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7 Sources to Boost Your Creativity

As the #1 ranked most effective form of advertising, promotional products have more recall than all other advertising media! Visit for some cool marketing items to grow your referrals, retain employees and reward clients! #coolideasmarketing

Feeling stumped? Uninspired? Fresh out of ideas? Thanks to the wonderful gift that is the World Wide Web, creative inspiration is just a few clicks away. These are some of our favorite sources to get …

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10 Must-Have Tech Products and Accessories

If you want to give your brand a modern and fresh new identity try throwing some cutting-edge tech gadgets into your marketing mix. The wave of wireless charging options, portable speakers, and wearab…

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Presidential Candidates Continue Major Promo Spending

Published in Promogram

With primary season concluded, likely presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have accelerated their spending on promotional products in anticipation of a general election showdown this November. Trump continues to significantly outpace his potential opponent, spending $6.8 million on branded merchandise compared to $1.6 million for Clinton.

After lavishly spending on “collateral” in late 2015 and early 2016, Trump has escalated his spending after seizing the lead in the Republican primary. The candidate spent $3.3 million on promotional products from March through May – nearly equal to what he had spent on merchandise for the entirety of the election prior.

Clinton has also increased her promo spending after emerging as the favorite in the Democratic primary. After spending just $38,000 on merchandise in February, Clinton spent $280,000 the following three months while doubling her amounts each month. Clinton spent significantly on promo products in 2015 (over $1 million dollars) but had eased her spending early in 2016.

The depth of Trump’s reliance on promotional products goes beyond mere totals. The likely Republican nominee has spent 10.4% of his total expenditures on collateral, while Clinton’s total makes up just 0.8% of her total spending.

Trump’s heavy investment in promotional products is just one hallmark of his unusual campaign strategy. The Republican has mostly eschewed donations, relied heavily on free media coverage and has otherwise spent sparingly. The strategy has prompted many campaign experts to question Trump’s ability to wage an effective general election campaign. “Trump’s failure to develop an effective fundraising operation has his campaign at this point without the resources to scale up its staffing, build a field organization or begin advertising in crucial states,” Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College and campaign finance expert, told CNBC.

However, despite his significant spending on campaign paraphernalia, Trump has not been the biggest promotional spender this election. That title belongs to Democrat Bernie Sanders, who has spent over $9 million on promotional products. However, the Vermont Senator spent $285,000 on promo items in May, a 60% reduction of his previous month’s spending in a sign that his campaign had lost momentum.

While Sanders has outspent Trump on promotional products, branded items represent only 4.1% of Sanders’ total spending, showing that Trump has relied on promotional products much more heavily in relation to his total spending.

Trump has primarily used Ace Specialties (asi/103533), a Lafayette, LA-based distributor, for his branded items. Trump’s campaign has also used custom headwear maker Cali-Fame as well as Maxim Advertising, a distributor based in Newton, IA. Clinton has exclusively used Financial Innovations (asi/194037), a Cranston, RI-based distributor that specializes in Made in America products and Democratic political candidates. While the spending by Trump and Sanders is extremely elevated, it falls in line with an increasing emphasis by presidential candidates to use promotional products to elicit campaign contributions, mobilize volunteers and raise awareness. Through merchandise sales, President Barack Obama raised $77 million in his two elections. Reuters reported last month that Sanders had sold 800,000 individual items and raised $12.8 million, while Trump had raised $6 million in contributions from campaign merchandise sales. For Trump, the sum represented the majority of his campaign contributions. “The sale of official campaign products has been extremely successful,” Trump Spokesperson Hope Hicks told Reuters.

ASI has been regularly conducting its Presidential Promo Poll, which gauges the role of promotional products and branding in predicting the results of this year’s election. Every two weeks, 400 American consumers are asked a single question: If you received a bumper sticker from Trump and Clinton, which one would you be most willing to put on your car? In the latest poll, the two candidates were locked in a dead heat.

The Joy of Packaging

Presentation is important – and can be profitable, too! Danette Gossett, From Good to Great
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sponsored by Bay State

In the promotional products business it’s all about the promotional item – or is it? There are so many ways to extend the “gift” and the brand message. Yes, many items come in a nice gift box, tube or tin and sometimes it’s automatic. However, if it’s not automatic, are you inquiring if it could include a gift box even at an additional cost?

Presentation can mean so much to the recipient. And depending on the reason for the gift, the packaging should reflect that message. Obviously if it’s an inexpensive item that you are giving out to everyone walking by your booth at a trade show you don’t need to have a gift box. But you do want the item to reflect the quality of the brand being promoted.

When you are purchasing or recommending a promotional item, are you taking into consideration that this may be a gift (thank you for the business, referral or introduction of a new product or brand, or recognition of a job well done)? If so, shouldn’t it be packaged as one?

Packaging doesn’t mean just placing the promotional item in a box and thinking it’s complete. It can go far beyond that to further the message. For instance, the box itself could be imprinted with a message or logo. If the item needs to be protected within the packaging, maybe it has a foam or cardboard insert that could be imprinted?

What about including a logoed card and message in the box? That is easily designed and printed. Many vendor partners are more than willing to include items within the promotional item if they are delivered on a timely basis.

And what about actually wrapping the promotional item packaging? So many options here – logoed gift wrap, gift bags, ribbons & bows, stickers and tissue. We have many clients that have all of those packaging elements on hand so when a VIP is visiting or a sudden event has been planned they can wrap up an appropriate item easily.

We just produced a fabulous holiday gift for a client that included a very high end leather writing pad and pen. It was gift boxed (blank, no logo) and we took the writing pad inside and wrapped it in branded tissue and then sealed it with a gold logo sticker. The presentation said it all. This was a gift of appreciation.

sponsored by American Apparel

However, packaging isn’t only for gifting. What about when you are sending a package to solicit business? Packaging matters here even more because you need the package to be opened and your message received.

I ran into an old client (she had moved out of the area four years ago and is now back) recently at a charity event. As she was introducing me to her new company CAO (Chief Administrative Officer), the first thing she said was, “You should have seen the direct mail packages they used to develop for us.” Amazing. The direct mail programs were a small part of what we used to do for her previous company, but that’s what she remembered the most. Why? They were packaged for impact and got results.

The message started when the package was received because we would include a teaser message or image on the mailing label that was intended to entice the recipient to open the box. And yes, we didn’t just put the branded promotional item in the box. It was presented in the box. We’d use the logoed tissue or some shred in the logo colors and always had a card with a message included.

For example, we did a series of mailings for a cruise line that highlighted the many new benefits of cruising with them. One promoted the fact that you could get lobster every day on their cruises (it was limited on their competition). The inside card headline read: Can you EVER have TOO much Lobster? This was designed for reporters to get them to write articles about the initiatives. The phone would ring within minutes of the package delivery seeking more information.

And let’s not forget items that don’t need to be boxed… presentations and proposals. I have to admit, I think a company that gives out blank folders or slaps a label on a folder is not necessarily putting their best impression forward. You can do so much with a folder today. A tasteful logo hot stamp or deboss, all over color design, special die-cut shapes, pop-up sections and more. That way, the folder is selling just as much as the proposal may be.

So when you are putting together your promotional marketing plan don’t stop at the promotional items and think your plan is complete. Remember, the packaging is not just a delivery mechanism but can be an integral part of the sales message.

Danette Gossett is the founder of Gossett Marketing, co-founder of Promotions Rescource LLC and co-author of the best-selling book “Transform” with Brian Tracy. Danette utilizes her more than 30 years of advertising agency and corporate marketing experience to develop effective promotional campaigns and products for her clients. or and follow us on twitter @MarketngTidbits.