Promotional Version of the YETI Rambler

83261z0Last summer we told you about the Force Copper Vacuum Insulated Thermal Bottles, our version of the still-popular S’well bottles. The Force has continued to be popular with our clients, along with many other products that are promotional versions of retail products.

The newest product that follows this trend is the Glacier, our version of the Yeti Rambler.

At 30oz this tumbler is huge, and will easily hold a day’s worth of coffee. It is made of double walled stainless steel with a copper vacuum, so it will keep that coffee hot all day too. Want to keep water cold instead? It does that too – for up to 16 hours. It’s the best of both worlds!

With pricing as low as $14.99, the Glacier is less than half the cost of the Yeti Rambler. You can find pricing and more details about the Glacier here.

If you’re looking for a great gift for your clients or staff to keep your brand top of mind this holiday season, look no further than the Glacier! It’s less expensive, comes with your logo and works just as well!  Contact your Account Manager today for more information and pricing.

Promotional Products as Ways to Say Thank You

Promotional products are frequently used as ways to say thank you to very important people.  They are used to recognize an employee achievement, participation in an event, or simply thank staff, volunteers, or even customers for their loyalty and support. We’ve created many promotional items over the years to serve as an appreciated “thank you” that has more staying power than a simple note. If you’re looking for unique ideas for your own organization, check out these case studies to learn how these companies thanked tennis tournament participants, employees, alumni and donors.

Higher Ed: A Useful Gift that Says Thank You

 

UWM Smartphone StandThanking important donors and alumni by providing a small gift is commonplace for alumni and development offices. The Alumni Relations Director and Development Officer from the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota was on the search for a unique and useful donor recognition gift. Her requirements were:

 – Convenient to use at Events

 – Easy to mail as a thank you

 – Useful, and unique item

  The Smartspot SmartPhone stand was the ideal promotional item for their needs.  Learn more about the product and its uses on the case study page.

Tennis Club: Unique Promotional Items for Athletic Events

Tritan Tervis Style Tumbler

Western Racquet Club wanted to find something unique and different that tournament participants would enjoy, while staying within their budget. This unique Tervis style tumbler fit the bill.

To read more about this project, including product details, click through to the case study page.

 

Hospital / Medical College: A Fun, New Employee Appreciation Gift

Pieladium Bluetooth Speaker

Each year the Medical College of Wisconsin Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research hosts a year-end luncheon meeting for its faculty and staff. To demonstrate appreciation, each individual receives a gift. Our client was looking for something that was good quality, affordable, and something that would have a wide appeal to all of their faculty and staff.

Michael and the account manager discovered the Pieladium Bluetooth Speaker, a fun, technology related item, which is a very popular and fast growing category of promotional items.  Read more about product features, the easy buying process, and how recipients liked their gift in the case study.

 

 

 

Want MORE Ideas?

Each company needs to say thank you with a targeted, relevant promotional item, so contact us for additional recognition ideas.

You can also browse our Idea Gallery for a few other suggestions.

Summer Event Ideas

Summertime is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the many community events!
Many colleges participate in state or county fairs to promote their schools to the greater community. We commonly support schools in such efforts. Here is a photo collage of summer event ideas that we’ve created for clients:

promotional ideas for events

A community event is an opportunity to connect with an audience in a fun and exciting way. Having staff wear branded apparel and handing out a promotional item is a way to make your school memorable both during AND after the event.

At events promotional item can:

  • Help drive people to your display and activities
  • Serve as a reminder of the experience with your school after the event ends
  • Promote word of mouth marketing, whenever anyone sees your swag
  • Increase brand recall and recognition to support your school
  • Tie-in with social media accounts to increase your brand’s reach beyond the event

For these reasons, we highly recommend using your brand colors and logo across multiple items. As in the photo collage above, a tote bag is a visible canvas for your logo throughout the event. While we created that bag for the Tosa Farmer’s Market, a similar idea could be applied to any school’s presence. Whenever you’re giving people handouts, a tote bag, drawstring bag, or plastic bag with your logo on it provides a convenient, useful take-away.

Another example of a school that we support for community events is the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. The sunglasses and paw print fans pictured in the collage above were used for the Wisconsin State Fair. Temporary tattoos, visors in school colors, and yellow t-shirts were also used for their presence.

Social Media Tie-In Ideas

One strategy to bring the event to a wider audience is imprinting a hashtag or Twitter handle onto promotional items, just as UWM did one their t-shirt imprint last year.

UWM State Fair shirt design

UWM State Fair t-shirt Imprint tied in with social media.

To create buzz and excitement on Twitter, The University of Wisconsin – Madison used the custom #FutureBadger frame at campus visit days and UW-Homecoming. Such frames, school mascots or fun backdrops create an eye-catching photo-opp for event attendees. Photos are then often shared on social media to increase your exposure. Photo-opp attractions are an excellent way to create an interactive display and draw a crowd!

More Event Ideas

For more inspiration and ideas, see UWM’s promotional items in use at the fair  the links below:

Since promotional items serve as a reminder of a brand experience, it’s important to select items that reflect your brand identity.  We recommend advance planning with an experienced promotional consultant, who can discover the right ideas and share examples from other colleges and universities.  We are here to support your summer event planning needs – simply contact us to get started. Happy event planning and have a great summer!

 

Clever Promotional Product Mailings Help Land Dream Client

Michael Wolaver shared an interesting excerpt related to promotional products from a book he was reading called The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus with 12 Key Strategies by Chet Holmes. In the chapter called “The Nitty Gritty of Getting the Best Buyers,” the author talks about specific tactics used to land dream clients.

Through a multi-pronged, targeted direct mail campaign to the biggest OEM manufacturers, the sales team was able to schedule appointments with half of their top 100 dream prospects. These appointments were extremely successful with 100% testing the product and ultimately making a purchase.

How did they achieve such a successful campaign? The answer is simple – great marketing helped them gain attention and stand out from competitors.

Details on the Direct Mail Campaign

First, they sent out an offer letter that promoted free education and research – something that was valued among their prospects.

Two weeks later, a similar offer letter was sent, but this letter included a promotional item. A Rubik’s Cube with the headline: “This Rubik’s Cube has more than four billion possible combinations. Fortunately, there are only five that you need to worry about when it comes to being a successful manufacturer in the new millennium. Don’t be puzzled by the dangers facing manufacturers! Get our free education today!”Promotional Products Work

Follow up phone calls and role play to fine tune their script further enhanced the effectiveness of the mailing with the Rubik’s Cube.

Over the next five months, mailings with promotional items were sent to their dream prospects. Catchy headlines tie in with the products, such as:

  • Flashlight: “Don’t be in the dark about the five biggest dangers facing manufacturers.”
  • Compass: “Most companies are losing direction when it comes to manufacturing in today’s environment. Don’t be one of them. Get our report on the five biggest dangers facing manufacturers today.”
  • Tape Measure: “If you want to measure up to the highest manufacturing standards, get our free report on the five most dangerous trends facing manufacturers.”

Each promotional item and message tied in with the company’s theme and overall strategy. With repetition and follow up phone calls, the company’s brand and offer resonated with their audience, leading to half of the recipients to schedule meetings.

Isn’t that Costly?

Yes, it DOES cost more when you invest in 3D mailings that include promotional items. However, such an investment to a TARGETED group of top prospects was a worthwhile expenditure because it helped open the door and ultimately make sales for the sales people who conducted follow up calls. A promotional item is much more memorable than receiving a letter alone. Who could forget receiving a Rubik’s cube after all?!

As with any marketing cost, the bottom lined must be considered. In this case, if the mailers helped secure just ONE new client, which were the biggest companies the company would target, it would pay for the mailers for twenty years.

Clever, Targeted Marketing Works

The targeted direct mail campaign, follow-up calls, and appointments helped turn this company around from losing money to making $2 million dollars the following year. Investing in promotional items and unique mailings truly helped gain top prospects’ attention, build a positive brand image, and generate sales.

One huge client even said in a follow-up call

“Oh, yes, I am so glad you called. I just HAVE to have you come here and meet with me… Because I’ve been getting all those little gifts of yours and I just think your marketing is super.”

Consistent, creative, and targeted marketing can help you gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. For some ideas on how to enhance your direct mail efforts, read our blog post or contact us for an Idea-Storm session.

Show-Stopping Promotional Marketing Ideas

A trade show is an opportunity to connect with an audience in a fun and exciting way. Handing out a promotional item is a way to make your company memorable both during AND after the show.

A show-stopping promotional item can:

  • Create enticing pre-show promotion by advertising your booth activities and swag
  • Help drive traffic to your booth at the show
  • Serve as a reminder of the experience with your company after the show ends
  • Promote word of mouth marketing, whenever anyone sees your swag
  • Increase brand recall and recognition to support your business

For these reasons and many more, a trade show is one of the top uses for promotional products. You’ll find some swag at EVERY booth.

This certainly was the case when Michael attended the Milwaukee BizTimes Expo last week.  In walking the show floor, Michael spotted our clients using the promotional items that we helped create.  Here are a few highlights in what he saw:

Promotional Marketing for UWM at BizTimes Expo

The Airplane Stress Toy promotes the UWM Masters in Management program through the School of Business. The literature includes the tagline, “Your future is about to take off.” This has been a very successful campaign!

Promotional Products at work at BizTimes Expo 2014

There were a wide range of products at every table, though pens remained a staple item throughout the show. MSOE also used tire pressure gauges; Innovative Signs used bottle openers and combination pen/highlighters. Mount Mary had a lot of interest in their branded coffee packets as something that is both unique and appreciated. We also love how striking their pennants turned out.

Cultivate Communications Brain Stress Toy

Here is a close-up of the bright orange brain stress toy that our client Cultivate Communications used. Since they are a creative marketing agency, the brain is a fun and engaging way to help tell their story.

Miss Southern Wisconsin and Michael

Miss Southern Wisconsin, Tyra McFarland, spotted Michael’s logo’ed polo shirt, and said, “Hey I work with you.” She was right (and another great reason to have company apparel)! Account Manager Paige Wagner worked with Tyra on creating frisbees to promote the UW-Milwaukee Student Startup Challenge.

UWM Student Startup Challenge Frisbee

Artwork for the UWM Student Startup Challenge Frisbee for our client, Tyra McFarland, also Miss Southern Wisconsin.

What are your favorite show-stopping promotional items? We’ve also heard about sending teasers pre-show to drive booth traffic, such as sending ½ of a pen and then handing out the other ½ at the booth. In addition, we like the idea of holding a drawing for a higher value promotional item, and having higher-value items for VIP’s (or hot prospects) who stop by your booth. There are so many ways to effectively integrate promotional items into your events!

For more event ideas, see our blog posts:

How to Guide: Integrating Promotional Products into College Events

Much More than Tchotchkes

For help discovering the right promotional idea for your events, please contact us.

 

Integrating Social Media into Campus Tours – NEW Case Study

Integration.

It’s a key component of any and every marketing plan to make your school more memorable.  A common message woven through print, online, social media, TV radio, direct mail and promotional items can effectively increase exposure and the likelihood of recall.

Lately there’s been a lot of social media integration with promotional products.  Here are a few examples:

This custom frame with the hashtag #FutureBadgers was created for the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Admissions Office.  It was used to integrate social media into campus tours, allowing prospective students show their excitement and actively endorse UW Madison to their own social networks.

Future Badgers Custom Frame

Learn more about the marketing goals, product details, application and results of the custom #FutureBadgers frame by visiting our case study library.

How has your school integrated promotional items into social media or other elements of the marketing mix?

Best of 2013: Admissions Promotional Marketing (FREE Webinar on January 9, 2014)

On Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. CST, Michael Wolaver will present a thirty minute webcast on 2013 Best Practices – Admissions Promotional Marketing.

Best Practices Admissions Promotional Marketing

Preview of Prezi for January 9, 2014 Webinar

This is a free webinar.  Click HERE to register. 

Are you looking for new and exciting promotional marketing ideas to “wow” prospective students? Do you want to learn what other colleges are doing with this marketing medium? Are you interested in market research to show what works?

Webinar Overview: Admissions Focus

This webinar will focus on admissions departments’ use of promotional marketing, though similar product ideas and marketing tactics can also be applied across campus.

Promotional marketing industry research will be shared to illustrate the effectiveness of this advertising medium – part of a growing, $18 billion industry. This webinar addresses the main benefits of promotional items and provides a comparison to other media types. 

Using Promotional Products Along the Funnel. We’ll share how promotional products are incorporated into each stage of the enrollment funnel based on the three categories below:

 

enrollment-funnel

 

  1. Raise Awareness – starting relationships, event awareness, driving web traffic, staying in front of high school counselors (and other referral sources)
  2. Increase Engagement – enhancing the campus tour experience, integrating with social media campaigns, and more promotional ideas and tactics
  3. Build Excitement – help “seal the deal” through admitted student direct mail, events, targeting specific students with personalized promo items, and tying into social media efforts to build community.

Click HERE to register. 

About our Presenter

Michael Wolaver, owner and founder of Magellan Promotions, has over nine years marketing and branding experience in the promotional products industry.  Magellan Collegiate Promotions, a division he created in 2011, has worked with over 60 schools and colleges located across the country. Prior to founding Magellan Promotions in 2005, Michael has worked in purchasing for Fortune 500 companies in the Greater Milwaukee and Chicago area.  Michael earned his undergraduate degree from Marquette University and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Much More than Tchotchkes.

Tchotchkes. Trinkets. Trash. Swag. Promotional products go by so many names.  The power of promotional products is much greater than just the “stuff.”  Promotional products can motivate, recognize, brand, appreciate, communicate, and start a relationship. With over 83% of people saying that they like receiving promotional items, this is truly a marketing medium that is here to stay – whatever you decide to call it.

In terms of media sales, promotional items are an $18 billion industry that is growing. In 2012 sales were up 4.4%, reaching the highest level in five years and the third-best year ever. UPDATE – Last year sales reached the $19.8 Billion mark, making it the industry’s best year ever!!

While it’s smaller than other media types, as indicated in the chart below, promotional products are an effective part of any marketing mix.

Media Sales Comparison chart

Source: Promotional Products Business Magazine, May 2013
Sales shown in $ Billions

Promotional items can easily be integrated with other forms of media, such as product placement, event marketing, and direct mail – just to name a few.  Look at this brief list of examples:

Product placement

  • Coca Cola Cups used by American Idol Judges
  • Coffee mug used by local news anchor
  • Apparel  worn for TV / video appearance
  • Banners placed for best camera angles

Event Marketing

Direct Mail

Gain higher response rates when including a direct mail premium.  In a Silver Marketing Group Study, the direct mail piece that included a promotional item increased response rates by 50%.  In addition, the direct mail piece that featured an offer for a promotional item increased response rates by 400%, when compared to a letter only.  Some ideas to consider:

  • Three-dimensional mailing with a promotional item
  • Larger size or colorful direct mail piece with an offer of a promotional item
  • Encourage visiting your booth at event – for example send ½ of a pen and receive the other ½ at the booth

As with any successful marketing campaign, it’s essential to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.  A relevant and useful promotional item can reinforce a marketing message to your audience.  Repeat exposure increases the likelihood of recall, which can ultimately lead to action.  PPAI research shows that more purchases are made after a consumer receives a promotional product than after viewing a TV, print, or online ad.  Promotional items stay in front of your target audience to help close the deal.

When planning to buy promotional items, be sure that it is tied into a plan.  Too often promotional items become an afterthought, which can limit its effectiveness of reinforcing a brand’s message.  Rely on an experience promotional consultant, who will understand overall objectives and the target audience to select a useful item that will be appreciated.  We at Magellan Collegiate Promotions are here to help make promotional marketing work in tandem with existing efforts to help rise above the stigma of “trinkets and trash.”  Contact us for ideas on more than just tchotchkes.

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We are hiring! Click here for current job openings.

Promotional Marketing for College Recruitment

When thinking about promotional products, we have been putting ourselves in the shoes of our admissions clients. We understand that the stakes for recruiting students have never been higher.

This makes your school’s marketing tactics even more important.  You need to be memorable.  Print, online, TV, radio, events and direct mail are all common elements of any college’s marketing mix. Where does promotional marketing fit in? The answer is easy – just about anywhere.  When properly thought-out, promotional items are easily integrated into your existing marketing plans.

As with any successful marketing campaign, it’s essential to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.  A relevant and useful promotional item can reinforce a marketing message to your audience, and repeat exposure increases the likelihood of recall and eventual action. Based on recall alone, promotional items rank higher than other media types.

Comparing advertising recall

Source: PPAI Research

The bottom line: promotional products WORK for recruiting college students. Picture a high school student seeing your college’s billboard, online ad, and using a branded phone screen cleaner from a campus event all in the same day. It’s the perfect way to keep your brand in front of a target audience – exactly what’s needed for a longer decision-making process of selecting a college.

Based on our experience working with admissions departments, we’ve broken down the enrollment funnel into three key areas categorized by marketing goals:

  1. Raise Awareness
  2. Increase Engagement
  3. Create Excitement

Read case studies, download our Admissions Marketing Checklist, and receive product ideas on these pages.

Chat with us! 

Join #EMchat on Thursday, November 21 at 9:00 pm EST to talk promotional marketing for recruiting college students.

Not available to chat? Look for the #EMchat transcript, PastChats, or feel free to contact us for a recap and more information.

 

 

Enhancing International Student Recruitment with Promotional Marketing

The U.S. will be the fastest growing international student destination over the next decade, according to a report released by the British Council’s Education Intelligence as featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  A record high: 764,495 international students came to the U.S. for the 2011-2012 academic year as noted in Open Doors 2012 Fast Facts.   The report also indicates the top ten countries of origin: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, and Turkey.  Outside of the top ten, Iran, Venezuela, and Spain have experienced double-digit growth rates in the number of students studying in the United States.

Country of focus aside, all of the data points to the importance of international recruiting for U.S. schools and colleges.  In this post, we’ll examine the basics of international recruiting and incorporating promotional marketing into your overall marketing strategy.

International Recruiting: The Essentials

While the U.S. is already among the most popular destination for international students, each school has the unique opportunity to build its brand to stand out from other institutions. According to a Noel Levitz White Paper, Reaching Beyond Borders: Key Issues in Recruiting and Retaining International Students, academic quality matters most to students with campus safety and security being a top concern.  In addition to these areas, international recruiters need to emphasize key differentiators: campus size, diverse student body, location etc. to “sell” a university’s experience.

Defining your Audience

Beyond solely targeting students, it’s important to also reach out to the many people who help influence students: parents, local alumni, international organizations, and agents.  As you know, some parents are extremely involved in their students’ academic decisions, so it’s not uncommon to be communicating with them directly.  Local alumni and current students also serve as brand ambassadors, sharing their experience via social media or in person at events. Such endorsements become valuable (and free) word of mouth advertising and influential peer endorsements.  Parents often hire private agents to help students select and gain admission to top U.S. schools, so it’s important make agents aware of your school.  Finally, partnering with trade organizations, such as Education USA can increase a school’s understanding, promotion, and overall reach within a given area.

Tailoring your Marketing Mix

Colleges typically utilize webinars, email, electronic viewbooks, website, mobile site, event support, and promotional marketing for international recruiting. While advertising in the local market may not be attainable or within budget, promotional marketing can be incorporated through university recruiters and professors traveling abroad (or at international trade events held in the U.S.), international alumni associations, overseas agents or advisors via events or direct mail.   Special considerations should be given to ensure any direct mail premiums or hand-carried items would clear customs.

Promotional marketing works for recruiting international students because it is:

  1. Targeted & Brand Relevant
  2. Useful and Appreciated Advertising
  3. An Implied Endorsement

Targeted & Brand Relevant: Traditionally thought of as the marketing medium that starts a relationship, promotional products can be extremely targeted to the lifestyle of a prospective international student, while still being relevant to your brand.  When appealing to the habits and interests of students with a promotional item, a school can increase the likelihood that the item will be used, which in turn, increases the item’s effectiveness.

Useful and Appreciated Advertising: A tangible, useful branded item can be a daily reminder of a school or college (81% of products are kept because of usefulness). Promotional items are the only form of advertising that make recipients say, “thank you.”  Students will also stand in line for free promotional items.

Implied Endorsement: Lending itself to social sharing, promotional products are also an implied endorsement of your school.  This is important for word of mouth marketing to peers. Similarly, promotional items can be used to market to the high school counselors, advisors, and agents located abroad.  Either hand out items at fly-in’s or events, or mail counselors promotional items for their students interested in studying in the United States, as they are the local “face of your school.”

International Recruiting Product Ideas  

In brainstorming product ideas for international students, we subscribed to the idea that “smaller is better.”  Think of items that can easily be shipped overseas, or packed in a suitcase to reach alumni, agents, or high school advisors (that will also clear customs). As in any marketing campaign, the promotional item should be tailored to the target audience and local customs. Some ideas we like:

Long-term Strategy

The key to successfully growing an international student base is a long-term commitment in specific target countries.  Many students are already convinced that the U.S. is their top choice, so it’s up to each school to effectively brand and promote its academic experience and build relationships to become THE choice for international students.

Additional Resources