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Joe Pulizzi on Creating Content Marketing

Last updated: 06-21-2019

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Joe Pulizzi on Creating Content Marketing

Joe Pulizzi on Creating Content Marketing
... and creating an event that matters. Kirby Hasseman, Delivering Marketing Joy
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sponsored by Howw
Kirby Hasseman is the owner of Hasseman Marketing and the author of Delivering Marketing Joy (a book about better promo!). He is dedicated to personal development and building the integrity of the promotional industry.
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Kirby Hasseman
From the Flea Market to the Stock Market
Long-time entrepreneur suggests success can be found in humble beginnings. Miguel Casellas-Gil, From the Business World
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Bill Green was once just one of us. A regular guy growing up in the suburbs with no silver spoon to be found anywhere, no trust fund waiting for him to turn the right age and no guarantees that life was going to work out pretty well for the entrepreneur who turned a flea market business into a major enterprise.
Green’s entrepreneurial ways can be traced to when he was 17 and decided to go into business with a friend, operating a table at a flea market.
When his friend dropped out of their partnership, Green didn’t need to look far to find a new partner. His father was laid off work and decided to join his son on the Philadelphia and New Jersey flea market circuit.
A year later they were opening up a hardware store. Through a series of smart moves – some of which Green said took a few failures to learn – that one store eventually turned into a publicly traded company and morphed into a $1.8 billion business now owned by the Home Depot.
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“My humble background is why I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for feisty entrepreneurs,” says Green ( ), whose book All In: 101 Real-Life Business Lessons for Emerging Entrepreneurs was ranked in a Forbes article as the No. 1 book on a list of must-read books for entrepreneurs. “Forty years ago I was there. I was a small business owner who had a great idea that I brought to life.”
Green offers up some tips for entrepreneurs striving to get their business moving in the right direction:
• Take in all the experiences you can.
Without a solid foundation, anything in life is going to crumble – whether it’s a tree, a building or a small business. Green says that it’s important not to devalue simple jobs because no experience is bad experience. During his life he took on paper routes and worked as a door-to-door salesman, gleaning all the knowledge he could from those seemingly trivial jobs.
• Learn how to pivot.
We all want to come out of the gates with a smashing idea that sets the world afire. That’s not always the case though. Just like a baby learning to walk, there will be stumbles along the way. Green says the key to one day finding success is to learn how to pivot and adjust when something isn’t working.
• Find out what you don’t know.
Technology is rapidly changing and today’s trends quickly turn into yesterday’s news. Those who are willing to stay on the cutting edge of their industry and keep up with technological changes will be the ones still standing at the end of the day.
“No one will remember where you started,” says Green. “They’ll only remember where you finish. Your dreams may seem like a fantasy to most people now, but if you combine a great idea with a lot of persistent and consistent hard work, you can get anything you want out of life.”
William S. “Bill” Green is a serial entrepreneur who has built multiple businesses during his 40-year career. He is best known for “bootstrapping a startup” before anyone even knew what the word startup meant. He propelled his first company, Wilmar Industries, from a flea market table to one of the largest industrial distribution companies in the U.S., now known as Interline Brands, which is now owned by The Home Depot.
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Manley Feinberg II
What Can We Do With Steph Curry?
You, in partnership with your client, can create a program to motivate and reward/recognize anyone, regardless of how much they earn. Joel Schaffer, MAS, The Take Away
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sponsored by Bay State
We could debate the merits of paying anyone a salary of $201 million over five years, but that is what Steph Curry will earn from the Golden State Warriors. Steph is in a golden state of wealth as rare as Astatine.
In today’s world, many salaries are disproportionate to the contributions an individual makes to a business. CEO salaries have long been the target of Warren Buffett and others who seek to get more responsibility and accountability in payrolls.
Not many promotional product distributors will happen upon a sales opportunity within the top one thousandth of a percent of wage earns like Curry. Happening upon wage earners in the top 1 to 5 percent is more realistic. Most will be found in the financial community, but there are others to be found in markets from Silicon Valley to heavy industry.
There is simply nothing you can give to people in this “bracket” that their money can’t buy better; there is nothing in the dollar store, nothing in the car dealer, nothing in the aircraft hangar or at the yacht dock. There is no catalog of merchandise they would select from and no destination to send them to. They either already have it, have done it, can do it better or buy it better. This amounts to a tough motivational job, but not impossible. The need is “it (your product, program or idea) must be earned, and something that none of their money can buy.” Within that sentence is the key to motivation of every individual regardless of earning. To Steph, there is no higher motivation than earning a championship ring. It is an award that must be earned and no money can buy. It is the supreme accomplishment and the height of self-actualization. It is THE carrot. It is one “item” you can’t get enough of. It is a consumable… once you have it you want another and another.
Recognition of accomplishment is a primary and critical element in any motivational program. Again, we must reference Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. While some will publicly shun recognition, nobody can deny its role and the human psyche. It does not have to have the glitz of a championship ring, it does not have to be huge or expensive, it simply must be recognition that no money can buy.
Our industry is the source for recognition expressions to excite and motivate at every level – the salesperson in the store as salesperson of the month, in the car dealer and up the earnings ladder to Wall Street and Santa Clara. We bring the engraved certificate, the picture frame, the plaque, the trophy, the pin, the watch, the silver cup and the unique expressions emanating from our creativity. My friend, the late Janelle Nevins, taught me a lot about what it takes to win an award program when her idea for a unique, limited edition painting/litho sealed the deal for her over many competitors. It was unique, “priceless”, and a public expression of appreciation that no money could buy. It did not exist, it came from her creative mind, to do a commissioned work of art. Even Saturday Night Live ascribes to recognition with their farcical “5 Timer Club” where a 5-time host is awarded a jacket and club membership. He won “The Green Jacket.” How can a sport coat mean so much? Because even the $2 million prize the winner gets can’t buy that jacket. Sitting in the clubhouse with it on, means the world to the golfer’s self-esteem and self-actualization.
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In all humility, I was elected into the PPAI Hall of Fame this past year. It is recognition of many years of service to our industry. I, along with my fellow inductee, Margie Price, was showered with recognition. The plaque, jacket, dinner, press, etc. all were great, but a simple, elegant watch, embossed with the HOF logo is treasured by me. It is on my wrist every day. I didn’t have a Rolex before it but, if I did, I know it would have been replaced by this watch. I didn’t expect my barber to see it, but he did and congratulated me on my accomplishment (see Maslow on self esteem).
So the take away here is the fact that a recognition and motivation consultant (you) has the knowledge of human behavior to understand how to motivate a man who makes $400,000 for one night’s work. That understanding and expertise is not available on line. You, in partnership with your client, can create a program to motivate and reward/recognize. But, there’s more.
Curry is on a team. Teams and teammates are great motivators. No matter what your skill level and ultimate contributions, peer pressure and the team’s goal of winning are powerful motivators. Curry can’t do it alone. He can win individual accomplishments in offense and defensive play, but winning the championship is a team effort. Player motivates player, the needs of the community compliment the needs of the individuals. Peer acceptance and peer recognition are vital to the social wellbeing of every person. Adding teams and team play into a motivational program is an accelerant. Teams fuel performance. It takes a team for corporate safety, it takes a team to launch a product, go to market, become a division, chapter, store or shift of the week, month or year. Teamwork accelerates productivity and generally builds healthier workplace environments in virtually every department.
Are we not skeptical that signing a contract for $201 million will somehow make him relax and underperform? Curry’s team and his need for recognition combine to be prime motivators for his continued performance. To sum it all up… teams and recognition are not available for purchase – build it and they will perform.
Joel D. Schaffer, MAS is CEO and Founder of Soundline, LLC, the pioneering supplier to the promotional products industry of audio products. Joel has 48 years of promotional product industry experience and proudly heralds "I was a distributor." He has been on the advisory panel of the business and marketing department of St. John’s University in New York and is frequent speaker at Rutgers Graduate School of Business. He is an industry Advocate and has appeared before the American Bankers Association, American Marketing Association, National Premium Sales Executives, American Booksellers Association and several other major groups. He has been a management consultant to organizations such as The College Board and helped many suppliers enter this industry. He is a frequent contributor to PPB and Counselor magazines. He has facilitated over 200 classes sharing his industry knowledge nationwide. He is known for his cutting humor and enthusiasm in presenting provocative and motivating programs. He is the only person to have received both the Marvin Spike Industry Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) and PPAI’s Distinguished Service Award (2011). He is a past director of PPAI and has chaired several PPAI committees and task forces. He is a past Chair of the SAAGNY Foundation, Past President of SAAGNY and a SAAGNY Hall of Fame member. He was cited by ASI as one of the 50 most influential people in the industry.
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Kicking Off Sales of Cheer/Sports Promotions
From youth leagues though colleges, sports related promos are big business. Lisa Schofield, Product Feature
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Cheering teams to win as a show of fandom is a uniting bond. Especially for back-to-school season, when football takes the main stage all across America – from Pop Warner through the pros.
After a long, hot, and fun summer, we Americans still like to have fun, and cheering on our sports teams allows for the hearty, happy times to continue.
Margit Fawbush of BIC Graphic describes, “School spirit, fight songs, and Friday night lights have remained the same for decades.” However, she adds, what has changed significantly over recent years is the skill level – and cheerleading is one outstanding example. Today, cheerleading takes serious dedication and commitment, requiring several hours of practice every week. “It seems as though every year, the stunts become more complicated and the competitions become fiercer. They don’t just lead cheers anymore. They are true athletes now and cheerleading has become a respected sport,” she observes.
So, there is ample opportunity for teams and the schools that they represent to strategically use any of a wide range of promotional products to connect and unite teams, cheer squads and fans. Schools and sport teams appreciate a higher level of quality from the products they put their name on,” according to Tyler Robbins of Clothpromotions Plus. “We are seeing that schools as a brand are needing a more diverse range of items that uniformly suit the needs of their students and faculty. Safety is always a concern of schools and parents, and items that have inert properties are popular as it eases concerns regarding chemical additives. What remains the same is the notion that it is important to be seen.”
And games now are more than just cheering in the stands. Josette Bosse of Bay State Specialty Co., notes an increasing number of people are tailgating – not just at professional games. “Tailgating is now a tradition for families and friends to gather before a game to extend the full game experience,” she says. “Products that help end-users proudly show team loyalty will be used frequently because in many parts of the country, football especially has very loyal fans.”
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Budgets, even in flush economic times, are still somewhat tight among school districts. Booster clubs are good to start with, and any local business can certainly show local team support through promotions that also act as fundraisers for the school district. And there are many cost-effective products that end users will love.
BIC Graphic, says Fawbush, recently introduced Sweaty Bands® Headbands which are suitable for the cheer market (and sports teams) because the velvet inner lining won’t slip, even during intense exercise. In addition, the full-color imprint allows for decorating the headbands with any school logo or team mascot. In tandem, the supplier also launched its Winners Take All collection featuring a sporty, double stripe design across a family of items including a tote, duffel, backpack and lunch cooler. Combine these products with our new vacuum-insulated drinkware from bubba® or mist and sip sports bottles from O2COOL®, and you have a comprehensive and unique sports/cheer promotional campaign.
For 2017 Clothpromotions Plus has expanded its FlexFiber line of wearable active accessories, according to Robbins. Incorporating multi-function headscarves, headbands, full-size bandannas, and pet bandannas, the company can offer the sports/cheer market a wider variety of school spirit wearables that are lightweight, functional, and printed with vibrant full-color graphics. In tandem, Clothpromotions’ offers simple-to-activate CoolFiber cooling towels, that are also printed with full-color graphics.
“These items are high impact and perfect for school spirit and athletic departments,” he comments. “Providing these types of products to students and fans as giveaways will increase brand awareness over a longer period of time. The high quality of both the materials and fabrics ensure that these will be kept for awhile and not thrown out. Also, with media coverage, a stadium filled with thousands of spectators wearing these types of products on their heads will be captured by cameras and be viewed by thousands of more fans.”
sponsored by Bay State
Rather than trying to just sell one item for cheering on teams, Fawbush advises creating a sports/cheer kit by packaging several budget-friendly but relevant items together. For example, she offers, pack a plastic sport bottle and a small sport towel inside a duffel bag or cooler bag. Imprinting all these items with the same team logo and/or mascot will make a lasting impression and also provide a high perceived value.
“Another option is our ready-made Sport Kit, which includes 10 pieces packaged inside our popular Poly-Clean Bottle®. It includes 1 muscle gel packet, 1 insect sting relief packet, 1 antibiotic ointment packet, 2 bandages, 1 antiseptic towelette, 1 moist towelette, 2 SPF-30 packets, and 1 SPF-30 lip balm,” she describes. “It’s everything an athlete needs, and we’ve done the packaging for your client.”
According to Robbins, the key to a successful promo campaign is finding the right product(s) that the recipients will bond with. He advises to choose based on three key characteristics – quality, longevity, and return on investment. “Products like ours that integrate wearability, usefulness, ease of use, comfort, full color graphics, and a team mascot all but ensure that they will kept for years as keepsakes and collector’s items,” he says. “Procuring promotional items that will generate a demand for them will justify the investment and open the door to larger budgets and multiple products.”
Bay State offers several promotional products geared for a delicious tailgate experience. “Bottle openers are a must,” Bosse asserts. New is the Multi-use Magnetic Bottle Opener and the Multi-Use Magnetic Clip Bottle Opener. Fans will also appreciate the Extra-Hand Snack & Beverage Tray, which holds a sandwich plus chips, dip and more, as well as a can of soda or beer. It’s dishwasher safe and stackable. Stadium cups are perfect for team logos and mascots, and will be taken home; Bay State’s Home & Away stadium cups come in 12 oz., 16 oz., 22 oz., and 32 oz. sizes. And for those who cook and grill during tailgating, try the Chef’s Therma-Grip Striped Oven Mitt Silicone Utensils Combo, or the Quick’n Slick Silicone Basting Brush. And when it’s hot out, Bay State’s Can Cooler and Zipper Bottle Cooler would be highly appreciated.
All these items make great fundraising for school teams, especially when they travel for play. Any local business that wants to show support can get in on the game – and spread the cheer!
Tyler Robbins of Clothpromotions Plus: A professional football team in the southern region of the U.S. was seeking a highly visible and functional promotional product that offered a reasonable budget and effectively exposed the branding. After looking through many different products, they decided a cooling towel would be best, but they did not want anything that would be too complicated to activate or too heavy to wear. The CoolFiber™ cooling towel was a perfect fit. It is made from a lightweight, breathable material, and is designed for outdoor events, running, cycling, and sporting events. It also activates using only water and is completely chemical free. Fans were able to activate the towel with water from their water bottles and water fountains. They successfully stayed cool under the hot sun in the early games of the season.
The organizers and recipients of the CoolFiber™ loved the product, and the crowd uniformly wore the item, providing visible branding to the sponsor and event. The event also was given considerable media attention and the visible sponsor branding on event attendees’ heads and necks received residual branding through various media outlets.
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Paving the Path to Business Success
Problem resolution is always a key. Bill Petrie, Petrie's Perspective
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As a consumer, I tend to be loyal – almost to a fault. I buy Nissan cars, LG televisions, Maytag appliances, and, until recently, Hewlett-Packard computers. Like most people, it takes a lot for me to shift my worldview away from the brands I feel strongly about. Three months ago, I bought a new laptop from Hewlett-Packard (HP) and have had nothing but challenges with the machine since it was delivered. In short, the hard drive was corrupt, causing the computer to freeze up and shut down. After numerous online chat sessions and phone calls, I finally persuaded the company to take the product back for the necessary repair – which was done over a two-week period.
Sadly, the saga continued two weeks ago as my repaired machine simply refused to function after it froze while I worked on a presentation. I was finally able to power up the laptop only to find that no Microsoft programs – including Windows – would work. As the product is only three months old and well under warranty, I quickly reached out to HP and asked to return the product for a full refund. As I write this blog, I am still waiting for a final resolution to my request.
This got me to thinking that the real definition of business is problem resolution. Perfection is impossible – both in life and in business: things break, merchandise is not decorated properly, colors don’t match, deadlines are missed, and some products are lemons like my HP laptop. Therefore, success lies not in the elimination of problems but in the art of creative, profitable problem solving.
Business is problem solving.
The way in which an organization navigates rough seas and addresses mistakes define its heart and soul. The worst mistake, however, is to not figure a way to be in a better place after having made a mistake. I call this controlling the outcome.
When a mistake happens, the person on the receiving end will naturally tell their friends about it – that’s just human nature. While you can’t simply erase the mistake, you do have the power to control the outcome so at least the story will end the way you want. If you create a great outcome, you can earn a victory with your client. In addition, the person will have no choice but to focus on how well you responded to the mistake when telling anyone about it. When you acknowledge a mistake has been made and genuinely express regret for having made it, clients will almost always give you a chance to earn back their favor.
The time frame for addressing mistakes is critical. When something goes wrong, it is essential to contact the client as soon as possible – no longer than 24 hours. At the same time, immediately analyze and review your own performance to determine exactly what went wrong. No matter how much you want to try and erase what’s happened, you can’t. Therefore, there’s no reason to wait for a second or third email from someone who has now cc’ed his boss on your failure and lack of responsiveness. Instead, take the initiative to control the outcome:
1) Respond Graciously – And do so immediately. You’re going to have to resolve the mistake eventually and it’s always much less costly to resolve the matter as early as possible.
2) Be Generous – By erring on the side of generosity, you defuse the inherent frustration in the situation. Apologize and make sure the value of redemption is worth more than the cost of the initial mistake.
3) Write the Last Chapter – People love to share stories of adversity. Use this to your advantage by writing the last chapter the way you want it to be told. Use all your imagination and creativity to create delight in your response turning a negative into a positive.
4) Learn from the Mistake – Use every new mistake as a teaching tool with your team. Unless the mistake involved a lack of integrity, the person who made the mistake has helped your organization by providing new opportunities to improve.
5) Make New Mistakes Daily – There’s no reason to waste time by repeating the old ones.
To succeed in business – any business – you must welcome the inevitability of mistakes. It’s critical to accept and embrace ongoing mistakes as opportunities to learn, grow, and profit.
At the outset of my issue with HP, I wasn’t upset as I know that there is a failure rate of approximately 8% on laptop computers. However, as I moved through the “customer service” process, my irritation multiplied exponentially simply because the company refused make it easy for me to get a refund on the computer and, at times, seemed to intentionally make it as difficult and time consuming as possible. The result is that HP has lost a life-long client and I have no issue sharing my experience with others because they didn’t control the outcome.
In business, the road to success is often paved with mistakes well handled.
Bill is president of PromoCorner, the leading digital marketing service provider to the promotional products industry, and has over 17 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized-promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business. A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, president of the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients. He can be reached at .
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Bill Petrie
Why Your Recycled Bottle Isn't
The case against plastic water bottles and why it should help sell drinkware. Jeff Jacobs, The Brand Protector
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As you read this, I’m just back from a couple of weeks in France. In case you find yourself with a few leftover selfie sticks and fidget spinners you still need to get rid of, get on the horn to Paris. They’re still a hot thing there, being unloaded to unsuspecting tourists in the souvenir shops and by vendors on the street in record numbers. You’re welcome.
But that’s not what today’s post is about, though the French people seem to be increasingly focused on environmental responsibility. We had more than one conversation about the long-standing traffic and parking challenges in Paris. Several folks said the same thing: With the city rewarding more electric vehicles with premium parking spots, soon you won’t be able to drive a traditional vehicle in the city. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our larger cities followed the same path?
And while we’re on the topic of environmentally friendly things, are you aware that your recycled bottle likely really isn’t?
If you think about soda (or pop in the North), juice, and water, you’ve probably thought that since the bottle is recyclable, it’s made from recycled material, too. That’s not the case. Coca-Cola, while issuing its second quarter results talking about worldwide expansion of low- and no-sugar sparkling beverages, also reported that only 7 percent of plastic bottles were made from recycled materials.
Greenpeace, publishing an article on 9 Ways To Decrease Your Plastic Use , said that the next six largest soft drink companies globally average only 6.6 percent recycled materials. So if your drink bottles are not being recycled into new bottles, where are they going? The vast majority are exported to plastic manufacturers in emerging markets and used to make synthetic fabrics for clothing. Other uses are carpeting, bags, packaging, and straps for shipping boxes.
That means almost every drink we buy is packaged in new plastic because, with lower petroleum prices, new plastic is cheaper than recycled plastic. Environmentalists worry that for beverage companies, future growth relies on producing more disposable bottles that only feeds a growing volume of plastic junk across the world.
About six billion pounds of plastic bottles get thrown away every year, and only about 30 percent of them are recycled, according to IBISWorld analyst Nate Gelman. Of that 30 percent, just one-fifth is processed to create fresh plastic bottles for use in food and beverages. Like so many things about recycling, it boils down to cost: Converting recycled plastic into fiber for use in apparel and carpeting “is less energy intensive and less laborious” than the process required to convert it to food grade plastic for bottles, Gelman said.
Is there a shining star in the plastic bottle business? Yes. Nestle’s Arrowhead Spring Water brand now makes 90 percent of its bottles out of 50 percent recycled materials. So, there is a little light in the darkness. But, you know what would shine an even brighter light, of course, that refillable drinkware that you have been selling on design, or retail trend, or, ahem, price. Maybe now you can add not filling the landfills to your pitch—you certainly have the facts to back you up. Tell them that simply dropping a plastic bottle into the recycling bin doesn’t let them off the hook.
Jeff Jacobs has been an expert in building brands and brand stewardship for 40 years, working in commercial television, Hollywood film and home video, publishing, and promotional brand merchandise. He’s a staunch advocate of consumer product safety and has a deep passion and belief regarding the issues surrounding compliance and corporate social responsibility. He retired as executive director of Quality Certification Alliance , the only non-profit dedicated to helping suppliers provide safe and compliant promotional products. Before that, he was director of brand merchandise for Michelin. You can find him still advising Global 500 Brands on promo product initiatives, working as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem, traveling the world with his lovely wife, or enjoying a cigar at his favorite local cigar shop. Follow Jeff on Twitter , or reach out to him at .
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Critical questions that need to be answered for organizational sales success. Roger Burnett, The Burn
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Building sales teams from scratch has revealed some things. While it's not impossible, leaving critical elements of your sales structure incomplete or resorting to manual processes endangers the possibility of success with the peril of time. Whether you are building a new staff or managing an ongoing one that already is in place, answering the "Key" questions below will help to put you on the path to success.
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There are keys to the engine.
• Who are you selling to? (Everyone is not an acceptable answer.)
• Where do these buyers congregate?
• What have you identified as the recurring problems they have? (If you haven't paid attention, you're failing.)
• How has something you've sold solved one of those problems?
• How have you documented those instances?
There are keys to the infrastructure.
• How are you documenting your interactions with people? (If it's not CRM-based, you're failing.)
• What tool(s) are you using to automate your passive prospecting?
• Who takes care of a prospect once they attempt to convert? How fast does it happen?
• Where (how, how frequent) is your information being analyzed and shared with your supply chain?
There are keys to the culture.
• What role does staff play in the success of the business?
• How are successes celebrated? How are failures?
• Is curiosity rewarded or punished?
• Where do new ideas most frequently come from?
While no one answer to any one question will ensure success, not considering these questions or integrating your answers into a plan while building (or rebuilding) your team will assuredly slow the pace of progress, sometimes sacrificing the entire venture.
Whether a new entity or a going concern, these keys and your answers as guideposts might help you and your team on the journey toward success.
Enjoying my writing? If you’re a music-lover, I’m also curating a specific Spotify playlist titled The Burn which serves as the musical accompaniment to the articles found here. Subscribe to the playlist and let’s hear from you if you have suggestions for additional tracks that might support what you read!
Roger has spent 20+ years making complex concepts more understandable for both buyers and sellers alike, and has devoted the majority of his recent career to writing and executing sales and marketing plans for early and mid-stage businesses. He is a student of organizational behavior and the disciplines successful selling organizations use to achieve the greatest reach, even in instances of scarce resources. He loves the outdoors and seeks memorable experiences whenever possible. Contact Roger at or 810-986-5369.
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Roger Burnett
What Makes a Good Debate? Respect! Obvious Headline?
ASI State of Industry; Social Media vs. Cold Calls; Demographics and Transitioning Media; Rebranding a the Swastica? C'mon! Kirby Hasseman, Bill Petrie, UnScripted
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sponsored by Bay State
Industry educators Kirby Hasseman of Hasseman Marketing and Bill Petrie of PromoCorner, the leading digital marketing services provider to the promotional products industry, discuss a variety of hot­-button industry topics in this weekly “talk show” column brought to you by BamBams . Click on the graphic to hear their “UnScripted” conversation.
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Identity Marketing Staff, New Products
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OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent towelettes, now available from Natural Trends , offer long-lasting protection from mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, and chiggers. The towelettes repel mosquitoes that may carry West Nile, Dengue, and ZIKA. Convenient, portable, and individually wrapped, each wipe gives you easy control over each application so it goes on where you want it. Unscented formula. Formulated with 25% DEET—provides up to eight hours of protection against mosquitoes. The GoPac envelope style flap secures under clear strap. Logo imprint on white label on GoPac pouch. Add a carabiner to clip it anywhere!
New from SanMar is this Nike Micro Pique with a colorblock front, solid back and an exceptionally soft hand. Dri-FIT moisture management technology keeps you dry and comfortable. Features include a self-fabric collar, two-button placket with dyed-to-match buttons and open hem sleeves. A contrast Swoosh design trademark is embroidered on the left sleeve. Made of 4.1-ounce, 100% polyester Dri-FIT fabric. Five color choices are available.
The Valhalla copper vacuum gift set from Leed's includes a tumbler with skid-proof cork bottom and a mug with cork featured handle. The drinkware features durable, double-wall stainless steel vacuum construction with copper insulation, which allows your cold beverage to stay cold for 24 hours and at least eight hours for hot beverages. The construction also prevents condensation on the outside of the piece.
The new Laser Level with 8' Tape Measure from Beacon Promotions is the perfect tool when straight lines or accurate measurements are important. Three ways to measure: plumb, level and 45 degree angle. The 8' locking tape measure has the standard and metric measure, as well as the rulers on each side of the laser. The tape measure is 1/2" scale with 1/32" increments. There are horizontal and vertical laser markings with a power on/off switch to save battery life. The level comes with six AG13 batteries. It uses three and includes the first set of replacement batteries. Four color digital imprint and doming included in the price.
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If You Must Work – Work...
But Don’t Neglect Your Personal Life! Cliff Quicksell, MAS+, Cliff's Notes
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Iregret some decisions I made early in my career as I am sure many of you do. My biggest misgiving was putting work before my own well-being. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that was a big mistake. I had this amazing drive to succeed, to get ahead, and to be the best and I forgot the most important things that were left bobbing in my wake toward success.
I was thrust into this industry, took a $13,000 cut in pay (in 1982 that was huge) – and I dove head first into this business. I was growing, moving at break-neck speed and enjoying the ride. Years later I was married and had two wonderful children. The pressure was on to provide, do more and drive even harder. I looked at ways to work more so I could get more: buying screen printing equipment, setting up another division to support those efforts, hiring and managing additional staff – we kept building. But it all took time, lots of time. Please note, I am not discouraging anyone from growing their business, just suggesting strongly that you take a look at the “BIGGER PICTURE” before you pull the proverbial trigger.
In retrospect I should have done things differently. If I had, I would never have missed a soccer game, birthday party, school play or important events, as well as the simple events, like spending quality time with my wife, reading a bedtime story to my children or just being still with myself. NO, it had to be more.
During my presentations and keynote speeches, I often share this learning lesson. When I first shared it with my son, he thought I was being very self-centered, but when I explained my reasoning, he understood. I now live my life by this principle: I come first, my wife and children come second, family and friends third and my job last. I truly believe in this because when I am at the top-of-my-game, emotionally, physically and spiritually, everyone down the line benefits – wife, children, friends, co-workers and clients. On the other side, if I'm not, then the ill-effects could be dismal!
Reflecting now I would do these things:
• Have a plan. Most people have no plan, they haphazardly stroll through the day thinking the that the list they made is sufficient. But what about your long-term strategy, how does that play out and blend with both your business and personal life. Create a plan, write it down and review often with everyone it affects, then change and modify it as needed.
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• Hear what others are saying. “Dad, can we play catch?” “Honey, dinner is ready.” “It’s late, come to bed…” – I could go on but these words are signals that perhaps you need to reflect. I should have. These are signs, my friends, and while I know that you must take care of certain things that come up, not EVERYTHING is mission critical. Listen and hear what those around you are saying.
• Learn to say no. This is a tough one for most people, but saying no sometimes, for legitimate reasons, is fine. Not every prospect is client-worthy, in fact many aren’t. Just taking work on merely because you see big numbers isn't always the correct move. Take the right business, the profitable business, and work with clients who emulate the same traits you adhere to. Sometimes you must say no to family as well, but explain why and schedule the time to fulfill that family need as well.
• Outsource, you’re not a super-hero – this is most critical. I looked in the mirror one day and realized the big “S” on my chest and the cape were missing – I was not Superman! Ego and pride can be the biggest stumbling blocks in one’s life. There are expansive resources today where you can offload burdensome time consuming tasks that manage to bleed you of your most precious resource – TIME. Find the sources – it’s freeing!
• Done is better than perfection – At a recent conference a fellow speaker had this quote, “Done is more profitable than perfection” – so true. We can analyze things into the ground, and most times this leads to inaction. I would agree that we don’t want to go off half-cocked, so review things, the pros and cons, then build, implement, engage, gather intel, tweak and re-implement. These are the keys to success and profitability.
• Small changes add up. If you feel in some way this is you, you need not change everything overnight. Be mindful and make the changes incrementally, but make the change. Communicate openly with those it will affect so they can be supportive during the transition. As they say, “Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time.”
I can’t go back and it took me years to reconnect with my children, but it’s never too late! Now is the time to create a true life-work balance where everyone in the funnel benefits. I guarantee, you will be happier and more successful, and those who matter the most will benefit from you being there.
Be good to yourself, you deserve it!
For more than 30 years, Cliff has been speaking, training and consulting internationally to associations and national business groups on more effective ways to market themselves, their products and services, as well as motivating their personnel. Recognized by PPAI for his creativity, he has won the prestigious PPAI Pyramid award 25 times, and the Printing Industry's PSDA’s Peak Award for creativity five times in three years. He has also received PPAI's Ambassador Speaker of the Year Award six consecutive years and was the inaugural recipient of PPAI's Distinguished Service Award. Named one of top six industry speakers and trainers, he also was recognized by PPAI in the book, "PPAI at 100," as having a significant influence in education. He has also been recognized by Counselor Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in the Promotional Products Industry. You can engage with Cliff at
Cliff Quicksell, MAS+
Aussie Steve Granland on Similarities with U.S. Market
There are a lot more than there are differences in the $2 billion Australasian market Kirby Hasseman, Delivering Marketing Joy
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Kirby Hasseman is the owner of Hasseman Marketing and the author of Delivering Marketing Joy (a book about better promo!). He is dedicated to personal development and building the integrity of the promotional industry.
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Young Pro’s “SPARK” it up in Denver
Unique conference format helped for effective 'masterminding.' Sam Kabert, Success with Swag(er)
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No, that’s not what I meant… get your head out of the gutter ;). On July 27th, I joined over 60 other young professionals in Denver for the first ever “conference” designed by millennials for millennials in the promotional products industry – SPARK (a PPAI organized group).
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a networking junkie – specifically, networking that caters to “young professionals.” So, when I heard that PPAI was putting on its first ever networking conference for young professionals in the promotional products industry, I signed up without even looking at the agenda. I literally went into this conference not knowing what to expect at all.
Marketing to millennials has been a hot topic for quite a few years now. I remember sometime between 2006-2010 (my college years) being at an office supply conference and one of the main focuses was about millennials entering the workforce.
Some personal accolades:
• Board member of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce at 23 years old (this was when Levi’s Stadium was being built in Santa Clara, I’ve met and networked with a lot of movers and shakers at a “young age” from this opportunity)
• Chair of the Silicon Valley Young Professionals (SVYP) from age 24-27
• SVYP earned Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016 under my leadership
• Awarded Individual Member of the Year by Santa Clara Chamber in 2017
The fact that the promotional products industry is so behind in addressing a need for young professional development is a bit surprising. I come from the office supply industry and was involved in a comparable group to SPARK back in 2012. I’m not ripping on the SWAG industry (rather I don’t intentionally mean to do so) but the truth is we are behind and I’m THRILLED to see that PPAI is taking the charge!
It seems that in the past few years everyone is trying to figure out millennials. To me, this is just a bit late.
Think of it this way… Generation Z entered college in 2016. That means in 2020, Gen Z will be entering the workforce. I’m 29 years old. As much as by definition I am a millennial (and a young professional for now); I realize that I need to start preparing for the next generation.
Some know this, some may not: I’m preparing to launch my personal brand, “SwagSam,” which is about professional development for young professionals (in the form of a weekly podcast, blog and book to be published Summer of 2018).
Personal branding is just as much a hot topic right now as millennials.
My vision is to capitalize on my experience in building my brand in Silicon Valley as a young professional and provide a how-to guide for those entering the workforce.
SPARK was a great event by all accounts. I loved that we were not forced to sit through a ton of presentations. The vibes were lighthearted and the focus was around networking. A funny thing happens when the focus is on networking over “education.” Education becomes the result from networking with your peers. We’ve all heard of “death by PowerPoint” and yet some conferences are still centered around presentations. Whether there’s an actual PowerPoint presentation or not, it doesn’t really matter. If a presentation is not engaging, then people tune out. I really don’t go to a networking event to sit and listen to someone talk. We have webinars for that or my personal preference, podcasts (I heard the WhatUp Silicon Valley Podcast is good BTW). When I go to a conference I want to network. It’s not only about building relationships but it’s about “MasterMinding.”
One of the best “sessions” SPARK led was a peer-to-peer discussion about common industry challenges while drinking beer and other cocktails. The best part was that this workshop was held at a brewery in between sets of live music. I know my words will not do the painting in your head justice. But imagine... pedaling on a “bike” with new friends, then walking into a local brewery in a hipster side of Denver, followed by live music and, in between beers, talking about industry challenges with your peers.
The enthusiasm from the leaders of SPARK along with that of the attendees was infectious. I know that SPARK will ignite the next generation of leaders in the promotional products industry.
And good thing we’re starting now, because we’re only a few years away from really diving into what makes Gen Z tick.
To learn more about millennials or generational differences, I encourage you to check out . Better yet, just click here to learn more about Gen Z (expect a ton of free downloads).
Sam Kabert is the creative director of ValueBP Marketing Group and the creator and co-host of the podcast “WhatUp Silicon Valley!” A risk taker who embraces permanent beta, Sam is leading the transformation of his family-run office supplies business into a promotional products powerhouse. Sam can be reached at .
Tailgate/BBQ/Picnic Products: Hot Products, Sizzling Sales!
Suppliers offer a wide range of products to meet any budget and take advantage of these popular activities. Sherry L. Baranek, Product Feature
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As the hazy, lazy days of summer begin to wind down, there is much to look forward to this fall in the form of barbecues, picnics and tailgates. It’s not too hot—or too cold—to revel in the outdoors. Distributors should take this opportunity to choose from the plethora of products on the market to present to clients who no doubt will be hosting corporate parties and events. Barbecue tools, coolers, tables, chairs, misting fans, grills, and drinkware are just some of the items that can be found in this lucrative market—and can be a part of an enjoyable, unforgettable outdoor experience. Upscale, retail-inspired items are trending in this segment of the market.
The demand for higher-end products is driven by the trend of doing more upscale events, according to Grethe Adams of Southern Plus. “From serving sophisticated, gourmet food and beverages to more elaborate set-ups, the trend to do bigger and better demands higher-end products to match,” she asserts. “Demand for these products has been great and has really picked up pace this summer.”
BIG Graphic’s Melissa Ralston notes that while captain’s chairs and barbecue sets remain staples in this market segment, the company is seeing retail brands drive the new trends in promotional products, including: vacuum insulated bottles and tumblers (driven by the micro-brewery trend); inflatable lounge chairs that fill within seconds; and a renewed focus on the outdoor and leisure markets. “Tailgating is a bigger event now than ever before—with food prepared on portable grills, served on folding chairs and tables, with shade tents, coolers of beer and wine, games, and more,” she elaborates. “According to the 25th Weber Grill Survey, respondents spend an average of $122 on a tailgate party. Many tailgaters don’t even make it to the game itself—50 percent of respondents said they attended a tailgate in the past year but did not go to the game! The concept of tailgaters and a market for potential sales has emerged into a $20 billion industry, with considerable room for growth.”
Expanding on this concept is Naomi Berkowitz of Picnic Plus by Spectrum. “When we hear customers looking for new items for picnic and tailgating events, this immediately conjures up ideas and visions of social gatherings and all types of outdoor events, while creating fun memories and reconnecting with friends and family,” she comments. “Each year, we develop innovative products to meet those specific consumer’s needs, highlighting the newest and most unique ‘gadgets’ and products to bring to an event in a spirited /competitive way!”
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Hot Sports Grills also sees the importance of tailgating products. “The fact is, football is the constant in what we sell,” Bernie DiMeo states, “which is football-shaped grills and football-helmet shaped charcoal grills.”
Tables are a hot-ticket item this season. Adams of Southern Plus reports its new 151 Event Table has been one of the company’s best sellers—both as a stand-alone as well as part of the 202 Tailgate King Set. She adds that the 5035 Tailgate Tub is also doing very well. “Both are very versatile pieces that can be used (and given) individually or together with chairs or a BBQ set,” she points out.
Picnic Plus by Spectrum also reports success with its new Tailgate Table (PSM-104). According to Berkowitz, the table top is fully adjustable at either a sitting height (24 inches) and extends to a standing height (36 inches). “This lightweight portable table sets up in seconds and is perfect for drinks with the four recessed beverage pockets and plenty of room for all the food!” she adds. It folds up easily and the table top and legs fit into the color-coordinated travel bag.
The company has also rolled out the following products: leakproof, tall-standing Tub Coolers PSG-221 (available in all team colors); football cooler (PSG-252) that holds up to 30 cans plus ice; and Magnetic Wood Bottle Openers in three styles that magically “stick” to any metal surface using the company’s MagnaCore® neodymium magnet and tested to hold up to 90 bottle caps. These products join the following popular sellers: PSM-106 Stadium Seat, PPB-666 6 Pack Bottle Holder in Cotton Canvas, and the Mega Mat® M5101 and M5108—a 100 percent waterproof, foam-padded mat with an acrylic top. It has a carry handle, a detachable shoulder strap, and comes in two sizes and 15 patterns.
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At BIC Graphic, new offerings include three KOOZIE® can and bottle coolers, several new vacuum insulated drinkware items, and three new O2COOL® handheld/personal fans. “In July, we introduced a 5-in-1 BBQ Tool featuring a detachable spatula, fork, basting brush, bottle opener, and cork screw,” Ralston says. “While our existing KOOZIE® collapsible can koolers remain our top sellers, we can already see a lot of promise from the new items.”
It’s all about football shaped grills at Hot Sports Grills. DiMeo notes that the company’s two new items—a 52-inch tall beer/soda/liquor bottle that opens into a half grill and half cooler and a beer/soda can-shaped grill—are also the company’s best sellers. DiMeo reports demand for these two products is at an “all-time high.” The company has also added coolers, aprons, and chairs to its offerings.
Josette Bosse at Bay State Specialty Company notes that one of the company’s best sellers is the BS K206 Quick'n Slick Silicone Basting Brush—an extra-long basting brush with an 8-inch handle—that includes a large hanging hole plus a step-up feature allowing the baster to be placed on a table without the brush touching. It is dishwasher safe and good on hot surfaces up to 500 degrees. The brush is available in cornflower blue brush and sangria red brush.
Promotional product suppliers agree there are many ways to tout barbecue/picnic/tailgate items. Ralston at BIC Graphic suggests using a flyer to features the latest trends and hottest products. “Distributors can also create bundle offers just for BBQ/Picnic/Tailgating with a variety of items,” she says. “For more expensive items, it’s best to focus on retail brands and upsell the features and benefits.”
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Berkowitz at Picnic Plus by Spectrum recommends the following to distributors to reach their target audience: in-store displays for snack and beverage companies and giveaways during the promotion, casino fall promotions, sports team ticket holders’ gifts, college fraternity and alumni parties, family reunions, high school spirit fundraising, cheerleading competitions, non-profit organizations/fall membership drives, and the “catch-all” company outing.
Almost any brand can benefit from promoting at these types of events, Adams of Southern Plus adds, so she emphasizes the importance of distributors mentioning this fact to clients. “Associating your brand with positive, family-oriented, fun activities like picnics, tailgating, and barbecues is a no brainer,” she comments. “Connect with the customer at heart level and you’ll make a lasting connection. An additional benefit with these types of events is that you’re likely to get added exposure among friends, family and other tailgaters. Who doesn’t want that?
“This is all about fun, good food, and time with friends and family!” Adams continues. “These types of events are obviously popular and, as mentioned, are great for almost any brand from consumer goods and auto-makers to realtors, home improvement stores, medical facilities, and schools. Another reason to pursue this market is that typically the items used are higher-end products like chairs, BBQ sets, and blankets. It doesn’t take a large quantity before you have yourself a nice order.”
Adams concludes that while barbecues and picnics are typically viewed as summer activities, they start in the spring and extend well into the fall—alongside tailgating. “Add in the fact that these items make perfect holiday gifts, this market segment is actually relevant all year long. So, get busy now and you’ll be able to sell these items the entire fall season and up to the holidays.”
Case Study
Grethe Adams, Southern Plus
A major beer brand was sponsoring a summer concert series at an outdoor amphitheater, and wanted to offer an “enhanced” experience for their VIP customers, and radio contest winners. They felt that just giving them front row seats was not sufficient, and did not let others in attendance know that these were special guests of a special brand. They cordoned off a prime section in front of the stage, and instead of putting standard rows of chairs inside this section, they wanted to create VIP “outdoor” suites. They used (modified) “Tailgate King” sets (202), from Southern Plus, which provided two luxury chairs (118-Chairman), a table (151-Event Table), cooler (5035-Tailgate Tub), and two blankets (9014-Outback Blanket) for each VIP (and guest) to share. (They opted to substitute an additional blanket for the standard BBQ set that normally comes with the set, so each guest would have a blanket when the temperature dropped after dark.)
When the VIPs were escorted from their welcome tent to their seats, they were impressed to see their “suite”, complete with their beverage(s) of choice already iced down in their Cooler Tubs! The looks of envy they received from neighboring concert-goers further elevated the experience for the lucky guests! When the concert was over, they were allowed to bundle up their “Tailgate King” set (suite), and take it home with them to keep.
Each piece of the “suite” was branded with the beer company logo, which continues to make brand impressions each and every time the recipients use them for other activities. This promotion gained an elevated perception of the brand not only with the VIP guests, but by every other patron who witnessed the VIP treatment, and realized who was responsible for it! The recipients consistently commented that it was, “The best concert experience they ever had” (and the iced down “personal” beverages in the Cooler Tub truly “raised the bar” for them). The brand has seen deeper brand loyalty from the VIPs, and an increase in local sales overall. They attribute most of this to the added exposure they gained with this “suite” opportunity!
Josette Bosse, Bay State Specialty Company
A distributor in Massachusetts was working with a propane company on a public relations campaign. The company was trying to increase its visibility in an effort to gain market share in a down economy. The end user’s primary business was delivering propane to residential properties; therefore, they wanted a product that would be useful in and around the house. As a side benefit, they were also trying to increase their more profitable business of filling smaller barbeque tanks at the same time as the main fill-up. So, they set out to find a product that could give them results in both markets.
The Bay State K206 Silicone Basting Brush was a perfect match to help them deliver a positive message to home owners and grilling experts alike. The product’s silicone brush can withstand heat up to 500°! Perfect for basting any food in the kitchen or on the grill. Both the distributor and end-user also liked the fact that the product has a large enough imprint area for a logo and specific contact information that was needed.
The propane company ordered 1000 pieces and they were thrilled with the results! After each fill-up, the driver would attach an informational card, the basting brush and a ‘Thank you’ note on each customer’s front door. Comments came pouring in, such as, ‘What a nice surprise to receive such a useful product,’ and, ‘Thank you for recognizing us as a valued customer.’ Even in a down economy, customer awareness and business is up for this savvy end-user.
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Policy is for the company's and employees' benefit, not for mine. Bill Petrie, Petrie's Perspective
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Recently, I took one of my twin boys to his first concert in downtown Nashville. As part of the pre-show festivities, I asked him to pick any restaurant in which to dine. Being the seafood lover that he is, he chose Joe’s Crab Shack and over the course of 90 minutes, we ate clams, snow crab, shrimp, and even a little bit of lobster. Most importantly, neither one of us looked at our phones which allowed us to truly connect – which is challenging for a father and a 14-year-old boy.
My smile retreated slightly after I received the check. As I pulled out my credit card I noticed a line item that stated “18% gratuity.” Even more interesting, there was a blank line below for an “additional tip.”
Knowing that automatic gratuity is usually added for larger groups to help ensure that the server is properly compensated, I looked at the bottom of the check and read the following:
“For your convenience, 18% gratuity has been added to your check.”
As I read this, two thoughts immediately flooded my head:
1) I’m quite capable of calculating my own tip based on the service provided
2) Automatically adding the gratuity for “my convenience” was a lie. It was solely for the benefit of the restaurant and server.
How many times in our own businesses do we make decisions or implement policies proclaiming that they are done for the benefit of the customer when the reality is they are self-serving? For example, many distributors will quote a fully landed price on a product under the guise of simplicity so the inflated cost of shipping can be hidden and potentially increase profit. It’s a policy that may make sense, but it’s also a policy that really only serves the distributor.
In business, one of the keys to fostering long lasting relationships is transparency. People may not like specific policies or decisions, but when they are carried out openly and honestly, they will be accepted.
I really don’t mind that the 18% gratuity was added to my bill; I just didn’t care for the lie of “my convenience” that came along with it. Typically, I tip 20% of the bill but the fact that my intelligence was insulted ended up costing the waitress the additional 2%. That probably wasn’t fair to the waitress, but I reacted emotionally to how the policy was packaged to me and I doubt I’m the only one.
My sense is the policy at this particular Joe’s Crab Shack was implemented due to the fact too many patrons didn’t tip appropriately – and I understand that. Assuming that was the case, the restaurant shouldn’t soft shoe it; simply implement the policy and move on. Telling the customer that the policy was for their convenience, however, is completely disingenuous and unnecessary.
If a policy is implemented that is truly for the benefit of the client, shout it from the highest rooftop. If, however, a necessary policy is implemented that is solely for the benefit of the organization or employees, put it in place and don’t mask it as client-friendly.
Bill is president of PromoCorner, the leading digital marketing service provider to the promotional products industry, and has over 17 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized-promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business. A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, president of the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients. He can be reached at .
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Identity Marketing Staff, New Products
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This new Mini LED Flashlight with Keyring from Webb Company features silver anodized aluminum construction with a convex mirror. It has an easy on/off click button and is available in two colors. Batteries are included and installed.
Jetline’s new Blake Backpack is made from 210D polyester with a front open mesh pocket. The large main compartment has a zipper closure. Features include mesh pockets on each side, polyester and PE foam padded straps with adjustable polyester web panels. Available colors are black, lime green, and reflex blue.
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Identity Marketing Staff
Maligned Millennials? PPAI's SPARK;
Passing on Credit Card Fees; OK State vs. Ohio State on "OSU" Trademark; Maintaining Focus on the Important Things and more. Kirby Hasseman, Bill Petrie, UnScripted
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Industry educators Kirby H

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