Posts

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring… and We’ve Got the Solution!

An umbrella makes a great promotional gift because everyone needs one, but who really wants to go out and buy one? You can also never have too many umbrellas – keep one in the car, one at the house, one at the office, and more!

A few weeks ago Peerless Umbrella, our go-to production partner for umbrellas, stopped by our office to tell us about what’s new and trending in umbrellas.

Read on to learn more about our favorite umbrellas!

 

The Rebel

The Rebel

What’s New – The Rebel

The newest addition to Peerless’ line is the most unique umbrella we’ve ever seen – the Rebel.

We’ve all been in the situation where it’s pouring rain as you’re running to your car, and you have to make a quick decision. Do I try to get my umbrella closed as I’m in the car and risk getting my car wet, or do I just get soaked and close it before I get in? The Rebel is the solution to your problem.

With an inverted design the Rebel closes away from you, keeping you dry as you get into your car or walk into a building.

Click the image to the right to see exactly how it works!

 

The Mojo

The Mojo

What’s Trending – Unique Use of Color

We all have seen the basic black umbrella or the standard two-tone umbrella, but are you looking for something that can make you stand out from the crowd?

We can help you do that! From a new twist on the two-tone umbrella to a black umbrella with full-color clouds on the interior, we have just what you need to make a unique statement for your brand.

Check out our favorite to the left – the Mojo comes in black or navy blue with accented internal hardware in a variety of colors.

 

A Custom Full Color Umbrella

A Custom Full Color Umbrella

What’s Trending – Full Color

Do you have a logo that’s too unique for a standard single-color print? How about a picture of a new building or location that you want to show off? We’ve got the solution – a full color umbrella!

Pick from folding, fashion or golf for the handle and frame, and an interior or exterior full color print. An added bonus? On some sizes and designs we’re able to print domestically, cutting almost two full months off of production time.

It is sure to make your stand out from the crowd on a rainy day!

 

For More Information

Would an umbrella be the perfect fit for a project you’re working on, or would you just like more information? Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we can present some options that will be the perfect accent for your next marketing campaign. We’re here to make your brand stand out from the crowd, rain or shine!

The Keyboard Sticker

Keyboard Sticker Blog Post

I bet many (if not all) of your incoming freshmen applied to your school through your website – most likely sitting at a computer. During the next four years of their lives, your students will spend countless hours on their computers – writing and researching papers, completing homework assignments and more. And that’s just the incoming class of 2020. Think about all the ways that your constituents use their computers – students writing papers, alumni making donations and faculty advising their students, just to name a few.

Since computers and technology are such an integral part of life today for your current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and more, what better way to keep your brand right in front of them than by using their own computers as a promotional item?

UW Keyboard Sticker

University of Wisconsin’s Keyboard Sticker

Our exclusively designed keyboard sticker is an inexpensive, engaging and unique way to do just that. You can customize any computer key with a ½” sticker, quickly making a keyboard the hard-to-miss advertisement for your institution.

These keyboard stickers have been a hit with many of our clients and they are the perfect way for you to reach out to current and perspective students, donors, alumni and more.

Many schools have used the same template, but do you want to switch it up? We can do that! Add more keys, make a bigger card, or even turn the keyboard sticker into a postcard. If you can design it, we can do it.

Email your Account Manager to discuss how the keyboard sticker could be the next great addition to your marketing platform.

Ideas for Digital Viewbooks

In an increasingly digital world, many traditional brochures and multi-page books are being adapted for an online format. Many colleges are following this trend and taking their viewbooks online. There are many benefits to digital viewbooks, including:

  1. Reduce overall print costs
  2. Cost savings on postage for both domestic and international students
  3. Easier to correct online publications with updates

Cost reduction and ease of updates are certainly appealing to many schools.  However, one question often remains before schools make the transition to digital viewbooks:

How will students find the online viewbook?

Beyond simple links throughout the website, many schools are looking for a tangible item that can replace a hard copy viewbook or large printed catalog. One promotional product solution that is ideal for driving web traffic to a specific URL is an item called the webkey.

Webkey in your school colors

Find a webkey in your school color to direct students to an online viewbook.

Similar to the look of a USB drive, a webkey is pre-programmed with a URL that automatically takes users to your viewbook (or whatever site you specify) when plugged into a USB port. While a USB drive could also store many e-publications, a webkey is a more affordable solution with a longer shelf-life than a USB port because the programmed URL can simply be updated with the latest viewbook. To make it easier to handout or mail, a webkey can come pre-attached to a full color postcard, which can provide instructions on how to use it.

More Tracking Options

Want to track opens, and add in survey questions? There’s an upgraded webkey called the iCue that can do that. Since it’s often difficult to track the effectiveness of a printed viewbook, a webkey powered viewbook can provide detailed tracking through an administrators page.

Here are a few highlights of the iCue:

  • Better Tracking – when the webkey is plugged into a computer, data will be sent to the administrator’s page.  This will provide data on the number of impressions or view rate as a result of your webkey.
  • Optional one-time registration allows for collecting additional data about your target audience. From the admin page, you can easily add and customize the desired questions. The collected data will show up in the admin page, giving information on which recipients used the product, making it very easy to schedule follow-up calls or emails with these contacts.
  • Easy Contest Administration – using the admin panel, you can track who opened and registered on your site, which makes it easy to hold a drawing for a prize incentive. Promote the drawing on an included 5×7 postcard to encourage visits. Incentives for students include: coupon to your university book store, waive or reduce the application fee, voucher for athletic events, or branded promotional items.
Green Power paper iCue

Sample webkey with 5×7 full color postcard – promote an incentive on this card to help drive traffic to your school’s website. Ideal for direct mail or handing out at events.

 

Webkey Case Study

msoe-web-key

Drive site traffic with a WebKey

One case study describes how Milwaukee School of Engineering used web keys to successfully promote and drive traffic to a new admissions website.  Web keys were the ideal solution for MSOE – seamlessly directing users their new Bridge site.  Read more about how MSOE Admissions used the webkey here.

If you’re interested in a trackable, engaging promotional item for directing your target audience to an online viewbook, a webkey is THE ideal solution. View the links below for more product information, or contact us to further discuss your online marketing strategies.

Links for More Information

Want more ideas on ways to engage prospective students?  Visit our ways to increase engagement page as part of our admissions resources.

Help Stop the Melt – 5 Ways to Integrate Promotional Products into Social Media

“Most schools will see a melt of 2-3% of their incoming class,” according to Bob Patterson, the Director of College Outreach for Zinch, a Chegg service, who discussed Summer Melt on edTech Digest.

Some of the strategies he outlined to prevent summer melt included creating a social network for deposited students and simply getting students excited about coming to campus.

Students Engaged Online = Less Likely to Melt

Encouraging accepted and deposited students to join and participate in a school’s social media sites is a common goal at EVERY higher education institution throughout the year, and most importantly during summer. To increase participation, it may take some incentive for students to actively post on an incoming class’ social media site.

To increase social media engagement, many colleges creatively use promotional products to promote and drive usage on incoming class sites.  A tangible item is a fun way of saying “thank-you for choosing our school” and an appreciated reminder of your school and its dedicated social media sites over summer. Here are a few promotional product ideas that collegiate clients frequently integrate with their social media campaigns:

Product Ideas for Social Media Integration

  1. Contests: Use promotional items as a prize on social media contests. Ripon College hosted a water bottle photo contest with the Class of 2017.  It was successful in creating engagement with the new class, leading to many new interactions and conversations in the social media space. Learn more in the Ripon College Case Study.
    Ripon College Water Bottles used in Facebook Contest

    Ripon College Water Bottles used in Facebook Contest

  2. Imprinting Twitter handles and social media accounts on a t-shirt.  Bloomfield College has been hosting a t-shirt promotion for three years.  Once students took a picture of themselves with their Accept Certificate and posted it online, they would be mailed a t-shirt.  According to Bloomfield College, each year the number of posts surpasses the previous year, making this promotion a big hit with students.  Learn more in the Bloomfield College T-shirt and Social Media Promotion Case Study.
    bloomfield-college-tshirt

    Bloomfield College T-Shirt and Social Media Promotion

  3. Stickers / Decals: These are a low-cost, direct-mail-friendly item that can easily be imprinted to direct students to social media sites for admitted / deposited students.  One college we worked with created bumper stickers to include in an admitted student mailing.  Students were encouraged to post pictures of themselves with the bumper sticker on the admitted student Facebook page.
    Midland Prep Two Sided Postcard Decal

    Postcard on one side and decals on the other. Available in white or clear with an adhesive or static cling

  4. Phone Screen Cleaner: The DigiClean phone screen cleaner is one of our most popular tech items with colleges.  It comes pre-attached to a postcard or business card, leaving an ample canvas for featuring a QR code, social media icons, and hashtags for incoming students. Read more in the DigiClean Case Study.
    DigClean Mobile Phone Screen Cleaner comes pre-affixed to a postcard, making it ideal for direct mail, not to mention extremely useful for students.

    DigClean Mobile Phone Screen Cleaner comes pre-affixed to a postcard, making it ideal for direct mail, not to mention extremely useful for students.

  5. Picture-worthy Promo Items:  a custom frame with the hashtag #FutureBadgers for the University of Wisconsin – Madison 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.  This frame could also be created for Class of 2018 at admitted student days or orientation activities. Learn more about it in the Custom Frame Case Study.
    Future-Badgers-Frame-Campus-tour

    Custom Frame is a fun photo-opp for students with a specific hashtag for online sharing.

Social media plays a key role in building community and helping students find their place at your school.  It’s essential to effectively promote admitted / deposited student sites to minimize the melt.  Consider using promotional products to help engage and excite students throughout summer.

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