Keeping up with the “no’s”

7 02 2011

Superb (Customer) Service About: Keeping up with the “no’s”

Do you know what your customer service department is saying “no” to? Do you have any idea of lost sales opportunities because of these “no’s”? Do you want those opportunities? 

These questions are designed to make you think. How do you identify trends? Here’s a thought-provoking question – how often have you thought something like this – “Our company should have offered that (fill in the blank) long ago.” Or “that was a simple idea – why didn’t I think of it?” Do you brainstorm with your employees – in particular your customer service and sales people – to see what the trends are? How can you predict those trends? Are you in touch with your competitors? Seeing exactly where they are headed? What they are offering that is now completely different from what they offered a year ago? Are they following you?

Here’s a suggestion. Plan a regular brain-storming session with your customer service department. Let them talk out loud (very loud) about what they do that works. Everyone has a particular way of doing something. It may be in their greeting to the customer. It may be in their ending line in emails. It may be in their timing on quotes and follow-ups. Let them talk. Then ask them to suggest. This means you put your ego aside. You don’t talk. You ask questions and listen and take notes. Let me say that again. You don’t talk. You take notes.

I believe that lots of American innovation stops right at the door to our businesses. We don’t take into account – and listen VERY CLOSELY – to what our employees have to say. If anything, we shut them down. We tell them all the reasons why we can’t do – whatever their suggestion may be. There could be valid reasons not to make changes. The ideas are too expensive, we don’t have the manpower, we aren’t currently technologically savvy enough – there are always good reasons to shut down creativity. Stop doing that. I’m going to say that again. Stop shutting down creativity. Find a way to enhance and encourage and applaud creative problem solving ideas. Make your customer service department a huge part of your problem solving committee. Create inclusive creative responses from your team by applauding them with their ideas, having sessions (with food) in which to listen to them. Use what you can, and offer recognition when you do.

This is all a part of keeping up with the “no’s”. And using your employees as your strongest trend-identifiers. And problem solvers. With a brain storming session. Try it, and let me know how it goes.

Promotional Products are less expensive per impression than most other media

10 11 2010

ASI Study: Promotional Products Beat Prime-Time TV

Ad specialties are less expensive per impression than most other media

TREVOSE, PA – November 8, 2010 – The Advertising Specialty Institute today released a landmark study that proves advertising specialties beat out prime-time TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available.

The most significant findings of the 2010 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study show advertising specialties are less expensive per impression than most other media* and are very affordable and effective when compared to other forms of media.

To complete its research, ASI conducted a total of 3,332 online and in-person surveys, including interviews with businesspeople in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, Sydney, Toronto and Montreal metro areas.

The 2.0 study, a follow-up to the definitive 2008 survey, includes new demographic information on politics, ethnicity, gender and age, since knowing the likely recipient of products is paramount for an advertiser. This year, the comprehensive report also adds global markets and includes more products, such as automotive accessories and food.

The study was released at the fourth annual ASI Power Summit in Aventura, Florida. Among key findings, results show:

Cost per Impression. In the U.S., the cost per impression of a promotional product stayed virtually the same from 2008 to 2010, at .005 cents.
Product Usage. Bags have the highest number of impressions in a month, over 1,000, and over one-third (36%) of those with incomes under $50,000 own bags.
Gender Preferences. Males are more likely than females to own shirts and caps, while females are more likely to have bags, writing instruments, calendars and health and safety products.
Ethnic Preferences. African Americans have more promotional products on average (11.3) than any other group.
Positive Reinforcement. Seventy-five percent of independent voters prefer consumer-branded products; nearly 1.5 times more than Democrats or Republicans.
Identifying the Advertiser. Eighty-three percent in the U.S. say they can identify the advertiser on a promotional item they own.
Influencing User Opinions. Forty-one percent of U.S. respondents say their opinion of the advertiser is more favorable after receiving a promotional product.
Global Reach. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents from Great Britain have received and kept a pen in the last 12 months. In the U.S., writing instruments are used the most often, an average of 18.2 times per month.
Popular Products. The most commonly owned promotional products among U.S. respondents are writing instruments (46%), followed by shirts (38%) and calendars (24%).
Promo Product Capital. Los Angeles has the highest average number of items owned, at 12.7.
For a downloadable pdf of the study, a video and graphics, click here. Click on the social network icons at bottom to instantly post news of ASI’s 2010 ad impressions study.

ASI’s research studies are the most influential in the industry’s history, continuously cited throughout the B-to-B industry and across the advertising and marketing spectrum.

“Our 2010 study once again proves the undeniable power of promotional products,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Distributors and suppliers should use these results to educate their customers, prospects and end-buyers about ways ad specialties can increase sales and brand exposure. Even smaller companies can deliver the kind of high-impact punch enjoyed by multi-million-dollar companies.

“It’s important to note that the pass-along rate has actually increased 11 points from just two years ago – which speaks directly to the global recycling trend. Not only do ad specialties make impressions on everyone who sees them, but messaging is reinforced every time the item is used. No other form of media can allow the advertiser to so closely tie a benefit to the recipient.”

At $0.005, the average cost-per-impression (CPI) of an advertising specialty item is less than nearly any other media. According to data obtained by ASI* the CPI for a national magazine ad is $0.045; for a newspaper ad, $0.029; for a prime-time TV ad, $0.018; for a cable prime-time TV ad, $0.005; for a syndicated daytime TV ad, $0.005; and for a spot radio ad, $0.058.

These statistics show marketers get a more favorable return on investment from advertising specialties than almost any other popular media, with a very low cost per impression, high recall among those who receive ad specialty items, and increased intent among recipients to make purchases from the advertiser.

For more information, contact Larry Basinait, executive director of research for ASI, at (800) 546-1416 and

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of over 26,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties. Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to over 22,000 ASI distributor firms. Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry from more than 3,500 reputable suppliers, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers. ASI provides catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers e-commerce, marketing and selling tools. Visit ASI online at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, the CEO’s blog and the ASI Social Network.

* Numbers derived by ASI from data provided by The Nielsen Company, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Columbus Dispatch and

America’s Largest Companies Are Choosing Promotional Products

21 10 2010

No-Tie_Patented_ApronTop Five Reasons America’s Largest Companies Are Choosing Promotional Products This Holiday Season

Every year, major corporations spend more than $19 billion in the branded product industry and see big results. These logoed products pack unparalleled return-on-investment, especially during the holiday gift-giving season when many businesses are looking for a unique way to show how much they appreciate their customers and clients. Kathleen Watts, founder and CEO of The Brandmarket, Inc., a promotional product and design firm in Newport Beach, is an expert in choosing the products that become campaign gold for the world’s most recognized brands, including Disney, ABC News, ESPN, Verizon and Martha Stewart Living. Below she shares five lessons today’s industry giants understand about the smart value of corporate branded gifts.

Five Reasons U.S. Businesses Prefer Branded Products to Propel Brand Identity and Bottom Line.

1. They Are Among the Most Memorable Forms of Marketing. More than 75% of those who receive promotional gifts remember the company’s name on the product, rather than only 50% of those remember a brand name from a magazine, newspaper or banner advertisement.

2. Ad Dollars Work Double Duty. Branded products are truly the “gifts that keeps on giving.” The value of providing clients with a branded product is substantial, as it doubly promotes a brand. The initial transaction boosts the brand’s reputation with the recipient, and as time goes on, wherever the product goes or whoever uses it, the brand continues to be exposed.

3. Your Gift Becomes a Mobile Advertisement. Think about the “life” of a pen — people lend it to one another, and it travels from offices to homes and everywhere in between. If that pen has a business name on it, all those who see or use it are exposed to the company — it is essentially mobile advertising.

4. Make a Strong Statement About Your Brand. By choosing a higher quality product like a beautiful desk clock or an elegant desk organizer, a corporation shows its clients that they matter; and every time the client sees the gift they will remember the relationship with the business.

5. Boost Employee Morale & Satisfaction. Branded products like travel mugs, photo frames, or reusable shopping bags are also a great way to foster pride within an organization for its product, service and mission.

“There are reasons promotional products outpace internet, broadcast, outdoor and yellow page advertising each year,” says Watts. “Whether they are given to employees or clients, their worth spans well beyond the initial transaction between a business and the recipient.”

About The Brandmarket: Founded by Kathleen Watts in 2001 and headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif., The Brandmarket is a trend-setting diversified promotional product and design firm specializing in “fresh” ideas for corporate promotional campaigns. A unique blend of traditional and next-generation strategies provides a diverse client roster with unmatched results through superior quality, visibility, business development, client/customer relations, advertising and product branding. In 2008, the firm was recognized with the ASI Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) Spirit Award, and also received the Women’s Business Enterprise Supplier of the Year Award (WBENC) in 2009. Develop a new product or concept, or modify an existing one — at The Brandmarket, the possibilities are endless! To learn more, visit or call (949) 706-3000.


Lauren Ellermeyer

Beyond Fifteen Communications


Email Contact

The Apron is back and better than ever

14 10 2010

New Revolutionary No-Tie Apron Re:Invents The Uniform

10 09 2010

Patented NO-TIE Aprons Available Exclusively from Aprons, Etc.

Greenville, SC – Aprons, Etc. today announces the availability of NO-TIE™ Aprons, a revolutionary new apron for retail, business and industrial use. Compared to traditional promotional aprons, the redesigned NO-TIE™ Apron appeals to a broader audience and features a patented concept that improves both fit and function. Reinventing the modern apron results in a product that is safer and more comfortable to wear than traditional aprons.

Aprons, Etc. President, Jeff Hoffman, said, “With distributors in mind, we reinvented the way aprons work and wear. This new concept expands the number of markets where a promotional apron is sellable.” Based in part on an idea for the meat and food-processing industries, the NO-TIE Apron is the subject of positive buzz in several market segments including retail food service, high-end cosmetic and beauty supply as well as medical and industrial facilities.

“While other manufacturers have sought to offer the same old products at off-shore prices, Aprons, Etc. continues to introduce innovative products at a solid price that are completely American-made,” added Hoffman. The NO-TIE Apron is available in poly-cotton twill and coated waterproof nylon, comes in a variety or colors and is offered in two sizes. The poly-cotton twill aprons can be logoed for promotional and event marketing purposes.

NO-TIE Aprons from Aprons, Etc. use Velcro® on the neckstrap and waistband. This patented innovation makes the apron easily adjustable to a variety of heights and body styles. Additionally, the use of Velcro® prevents the hanging ties that are common on traditional aprons. According to Scott Thackston, Executive Vice President of Aprons Etc, “Traditional ties prevent aprons from being worn where the ties might get caught in machinery or dragged through food or other prepared products. The NO-TIE design completely eliminates the risks associated with old fashioned aprons.”

NO-TIE Aprons are available immediately and exclusively from Aprons, Etc. For more information about NO-TIE Aprons, visit Aprons, Etc. on line at or contact your product specialist at 1-800-467-1996 for complete details and pricing.

For over twenty-five years, Aprons, Etc. has been a leading manufacturing and importer of advertising specialty merchandise and corporate logo promotional products. Located in the upstate of South Carolina, Aprons, Etc. is widely recognized for their aprons, smocks, vests, bandannas, disposable accessories and fleece blankets. Additionally, two-and-a-half decades of research and development have produced new lines and new products: the Nightingale line of medical uniforms and scrubs; the Uncommon Threads line of restaurant, service and wait staff apparel; and, the Display Solutions line of event marketing displays and accessories. Aprons, Etc. is a member of the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), and the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). Aprons, Etc. can be found online at

VELCRO® is a registered trademark of Velcro Industries B. V.

News, Notes and Happening – Promotional Product May Newsletter

23 04 2010

Promotional Product Supplier – Aprons Etc. Celebrates 25th Anniversary

15 03 2010

March 11, 2010

Top Promotional Product Supplier – Aprons Etc. Celebrates 25th Anniversary
— Celebrating our 25th (1985 – 2010) anniversary serving as a key industry Advertising Specialty Mfg. & Import Supplier of corporate logo promotional products. —

GREENVILLE, SC, March 11, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ — Celebrating our 25th Anniversary (1985-2010) serving as a key industry Advertising Specialty Mfg. & Import Supplier of corporate logo promotional products: aprons, smocks, vests, bandannas, disposable accessories & fleece blankets. In our branded Nightingale line of medical uniforms – healthcare scrubs, lab coats, jackets & promotions to over 150+ stocked products in the Uncommon Threads line of: restaurant chef / cook staff service apparel, retail uniforms & professional wait / server apron wearables. Our top selling Display Solutions line of Event Marketing logo accessories supplies the best R.O.I marketing campaign returns from our vast selection of: logo table covers, banners, backdrops plus portable exhibits all full color digitally imprinted for stunning visual impact.

Aprons Etc. parent company – Marketing Resource Group, Inc. was established in 1985 by Jeff & Lucy Hoffman in Greenville, SC. as a textile manufacturer. The original company marketed almost exclusively to the retail trade with a product line of aprons and kitchen textiles. Aprons Etc. started contract screen printing shortly after and moved into the Promotional Product industry imprinting corporate logos sold exclusively through our network of Ad Specialty Distributors.
A product line expansion created new opportunities in the 1990’s as the company developed a new category of Event Marketing Display Table Cover with oversized corporate logo imprints under the brand name – “Display Solutions”. New manufacturing technologies along with increased large format printing capabilities pushed the line to the forefront by the 2000’s to the current industry leader – “The Digital Source”.

Aprons Etc. has not forgotten our roots with (2) strong product lines of key industry uniforms & promotions for the Restaurant Service sector & Healthcare Medical fields through our “Uncommon Threads” & “Nightingale” brands.


• Display Solutions – The “Digital Source” Event Marketing Leader in Logo Table Covers, Banners & Portable Exhibits
• Nightingale – Healthcare / Medical Uniform Scrubs, Lab Coats, Jackets to functional industry promotional products
• Uncommon Threads – Over 150 Styles of in-Stock Restaurant Uniforms: Aprons, Check & Cook Apparel to Server Wearables

About Aprons Etc.

Aprons Etc. offers the best in Promotional Marketing providing a diverse selection of quality products with professional and courteous service at a competitive price.

Celebrating our 25th (1985 – 2010) anniversary serving as a key industry Advertising Specialty Mfg. & Import Supplier of corporate logo promotional products

US Airways Magazine / City Profiles / Greenville

4 03 2010

See Why Aprons Etc. calls Greenville Home!


US Airways Magazine will highlight downtown Greenville as part of its March 2010 Key to the City profile series, a 28-page editorial feature which combines traditional travel related information with a comprehensive look at downtown Greenville including its vibrant setting, business opportunity, high quality restaurants, cultural venues and award-winning quality of life.

“The US Airways Magazine profile truly provides phenomenal editorial coverage for the city, showcasing the unique combination of culture, business and lifestyle that make Greenville an unmatched place in which to work, live and play,” said City Manager James M. Bourey. “The article provides the perfect opportunity to showcase our award-winning downtown to millions of readers worldwide.”

The comprehensive editorial feature was a collaborative effort between the US Airways Magazine staff and the City of Greenville, the Greenville Chamber and the Downtown Greenville Development Initiative.

In addition to being featured in the March issue, the Greenville editorial feature will also be available for one year on the US Airways Magazine’s website. To view the complete profile, click here.

What Greenville, South Carolina, has done to its downtown makes other cities green with envy.

Keys to the City of Greenville
Downtown Greenville is home to cool restaurants, hip shops, and a stellar arts scene.

The Keys
Greenville residents dish on what makes this one cool city.

Focal Point
Stroll across Liberty Bridge in Falls Park.

Putting the Green in Greenville
The textile capital of the world finds an international edge.

Best Of Downtown Greenville
Best bites, best fest, best hidden gem (and more!)

The Westin Poinsett Greenville is a fabric of the community.

US Airways Magazine / City Profiles / Greenville”>Greenville”>”>US Airways Magazine / City Profiles / Greenville.

Event Marketing Displays Show Sales Consistency & Growth

2 12 2009

Event Marketing Displays Show Sales Consistency & Growth
Event Marketing Still Going Strong….

ASI Counselor Magazine (2009) Many companies are not hiding the fact they’re cutting their advertising and marketing budgets in 2010. However, one area that appears to be somewhat insulated is “Display Event Marketing”. A recent study says events and meetings are playing an increasingly crucial role in the marketing mix despite the current economic conditions. This is good news for ad specialty distributors who are tapped to provide products for these events. Event marketing drives business as quickly as possible to the more targeted, direct and engaging strategy of brand experiences. Businesses regardless of economic conditions must advertise their company brand and product offerings….they want their names and uniqueness out in front of potential and repeat customers. Instead of waiting for possible customer interaction and ROI to come back through traditional marketing media channels; they’re being proactive with one on one high impact visual advertising experiences using – Logo Display Table Covers, Banners, Back Drops & Portable Pop-up Exhibits & Stands….all with full color photographic digital Imprinting logo quality.

Industry Prospects for Event Marketing Displays

Sales / Marketing
New Product Training
Product Launches & Demos
Sales Meetings
Seminars / Road Shows
Trade Shows
User Group Meetings
Message Marketing-internal or community
Corporate / Business
Annual Meetings
Board Meetings
Corporate Events
Educational Series
Executive Retreats
Regional Meetings
Special Events
Team Building Exercises & Awards
Employee Recruiting
Marathons/Sport Events
Seniors & Children’s Programs
College / University
Spring Break Marketing
Sports Promotions
Student Union Events
Fraternity/Sorority Marketing
Beach & Concert Campaigns