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  • December 07, 2021 11:12 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    As 2021 draws to a close, Congress still has a multitude of important issues to wrap up prior to year-end. The continuing resolution for fiscal year 2022 federal funding expires on December 3, the National Defense Authorization Act must be renewed, the Senate Majority Leader has expressed his intent to finalize the House-passed Build Back Better Act via reconciliation before the end of December, and the Treasury Secretary has predicted the federal debt ceiling will be breached around December 15. In the midst of this legislative pile-up, there are two pieces of legislation that directly impact the promotional products industry.

    The Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) Online Act requires online sellers to disclose the country of origin for any product sold over the internet. The bill, which passed the Senate as part of the larger Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), creates new liability for companies to not only post the product’s country of origin information but also to certify the accuracy of the information provided by product vendors. This could be highly problematic for importers, especially regarding apparel and other products that are popular in the promotional products industry, because sourcing countries are constantly changing and cannot always be identified at the time a consumer makes an online purchase.

    PPAI has been collaborating with its trade coalition partners to explain how infeasible complying with this proposed requirement would be for small businesses that do not always have immediate access to sourcing information from their suppliers. Considering the COOL Online requirement was included in the bipartisan Senate-passed Innovation and Competition Act, the possibility is high it will pass the House and be signed into law soon. This means promotional products companies will be required to devote tremendous resources to upgrading and maintaining their databases in compliance with the new regulations.

    Another important bill likely to see progress in the near future entails a series of bipartisan provisions created to update federal shipping law. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA 2021) essentially creates a shippers’ bill of rights by shifting the balance of power from ocean carriers to entities that are shipping products. The bill empowers the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to enhance its enforcement of U.S. laws that regulate shipping practices and implement new common-sense reforms to address long-standing issues in the maritime shipping industry.

    There are several components of OSRA that have not been updated since 1998, and the landscape has shifted significantly in the past 20-plus years.

    Some other provisions in the updated version of OSRA 2021 include:

    Curtailing price-gouging for containers, and detention and demurrage charges

    Requiring transport companies to ensure they have sufficient capacity when entering contracts

    Shifting the burden to service providers to prove why a specific charge is needed or reasonable by mandating itemization of the charge

    The OSRA 2021 update has 76 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and it is important that all members of the House hear from their constituents about how critical the passage of this bill is to your businesses. Click here to contact your House representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4996, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. PPAI’s advocacy platform will determine who the appropriate legislator is and give participants the option of sending an editable, pre-written form letter and calling their representative to voice their support of H.R. 4996.

    Other trade-related legislation that is on the schedule for Congress at the end of the year provides for renewing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which are two important tariff exclusion programs that PPAI has long worked with coalition partners to support. PPAI is also on the record opposing the Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs, which are tantamount to taxes on American consumers. In the absence of full rescission of both tariff policies, PPAI supports legislation requiring the United States Trade Representative and Department of Commerce to implement a transparent exclusion process for products subject to tariff actions under Section 301 and Section 232.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • December 07, 2021 11:10 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Employee recognition is always important, but it takes the spotlight during the holidays. Your team members have worked hard all year long, and they may be working particularly diligently to stay on track with quotas and deadlines during the last few weeks of the year. If you’ve lost sight of employee recognition, now’s a great time to refocus on your efforts.

    Recent research shows that 91 percent of employees say a strong culture of recognition makes them want to work for a company. Fortunately, building a recognition culture doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a significant amount of time. Donna Coppock, a professional speaker and corporate trainer, has outlined six best practices that you can easily put in play at your organization. We share her tips in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

    Get leadership buy-in. Your company’s senior leaders need to be on board for a recognition culture to take root. According to Coppock, without leadership walking the talk, the culture won’t happen. Make sure managers across your organization support a recognition initiative—and then encourage leaders to recognize the work and achievements of their teams.

    Make recognition a regular thing. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to express gratitude, and you don’t have to create a formal recognition program. Coppock notes that in the most robust recognition cultures, employees experience recognition frequently. When someone on your team lends a hand or nails a client presentation, don’t let those situations go unnoticed.

    Make it easy. Coppock points out it should always be easy for people to express recognition and appreciation. You can do this through formal training or informal programs that give managers and employees ideas on how to recognize good work.

    Be specific. A generic “thanks for your work” isn’t meaningful to the recipient. Instead, aim to be specific with your recognition. Mention the project or account that the employee worked on and include measurable results. And remember that most people especially value recognition that memorialize their efforts—like a trophy or plaque they can display in their office or show to others.

    Tie appreciation to company goals. To create a recognition culture, it’s important to connect the dots. This means connecting recognition to company strategy and goals. Employees should understand how their work impacts the bottom line. When they get commended for certain outcomes, they know why it matters so much.

    Tell stories. Coppock notes that stories help evoke emotion and support memorable appreciation moments. By telling a story about how an employee went above and beyond for a coworker or how a team member solved a long-standing business problem, you help make the recognition more meaningful. This goes a long way at building a recognition culture.

    Recognition matters at work because it shows employees that they’re making valuable contributions. Being recognized can boost people’s spirits and lead to more happiness on the job. This, in turns, leads to a more engaged and productive team. Think about how you can work more recognition into your workplace—your whole team will benefit.

    Promotional Consultant Today is pausing for the Thanksgiving holiday. Watch for us back in your inbox on Monday, November 29.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Donna Coppock is a professional speaker and corporate trainer for The Great Game Of Business.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • December 07, 2021 11:07 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Many sales professionals dislike sales prospecting. The process is often filled with rejection, and sales reps may not feel like it’s the best use of their time. Some sales professionals lack the motivation to prospect if their pipeline is full enough. Others may need training or support to prospect better. Whatever the case may be, sales prospecting can be tough. However, it is still essential to any sales team’s success.

    So how can you get better at finding qualified leads? According to sales expert and author, Anthony Iannarino, you can begin by reassessing the fundamentals and putting in the effort to create new opportunities. We discuss his strategies in further detail in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

    1. Believe in the power of prospecting. Getting better at sales prospecting begins with improving your mindset. Remember that your prospects need your help, says Iannarino. Even if they don’t end up buying from you right now, you’re still getting your name out there. Iannarino adds that expert prospectors learn from every rejection. If prospects say no to a meeting, they accept it as feedback that they need to improve their pitch. Your mindset matters.

    2. Go back to basics. According to Iannarino, refocusing on the fundamentals can help you step up your sales prospecting. This means being consistent with prospecting. He says 90 minutes a day is a good place to start. You should give yourself distraction-free time by clearing your calendar, turning off your phone and shutting off your email. Remember to use the phone first, but also incorporate other mediums like email, LinkedIn and text messages. Iannarino adds that the best sales prospectors recognize that every client interaction can bring them closer or farther from a meeting. Use every opportunity to build trust and nurture relationships.

    3. Use a sales script. Don’t like the idea of using a sales script? Many sales professionals don’t like them because they make them sound robotic. However, Iannarino says few things are more important than good language and talk tracks that can position you as a consultative salesperson. He adds that there is a big difference between using a script and sounding like you are reading from one. When you know what to say, you can build your confidence and increase your chances of landing a meeting.

    Your sales prospecting efforts may include cold calling, cold emailing, reaching out to referrals or networking. When you get better at these efforts, you can turn more prospects into paying clients. Not every individual or business is a potential buyer. However, with effective sales prospecting, you can identify the leads that are most likely to purchase from you. While there’s no exact formula for prospecting, you can boost your chances of success by considering the strategies above.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Anthony Iannarino is an author, speaker and sales expert. He’s the founder and CEO of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting firm.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • December 06, 2021 2:26 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    The history of mobile applications is confusing – nobody can pin down the origin of the first app. Some argue that Steve Jobs was the first to speak about apps – he did so in 1983 in Aspen, Colorado. At the same time, some believe the first mobile app came to the market with handheld PDAs in the early 90s. And some think the first app on a cellular device was the game Snake that Nokia released with their phones in 1997.

    Whichever side you’re on, there’s no denying the world of mobile apps has exploded since the smartphone’s introduction over a decade ago. You can find an app for pretty much anything nowadays – from virtual Star Wars card trading to an app that you can upload photos of your plants and it will identify them and remind you when to water based on each plant’s specific needs. Some are incredibly detailed while others are very minimalistic, and some apps even use AR like the ones that can show you which constellations and planets are in the sky above you.

    Some of the most popular apps continue to be centered around productivity and workflow, especially around the beginning of a new year. And since we definitely love a good productivity app (shoot – we even made our own!) we’re sharing a few of our favorites that are trending right now!

    1. Forest

    Forest is a Pomodoro app that helps keep you focused! Whenever you need to put down your phone and focus on a task, open the app, plant a seed, and get things done! When you plant a seed on the app, a timer starts – as the timer begins to count down, your tree grows, so by the time you’re done, you’ve got a gorgeous tree you can plant in your virtual garden – if you don’t stay on task and instead pick up your phone, your tree withers and you have to start all over again. There are tons of trees to collect and grow while simultaneously training your brain to concentrate. Not to mention, you can help plant real live trees with the in-app currency you gain by completing your focus goals!

     2. Done

    Done is, well, simply a simple habit tracker! It can help you achieve any goal and is ultra customizable. You can either build or quit a habit, choose the length of your goal period (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly), set what days you want to track your goals, and more. Plus, with its reminders – it’s an excellent way to keep on top of those goals!

     3. Any.do

    Can’t decide between a to-do list and a calendar? Any.do combines both worlds! Once you sync your calendar, your meetings, reminders, and appointments will be added to your to-do list. From there, you can add things to your to-do list like pick up dog food or schedule that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off, cross off completed tasks, and more.

    4. Fabulous 

    We recently published a blog about mindfulness, especially in the workplace – and this is the app to help you achieve it! Not only does it provide guided meditations, but it also has sleep stories to help you snooze. You can join challenges that allow you to connect with others working towards the same goals, receive coaching, and it encourages setting small daily goals like celebrating yourself, drinking water, and building positive-thinking habits. It’s a great way to remind yourself to take a break during a busy day – because after all, to be productive, you have to be your very best self!

    5. SAGE Mobile

    I did say we love a good productivity app! If you’re a distributor that’s always on the go, you can get everything you need in SAGE Mobile right on your mobile device. Whether you’re at lunch with a client and want to show them this super cool product you just found, or picking up the kids after soccer practice and need to check on a project’s status – this app is for you, and it’s part of your SAGE Total Access subscription. You can search for products, create presentations or order forms, and more, all at the tips of your fingers.

    And with the tradeshow planner, you can plan out your whole day at any industry show – from deciding the best route to see all the booths that you want to hit, searching for exhibitors, adding notes, pictures of products, and more. If you’re always on the go, SAGE Mobile is right there with you.

    Used with permission from SAGE


  • December 06, 2021 2:23 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    To explain it simply, a client’s lifetime value or CLV represents a customer’s value to a business over a period of time. CLV is also a statistical formulation of either historic or predictive data. With this definition, you can see how by understanding your clients on a deeper level you can put the pieces together to get a solid valuation on your clients. Then, you can take that data and use it to target the right prospects while maintaining your current clients.

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    Knowing your CLV gives you a strong reference point for the clients to keep, by evaluating their short and long-term value to your company. With my marketing company, I realized this valuation helped me manage my time, gave me a clear picture of who to target and where to allocate my marketing dollars in the most effective way.

    A company’s marketing budget is limited. For example, I earmark four to six percent of sales for my marketing budget. How do you allocate those dollars? Studies show it is six times more costly to acquire than to retain a client. Once you bring the ideal client into your portfolio, doesn’t it make sense to nurture and maintain the relationship?

    Remember, you have 24 hours in a day and those hours need to be broken down into various silos: parent and spousal duties, taking care of yourself and your family. Then, the business comes into play and depending on your bandwidth, the time you must work on your business must be used efficiently.

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    There are two types of CLV, historic and predictive:

    Historic – This type refers to the information you currently know about your existing clients and the data you can analyze, including year-to-date sales, average order size, number of orders, profit, average profit per order, average gross profit and length of time of relationship.

    Predictive – These are numbers you can project, based on the historical data and your experience with the client to extrapolate the long-term, projected valuation. For instance, if a company, in the first six months, generates $30,000 in sales, one could speculate the client will generate $60,000 over the course of the year. If your clients stay with your company an average of eight years, you could extrapolate the client would potentially be worth $480,000. Knowing this information will better assess acquisition costs.

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    Below are some suggested KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track and measure for continuing to assess the value of your clients.

    AOV – Average Order Value is sales divided by number of orders. A couple of ways to improve AOV is to use suggestive selling: packaging, kitting, fulfillment, company stores, print management, programs, awards and accessorizing.

    PF – Purchase Frequency means the number of orders placed by a client over a period of time. Improvement methods include deep dive reports that look at the prior year’s purchases. Also, send reminders, create prototypes, and virtual, speculative and over-run samples.

    GPM – Gross Profit Margin is figured with this calculation: Total sales - Cost of Goods = Gross Margin. Methods to improve GPM include looking at additional value-added services. Stop looking at promotional codes and, instead, get paid for your creativity, value-added accessorizing, packaging, kitting, fulfillment and creative marketing campaigns.

    CR – Churn Rate means the length of time a client remains active with your company. Improve CR by staying engaged with clients, creating a relevant and consistent touch program, creating an ongoing positive client experience, suggestive selling and forwarding information other than sales-related material that fosters engagement.

    CAC – Client Acquisition Cost is the cost of getting a client to buy your goods and services. To improve the CAC, manage your marketing efforts, know your costs, know your personal hourly rate, track expenditures, focus on the right clients that are high-volume and high profit, and scale your marketing efforts. The key is to reduce costs here, without sacrificing the quality of the messaging and your engagement efforts.

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    You can improve your CLV by classifying and segmenting your current clients to determine who your ideal clients are when prospecting and only target those who fit your criteria. When deciding on your specific marketing efforts, make sure they are scalable, use a variety of marketing channels and develop new internal strategies to connect. Lastly, be meticulous regarding your numbers; know your numbers and budget and forecast appropriately.

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    Long ago, I made a significant internal change which markedly changed my business. I separated my client list by vertical markets and classified each company into manageable channels according to the A-F categories below. There are many types of criteria; here are the ones I use: sales volume, profitability, opportunity to grow, openness of the client, communication, disposition, accounts receivable collectability, and if the client refers business to you.

    A  Top-tier, or your ideal, excellent sales volume client

    B  Above-average volume client

    C  Middle-tier, good volume client

    D  Lower-tier, fair volume client

    E  Lowest-tier volume client; like orders once a year, fits all other criteria, no opportunity to grow

    F  These are clients that no longer fit the criteria because they are bad payers, horrible communicators, always bid out projects, never refer clients and, in general, are not good people to work with. These types I would eliminate from my client base and not take another order from them. It’s a tough call, but a necessary one.

    I evaluate my clients every quarter and adjust where they were on my classification scale, as this process ties in directly with my marketing efforts.

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    By breaking down my clients by vertical markets I can run reports to see which vertical markets are performing best. This allows me, when prospecting, to only target A/B type clients in my top five vertical markets. Additionally, my marketing dollars are allocated in an 80/20 scale, with 80 percent dedicated to existing clients and broken out proportionally to my A-E listed clients, and the 20 percent is allocated to prospecting, but as stated, only to A/B type clients within those top five vertical markets.

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    Customer Experience – Invest in customer experience by having an engaging interactive website. Have a relevant, engaging social media presence. Look at client portals, surveying their relevant, regular and consistent marketing; consider staying connected using video.

    Loyalty Programs – While these can be effective, be mindful of transparency and ask the question if the client can participate. Consider developing company stores with premium products and services that you can use by sending clients reward codes to redeem them.

    Recognize And Reward – Offer a client of the month program, or perhaps you could develop a program whereby a percentage of their sales (when they reach certain thresholds) could be donated to a charity of their choice.

    Close The Loop – Be proactive in your efforts, survey your clients, practice active listening and ask about improvements you could make that would enhance the client experience.

    Remember: Statistically, it is six times more costly to acquire a client than to keep one. Once you win them and if they are a great client, do everything you can to retain them.

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    Over the years, I have made numerous mistakes, however, once I implemented this internal system and developed this strategy, it gave a huge boost to my business. When I finally knew on a deeper level who my ideal clients were, it allowed me to focus on those clients and to retain them long term.

    If you develop a sound strategy which will balance your sales portfolio, you will find you will have better sales, stronger loyalty, higher profits and clients who will stick around for years and years.

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    If you choose, down the road, to sell your business, having a system where you can show consistent growth, maximum engagement and sound profits will demonstrate to a potential buyer that you have a strong business strategy, and it will make your business more appealing.

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    Identify the CLV by going through the formulas outlined in this article and develop a baseline understanding. Identify and vertically segment your current base, then classify them as A-F, dump the deadwood and begin the process.

    Knowing the CLV will allow you to manage your clients and time, develop more balanced marketing strategies, forecast and budget more effectively, and build the most robust, profitable business possible.   

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    Cliff Quicksell, Jr., MAS+, president of Cliff Quicksell Associates, has been an active industry volunteer serving on various PPAI committees, as a speaker and facilitator at PPAI and ASI shows, and as a member of PPAI’s Ambassadors Speakers Bureau for more than 15 years. He has also served five terms as the education chairperson for Chesapeake Promotional Products Association and is currently board president.

    Quicksell has also been a speaker, trainer and international consultant to companies, associations and international business groups for more than 34 years and is the recipient of numerous awards including 30 PPAI Pyramid Awards and is a five-time winner of the Printing Industry PSDA’s Peak Award for creativity and the CPPA Creativity PEAKE Award. He was PPAI’s Ambassador Speaker of the Year for six consecutive years and, in 1997, was the inaugural recipient of PPAI’s Distinguished Service Award. Counselor magazine named Quicksell one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in the Promotional Products Industry. Quicksell will be inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame in January 2022.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • December 06, 2021 2:21 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Grab your sunglasses—the travel industry looks bright heading into 2022. After staying close to home during the pandemic, seven out of 10 frequent travelers say they will spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years, according to a consumer travel report from Flywire. Most (78 percent) have more travel funds available from not traveling during the pandemic. 

    Consumers are eager to make up for lost time, with 84 percent saying they are as enthusiastic about travel as they have ever been. In fact, traveling is so important that 41 percent of people say they would give up watching sports for a month in exchange for a vacation, according to Expedia. About one in three people say they would give up online shopping, social media and TV shows for a month to get away for an adventure. 

    People have a strong desire to travel—for both personal and professional purposes. If you’re enthused about attending The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas next month, you’re in good company. According to the Amex Trendex, a trend report from American Express, 80 percent of people are either hopeful, happy or excited about traveling for in-person events again. 

    After months of Zoom meetings, people welcome face-to-face interaction. Most business travelers (80 percent) believe their professional lives and career opportunities suffer without travel, according to a study by SAP Concur. The study revealed that 54 percent of workers say they like making personal connections with clients and colleagues, and 52 percent like experiencing new places. Almost half of professionals (41 percent) say business travel is a chance to take a break from everyday life and change up their usual routine. 

    While business travel isn’t projected to recover as swiftly as leisure travel next year, the Global Business Travel Association still forecasts the segment to reach nearly $1.6 trillion by 2024. 

    As the world continues to adapt to the pandemic, travelers are eager to venture out again—and to do so safely. Businesses such as hotels, cruise lines and airlines can use promotional products to educate and ensure guests and passengers about safety protocols. They can also use logoed items to drive reservations and recruit workers. Brands that want to reach travelers can tap into logoed products to help make the journey smoother or the destination more enjoyable.  

    Read on for insights into the travel market and get ideas on how to navigate the way forward. 

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    Whether it’s the open road, the friendly skies or the seven seas, people are ready to get out again. However, COVID remains a top concern for both leisure and business travelers. 

    An August Gallup poll revealed that 61 percent of Americans favor vaccination requirements for air travel. Three out of four travelers say they would pay more for a trip with additional health and safety protocols, such as rapid testing, according to Flywire. Most people (73 percent) believe vaccine passports can help make travel safe again, according to multinational market research firm Ipsos. Older adults and those with a higher level of education are most likely to support vaccine passports. 

    Even once they get to their destination, almost half of all travelers (47 percent) continue to be highly cautious by wearing a mask outdoors and limiting contact with others, according to the 2021 Immarsat Passenger Confidence Tracker. Only one percent say they are not taking precautions anymore. 

    Travel brands can use promotional campaigns to bring safety to the forefront. Use promotional products to reach out to travelers and communicate low-risk options, such as contactless arrival kiosks.  

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    Want to get your client’s brand in front of business travelers? Get to know this group.

    • Two-thirds have a bachelor’s degree
    • They have an average household income of $82,000
    • 60% are male and 50% are 45 years and older
    • Corporate travelers go on trips to attend conferences (62%), meet with other companies for business planning (56%), pursue professional development (44%), meet co-workers in a different location (40%) and pitch new products (30%)

    Source: FinancesOnline.com

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    Here’s where travelers say they want to go on their next vacation:

    • Beach resort                 45%
    • Major city                      36%
    • Small town or village     33%
    • Rural area                      25%
    • Mountains                     23%

    Source: Expedia

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    More than a third of people would trade a pay raise for more vacation time, according to Expedia Group’s 2021 Traveler Index.  

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    Travelers pack their bags and jet away for various reasons. Here are four of the biggest ones, according to Expedia:

    • To enjoy new experiences                                       56%
    • To learn about other cultures and communities      51%
    • To boost physical and mental wellness                  48%
    • To become a more well-rounded person                33%

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    WFH has taken on a new meaning: work from hotel. Many travelers are taking advantage of the flexibility to work anywhere. For example:

    • 34% of travelers have worked from domestic or international accommodations, such as a hotel or resort, during the pandemic
    • 28% of travelers worked four to six days away from home
    • 23% worked six to 10 days away from home
    • 59% say remote work will be a consideration in their future travel plans

    Promotional products can help promote the specific business services hotel and short-stay accommodations offer.

    Source: Flywire

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    The U.S. is home to more than 46,000 travel agencies, with most located in California (1,775 businesses), New York (1,559 businesses) and Florida (1,190 businesses). Promotional products distributors can work with independent agents and larger travel companies to generate leads and build brand awareness. 

    Source: IBISWorld

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    “Bleisure”—a blend of leisure and business travel—will continue to be a major trend in 2022. About 60 percent of business trips turn into bleisure trips. Here are some top reasons why, according to a Stratos Jets survey of business travelers:

    Traveling to a bucket list/must-visit location    43%
    Traveling to an easy-to-navigate city               38%
    Traveling close to the weekend                        37%
    Traveling to a great recreation city                   34%
    Traveling with friends                                       32% 

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    • About 2.9 million people fly in and out of U.S. airports every day
    • The FAA handles about 16.4 million flights a year
    • During peak times, there are about 5,400 aircrafts in the sky
    • The U.S. is home to more than 19,000 airports

    Source: Federal Aviation Administration

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    According to the U.S. Travel Association, the travel industry supports nearly 16 million jobs and is the nation’s seventh-largest employer. As travel continues to pick up steam in 2022, businesses in all sectors of the travel industry will need more workers. Companies can use promotional products to attract talent and stay visible in a competitive market.

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    In 2019, the global cruise industry reached a record high serving nearly 30 million passengers. This number plummeted to about 5.8 million last year, according to Statista. While it’s not quite smooth sailing for the cruise industry yet, many cruise lines are reporting robust demand. According to Travel + Leisure, Carnival, one of the world’s leading cruise lines, already has more bookings for 2022 than it had in 2019. Cruise lines looking to promote getaways to potential customers use eye-catching direct mail and onboard promotional products, such as branded room gifts and contest prizes, to help make the experience more memorable.    

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    More people are taking a great American road trip—and doing so in an RV. According to Go RVing, RV ownership hit a record high this year, with 11.2 million households owning an RV. This is up 62 percent from 2001 and 26 percent from 2011. Since space is tight in an RV, useful, multi-functional promo products and those that fold away, collapse or attach securely to solid surfaces are most in demand for companies trying to reach these travelers and the companies that serve them.  

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    The Professional Backpack and Rolling Case Combo will impress any corporate traveler. A checkpoint-friendly backpack features four separate sections and fits a 16-inch laptop. The rolling laptop case also includes four distinct sections and features a telescoping handle and in-line skate wheels. Both come with a lifetime warranty. 

    Mobile Edge  /  PPAI 314937, S1  /  www.mobileedge.com

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    The Birmingham Travel Gift Set includes a matching leatherette passport holder, key ring and luggage tag. The passport holder has four card slots to carry important identification, credit and other types of cards. The luggage tag features a clear plastic view window for easy identification and buckled strap. Each piece includes a metal plate for engraving and come boxed together with a die-cut foam insert.

    Logomark, Inc. / PPAI 110898, S12 /  www.logomark.com

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    The King’s Cross Travel Blanket makes a luxurious gift for travelers and nappers alike. This fleece blanket folds into a compact pillow and features a trolley sleeve for tucking a boarding pass. Choose from navy or slate. 

    Towel Specialties  /  PPAI 113150, S7  /  www.towelspecialties.com

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    Companies can show appreciation to their frequent business travelers with the Hackberry Canyon Leather Hanging Travel Kit. This full-size kit keeps all the essentials handy inside convenient pockets. It’s made from full-grain leather and features an eight-inch carrying handle.  

    Beacon Promotions, Inc.  /  PPAI 113702, S10  /  www.beaconpromotions.com

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    Travel agents can thank clients with the Pouch With Antimicrobial Additive. This handy pouch fits travel toiletries and has been treated with a blend of antimicrobial inhibitors to prevent bacteria growth. 

    Leed’s  /  PPAI 112361, S13  /  www.leedsworld.com

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    On-The-Go Amusements game boxes are colorful, pocket-size tins that include 50 cards for on-the-go fun. Among the 20 themes in this line are 50 Great Things To Do Outside, on a Plane, at the Beach, in the Car, etc. The game’s packaging makes it ideal for branding.

    The Book Company  /  PPAI 218850, S5  /  www.thebookco.com

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    Even the youngest adventurers love to travel in style so let them go wild over the Paws N Claws Sport Pack. This adorable drawstring bag is available in 35 fun animal prints, from a shark to a penguin to a tiger and more. Crafted of 210D polyester, it features imprint space on the bottom center. 

    Crown/IMAGEN Brands  /  PPAI 113430, S10  /  www.IMAGENBrands.com

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    It’s always smart to keep travel documents safe and organized whether on a business trip or an adventurous getaway. The KAPSTON Pierce Passport Wallet holds a passport, ID and credit cards with card slots, a pen loop, plenty of pockets, and ID and passport windows. It also comes with a front zippered pocket and a slip pocket on the back.

      

    Koozie Group /  PPAI 114187, S13  /  www.kooziegroup.com

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    The rePETe Travel Pack has a tough exterior and is loaded with special features. Two side bottle pockets and storage area for a hydration reservoir ensure hydration for all day outings. The adjustable shoulder straps make it comfortable to wear. When not in use, it can easily be pouched into its front pocket and clipped onto a utility belt. The pack is constructed from certified recycled materials, meaning it has zero climate impact. This bag is fully customizable with dye sublimation printing that lasts a lifetime with no peeling or fading.

    ChicoBag  /  PPAI 440893, S3  /  www.chicobag.com

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    The Eco-Insulated Travelpack Vest is a lightweight, insulated, eco-friendly favorite when extra warmth is needed, or roll it up and tuck it into a self-pouch when it’s not. The vest is made of 100-percent 20d fine denier polyester with a 100-percent polyester insulation, of which 35 percent is comprised of recycled polyester. Features include zippered handwarmer pockets, an easily accessible interior embroidery pocket and a drawcord at the hem for a custom fit.

    Storm Creek  /  PPAI 438091, S6  /  www.stormcreek.com

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    Road trips are one of the most popular forms of travel and window decals are essential when traveling to state parks where a member pass must be prominently displayed on the vehicle. The removable labels come on a roll and can be used on glass, metal, plastic or laminate. Available in one, two or three spot colors or four-color process with gloss lamination.

    Labelworks  /  PPAI 111141, S3  /  www.labelworks.com

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    Travel agents help provide the best experience for their clients. The finest ones consider every detail—right down to hotel-room amenities. Understanding that many hotels stopped providing toiletries, one travel agent worked with Beacon Promotions on custom travel bottle sets. Each set contains refillable, TSA-compliant bottles that travelers can reuse every trip. After sending the gifts to existing clients, the travel agent saw an uptick in bookings. 

     

    Source: Beacon Promotions

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • November 18, 2021 11:16 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Conditions may be improving slightly at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles, as the number of cargo containers lingering on their docks has eased by more than a quarter in recent weeks. As a result, the San Pedro Bay ports, which together account for approximately 40 percent of all containerized imports into the U.S., have pushed back an announced container dwell fee which was set to go into effect on November 15; the new implementation date is November 22.

    The fees were first announced on October 25. Under the temporary policy, ocean carriers will be charged for each import container that falls into one of two categories: in the case of containers scheduled to move by truck, ocean carriers will be charged for every container dwelling nine days or more. For containers moving by rail, ocean carriers will be charged if a container has remained there for six days or more. The ports will charge ocean carriers in these two categories $100 per container, increasing in $100 increments per container per day until the container leaves the terminal. However, since the fee was announced, the twin ports have seen a decline of 26 percent combined in aging cargo on the docks.

    The ports’ Harbor Commissions have stated that any fees collected from dwelling cargo will be reinvested for programs designed to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity and address congestion impacts.

    “We’re encouraged by the progress our supply chain partners have made in helping our terminals shed long-dwelling import containers. Clearly, everyone is working together to speed the movement of cargo and reduce the backlog of ships off the coast as quickly as possible,” says Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Postponing consideration of the fee provides more time, while keeping the focus on the results we need.”

    Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka adds, “There’s been significant improvement in clearing import containers from our docks in recent weeks. I’m grateful to the many nodes of the supply chain, from shipping lines, marine terminals, trucks and cargo owners, for their increased collaborative efforts. We will continue to closely monitor the data as we approach November 22.”

    Before the pandemic-induced import surge began in mid-2020, on average, containers for local delivery remained on container terminals less than four days, while containers destined for trains dwelled less than two days. And while that standard has been but a memory for the last several months, there are signs of improvements. The Daily Breeze reports that as of Monday, at The Port of Long Beach there were 19,092 containers set to leave via truck that had been there for at least nine days and 564 set to leave via rail that had been there at least six days. This represents a 25-percent decrease from October 28.

    Whether this represents a sign that recovery is on the horizon for the bottlenecked supply chain is uncertain. As of last Tuesday, a record 111 container ships were waiting to dock and unload at the ports, according to data from the Marine Exchange reported in Business Insider.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • November 18, 2021 11:14 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    For promo industry professionals, it’s easy to forget that there are people out there who don’t know what promotional products are or how they can work for a business. Selling to clients who already know the power of promo is simple, but what about everyone else?

    To someone who’s not familiar with the industry, promotional products might seem silly or unnecessary. Of course, promo professionals know that’s not true, but pitching to a potential client who’s skeptical can be tricky. While you and I know that every business can benefit from incorporating promotional products into their marketing plan, convincing your prospects can take a little work.

    Luckily, there are plenty of easily accessible resources to help you pitch to potential new business. Here’s a quick rundown of several of the tools available to you that can help convert a promo skeptic into a true believer:

    Presentations

    Digital sales presentations are a great way to show your prospects what’s hot and new in promo that they can view from the comfort of their home or office, on their own time. With the Presentation Publisher in SAGE, you can create completely custom, shareable presentations that let you easily receive feedback from your customer. They can even navigate to your website and order their favorite products directly from the presentation!

    The SAGE Presentation Publisher

    To give your presentation the extra oomph it needs to convert your prospect into a sale, don’t just add your products and call it a day. Use the SAGE Virtual Design Studio to add their logo to the sample photos so they can envision how the products will work with their brand image. Enter additional text in the description area of each product detailing why you think it’s a good fit and how it could help them grow their brand. And don’t forget to add their information from your SAGE CRM to the presentation to personalize it!

    Case Studies

    If you’re looking for a straightforward way to illustrate how promotional products get used by brands, then look no further than case studies. Case studies are blogs, articles, or even videos that outline what products a brand used, how they used them, and how they benefitted the business. They’re often pretty short and to-the-point, making the effectiveness of promo products shine.

    Video case study from SnugZ USA (SAGE #53744)

    If you have a SAGE Website Professional Plus subscription, you have access to our entire library of carefully curated case studies to post on your site or send to customers who need a little swaying. You can also find plenty of these helpful blogs on supplier websites. A few of our favorites for solid case studies are Hit Promotional ProductsSnugZ USA, and Gemline.

    #PromotionalProductsWork

    Video from PPAI’s #PromotionalProductsWork

    Want to promote the efficacy of promotional products on your social media or website? PPAI’s #PromotionalProductsWork campaign has tons of free resources for you to download and spread the word. With professionally researched statistics and information illustrating how promotional products can work for companies, this initiative is an excellent resource for both green and seasoned promo professionals. Check it out and learn more at https://www.promotionalproductswork.org/.

    Catalogs

    You might think catalogs are old school, but they are still a popular and effective way to pitch your business to new prospects. With a printed catalog, your clients will have something more tactile to flip through and browse at their leisure, and with your information on the catalog, they’ll know exactly who to call when something catches their eye.

    Check out all the cool pieces you can make in the SAGE Print Studio!

    With the Print Studio in SAGE Online, creating catalogs for your prospects is easy. You can choose from several pre-built catalogs that already have products added for different themes like golf, tech products, apparel, and more, or you can create a completely custom catalog from scratch for a more personal touch. Physical catalogs not really your thing? No worries. All the catalogs in the Print Studio, whether pre-built or custom, are also available as digital flipbooks that you can send in an email or message.

    Convincing brands and organizations new to the wide world of promo that these products can help them grow their business doesn’t have to be a hard sell. With the above tools and expert support from your SAGE team, you’ll be ready to tackle even the most hesitant of prospects.

    To learn about other ways to capture new business and grow your own, check out our blogs on email marketing and social media for small businesses.

    Used with permission from SAGE

  • November 18, 2021 11:12 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Ah, sales: it’s what so much of business is all about. As much as we’d all like to believe that promotional products just sell themselves, a superstar selling team is essential for converting passing interest in promos into repeat orders for your business.

    Have a Plan

    When it comes to managing a sales team, it’s imperative to have a plan. Flying by the seat of your pants is a recipe for disaster. But don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be complicated! There are three simple questions you need to ask yourself to build a solid sales strategy:

    • Where does the business stand right now?
    • What are your goals for your team, sales and otherwise?
    • How do you want to accomplish those goals?

    Setting goals and discussing them with your team is essential.

    Once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish and how to do it, constructing a plan is easy – you just have to connect the dots. To really help your sales team shine, though, go the extra mile and help your salespeople craft personalized sales plans. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team and help each salesperson achieve their highest potential by playing to their strengths.

    Set Expectations

    When it comes to expectations, there are two key things to consider: setting and managing. Clear expectations are essential to running your team well. Once you have a plan (or plans, if you’re doing individual plans for your salespeople) in place, setting those expectations is simple: give your team goals and let them know how you’d like them to meet those goals.

    Managing expectations is just as important as setting them. Make sure your team knows what the stakes are for their goals – what happens when they meet their goals? What about when they don’t? If everyone has a clear picture of their expectations and the corresponding rewards and ramifications, your team will likely run much smoother.

    Communicate Clearly

    Keep an open line of communication with your team and help your salespeople stay up to date on goals, metrics, and other happenings. By communicating clearly and often, you can ensure that your entire team is on the same page and easily see what and who might need a little extra attention.

    SAGE Chat is a great way to keep an open line of communication with your sales team.

    Instant messaging is a great way to stay in touch and improve communication with your team. With SAGE Chat, you can message with your team members and even send products and searches directly from SAGE. Your salespeople can also chat with suppliers to get quotes, proofs, and more in a instant. Make your job and your teams’ easier by staying in communication with each other via SAGE Chat.

    Utilize Team Management Tools

    Help everyone on your team see how things are progressing by using a team management tool. Some managers keep track of everything on a whiteboard or a virtual leaderboard. Others send weekly emails outlining progress toward sales goals. While those are all great options if they work for you, gathering all the information and making it presentable for your team can be very time-consuming.

    SAGE Project Management seamlessly integrates with all other areas of SAGE to help you keep track of your projects with ease.

    With a tool like the Project Management module in SAGE, you can help your team see all your projects and orders at-a-glance, improving team communication and transparency. Because the Project Management module connects with all other areas of SAGE, including the CRM and Order Management modules, they’ll be able to quickly tell what clients have been taken care of and who still needs to be contacted.

    You can learn more about Project Management on the #SAGEBlog here.

    Keep Your Eye on the Prize

    Sales is a results-driven field. To manage your sales team well, you’ll need to keep your eye on the prize. Create a team environment that values transparency and is oriented around your overall goals. Help foster that environment by emphasizing the positive outcomes you’re all working towards and empowering your salespeople with the tools and education they need to succeed. It’s leadership 101 that your team will follow the example you set. If you’re focused on getting results, your salespeople will be too.

    This will be you and your team when you crush those goals!

    Never Stop Learning

    Good managers know that they can always improve and constantly strive to be better. To manage your team to the top of their potential, you can never stop learning and growing. Industries change over time, and if you let your mindset get too locked in, you’ll fall out of touch with your team. At the same time, it’s important that you encourage continued learning for your team. Don’t just train them once and set them loose – comprehensive training means continued support. Give your salespeople continuing education opportunities to help them be the best they can be.

    Managing a sales team can be a challenge, but you’ll be ready to lead your team to sales success with these tips and tools at your disposal. Read more about how to support your team with our blogs on motivationmindfulness, and burnout.

    Used with permission from SAGE

  • November 18, 2021 11:10 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    If You See Something, Say Something
    Because the CPSC and the DOJ Aren’t Playing11/16/2021 | Jeff Jacobs, The Brand Protector

    It’s a catchy phrase first used by the Department of Homeland Security in 2010, when the DHS launched the national "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign. The campaign was intended to help emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement and to raise awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime. Credit where credit is due, though, the phrase was actually first coined by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), then licensed to DHS.

    Anyway, what does that have to do with potentially dangerous or unsafe promotional products? Great question. It turns out the Consumer Product Safety Commission is not just asking you to report issues of product failure, they’ll fine you if you turn a blind eye long enough. And that applies to suppliers and distributors alike.

    In one of the most significant developments in product safety law in the last several years, Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Hong Kong and its subsidiary Gree USA, pled guilty to willfully failing to report product failures to the CPSC as required by the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). According to the U.S. Department of Justice and the CPSC, the Gree Companies knew dehumidifiers they manufactured were defective, failed to meet safety standards, and could catch fire. Gree failed to timely disclose that information to the CPSC. While CPSC civil penalties for not reporting have become fairly routine, (in fact the Gree Companies paid what was then a record $15.45 million civil penalty in 2016), this is the first time that corporate criminal enforcement action has been taken under the CPSA requirements.

    Think you don’t need to be concerned about selling electronics with batteries a little on the sketchy side? You know, those you don’t have test results for since you just sourced the electronics, but not the battery manufacturer? Do you know how many sales of faulty products it takes to get on the Fed’s radar?

    In filings for this case, the DOJ alleges “egregious conduct” by the Gree Companies, and makes accusations beyond failing to report, including selling products known to be defective, using fake UL certifications, and generally lying to the public about the safety of their products. Other liability trials have heard evidence the Gree Companies didn’t inform retailers of the full scope of affected products and delayed their recall announcement so that products that should not have been sold could be distributed to unsuspecting consumers. Could your organization survive the kind of penalties the Gree Companies will have to pay? As just a partial settlement, there’s a $91 million penalty and restitution to any uncompensated victims of fires caused by the defective dehumidifiers. Your boss could be on the hook, as well. In this matter, two Gree USA executives have been charged criminally by the DOJ and await trial.

    So, let’s say all this has opened your eyes to the risk of averting them when you come across unsafe promotional products, just what is it you should do? Like we said before, if you see something, say something. Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that “obtain information which reasonably supports the conclusion that their product contains a defect which would create a substantial product hazard, or that creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, must immediately inform the CPSC of the defect.” You don’t need to be the compliance officer in your company to understand the need for proper safety and sourcing protocols, and don’t settle for anything less than documentation that products you sell meet the applicable federal and state safety rules. On top of that, you need to ensure that documentation is supported by legitimate testing. Product safety is literally EVERYBODY’S responsibility in the eyes of the CPSC and DOJ. If you ever doubted it, this cautionary tale should let you know you are on the hook for it, so embrace it. It’s good for both you and your clients.

    Jeff Jacobs has been an expert in building brands and brand stewardship for 40 years, working in commercial television, Hollywood film and home video, publishing, and promotional brand merchandise. He’s a staunch advocate of consumer product safety and has a deep passion and belief regarding the issues surrounding compliance and corporate social responsibility. He retired as executive director of Quality Certification Alliance, the only non-profit dedicated to helping suppliers provide safe and compliant promotional products. Before that, he was director of brand merchandise for Michelin. Connect with Jeff on TwitterLinkedInInstagram, or read his latest musings on food, travel and social media on his personal blog jeffreypjacobs.com. Email jacobs.jeffreyp@gmail.com.

    used with permission from PromoCorner

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