The holidays are a season of giving, and your clients and business partners have given your company so much. They’re the peanut butter to your jelly, the Bert to your Ernie and the Great Bambino to your baseball. How do you give a gift to somebody who has given you so much? Here are some easy client gifts to help show your appreciation in some creative and unique ways.

Let Them Take You With

The cooler the product for your client gifts, the more they’ll want to take it with them everywhere. And if the client or partner is excited about the gift then they’ll want to show it off to their friends. So if they’re going to take it with them, it’s great marketing to have your logo featured on the gift. Not only is it a reminder of your working relationship with the person or company, but it also gets your name out to people that your clients or partners interact with.

Consider your everyday routine and some of the things that you do daily. Then, think of the ad specialty products that could be made to give out as client gifts. Everybody carries a water bottle, needs a grocery bag or looks at a calendar, so why not put your name on it? Shop around for items with unique features that work with your brand. Maybe that means the water bottle has a filter built in or the grocery bag has extra compartments for added convenience. Remember that the small things make a huge difference.

Client Gifts are A Relationship Reminder

Sending client gifts is great. But when the gift has a special meaning attached, it means more and will be easily remembered in the future. You don’t have to spend a fortune to show that you care. Think of some of your favorite food combinations. For example, send a hot chocolate gift set with the works (hot chocolate, cups, marshmallows, etc.) and a clever message. A clever or funny saying will grab their attention while showing how much they and their business mean to you.

Hold a brainstorming session with your team to come up with some creative ideas of their favorite pairings, and sayings to go along with the client gifts you are thinking about. You’ll be astonished at some of the creative ideas that can flow from the brainstorming session. Plus, sometimes all your clients and partners need is a simple gift that shows you put thought behind it.

Something That Lives On

If the gift can live on then hopefully your relationship can, too. That’s why you should give something that has longevity. Plus, the client or partner will be reminded of you every time they see it. For example, a plant that looks pretty and requires little care is a great gift and constant reminder of your company. Try something that requires little care and can be hung inside, like the Christmas Cactus. It may sound brutal, but it’s really just a pretty plant with a festive name. Add a special note to the plant and you’ve got perfect corporate gifts.

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Have you ever met someone who was trying to be something they weren’t? We all know the computer nerd who tried to act like a jock in high school. While sometimes it works out for them, often we can’t take them seriously. So why would your small business want to be something it’s not? If you’re a small business, embrace it and use it to your advantage.

In 1991 Stacey Pecor opened Olive and Bette’s, a small fashion boutique in Vermont. She wanted to bring high-end fashion to the women of her community. Once she conquered Vermont, she took a crack at the fashion capitol of the U.S., New York City. She chose high-traffic areas to attract a wide variety of customers, and big-name stores popped up around her. She benefited from the extra traffic. By putting her employees through rigorous training and keeping a careful eye on sales, Pecor is someone who succeeded through focusing on quality over quantity.

Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, Inc. is taking on one of the most successful brands in recent years, and it isn’t an easy fight. To differentiate yourself from Starbucks, you have to work pretty hard. Intelligentsia’s baristas must complete a two-month certification program before they can make you a drink. When they do, it’s like ordering a piece of art. The company also travels the globe to find the best beans.

small business - bigger is not always better

A wine shop in Copenhagen found an underground bomb shelter in a small park to set up shop. Visitors not only get to purchase wines but also get the experience of visiting a bomb shelter. Talk about a unique experience.

Think about what makes your company special then create a story or experience around it. You may have to rebrand. You can be proud of being small. Use it to build a personal connection with your customers to deliver quality products and amazing service.

As you’re working on your story, consider how you want to grow. Remember almost every company starts small, but some make the business decision to go big. If you’re planning this strategy, keep in mind how to maintain the unique experience on a grand scale.

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Marketing to millennials doesn’t have to be hard. Generation Y, or Millennials are those born between the 1980s and early 2000s. If your company isn’t already looking into ways to create marketing to millennials, it’s time to start.

Why should you exert efforts for marketing to millennials? Because they have $200 million spending power and are 80 million consumers strong.

Referred to as the “Me Me Me Generation”, Millennials are supposedly the most self-involved, opinionated and impatient generation yet. This is precisely why marketers are scared of them. They can sense companies trying too hard to be hip and demand authenticity. Here are three key lessons you can utilize to successfully market to them—when we’re done with you, they’ll be putty in your hands.

Marketing to Millennials Lesson 1: Don’t try so hard.

Like a nerdy Dad who’s trying to incorporate “rad” and “bomb-diggity” into his vernacular (and failing miserably), your company needs to try hard but not to the point of being totally uncool. Don’t market to them, talk to them. Tell them your story, tell them your brand message, but above all else, be real with them.

If you’re a nerdy company, embrace those duct taped glasses and video game themed t-shirts. If you’re smooth, sleek and sexy as a GQ ad, be true to that. Whatever your personality, being genuine will attract a real audience of millennials appropriate for your marketing efforts.

Lesson 2: Be good at something.

You can’t be good at everything. Those movies where the star jock could also sing and had flawless Bieber-like hair? We’re calling bologna.

Rather than being a company that does everything well, stress your best quality. Your competition will inevitably beat you out at some aspect (customer service, newer or faster technology, etc.), but you too are better at something than them. And that’s what you need to focus on. They won’t be fooled if you tell them what they want to hear.

May we make a suggestion? If you’re looking for a new product development to appeal to millennials, make your product customizable (if they aren’t already). Millennial’s have been spoiled in their ability to pick the color, size, style, etc. of many products. They love the concept of co-creating your product when at all possible—cater to this by allowing them to express themselves through customization.

Lesson 3. Exist to them.

If you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. According to Heidi Cohen, actionable marketing expert, 93.3% of millennials are active on the Internet (75% are on Facebook) and over 90% of them have cell phones. Direct mail and Digital Marketing are important.

Assuming they’ve had a good consumer experience, millennials will be some of the most loyal brand advocates for your company—if you’re sharable. A Facebook page, Twitter feed, “pin it” button, or “Share This” button will encourage millennials to recommend your company to their friends. The easier and more convenient you can make it, the better. Buyers in this generation love being affirmed by peers that they’re making a smart choice—give them ample opportunity for this validation.

We know it can be intimidating to attempt to market to a demanding, opinionated, diverse generation. But you love a good challenge, right? Trust us, it’s worth the effort and research if you can engage millennials successfully. (And we know you can).

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Consumers love print! When it comes to communicating your marketing message or your branding, personalized and relevant messaging is more critical than ever. However, the channel used to deliver this message is important, too. After years of research on consumer attitudes and preferences, this reality still stands: print remains consumers’ preferred channel when it comes to four key areas: safety, security, sustainability, and trustworthiness.

A recently released info graphic (April 2018) from Two Sides North America highlights this reality. The info graphic is based on surveys conducted by Two Sides and Toluna, a global polling firm, between 2015 and 2018.

Here are some key facts:

  • 91% of U.S. consumers surveyed agree that, when responsibly produced, used, and recycled, print and paper can be a sustainable way to communicate.
  • 86% of those in the 18- to24-year-old age group saw print as green, as well.
  • 78%of Americans keep hard copies of essential documents filed at home as they believe this is the safest and most secure way of storing information.
  • 56% of Americans trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers.
  • Only 35%of Americans trust the news stories they read on social media.

“Although we regularly hear corporations are going digital or ‘paperless’ as safe, secure, and more green, this is not a shared opinion by a vast majority of the public, who seem to trust paper for many applications,” says Phil Riebel, president of Two Sides North America.

With the increase in online security breaches and misuse of personal information (for example, the latest Facebook scandal), Riebel notes that the clear advantages of print on paper are becoming apparent over digital. “I believe more and more people will become concerned about what may happen to their personal information held electronically,” he says. “Seventy-six percent of people are now concerned, but that may go up even more.”

THE VALUE OF PRINT HAS NEVER BEEN MORE CLEAR, especially for companies in markets such as insurance, financial services, and medical and pharmaceutical technologies, where safety, security, and trustworthiness remain “make or break” issues for consumers. In these and similar markets, the print channel remains indispensable. Consumers love print!

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Point of purchase marketing that gets noticed takes skill. Hundreds of other items are fighting for the same attention, hoping to be bought impulsively. Consumers have to get excited and see the value in your point of purchase items—they must feel the urge to buy.

When creating point of purchase materials, opt for bright colors, short and simple messages and engaging graphics. Your main goal is to get people to look. If possible, use an unusually shaped or cleverly designed package—have fun with it.

Once you have a fabulously packaged item, they need to be seen. Placement is key. Whether it’s through a large hanging ceiling-hanging banner, items placed at the checkout stand or on the shelf, make it prominent.

Look for opportunities to pair your item with a complimentary item—for example, cosmetic companies often put nice cases to hold products next to the register.

Need some more point of purchase marketing strategies? Try these tried and true techniques:

Point of Purchase Quantity discounts:

The magical word here is bundle. (Think shampoo and conditioner pairs). Offer a discount for an item that compliments its neighbor.

Complete the item:

There are a few items that would require accompanying accessories—batteries for an electronic device, free appetizers or drinks with an entree, etc.

Change it up:

The key to standing out is looking different. Freshen your ideas constantly and seek new ways to market your items. Change the offer, rearrange the displays and strive to always be attention-getting.

Effective point of purchase messages tip the scale in favor of buying at a critical decision point. So it’s your job as a marketer to put effort into making an appealing offer.

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WaWhat was old is new again thanks to thinking inside the box. Add a QR code or augmented reality to any printed marketing piece and you’ve taken your direct mail and digital marketing to a new level.

What is a QR code?

You’ve probably seen them in magazines and other printed materials. A QR code is a two-dimensional bar code that when scanned, generates information that causes a smart phone to take a desired action.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment whereby the objects that reside in the real-world are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.[1]

Direct mail and digital marketing.

Augmented reality is still relatively new to many smart phone users. That means many are anxious to see where a QR code or picture will take them. Add QR Codes to your direct mail to send prospects to your website. It could send them to a landing page on your website for a coupon or free download.

direct mail and digital marketing from Speedprint

Brochures, menus and catalogs.

Imagine having customers peruse your catalog or menu and giving them a QR code to go directly to a detailed information page where they can order online. What if that same picture or code when scanned with a phone will bring up a 3d model of the product. Or maybe your brochure has a QR code that gives people access to a video demonstration of how your product works.

Business cards.

Want to add an address to your phone contacts? Your information can be uploaded with a quick scan of the QR Code on your business card.

With this technology, all of the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. To get started, there are several websites that help you to generate QR codes. Augmented reality is a bit more complex but achievable. Check with your local printer to have them help you with your direct mail and digital marketing campaign.

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If you’re looking for a revenue-generating powerhouse for your business, you’re looking for direct mail. This type of campaign is the “Old Faithful” of marketing—businesses count on them because they’re dependable and promise a consistent ROI.

You can push direct mail’s ROI from consistent to record-breaking with a focus on personalization. Some online marketers mistakenly think their methods are more personal than direct mail. Direct mail bests digital marketing tactics in the area of personalization because, to the consumer, it feels more human.

The simplest way to personalize your mail-out is using variable printing to address your leads by name. But you can go even further than that.

Get The Information for Direct Mail

The key to effective personalized direct mail is to get as much useful information as you can from your customers and prospects. Use sales records, surveys and social media to collect good data about your mail leads.

Now it’s time to personalize your marketing piece. To craft a message that’s relevant to the prospect without being creepy, you’ve got to use your data carefully. Let’s say, for example, that your jewelry store wants to market diamond engagement rings. You’re working form a list of young people who you assume—or hope, for your business’s sake—are single (and you should know that from your data).

It makes sense to write copy that speaks to a specific audience; for example males. On the other hand, the mail piece sent to females should feature different photos and copy. Although who will buy and who will receive such a gift varies, catering the message according to gender is a subtle method of personalization.

Know Your Audience

As this examples shows, the best marketers have to interpret the data and use it in a way that tactfully shows consumers that your business is just what they need. But you don’t have to be selling jewelry to personalize in a skillful and non-intrusive way. Think about your audience and how their demographic information may affect their buying habits or business needs.

Work from your recipient data to go beyond names in personalizing your business’s direct mail. When you personalize your direct mail piece with a name, you’re working to catch your prospects’ attention. Go one step further—and one-up online marketers—by letting demographics inform your direct mail piece.

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Pull out your business card right now. Compare that to the last direct mail piece you sent. Now take a look at your signage. Are they all sending a consistent message? Would your customers understand what your company does in 3 seconds if they encountered your marketing? If the answer is “no” to these questions, it’s probably time to rebrand for your business.

When it is time to rebrand it can be a scary process. It could take a lot of time, cause confusion with your customers and cost you some money to make the transition. But it may be worth it if you’re not delivering the right message to the right audience. Before you take the leap, consider these rebranding tips.

It’s not me. Or is it?

Many people think that their brand consists of a logo, some signage and a business card. While these elements are key to identifying who you are, the brand goes well beyond a look. Your brand is your customers’ perception of your company, what their expectations and experiences have been in their interactions with you. Your brand is also the promises you make and deliver on everyday. Before you start making cosmetic changes, make sure you take a holistic approach to how you do business.

Get over yourself. Its time to rebrand.

While it’s your brand, it’s not about you. It’s about your customers. Take a top-down approach and analyze your entire business, and who you want to be. Talk with the type of customers you want to attract and find out what they know about you and what they need from you. Look at what your competition is doing and differentiate, don’t copy.

time to rebrand

Plan. Plan. Plan.

The rebrand process takes time and “flipping the switch” on a new brand could cause some issues. Make a transition plan and get key stakeholders involved such as customers and prospects. You have to get your employees behind the process and get them excited about their new image and, possibly, new attitude.

Finally, don’t cling onto your history, but make sure you take the good things you’re doing and keep them so your customers can still get a sense of familiarity. This will keep the customers you want coming back to do business with you.

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When designing a billboard, six words or less is ideal. You have a brief moment to capture a driver’s attention and get your idea across. The same strategy applies when designing your trade show display. Attendees can stop and learn more if interested, but your moment to engage them is fleeting.

Trade shows are essentially a competition to stand out—so we’ve compiled a few ways to stand out with your trade show display, without having to get obnoxious. Remember, you want to tactfully attract customers and then reel them in with a polished elevator pitch.

Below are three useful tips to keep in mind when planning for your next trade show:

Tip #1: Your Trade Show Display is your handshake.

Without even having to talk to you, attendees will have already made a snap judgment on your company based on their booth presentation. They might not even listen to your pitch before deciding whether or not to stop. You have to impress them long before that.

Plan on taking along some large-format graphics for your booth that includes your logo and a simple headline explaining your services. The key word being “simple”—as with the aforementioned billboards, people likely won’t stop walking unless you give them a reason. Consider using high-resolution pictures, large posters mounted on foam core board or other large banners. People are visual creatures; we’re naturally attracted to photos over text. Keep this in mind when setting up for your next tradeshow.

Trade Show Display Options Speedprint Leamington

There are many options when choosing your booth set up. We can help you make the right choice.

Tip #2: If you’re going to give something away, make it good.

Everyone in the world has enough freebie pens and terrible mints. Not saying that they can’t be done uniquely, but we’d encourage you to think more outside of the box.

What about giveaway mugs printed with your company logo filled with hot coffee for the morning sessions? Or fans with your information on them for those often uncomfortably hot conference centers? Perhaps a nice-quality bag to hold all of the freebies that other companies give away? Brainstorm items that are practical that won’t be tossed in the trash after attendees leave.

Tip #3: Simplify.

You can’t tell attendees everything you’ll want to about your awesome company. Pick one or two things to highlight in your elevator pitch. Don’t overwhelm them with excess, unnecessary information that they can easily look up later. Rather, focus on the qualities that make your company unique from all of the other trade show displays. You’ve probably spent months brainstorming your unique niche—now is your opportunity to show it off.

Determine before the show what will appeal most to those specific attendees. And keep in mind that they’ll likely be tired when listening to your pitch. Keep it upbeat, keep it short and remember to keep it simple.

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Imagine Christmas morning with the most boring parents in the neighborhood. Two kids with bleary eyes and flannel pajamas tumble down stairs excitedly, only to stumble on a pile of building blocks and baby dolls. Their overly practical parents decided that glossy red and green paper was a waste of money. And curling the gold ribbon was just too much trouble. Tsk tsk. Unwrapping presents, no matter the holiday, is half the fun. The same principle applies to your product packaging.

It doesn’t matter what your product is, or how much you charge for it. Product packaging will either enhance or reduce your product in the customer’s eyes. Therefore to increase sales and encourage repeat customers, you better make sure your product packaging enhances the product.

The Truth About Texture and Product Packaging

As marketers who appreciate the value of packaging, we’ve got some advice for how you can improve the customer experience with a bit of paper and a lot of creativity. For this reason texture is one of the most important elements of product packaging.

An intriguing texture will highlight the value of your product. A box of chocolate tied with a velvet ribbon makes the contents feel—even taste—extra luxurious. Are you going for a luxurious, hassle-free or delightful customer experience? Whatever mood you want to evoke in customers, use texture to enhance it.

 

iPhone Product Packaging as an example.

Of course Apple packaging is a pretty high standard when it comes to minimal design and great functionality. Photo by 90 angle on Unsplash

The Color Purple

Packaging will build your brand or break it down. Just as texture affects your customers’ experience, color will impact your brand. Don’t let the opportunity for brand building via packaging pass your company by: choose colors carefully.

A winery with a grape motif on all other marketing elements would be crazy not to extend the design to their packaging. The color purple would be perfect for wine crates that really stand out.

A Matter of Material

Selecting the right material for your product packaging is as important as choosing an unusual texture and a relevant color. Plus, your packaging material can be a brand-builder (or destroyer) just like color. Material will tell your company’s story if it reflects your mission. A picture frame made from recycled bottle caps won’t make sense wrapped in plastic bubble wrap. But protecting your product with something more sustainable is smart and environmentally friendly.

Great packaging makes a good customer experience even better. It can build anticipation and signify what’s special about your product. Like wrapping paper, it can even prolong the fun of being your customer.

 

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