Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Promotional Marketing - Keeping it Real in The "Fake News" Era

These days it seems there are many versions of the truth, each being promoted by those who seek to benefit from defining a new reality. It’s not just in navigating the world of current affairs that people find it difficult to know what to believe or understand which reality is legitimate. In the new digital world of business, consumers are also finding it increasingly difficult to define what is true. The recent obsession with "fake news" and fact-checking has supporters on both sides of every argument directing criticism at each other, generally from a position of self-interest. So how in this era of uncertainty can business people reduce the general level of cynicism about marketing claims being made online?

A proven way to sidestep this confusion is to invest a proportion of your budget in “Promotional Merchandise

When somebody holds something in their hands they inevitably form an opinion of its practical value then ultimately arrive at an emotional judgement about their relationship with it. It’s proven that these impressions, both good and bad, are then applied to an overall attitude towards the company whose logo the product carries. 

Unlike other forms of business communication which must by their nature rely on emotive ways to manipulate and control perceptions, branded merchandise creates a direct connection with consumers and allows you to structure brand perceptions in a way which can reduce the cynicism about unsupported claims which arises these days in the world of "fake news”.

Managing consumer perceptions of your brand is one of the most difficult aspects of promotional marketing. While billions of dollars are spent every day on advertising messages and other more subtle means of moulding consumer perceptions the final results can never be trusted to be what was planned. 

Research has proven that promotional products marketing, when overlaid against more traditional forms of brand marketing has the potential to reinforce positive perceptions, particularly in this day of digital communication when so few people who do business meet face-to-face. Think about it. Adding your logo to something as simple as a good quality printed pen and giving it to people with whom you do business is a way of escaping the negative filters which drive so much online discussion and debate. 

How can an attractive, good quality product with practical value create a negative impression with the person using it? 

A good example of successfully overcoming consumer cynicism is the way in which companies use branded, physical product to reinforce claims of “eco-friendliness”. 

Many companies claim a clean, green reputation but again, in this day and age there is a great deal of doubt about such claims in the marketplace. The simple expedient of actually offering business contacts and consumers a promotional product which reflects brand values and which is made from recycled materials is more convincing that any number of claims made in advertising. The reality of promotional merchandise cannot be denied. In a marketing world where bluster and misinformation is the norm placing a branded item in the hands of consumers creates an impression no amount of online advertising can replicate.

The temptation exists for all marketers to spend their budgets online. It’s easy to manage, it can be simply analysed and assessed, scaled up or down in minutes. But keeping a foot in the “real" world is a proven way to leverage your online exposure. As we spend less time engaging with each other and more time engaging with a screen the simple expedient of offering your clients and business prospects a thoughtful branded gift is a more powerful way to build and maintain relationships than it’s ever been.

Article by Bill McGrath
Fresh Promotions

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Free Education Online

As a one-time adult educator and training manager, I've had a long-term interest in education, training and development. I've also spent many years mentoring students and employees and although now retired, still hold an interest in anything to do with education and training.

That being the case, I was very interested in this article by Bob Rankin
Free Online College Courses (Ask Bob Rankin).

There is a rich harvest of opportunity at Bob's link and it's all free!


Friday, February 16, 2018

The Small Things Make a Difference

My wife and I were delighted to move into our new house at an over 50s village. We've lived in a number of houses, but this one is new. There's no smell like you get with a new car, but it's still nice to have all fixtures and fittings modern, shiny and new.

We'd chosen the flooring and curtains and all we had to do was have our furniture and effects delivered and settle in. This will be our last house.

The Australian Open tennis was being shown on television and our daughter, who had travelled 1500 km to help us with our "stuff", wanted to watch it, so the first thing we did was connect the TV.

The antenna didn't work and it was the weekend. No TV. So off we went to buy a "rabbit's ears" antenna and resolve the problem.

Next, a security door at our laundry didn't work most of the time and a door latch on a patio door didn't latch. I was able to fix both with minor adjustments.

When we went to lock our sliding windows before going shopping, three of the windows wouldn't lock because the holes drilled behind the locks didn't line up.

I could have fixed those but didn't. I called the person responsible for repairs and maintenance who sent one of his carpenters around to fix it.

Our house is one of eight in a cluster, all built on behalf of the retirement village and onsold to people like us - retired or close to it. People who don't want to spend any more of their valuable time mowing lawns and pruning trees or cleaning guttering.

The question I asked the manager of the repairs and maintenance team was whether someone had done an inspection of the houses on completion to check that everything was in order. Much to my surprise, they hadn't.

In the Northern Territory, from where I had just moved, before a house can be occupied, a Certificate of Occupancy must be issued that certifies that everything meets Australian standards, is safe and fully operational. Apparently, that's not the case in South Australia.

If I was the Chief Executive Officer of an organisation that spends several millions of dollars per year on new housing, I'd insist on a pre-handover quality inspection and some sort of process to indicate that everything was in order before paying the bill. If it wasn't, I'd get the builder to fix it before anyone moved in.

The lesson here is that if you do a job, check to make sure it is done properly before moving on. Did the person drilling the window holes check their work? What about the antenna installation? It seems not.

Paying good money for anything that doesn't work as well as it should doesn't make sense.

What do you think? Have you had a similar experience?