Monthly Archives: February 2015


What are your biggest marketing challenges?

Marketing a business is exciting but challenging – it takes time to develop relationships with your customers and create brand loyalty, and not every marketing campaign achieves the desired results. So what are the key marketing challenges that businesses face and what can you do to overcome them?

From small budgets, to a lack of resources we’ve put our thinking caps on to come up with solutions to some of the biggest marketing challenges and how to overcome these challenges by working smarter, setting realistic objectives and planning ahead – along with a good helping of creativity and innovation for good measure!

#1 Budget and resource issues:

Small marketing budget or no budget at all? With limited finances it can be hard for businesses to be as creative and adventurous as they want to be with their marketing. This, coupled with resource squeezes such as less people covering a wider range of activities, means that prioritising your resources – time, people and money – is critical.

 #CETip: Create a marketing plan

Without a strategy to work towards, how do you know where your squeezed resources will be best placed?

You don’t need a huge marketing team, and you can create great marketing on a shoe string budget. The key is to have a plan. Your marketing plan outlines your objectives – exactly what you want to achieve; as well as a strategy and tactics for how you will achieve these goals, with a timeline or when these actions need to take plan. It acts as your marketing roadmap to point you in the right direction.

#2 The digital age

Managing your company’s brand in the digital age is a real challenge for businesses large and small, especially when considering social media and content marketing; where comment is open to all, your brand is exposed to criticism and individuals freely generate their own content.

The challenge here is in producing enough, relevant content, to keep up with consumer demand for information and content consumption – to build relationships and trust in your products and services.

#CETip: Remember to educate first, sell second

“Create content that is meant to help your customers, not sell to them. When you freely give your audience something so valuable that they’d be willing to pay for it, you build trust – which, ultimately, is your most powerful selling tool”, says our Creative Director Russell.

Try to create four educational, entertaining bits of content for every one “promotion”. This approach will also work well in email marketing, on your blog, and in social media. But this approach isn’t just about numbers – at its heart, it’s about educating first, selling second.

Focus your marketing on building relationships with your audience and making their lives easier. Keep your content informative, valuable, and relevant. Do this and your audience’s trust will follow.

#3 Targeting the ‘right’ customers

Precise targeting of the right kind of profitable customers is a massive component of your marketing. Targeting customers is effective when it’s done in line with customer needs, by identifying customer personas to determine who you should be marketing to.

For a potential customer to use your company – whether it’s to purchase a product or use a service, they won’t even consider listening to your marketing messages or reading your content unless it offers some sort of value to them. It needs to fulfill a need or desire of theirs – such as your product’s ability to solve their problem.

#CETip: Be precise and relevant

You need to develop a detailed picture of your target audience. The best way to understand your audience is to build a ‘customer persona’ which includes things like demographics (age, gender, geography), psychographics such as needs, desires, and also behavioural aspects such as the type of media they consume or where they socialise in their spare time. Once you’ve done this, you can then match your offer/message to provide them with value that’s relevant to them.

#4 Brand Positioning, awareness and loyalty

Positioning your brand and generating the right level of awareness is perhaps one of the hardest things to get right because it’s entirely based on people’s own perception. You can’t control what people’s perceptions will be of your products or services, but you can influence them. Your main goal should be to position your brand in your target customer’s mind so that they perceive you to offer them something that other brands can’t, or fulfil a specific need, then create awareness through marketing and promotional campaigns. All with a longer term goal of increasing brand loyalty – repeat purchasers who love your brand and stay loyal because they feel you add value in some way. A great example of brand loyalty is Mac users who show real dedication to the Apple brand.

#CETip: Create a positive customer experience at every touchpoint

There is no exact formula, but you can take a ‘continuous improvement’ approach. Brand loyalty is an end goal that takes time. If someone is loyal to your brand, they will continue to purchase your products and positively endorse you through word of mouth. This type of true brand loyalty is hard to come by in today’s competitive marketplace, but you can influence it by ensuring your customers have a positive experience with you every time they come into contact with your brand – whether in a shop, at an event, on the phone – and if they do have problems, that they are dealt with quickly, in a positive way – ending in customer satisfaction, or hopefully, delight!

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.



#WeLovePromo: How promo products can boost your marketing

We’ve put together some awesome promo product ideas to supercharge your marketing campaigns this year – from branded apparel to tech products and the simple yet effective pen; promotional items can amplify your brand awareness to new heights!

They’re on your desk, in your car, on rucksacks at the gym, in your bedside drawer…and each time a free promotional product is put to use by you, it’s causing an impression about the brand that gave you it, although you’re probably unaware of it at the time. Promo products, from logo-printed mugs to pens, are an advertisement that keeps on delivering the message long after it’s first received, in some cases for years – due to the fact that people use them in their daily lives and therefore exposed to the brand messages on the products.

Today, brands still consider promotional products a significant part of the marketing mix, even when budgets are tight, because promotional products motivate people to take action. Just think: the right incentive might encourage a prospective client to meet with you, try a new product, or visit your exhibition stand,” says our marketing pro Hannah.

But, as Hannah points out, marketers need to be more strategic about how they launch campaigns involving promotional products – making sure they consider the essentials such as budget, target audience and the giving-scenarios (when and where people will receive the promotional product). All of these factors, when carefully considered, help to maximise your campaign’s ROI.

Supercharge your marketing campaigns

Your objectives

Before you start any promo campaign, think about your objectives, as these will determine the type of promo product you choose. If you aim to increase brand awareness, then you’ll want to choose a product that appeals to your target audience functionally, but grabs their attention and motivates them to take action.

Product Ideas:

Mugs and Pens


Mugs and Pens are two of the most effective promotional products based on their usability factor and great print areas to get your brand messages across.

Consider your target audience

Promotional products must make sense for your target audience. Ask yourself: How do they spend their time – where do they socialise? Where do they work: at a desk, on the move or both? What would be useful or novel to them? What has worked at reaching them in the past?

Product Ideas:

Wearable Technology


Wearable technology is the new upcoming trend to hit the digital province – and over 10 million devices were sold in 2014! From wearable headsets, to smart watches, fitness devices and healthcare monitors – there is huge scope to impress your potential customers with a tech device they will love.

TIP: Make promotional products part of a strategic, integrated marketing plan to get measurable results.

Your message

What do you want to convey? Is it the value proposition or specific benefits for the target audience?  For example, Xerox used a Rubik’s Cube to symbolise putting the pieces of a puzzle together!

Product ideas:

Branded apparel

COIPerfect for use at events and exhibitions, roadshows or as promotional gifts to your customers; branded apparel can have a big impact on any type of business, as it’s a giveaway that will get a lot more use. For example: Design a shirt or hat with some flair and customers will be excited to wear the item and spread the word about your company. You can also give shirts and hats to employees for use on the job, provide it for casual wear or give it out at events. Anywhere your apparel goes, the word about the company will spread as well.

Promotional sweets 


Promotional sweets as gifts certainly aren’t a new marketing tactic, but it’s still considered one of the best. If you’ve got a physical shop or office where you welcome your customers and clients, having promotional sweets to give away can be a really nice touch that will make sure your business is remembered for all the right reasons. They’re also super cost effective and work well out of the office too, as a giveaway at exhibitions and tradeshows for example.

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.


Products with soul: Why the promotional pen still ROCKS!

What’s on your desk? They say the pen is mightier than the sword; and the likelihood is you have a few promotional pens knocking around. In fact, in Autumn last year the BPMA did some research to find out what sorts of promo items people are using and keeping for longest, and it’ll come as no surprise that the promotional pen is still rocking the charts in the promotional popularity contest!

Writing by hand is still appreciated by many of us as something special and highly personal, despite living in an age where we’re used to typing on a keyboard. What impressed us about pens is their staying power- the research showed that 89% of those asked about which promotional items they use, and which they are most likely to keep – said pens. Not only that; but a whopping 83% of people said they have purchased from the companies that have supplied them with a promotional gift – so promo pens have still got it (and never lost it)

So why are pens such a great promotional item for your marketing campaigns?

Real value for money

No matter your budget, you’re guaranteed to find a pen to suit you – there are literally thousands of designs and lots of different suppliers to choose from. But, we appreciate you haven’t got time to scour them all, so that’s where we come in. With a consultative approach, we understand your target audience, your objectives and budget, and recommend the right product that will fit with your campaign and brand identity.


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The first thing to consider when choosing a promotional pen is who are the target audience and what giving scenario will they receive the pen? By ‘giving scenario’ we mean, for example, personally giving a gift to your best client(s) – which is very different to say, giving free promotional pens as giveaways at an event or tradeshow. Also, the quality of the pen can be determined by the type of material it’s made from, for example:

  •  Plastic Pens: These are generally the most popular type of pen and are more often purchased in high volumes at lower prices, so work well for brand awareness campaigns using events or direct mail to reach a larger audience.
  • Metal Pens: These are particularly useful if you want to portray a more high quality brand image, especially if you opt for brushed metal / satin finishes, which exude premium quality. They can be used for general gift-giving scenarios such as special conferences/seminars within a gift pack, or as a special gift for specific clients. They tend to still be cost-effective as they can still be purchased in bulk.
  • Executive Pens: These tend to be more expensive and premium – which is why they are often top choice for companies wanting to send an extra special gift for their best

Choosing the right pen

Look and feel

What message are you trying to convey, and what do you want recipients to think/feel when they receive your pen? With product design, aesthetics are important – from shape and size, to colour and materials. For example, if you’re trying to convey an eco/green message as part of a CSR campaign, you could consider a recycled pen. Premium ‘executive’ brand pens such as Parker are often used to convey a high quality premium image, so could work well if your brand messages are about high quality and you’re targeting a more discerning customer. So by considering the overall look and feel of the pen, combined with your brand message on it, you can provide a positive awareness for the lifetime of the product, when complimentary to your specific campaign and target audience.

Getting the branding right

Think about how you want people to contact you and what you want people to do when they receive your branded pen – what’s the call to action? A company logo and strapline is great, but a means to get in touch provides the recipient with easy-to-recall contact information when it’s required – so consider placing a contact telephone number, email address or website address on the pen. For specific campaigns, the web address could be a link to a specific landing page or microsite, for example – or it could simply show the URL of your social media feeds or just the icons themselves. The size and shape of the pen may determine how much print space is available for your brand messages, so make sure you get the details of print areas and personalisation options for the pen you’re interested in.

You can also create impact using different print methods such as the simple screen print, through to engraving. Branding can be placed on the barrel of the pen, clip, tip or a 360 degree ‘wrap around’ to maximise your brand’s exposure and the use of the print space available. A subtle touch is to get specific parts of the pen produced in your company’s brand colours, such as the clip or barrel.

Lead times

Lead times can vary depending on the order quantity, the complexity of the branding techniques and the design of the pen, but generally lead times are quite short at around 10-12 days. We always recommend planning ahead, so if you know you’ll be running a campaign or event in a few months’ time, give yourself at least a month to factor in all of the design, branding and budget decisions that need to be made before your order is placed. This will ensure you have the right pen, at the right price, with the right message! BUT – if you’re a bit (like most of us), the great thing is, in most cases pens can be produced on express lead times of 2-5 days depending on the type of pen and the supplier, at an additional cost – but it’s worth it to get your pen on time for your big launch event!

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the compete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.



Promotional products are everywhere: A branded history

Promotional products are not a new phenomena, marketing gurus’ and entrepreneurs have recognised the value of incentives since the beginning of trade. This month we look back at one of the most famous and significant examples of how incentives can transform a businesses commercial success!

Learning from the past

We’ve all heard of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum, it’s a brand that’s become a household name. But before it was a chewing gum business, in the 1980’s its founder William Wrigley Jr used his entrepreneurial spirit and gift for seeing thing’s from a customer’s perspective, to provide promotional free gifts for his customers – which eventually led to him diversifying his product from Soap to Chewing Gum!

Originally selling his dad’s scouring soap, Wrigley started giving extra incentives and free gifts – such as cans of baking powder – to encourage customers (which were merchants) to stock the soap on their shelves. But a strange thing happened, the free gifts ended up being more popular than the soap! Spotting a gap in the market he then switched to selling baking powder – using free gifts to promote the sale. This time the freebie was the now much-loved chewing gum; which again turned out to be more popular than the baking powder! So in 1893 Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum, a product that we now know and love, was born – and with it a notable early success story for retail incentives.

So what can we take from this?

This is a great example of tapping into what customers want, creating demand and truly listening to what they want. In Wrigley’s case, people were buying his products just to get the free gift! It shows that by offering something extra, you can add value to your customer’s buying experience with you, and demonstrates that you value and appreciate their custom.

Recent research by the BPMA reflected that 94% of people are more aware of a brand after receiving a promotional item, 59% feel more loyal to a brand after receiving a promotional gift, and 60% said it makes them feel more positive about the brand.

If your promotional gift is something that your customers will enjoy and find useful, then it can be enough of an incentive to encourage a purchase – and repeated purchases too for that matter. You see, thats the power of promotional products – they create brand and product awareness, excitement, demand, and brand loyalty.

Like this blog? Read our previous post on the power of promotional products in line with BPMA research: Tips on using promotional merchandise

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.