Monthly Archives: December 2015

Ending the Year Productively

Ending the Year Productively

Between finalizing end-of-year reports and staying upbeat in the cold, it can be challenging to remain productive at work during the holidays. On the other hand, this is the perfect time of year to reflect and redirect your efforts, start working toward making next year better than ever, and, of course, end this year with a bang. Here are a few tips to help keep you on track:

1. Goals
No, not New Year Resolutions, goals to accomplish before the end of the year. It’s easy to get wrapped up thinking about the holidays and what next year will hold. So set yourself one or two manageable goals that you can accomplish before 2016 hits. Having specific tasks to complete will help keep you focused and prevent an end-of-year slump. You could order your Inspire Catalogs, complete a SAGE Webinar or schedule a One-on-One Session with a SAGE support specialist, just to name a few!

2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Even worse than being overwhelmed by the looming New Year is focusing on things that didn’t get accomplished this year. Did you miss deadlines for projects? Or never finish reading the book on your nightstand? Schedule a block of time to review the challenges that prevented you from meeting some of your goals over the past year. Make notes of the things you can improve on, and let the rest go. As playwright Samuel Beckett said, “Try again. Fail Again. Fail better.” Give yourself a break and begin 2016 with a fresh slate.

3. Make Updates
Gather up any straggling business cards and contact information you’ve accumulated this year and make sure your SAGE CRM tool is up-to-date. Scan any relevant documents and get rid of the clutter on your desk. While you’re in the CRM, go ahead and schedule tasks and follow-ups to stay in touch with clients in the New Year. Now you can relax and know that no one is going to get lost in the holiday haze.

4. Get a Gold Star
Imagine that you’re standing in front of your coworkers, family, or friends. They’re about to hand you a Certificate for Excellence for 2015! What is the award for? Reflect on the past year and write down your favorite accomplishments. Maybe you made a million dollars in sales. Or did you bake the best apple pie of your life? No matter what it was, remembering your successes is the best way to pump yourself up for another year of greatness.

5. Renew Project Management
Many people resolve to get organized in the next year. Don’t wait until January 1 to figure out how to get started. Research new project management tools to implement in your personal life or in the office.Todoist and Wunderlist are popular options. Download a few free trials and find a system that you think will help you be more productive in the future. You’ll have more momentum if you can hit the ground running.

How do you stay productive in December?
Leave a comment below telling us how you are using SAGE products to accomplish your end-of-year goals. If you need help with ideas, get in touch with one of our account executives to learn more about utilizing SAGE products in the New Year!


What Millennials want and how to work with them

What Millennials Want (And How To Work With Them)

Many people in the promotional products industry agree that there is a high demand to diversify the industry with young professionals bearing fresh ideas and new perspectives. Furthermore, we need the younger generation in the industry to take on more of a leadership role to help advance the industry. In order to acquire this young blood, the industry needs to be attractive to them.

There are more Millennials in the workforce than any other generation – a full 86 million by 2020 – so what’s keeping them out of the promotional products industry?  Millennials are looking for more than just a nine to five and a paycheck. As they enter the workforce, they are transforming the office environment. They question the nose-to-the-grindstone work environment established by Baby Boomers and want a career that integrates with their life. For this reason, other generations sometimes see Millennials as a threat in the workplace because they feel these younger employees are challenging authority. Therefore, they’re often hesitant to hire them.

I know, I know, change is scary. You’re set in your ways and content keeping it that way. However, as we discussed previously, strict sales-driven work environments are actually counterproductive. So maybe we should listen to what these Millennials are suggesting and loosen up a bit. After all, we – as an industry – need these Millennials, so we need to transform our culture to attract them.

Here’s what Millennials look for in a career:

  • 37 percent of Millennials would take a pay cut if it meant flexibility in work location and hours
  • 81 percent of Millennials think they should set their own work schedules versus 69 percent of Baby Boomers
  • 64 percent of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place
  • 72 percent would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79 percent of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor
  • 88 percent prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one
  • 88 percent want “work-life integration,” which isn’t the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably

Now that you know how to please them, how are you going to work with them? The following nine tips will help you work best with Millennials while helping them reach their highest potential and taking advantage of the unique skills they have to offer your business.

  1. Provide structure without micromanaging.
  2. Provide leadership and guidance.
  3. Encourage their self-assuredness and can-do attitude
  4. Take advantage of their comfort level with teams. 
  5. Listen to them.
  6. Challenge them.
  7. Allow them to work how they want and don’t worry about their focus. 
  8. They’re tech savvy – take advantage of it.
  9. Provide a fun, employee-centered, life-work balanced workplace.

Seventy-five million Millennials are joining the workforce. We need to help diversify the promotional products industry by making it attractive to Millennials and by instilling a work environment that is suited to their generational needs. Make your Millennial employees happy in a fun, yet structured setting, and you are building the foundation for the superior workforce you desire. And remember to share this article by using the social media icons at the top of this page.



4 Tips for Writing Engaging Content

4 Tips for Writing Engaging Content

The role of a marketer is never done. You must continue to find new ways to engage your audience and stay relevant. One of the best ways to keep your brand top of mind with your audience is through content marketing. Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and attain customers. Content, in this context, is any text associated with your brand. This includes the text on your website, blog, emails and social media.

To help you refocus the purpose of your published content and guide it in a direction that resonates with your audience, follow these four content marketing tips.

1. Think in terms of longterm strategy. Your content should be strategic, not tactical, so try to plan in context of your entire marketing strategy. One of the key elements of a successful marketing strategy is the acknowledgement of the diverse needs of your audience and how your company solves them. You can then create a marketing strategy that makes the most of your strengths and matches them to the needs of the clients you want to target.

2. Speak to your audience like people, not ATMs. You should write in a voice and tone that is authentic, and genuine, rather than language that is full of business jargon.  It’s possible to align your content with your brand’s values, while also delivering value to your audience. You should drive relationship-based engagement with your audience, not always be pushing for the sale.  Become aware of the issues they face and offer ways you can solve them.  What are they getting out of this relationship?  Remember, your success is dependent upon the success of your clients.

3. Write in a manner that teaches rather than tells. You want to spur discovery and spark discourse.  Oftentimes when people come to you, they’re merely looking for more information and aren’t quite to the buying stage yet. If all of the content on your website and other marketing collateral is all “buy this, buy that,” you’re going to turn a lot of potential clients off.

A lot of people are coming to you in hopes of learning something or solving a problem, so make sure you address that. The promotional products industry can be very confusing to newbies, so it’s a good idea to have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. This is where you can answer commonly asked questions about what an imprint area is, your standard turnaround time, etc. If people know they can come to you for answers, they’ll likely come to you when they are ready to buy.

4. Don’t talk over your audience. Instead, allow your audience to interact with you.  If you have a blog, allow comments. Respond to social media interactions and encourage open communication. Especially in social channels where conversation is much less formal and all interaction is optional, responding to comments and questions lets your audience know their voice is heard and forms a strong bond between your audience and your brand.


7 Sources to boost your creativity!

7 Sources To Boost Your Creativity

Feeling stumped? Uninspired? Fresh out of ideas? Thanks to the wonderful gift that is the World Wide Web, creative inspiration is just a few clicks away.  These are some of our favorite sources to get our creative juices flowing.

For your focus



For some people, the first step to thinking up their next grand idea is removing distractions and just focusing. Coffitivity is a website and app that simulates a coffeehouse ambience to enhance your creativity. It is based on scientific research that claims that the perfect conditions for creative work are a combination of calm and commotion. When you click play, a busy mix of people chatting, glasses clinking and dishes being cleared transports you to an ambient cafe – even if you’re at home or in your office.

For your writing

750 Words


750 Words is a private outlet for you to improve your writing by writing 750 words every day.  The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing 750 words each day, it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike blogging or status updating, 750 Words is completely private; it’s between you and you. You will also learn about yourself and your writing habits in the process through the reports the site generates for you.  For example, you’ll learn how fast you write and how often you get distracted, as well as the feelings, themes and mindset of your words.

For your ideas

Portent’s Content Idea Generator


Portent’s Content Idea Generator is exactly what it sounds like. Use it to come up with an array of titles for your next blog post or presentation.  Simply type in the general topic you’d like to write about or present on, and you’ll be given ideas of attention-grabbing titles.

For your design


design.JPGDesignspiration is a clean, clutter-free web environment to discover and share great design.  You can search Designspiration by color, popularity, keyword or completely random.

For your information

Daily Infographic


Daily Infographic is a site that curates interesting infographics on the web to bring you facts and figures in the most easily consumed format. Infographics are a great way to quickly and easily consume knowledge and know-how on a plethora of subjects.

For your clients

SAGE Discussion Groups


Need help finding a product? Looking for ideas or marketing suggestions? Start a discussion group in SAGE Online and watch solutions to all of your problems pour in! SAGE Discussion Groups allow you to solicit help from other distributors in the industry who understand your business. You can create a public discussion group to share with all SAGE promotional product distributors, or create a private discussion group to communicate exclusively with specific groups and colleagues.

For your free time


lifehack.JPGLifehack is a productivity and lifestyle blog for tips to help improve all aspects of your life. The site is dedicated to lifehacks, which is a phrase that describes any advice, resource, tip or trick that will help you get things done more efficiently and effectively. Just be careful because it’s easy to be drawn into this site for hours, since Lifehack is frequently updated with new articles by a team of contributors.

What is your favorite website for creative inspiration? Let us know in the comments below!


Tis The Season! Our Holiday Gift Ideas

Colorful presents

It’s that time again! The holidays are around the corner and you’re probably thinking about everything you need to do between now and the new year. For most of us, that includes client and employee gifts. With so many options out there, this may seem like a daunting task, so we thought we’d share some of the items we’ve been eyeing this year!  

A warm blanket.

Everyone can use a good blanket! Prime Line® has a Micro-Mink Sherpa Blanket (Item #LT-3357 / SAGE #53170) that has super soft, faux micro mink on the outside and faux lambswool Sherpa lining on the inside. It’s warm, comfortable, and is guaranteed to be used for at least a few months, if not longer.Blanket

 Food. Need we say more?

Food gifts are never a bad idea, unless it’s fruitcake and then it’s just cliché. We love the toffee from Maple Ridge Farms!  The Toffee & Jumbo Cashews Gift (Item #K190 / SAGE #57654) is packaged nicely in a wooden box (fire-branded with your imprint) so all you need to do is add a ribbon. It’s the perfect size, combination of salty and sweet and is sure to please anyone!


Be on trend with Mule Mugs.

The mule has exploded with popularity over the last few years, in restaurants and at parties. Show your clients you are in line with what’s new and trendy by gifting them a beautiful set of copper mugs like these from Gordon Sinclair (Item #BOX02-MM / SAGE #50498). The gift box comes wrapped with a satin ribbon and two mugs with multiple styles to choose from.

Picture 48026

Reindeer games.

During the holidays, most of us have extended family in town which means you’re probably looking for ways to entertain them. Why not play a game together to pass the time? A nice, classic card and dice set like this one from The Magnet Group (Item #IC594 / SAGE #52498) is a great gift that will be remembered year after year.Card Set

Another fun option that’s a perfect desk toy gift would be a set of Buckyballs from Bright Ideastorm (Item #BAPA1119 / SAGE #50380). A few of us just discovered these, and cannot put them down! They are tiny, high-powered, magnetic spheres that are polarized so you can make different geometric shapes and are a great stress or boredom reliever.


Shiny things.

A great way to gift someone something they will likely keep for a lifetime (literally) is to give them something unique and special that they will want to see every year. These Waterford crystal ornaments from Beacon Promotions are exactly that. The Marquis by Waterford Star Ornament is exquisite and magical (Item #40006454 / SAGE #67279) or the Lace Chandelier Triple Spire is stunning and elegant (Item #40010766 / SAGE #67279) and are sure to become part of someone’s permanent collection.

Ornament 2
Ornament 1

Hopefully this helps you take some of the guesswork out of your holiday shopping stress with these fantastic (not paid for placement) gift ideas so you can focus on the most important things this season like spending more quality time with your friends and family. If you still are having trouble, leave us a comment below and we’ll see if we can help you out. And remember, it is not the gift, but the thought that counts!