Monthly Archives: September 2015

Ain’t Nobody got time for that: 5 tips for working efficiently

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That: 5 Tips For Working Efficiently

No one ever got anywhere by doing the bare minimum.  Your business’s growth depends on you getting as much done in as little time as possible.  The five tips below will help you accomplish as much as possible each and every workday.  By accomplishing more and procrastinating less, you’ll decrease your stress levels and be a more productive person overall!

1. Prepare in advance. At the end of each workday, figure out what you need to get done the next day.  Most people are more productive and better able to focus in the morning.  Having everything laid out so you can get started right away the next morning ensures that you take advantage of your most productive hours. Go through all of your tasks to figure out what you need to get started.  If there are questions you need answered before you can begin, you can send emails and get answers now so you’re not playing the waiting game come tomorrow.

2. Prioritize and plan. Decide what tasks are most important and what tasks can wait until tomorrow.  You should dedicate no more than three most important tasks to each day.  If you fill your plate on Monday with all of your tasks for the entire week, you’ll likely hop from project to project without actually completing a single one.

3. Schedule tasks and set reminders. Managing your time effectively is a critical part of being productive. Fortunately, today’s digital landscape has provided a vast array of apps to help us manage our time. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, like the one provided in SAGE Online, SAGE Mobile andSAGE Web, allows you to view all of your tasks for the day and schedule reminders, so you can dedicate less of your brain to remembering to call someone in three hours and dedicate more to the task at hand.

4. Focus on one thing at a time. One of the biggest barriers to completing a big project is constant interruption.  Receiving an email or instant message every five minutes is disruptive enough as it is, but we’re often urged to acknowledge these menial tasks, therefore abandoning the project we were trying so hard to focus on.  It’s tempting to quickly review a press release or respond to an email because those are easy tasks and we feel like we’re finally accomplishing something – a feeling absent from the big project we’ve been working on all afternoon. Try disconnecting for an hour or two.  Unless an email is urgent, it can wait until your project is done. By getting the most pressing and important tasks done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping your stress levels down.  The sense of satisfaction for completing a large task is much greater than it is for a small task and it will set the tone for the rest of your day.

5. Take a break. We all get stumped from time to time. If you’ve been focusing for hours on finding the best products for your client’s upcoming product launch and you’re drawing a blank, it’s probably time to walk away. Not permanently, of course.  Taking a break isn’t the same as giving up, in fact, science says it makes you more productive and creative.  So when you’re back in front of your computer, you’ll be drawing great ideas instead of blanks.

Do you have any other tips for making every day productive?  We’d love to hear them – enlighten us with a comment below!


Marketing With Promotional Products

It can be tough to market your business, especially if you have eager competitors at your heels. Promotional items can be useful marketing tools, and they can improve your brand and your reputation if they’re correctly used.

Just like with any effective marketing strategy, you need to do the research and ask yourself a few important questions before you dive headfirst into marketing your company with promotional products.

Why Promotional Products are Effective Marketing Tools

  • They provide extended brand exposure. Unlike a traditional advertisement, promotional products are difficult to miss. A tote bag with your logo will surely get more attention than a newspaper ad and your clients will be able to get repeated use out of it.
  • They’re valuable. Flyers have become less effective means of marketing because they are often ignored and thrown away. Promotional items like t-shirts or stress balls aren’t likely to get tossed because they are more like gifts than advertisements.
  • They present a creative marketing spin. Billboards, radio spots, newspaper advertisements, and television commercials are fine, but they’re not exactly original. Promotional products are not only more creative but also more tangible to customers.
  • They’re inexpensive. Any experienced marketer can tell you about the high costs of traditional marketing methods. Promotional items are available in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes that there is something for any budget (even if it’s just a key chain).

How Promotional Products are Used for Marketing

  • To generate brand awareness. Promo items quickly spread the word about your business. People love free gifts and samples, and clients are likely to tell their friends about the personalized merchandise you distributed with your friendly slogan!
  • To commend a job well done. Employees deserve rewards for their hard work and dedication, and high-ticket promotional products like desk awards can improve morale and reinforce loyalty.
  • To say “thank you”. Sending follow-up emails to clients is always smart, but giving a high-quality promotional item is even better. When you send a gift like a photo calendar after a big sale, you can bet that you’ll see some repeat business.
  • To use as coupons and special offers. Many businesses print coupons on promotional pens or offer t-shirts that entitle customers to discounts. There’s no limit to what you can do if you get creative with your promo items.
  • To organize a giveaway with prizes. By using your own custom merchandise as prizes, you’ll give winners what they want while exposing your brand at the same time!
  • To provide exclusive gifts to members. Membership fees are standard for numerous clubs and organizations, and many people are reluctant to pay them. Giving an exclusive promotional product as a member gift may encourage people to join.
  • To raise money for charity. Non-profit organizations and charities often hold fundraisers and auctions. Make yourself known by donating a high-end promotional item or a fancy gift basket; the cause will gain funds, you’ll gain exposure, and the customer will receive a memorable gift.

How to Distribute Your Promotional Products

  • Bulk mailings. Direct mail is still one of the most effective marketing mediums because it puts your message straight into customers’ hands. You’ll need potential clients’ names and addresses to pull this off, though, because mail addressed to “Current Resident” always ends up in the round file. Also, don’t forget to pre-calculate your shipping costs!
  • Personalized pencils or magnets may work just fine, but plastic sports bottles might not.
  • Trade shows, expos, and conventions. Trade shows usually have a wide variety of attendees from different career fields, which means there are ample opportunities to market your company and drum up new clients. There tends to be a lot of competition at conventions so you should work hard to customize a stand-out promo item that will draw interest.
  • Conferences and meetings. Conferences are excellent resources to market to others within your industry, and meetings give you the chance to meet face-to-face with customers. Give participants a personalized gift for attending your seminar and you’ll boost your brand.
  • Grand openings, holiday parties, and special events. People get excited about social gatherings, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation with potentially-interested clients. Market your business by giving away custom-shaped stress relievers at the grand opening or year-end party that are good for an exclusive discount on their next visit, and you’ll have people lining up around the block to shop with you.


Branding 101: What makes a Brand Powerful

Branding 101: What Makes A Brand Powerful

A powerful brand is more than just a great logo and a mission statement (although those certainly lay the groundwork for any brand.) We asked some of our SAGE teammates what brand comes to mind when they think of powerful branding.  Here’s what they said:

“I think Disney is a strong brand because they try to stick to what appeals to their customers and they show that they care about their audience.  They’ve also mastered spanning across several businesses (movies, themeparks, resorts, cruise line, etc.) without losing their identity.”

– Christine Black, Web Developer



“Google is one of the most recognizable brands around the world. Their logo and colors have become iconic and their name has even become a verb used in everyday life (i.e. Google it). People look forward to their homepage doodles, which play off of their logo and are still recognizable as the brand.”

– Rebecca Henderson, Advertising Coordinator



“Recently, I’ve found that a lot of companies aren’t just relying on a logo for branding, but jingles as well. It’s great to watch companies make themselves relative in new mediums. A perfect example of this is the Peyton Manning Nationwide Insurance commercial. ‘…chicken parm you taste so good.’”

– Jarod Thorndike, Director of Strategic Relations


“Apple is an incredibly powerful brand because most people can recognize it even outside the standard marketing context. When an Apple commercial comes on TV, I can immediately recognize it as Apple, even without any mention of their name, logo or products.  The way it’s filmed, the tone and voice of the narration and the simplicity of the commercial is all characteristically Apple. With their print ads, the font, layout and color scheme are all consistently on brand as well. Apple has such a huge social and cultural influence that it has become a trend to put ‘i’ in front of words and people have even created Apple parody ads.”

– Brooke Van Poppelen, Marketing Communications Coordinator



“Starbucks is a hugely popular company across the globe.  In any language, the Starbucks logo is recognizable. Even though they’ve revamped their logo a few times over the years, they’ve maintained a lot of the same elements so as to not stray from their brand.”

– Jansen White, Marketing Manager



“Rolex is a very strong, classic brand.  All of their branding looks high class, which appeals to their target market. The brand is over a century old and has become synonymous with luxury watches, if not success itself.”

– John Peddy, Distributor Account Executive



“When Gatorade revamped their logo to G with a lightning bolt, it made me wonder what that Logo was for.  But now I think the logo change was a great choice. The new logo is simpler and more modern and the lightning bolt makes it easy to find on shelves in the grocery stores.”

– Jesika Gillett, Content Specialist



“Nike is a brand that has stuck with me since I was a kid.  The swoosh logo is simple, yet iconic, and I’ve developed a loyalty toward the brand.”

– James Wilson, Distributor Account Executive



“NBC resonates with me as a strong brand.  They’ve used the colorful peacock feathers for as long as I can remember, and I always instantly recognize the logo and jingle.”

– April Ethridge, Customer Account Specialist



“The Red Cross’s branding is so powerful that the logo has become universally associated with medicine and saving lives. If that’s not brand power, I don’t know what is.”

– Grayson West, Distributor Account Executive



“I think the Rolling Stones have a very powerful brand.  A mockup of Mick Jagger’s mouth has become their logo and is internationally recognized as the Rolling Stones.  No explanation necessary.”

– Andy Douthitt, Supplier Account Executive



What comes to mind when you think of powerful branding?  Let us know in the comments below!  And be sure to subscribe to the SAGE Blog by submitting the short form to the left.

Source: Sage World

25 Insane (but true) facts about promotional products


If you’re in the business of promotional products, you know the impact they can have on an organization’s marketing efforts.  But do you know these fun facts about promotional products?

  1. Eight in 10 consumers own between one and 10 promotional products.
  2. Fifty-three percent of these people use a promotional product at least once a week.
  3. Six in 10 of them keep promotional products for up to two years.
  4. Only one in five people will trash an unwanted promotional product.
  5. Before receiving a promotional product, 55 percent of people had done business with the advertiser.  After receiving a promotional product, 85 percent of people did business with the advertiser.
  6. With nearly six thousand impressions, bags generate more impressions than any other promotional product in the U.S.
  7. Thirty-one percent of U.S. consumers own a promotional bag.
  8. At one-tenth of a cent, bags tie with writing instruments for the lowest cost per impression of any promotional product in the U.S.
  9. The first known promotional products – commemorative buttons – trace back to 1789 when George Washington was elected president.
  10. Fifty-three percent of the time, promotional products create a more favorable impression of the advertiser.
  11. Forty-eight percent of consumers would like to receive promotional products more often.
  12. Consumers hang on to promotional products for an average of 6.6 months.
  13. Sixty-nine percent of consumers would pick up a promotional product if they deemed it useful.
  14. Sixty-three percent of consumers pass along the promotional products they no longer wish to keep.
  15. Eighty-nine percent of consumers can recall the advertiser of a promotional product they’d received in the last two years.
  16. Ninety-one percent of consumers have at least one promotional product in their kitchen, 74 percent have at least one in their workspace, 55 percent have at least one in their bedroom.
  17. Seventy-seven percent of consumers say a promotional product’s usefulness is the number-one reason to keep it, with health and safety products, computer products and writing instruments ranked as the most useful.
  18. The top five buyers of promotional products are clients in education, finance, not-for-profit, healthcare, and construction.
  19. Wearables are the top product category, followed by writing instruments, bags, calendars and drinkware.
  20. The first promotional product tradeshow was held in 1914 – there were 32 exhibitors.
  21. Women are more likely to have bags, writing instruments and calendars, whereas men are more likely to own shirts and caps.
  22. Ownership of logoed outerwear is highest in the Midwest, with 15 percent of people owning an item.
  23. Logoed mugs in particular are more effective advertising than radio and television spots; 57 percent of people were able to recall the advertiser on a mug, versus 32 percent of radio and 28 percent of T.V.
  24. Adding a promotional product to the media mix increases the effectiveness of other media by up to 44 percent.
  25. Promotional products draw as many as 500 percent more referrals from satisfied customers than an appeal letter alone.

Do you have prospective clients who are skeptical about the power of promotional products?  Share this blog with them and they’ll be true believers in no time!





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6 Things You’re Missing out on by not using Promotional Products



Promotional products aren’t just for your clients. Whether you’re a new distributor trying to get your name out there, or an established company wanting to reach a new market, a product branded with your company name and logo is the most cost-effective way to promote your business.  Here are six things your business is missing out on if promotional products aren’t a part of your marketing mix:

Reaching a broader market.

When you give away a promotional product, it’s not just the recipient who sees your message. Your audience widens to family members, friends, coworkers, passersby and anybody who happens to catch a glimpse of your gift. While your main concern should be marketing to your target audience, it doesn’t hurt that promotional products are extremely mobile and can reach audiences to which you’ve never marketed. Promotional products also give you more visibility compared to other advertising mediums. TV ads get fast-forwarded through. Magazine ads get flipped through without hardly a glance. Only promotional products provide a conscious, interactive experience for your marketing message.

A more positive brand image.

Creating a positive brand image doesn’t happen overnight—you need to consistently shape your customers’ opinions over the years by delivering what they need and driving home your message with promotional products. Research shows promotional products create a more favorable impression of the advertiser 53 percent of the time. Establish goodwill by associating your brand with charitable or community events by handing out promotional products to highlight your company and its positive involvement.

Happier customers.

Happy customers buy, and happy customers come back. Hand out promotional products to make a situation right (an order mishap or long wait time, for example), or simply give them as a freebie to thank customers for their business. Receiving a gift makes people feel special and shows customers their business is valued and appreciated. Besides, everybody loves a freebie. In fact, 48 percent of people would like to receive promotional products more often.

Higher direct mail response rates.

For direct mail campaigns, bulky is best. Stuff a small, lightweight promotional product in your envelope to boost open rates. Not only will recipients be more likely to open your mail piece, but they will also have a more positive impression of your company and will appreciate the free gift. This is particularly effective if the promotional product you include is useful to them, so try to match products to your target market.


Every company wants to create buzz. Giving out promotional products is a powerful way to attract attention. This is especially true at tradeshows, when exhibitors are battling to get attendees to their booths. There’s nothing like a cool freebie to break the ice with potential customers and engage them in conversation. Plus, they’re more likely to listen to your marketing pitch because you just gave them a gift.

Making a lasting impression.

If your promotional product is useful or appealing to recipients, they’ll keep it and use it. Fifty-three percent of people use a promotional product at least once per week, meaning it gets repeated impressions from both the person using it and anyone who sees that person using it. Repetition is key to remembering a message. By handing out promotional products, you’re giving your audience repeated exposure to your brand, helping them remember your company and what it’s about.

How do you use promotional products to market your business? We’re always looking for good ideas. Let us know in the comments below! Want to keep up on the latest tips and trends in the promotional products industry?  Subscribe to the SAGE Blog and we’ll email you when new articles are posted!

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