Categories for Success Stories

True Life Tale Of Imprinted Coffee Mug Heroics

September 18, 2015 10:58 am Published by

The story I’m going to tell you about an always under appreciated promotional product is true. The names and locations have been changed to protect a consumer from drowning in unwanted but insistent marketing efforts. DB651D06-8AF7-48CC-9978-7EDE68A2CE8F
My Dad is 81 years old, oxygen dependent, but still (by far) the smartest guy in the room. He lives alone, and has since my Mom passed last year. While he has every service (cleaning lady, cook, gardener, plow guy) imaginable at home, the house, without my mother, is too big. Too lonely for him. He’s warming to the idea of an assisted living community.
Now you see the need for secrecy. If his name and intention were made public the poor soul would be swamped under a deluge of glossy, multi page brochures. He’d be turning down event invitations left and right, and his phone would be ringing off the hook with cheery “check in” calls.

Census Ad Specialties Work Better, Cost Less

July 5, 2010 2:49 pm Published by

Here’s a real world example of how affordable, and effective, promotional products can be… courtesy of an unlikely source, the 2010 U.S. Census.
You probably haven’t heard much about the part promotional products, also known as advertising specialties, are playing in getting the message — the importance of being counted — out to the masses. Reports have the census bureau sending $22.7 million on promotional items like mugst-shirtshatswater bottles and pencils in order to get the message out. According to a census bureau official, more Americans appear to have sent in their forms right away, meaning that fewer census takers have to be paid to go door-to-door. This is where taxpayers (you and me) are expected to save an estimated $85 million.
The census, undertaken once every ten years,  is a survey mandated by the U.S. Constitution that provides a snapshot of the nation’s population and helps to determine the distribution of nearly $400 billion in government funds, not to mention the number of congressional seats and electoral votes a state is given. A whole lot hangs on the data the census collects.
To date the Census Bureau has spent $140 million on advertising mainstays like TV, print and the internet, with a cost of about $1 per person. You may remember seeing some of the ads, clamoring for your attention amid all the others. Compare that to ad specialties that were given out at schools and county fairs, with an average cost per impression of $0.004 according to an exclusive ASI survey, and you can see why these items are considered to be such an affordable way to get the word out.
Of course… who doesn’t enjoy getting something… even if it’s from the U.S. government, and especially if it’s useful. According to the ASI survey, such products bring back the name of the giver for many people, and make it more likely they’ll do business with them in the future. Beyond the handy giveaways, any census workers you do see will be wearing embroidered polo shirts to help identify them at the door.
Affordability is one thing, but there’s the bigger question — how’s it working? Amazingly well. In fact, the response rate to the 2010 census is at an all time high — 72% of households have returned their forms according to Timothy M. Andrews, president of ASI, compared to just 67% in 2000.
Not to shabby.

More Than Toys And Trinkets: Powerful Advertising

May 21, 2010 1:35 pm Published by

As our economy continues to “recover”, marketing budgets have remained under nearly constant scrutiny. When money’s tight, the temptation to cut advertising spending is almost irresistible for many businesses. This makes the need for marketing programs that truly deliver even greater — in fact, it might surprise you to learn that quality promotional products have proven themselves a valuable, measurable way to generate interest in your business.
In fact, a two part study finished in late 2009 designed by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) and run by independent research firm MarketTools, Inc. surveyed a cross section of the U.S. consumer population regarding advertising on TV, print and online, as well as using promotional products. The first part of the study looked at promotional products themselves, the second part compared promotional products to other media including their reach, recall and reaction.
The study found that promotional products consistently delivered higher recall rates than other types of advertising. (more…)

Marketing Lessons From

January 11, 2010 10:05 am Published by

Infidelity has hardly wanted for media attention of late.
You might say its a sign of the times that a dating site for those who are already attached, has had such amazing success… and it is. But there are some lessons hidden behind all the controversy of the Toronto-based Ashley Madison Agency (also known as… the sometimes-forbidden ads and the unassuming, reasonable persona of founder, 37-year old  Noel Biderman (father of two, happily married to first wife Amanda) who points out his service is simply addressing an existing need.
Maybe you’ve seen some of the ashleymadison ads. Provocative TV spots and full color billboards that routinely raise cries of outrage and receive disapproving (more…)

On The Value Of Being Thankful

November 23, 2009 10:21 am Published by

Thank you.
These two little words are really rather remarkable, they convey so much, and as we find ourselves pausing to give thanks for all the blessings of our lives, I can’t help but remember the unexpected thank you I received along with a recent order from on online supplier of iPhone and iTouch accessories known as (prepare for shameless plug here) Gordy’s Gadgets. I was doing some early holiday shopping and these guys went out of their way to see that I got what I was after.
If that wasn’t enough, Gordy and his gang did something utterly unexpected (especially considering the economy) upon shipping my order. They included a thank you gift, a pen imprinted with a thank you message, their web address and a reminder to order. The thing is, it’s a really nice pen (and I LOVE pens)… substantial with a comfortable grip, deep rich blue barrel and flowing black ink. Nice clicking mechanism too. I suppose it’s a quirk of writers that we are especially aware of pens (all writing instruments in fact). Good ones are worth their weight in gold… and despite what you think, they are hard to find.
I have the pen beside me now, and every time I look at it, I think of that company, and the gesture, and how it made me feel. Like I was valuable, appreciated… worth the time it took to add that little something extra to my order… I like these guys.
All good things for a customer to believe about a business… including yours!

Making The Case For Hand Held Fans

September 15, 2009 8:26 am Published by

With the start of the pro football season and schoolboy seasons all well underway, there are plenty of hardy souls who brave blistering heat (in most parts of the country anyway) to support their team. A case study appearing in Chief Marketer gives the details on how one non-profit, the Scottsdale Christian Academy, used an often overlooked promotional item — hand held stick fans — to win points off the field.
The challenge for Shannon Cox, director of development at the academy, is that she works for a non-profit organization, and this means not much money for promotional programs and products. Sound familiar?

What Happens When Advertising Goes Angry

January 18, 2009 2:01 pm Published by
When I first read this, I thought it was a joke… one of those ONION stories that keep you chuckling to yourself all day long.
Only this isn’t a joke… in fact, it’s totally serious and maybe even a bit ingenious. Promo Xtra carries the story of fast food giant Burger King’s efforts to promote the “Angry Whopper” a mighty artery clogging beast that also includes spicy crispy onions, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo and “angry sauce” (whatever that is). 
It’s a limited release, so if your local Burger King doesn’t have the sandwich yet… it’ll be coming soon. The Angry Whopper, a new twist on our favorite, saturated fat laden indulgence is set to be on the BK menu through March 30, 2009 — single, double and even triple versions. Now that’s a lot of anger.

There are laugh out loud commercials for the new addition, and a frighteningly (over 55,000 downloads so far) popular FaceBook application that asks users to cut 10 online friends to get a Burger King coupon for a free Whopper. It’s clearly a lighthearted, playful attempt to deal with the unwieldy number of contacts some people have on this site. The ex-friends are notified (in totally un-FaceBook fashion) that they were given up for a sandwich… the campaign bearing the tag line, “Friendship Is Strong, But The Whopper Is Stronger.”

One Way To Use Twitter For Business

January 15, 2009 1:58 pm Published by
And then there’s this… an intriguing blog telling the story of CoffeeGroundz Cafe in Houston, TX, a coffee shop who found a unique way to use Twitter to build its business. Check it out here
A visit this week to a local web design firm uncovered this little nugget. While I’m not ordinarily a fan ofTwitter, the latest addition to an already crowded field of social networks, what you’re about to see is a smart application of the potential these groups have. Made me wonder how many of you might try something similar.
For those who haven’t had the time to investigate, Twitter bills itself as a way to deliver many short messages that you can use over different devices and networks. It wants to be a compelling service that gives a easy, enjoyable user experience — a way to help people all over the world connect. Detractors complain that the free service brings a sort of information overload, and the need to go through all those… rather mundane to say the least… updates.
Important in the personal blogging world as a fast, easy way to update a blog, Twitter also has shown itself better at keeping people (more…)

The Lessons Family Guy Teaches Every Business

January 11, 2009 10:08 am Published by
My best friend Kim has been after me for at least the last year to catch an episode of Family Guy. She swears it’s right up my alley, raving about how funny and irreverent it is… two things I dearly love. Somehow I hadn’t found the time to check out a full episode, I’d given the animated show no more like a quick skim on my way to Home and Garden TV’s House Hunters. It was only just this week her persistence paid off and I caught a full episode. It was everything she said… and like so many others, I’m hooked.
My family and I are now searching the on screen cable guide for when the episodes air. And my son has found something online combining Family Guy and Star Wars that makes me laugh every time I think about it. If this isn’t the type of series we all need in these easily offended, take ourselves WAY too seriously times, I don’t know what is.
There have been some intriguing online pieces on Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane that paint a most encouraging picture for any business owner (or creative genius) trying to be successful these days. New media entrepreneur Brian Clark devoted an entireblog post to the valuable lessons business owners can take away from this unexpected success story.
In a nutshell — Do what you love and stick to your vision. Don’t let rejection stop you. You don’t have (more…)

Black Friday's Not So Black Numbers

December 5, 2008 1:28 pm Published by


ONE MORE THING, this from online The Motley Fool, on what consumers did on Friday… and some insight into why. And one remarkably insightful quote:
Consumers simply decided that in the words of Brian Rogers, T. Rowe’s Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, “Statistically speaking, the world does not end that often.”
These guys are thinking it’s a good time to look for value.
UPATE 12/02: According to a fantastic piece on, The National Retail Federation (NRF) survey data says the number of shoppers either in stores or accessing online retailers, from Black Friday through Sunday, was up 17% (172 million shoppers) versus last year (147 million shoppers). The average amount spent was $372.57, up 7.2%. Clothes and electronics were big.
Retail sales during the holiday season account for 30% of a retailers business throughout the year — hence the name for the shopping day known as Black Friday. 
Sales on this year’s Black Friday, November 28, were up 3% nationally, to $10.6 billion, according to early figures released by ShopperTrak RCT Corp. The research firm tracks sales and traffic at over 50,000 stores and shopping centers.
UP? How can that be?
Lest we get too hopeful, ShopperTrack continues to forecast a “flat” November and December. (more…)