country, and the same has certainly been true in the Promotional Product industry.  But suppliers across the country are working feverishly (too soon?) to make more.  While the production time for most orders is between 6 to 8 weeks, it still makes sense to get it ordered right away.  In addition, the perceived value of branded hand sanitizer has never been higher.  I talk about the importance of perceived value here.  

branded hand sanitizer products to re-open your business

So when you are able to hand out sanitizer with your logo on it, you will be showing your heart…and hand out gold.  If you are interested in getting some ordered now, please contact your HMC rep or click here to shop now.


In any time of crisis, communication is key.  Whether through direct mail, video, social media, or email, it’s more important than ever to keep your customers and prospects in the loop.  But what happens when you get them in the store?  That is where having proper signage can be a huge factor in communication…and safety.  Especially in a retail setting, these are essential products to re-open your business.

counter sign products to re-open your business

In order to make sure you help keep your employees and customers safe, you should consider having signs in your space that encourage social distancing (think stickers for your floor).  You could have standing signs that talk to customers about what you are doing to keep them safe or even have a sign at the counter to remind them to be safe.

products to re-open your business

Either way, you want to make sure you communicate to keep everyone safe.  If you want ideas about signage options for re-opening, please contact your HMC rep or click here to get your order going right away.

For more guidelines for “Opening Up America Again,” check out this document from NPR.  The goal is to not only get the country open for business again…but to do it safely.  If we can help you in any way, we want to do just that.  Again, if you are interested in any of these products to re-open your business, please check out this shop that we have set up just for this.

Make sure you stay up to date with all of our content here.  And if you want to use the next 5 days to work on refining and improving your marketing, consider taking our FREE 5 Day Marketing Course here.