We all want to succeed in business and in life, but sometimes we could use an extra boost of motivation. Some of the most successful people we have ever known have failed many times before succeeding….
Like that classic Beatles song, sometimes it can feel like your working eight days a week. Maybe you’ve had back to back meetings or you’ve had a stressful travel week. Whatever the case, …
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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.
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.
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. VisitGossettMktg.com or SalesPromo.org and follow us on twitter @MarketngTidbits.
A Senate committee has approved legislation that gives the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) two years to develop comprehensive regulations for commercial delivery drones. Senator Dean Heller of Nevada says the provision calls on the FAA to develop protocols by the time technology for drone deliveries is more widely available.
“I think this is an opportunity for technology to advance in this country,” Heller said in an official statement after the committee’s approval. “I’d hate to think we’re in a caveman mode here.”
The mandate was part of the proposed 2016 FAA Reauthorization Act that was evaluated by the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation. Under the act is an amendment that mandates certification for operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the formal name for drones.
The bill also would allow for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight, stating that it should be made a “top priority” by the FAA. Current regulations state that drones cannot be flown beyond the visual line of sight of the operator. The bill states that “BVLOS operations of unmanned aerial systems have tremendous potential to enhance research and development both commercially and in academics, and to spur economic growth.”
The bill would also require, as requested by the Airline Pilots Association, that drone operators pass an online FAA regulations test before flying and maintain official documentation confirming the passage. The Senate foresees the test as a companion step to drone owner registration, a process that officially began in December and now includes 400,000 owners that are officially listed under the FAA’s UAS Registration.
Under the legislation, the federal government would be in control of drone policy, asserting that states may not pass their own drone laws.
The committee approved the entire bill by voice vote, and it’s now expected to be on the Senate floor in April.
Every year a typical company loses between 20%-50% of its employees (the average turnover varies by industry), and replacing each of those lost employees costs about 150% of each employee’s annual salary, according to a recent report by Bain & Company, a management consulting firm. Companies looking for a better retention rate need to implement strategies to keep employees loyal, says Kyle LaMalfa, a loyalty expert at Bain & Company.
The smartest way to safeguard employee loyalty is to make sure employees are engaged by giving them meaningful work and showing them how what they do contributes to the company’s bottom line, LaMalfa says. Employers need to make sure employees are connected to their businesses. Bain’s research shows that “emotionally connected employees are the best employees because they’re engaged and productive, and they feel validated and appreciated.”
But where some companies lag, LaMalfa says, is in properly recognizing and rewarding their best employees. Here are three steps to create a successful employee recognition program that will keep everyone happy (and encourage them to stay!).
Step 1: Don’t wait too long to dole out awards. Establish of program of regular, short-term rewards. Jane LeFebvre, an incentive consultant, works with a large health-care institution to reward employees on milestone anniversaries. “When I first started working with them, they provided rewards to employees every five years,” LeFebvre says. The problem was that the health-care firm lost most of its employees within their first few years, before they even had a chance to receive an anniversary award.
“My idea was to give lots of rewards to employees earlier in the process, at two, four and six months,” she says. As an example, the hospital’s nurses (who often brought their own lunches), received branded lunch boxes after their first two months on the job, along with a thank-you note from their new managers for an outstanding first two months and coupons for free drinks at the facility’s cafeteria. At four months, the nurses got a plant or floral arrangement with a handwritten note from their managers commenting on how well they were doing. At six months, the nurses received logoed ink pens with their name and the hospital’s name on them, along with an attractive branded wall calendar that would help them keep track of their busy work schedules.
“As an employer, you want people to feel like they matter right away,” she says. “If you wait until a big anniversary, you’re going to lose people.”
Step 2: Put it in writing and make sure your company’s leaders are involved. Experts from Bain & Company state that rewards are more powerful when they come to employees in several forms at the same time. For example, a manager who presents a floral arrangement or plaque to an employee can verbally thank and praise them, and write a note that documents the reason why he or she deserves the reward. Around the same time period, someone a level above the manager might also stop by or write a note acknowledging how much he or she appreciates the employee. Susan Healthfield, an HR expert, says that often in company exit interviews, a common complaint is that the employee never felt the company’s senior leaders knew he or she existed. So involving leaders in the rewards process is important, she says.
Step 3: Go public. It’s just human nature that people like to be recognized among their peers. At the health-care firm that LeFebvre works with, there is a monthly recognition lunch for nurses where the milestone rewards are given out. In addition to the semi-monthly awards, the company gives out special awards to nurses who are nominated by their peers for outstanding work that month. The rewards vary from spa gift baskets to logoed soft jackets, but they’re always appreciated, LeFebvre says. And the fact that they’re given out in front of the nurses’ peers is very important. “People want to know that they’re appreciated, so recognizing them in public is one way to do that,” she says. Besides a public ceremony or lunch, Healthfield says the company can do other things to make the recognition public, like including it in a company newsletter, or the company Intranet, or on a bulletin board in a break area. Another idea is to give the employee a letter of recognition, in addition to the gift, and make it clear that the CEO will get a copy of the letter. “It’s impossible to over-recognize someone,” she says. “Most employers do the opposite.”