Posts

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.

 

2014 Top New Promotional Products for Colleges

At Magellan Collegiate Promotions, we strive to share the latest and best promotional marketing ideas with our clients.  To stay on top of what’s new and trending, Owner Michael Wolaver and Account Manager Paige Wagner attended the industry’s largest trade show, the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.  Here are the top new promotional products for schools and colleges to incorporate into branding, marketing, and recruitment efforts.

Trend: Sustainability 

Product: T-shirt made of Recycled Material

EarthSpun Eco Friendly Tshirt

EarthSpun Apparel Eco Friendly Tshirt

 

This high-quality t-shirt is made from recycled plastic bottles blended with recycled cotton. Additional apparel items are available in this same eco-friendly material, including a zip-up sweatshirt and women’s t-shirt.

Uses: staff apparel, student contests

Trend: Drinkware and Accessories

Product: Knit Acrylic Bottle Insulator

knitted bottle insulator

Bottle sweater keeps drinks cold and hands warm!

The next generation of insulated beverage holders has been upgraded to a fun, knit sweater material.  We fondly refer to this as a “beer sweater.”

Perfect for showcasing your logo, it comes in four different yarn colors. Acrylic yarn will keep hands warm when holding onto a cool beverage.

Uses: Alumni, events, athletics

Product: H2Go Mason Bottle

Look around Pinterest or in any home goods section of a store, and you’ll see mason jars! Anything from vases, light fixtures, mugs, or wine glasses are inspired by the classic mason jar.

mason bottle close up

25 oz. Mason Jar Water Bottle

The Mason Bottle comes in many colors

So many fun colors for your school!

This mason bottle can be imprinted on the side or top of the cover with a logo. In addition to the many colors pictured above, it is also available in a stainless steel finish.  Choose from single wall (featured) or double wall insulation.

Uses: Staff, Alumni, Student Contests, Admitted Student Days

Trend: See More Clearly 

Product: Clear Drawstring Backpack

More schools and sporting events are requiring clear bags for security reasons. Specifically the NFL updated their Stadium Bag Policy in 2013 as a way to improve stadium access.  The PGA will be adopting a similar policy. This clear drawstring backpack is an ideal solution for new security measures.

Clear drawstring bag

Clear drawstring bag

Paige and Michael also saw clear totes and backpacks in this trending category.

Uses: Athlectic Events, Prospective Students

Product: Clear Glasses

Custom imprinted sunglasses have been a hit on college campuses for some time.  The latest iteration of this is the clear glasses.  Paige noticed her college age relative sporting a pair of clear glasses recently, so it is a real-live trend.

Clear lens glasses

Clear lens glasses are a new take on retro sunglasses

The glasses can be imprinted on the sides, as you can see on the purple pair pictured above. The glasses are UV blocking and have a cool, retro style that students will love.

Uses: event giveaway, campus tours

Trend: Good Looking Table Cover

Product: Full Color Spandex Table Throw

Traditional table covering can easily be folded, stuffed in a bag, and setup at the next event.  While ironing a table cover is not always possible, it’s common to see traditional throw or drape style covers look a little wrinkly.  Say good bye to wrinkles with this fitted, spandex material table throw.

Fitted Spandex Table Throw

Fitted Spandex Table Throw Features Full Color Wrap Imprint. Available in 4’, 6’, or 8’

The form-fitted design supplies an excellent canvas for a full color design on all sides. The back of the table covering can be open for easy access to materials stored under the table. It’s available in four, six, or eight feet lengths.

Uses: Campus events, college fairs, trade shows

Trend: Mail-friendly Items

Product: Custom Postcard Decal

Direct mail is alive and well! We often work on stickers, decals, or clings for our collegiate clients.

Custom Postcard Decal can be a cling or sticker

Custom Postcard Decal can be a cling or sticker

The custom postcard decal features a postcard on one side and decals on the other. Stickers are available in white or clear with an adhesive or static cling option. The featured size is 3-5.8″ x 6″ though other sizes are available.

Uses: Mailings through Admissions, Alumni Organization, Individual Schools (i.e. School of Business, College of Engineering)

Trend: Technology 

The segment of tech items in the promotional products industry is booming! Anything related to smartphones, power cords, chargers, speakers, and so on were prominently displayed across the show floor in Las Vegas.  Here are our five top tech picks for 2014:

Product: Microgrip Screen Cleaner

Similar to one of our most popular products, the DigiClean, the Microgrip Screen Cleaner also adheres to a phone and can be used again and again for screen cleaning. One new feature that differentiates it from the DigiClean is an outward facing sticky grip section to hold a phone in place.

Half grip, half screen cleaner for your phone

Half grip, half screen cleaner for your phone

Pictured above you can see that the design has two halves: 1/2 logo and 1/2 grip texture. It’s a new twist on a wildly popular phone screen cleaner!  A similar product that was recently introduced is the DigiGrip Screen Cleaner and Mobile Grip.

DigiGrips is another mobile phone grip and screen cleaner in one.

DigiGrips is another mobile phone grip and screen cleaner in one.  It comes pre-affixed to a postcard or marketing card for a larger messaging space and easy storage.

Uses: Events, campus tours, mailings

Product: Juice Box 2200

The Juice Box is a very trendy item that charges devices on the go. Such chargers are already available at retail.

 

Easily charge a tablet or phone from 0 – 100% battery power. Just plug in a device cable and charge away. Available in four colors.

 

Uses: Incentives, contests, scholarship recognition

Juice Box charges devices on the go

Juice Box charges devices on the go

 Product: Phone Wallet

This phone wallet has easily become one of Michael’s favorite new items.  He’s been using it for several months as his wallet on his iPhone.

Phone wallet keeps cards and ids snugly in place

Phone wallet keeps cards and ids snugly in place

It’s designed to work specifically with iPhones, but would easily adhere to other phones as well. Using a strong, 3M adhesive, the phone wallet is securely attached to the phone and snugly holds cards in place.  This could be used to replace a wallet or purse entirely, or simply lighten the amount of things carried in an existing wallet.

Uses: contests, mailing, event giveaway, campus tours

Product: Powerline Adapter Cable

No more carrying multiple cords with this 3 in 1 adapter power cord.  This useful item covers approximately 90% of all devices.

Useful 3 in 1 adapter power cord

Useful 3 in 1 adapter power cord

At one end is a standard USB connector that can be plugged into any AC or DC USB power adapter – or even your computer’s USB port providing 5 volts of recharging power. On the charging end of the cable you’ll find a nice large imprint area with three different connectors. Included: Apple 30pin connector (iPhone 3, 4, iPad 1,2, iPod), Apple Lightning connector (iPhone 5, iPad Mini, iPad 4), and the universal microUSB connector.

Uses: Alumni, speaker gift, School of Business, Computer Science, Engineering (etc.) promotional item

Product: Mini Bluetooth Speaker

MyMusic Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Enjoy the convenience of listening to music from your phone without any cords.

Paige and Michael liked this small Bluetooth speaker, as it has excellent sound quality, and it’s convenient to listen to music without cables through your phone.

Uses: Speaker gift, contest

That wraps up an overview of our favorite new products for 2014.   Last year we also highlighted Top 10 Collegiate Promotional Products, and many of those products continue to be popular even today.  Which items were your favorites?  Do you have other preferred promotional products? Let us know!

For any questions or samples of these products, please feel free to contact us.

 

 

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

 

Latest Trends in Marketing to Gen Y: Prezi Download

Creating engagement with students is harder than ever.

Increased competition in higher education and the lightning speed at which technology changes has made finding the right messages and portals to reach students extremely important.  With the incredible amount of advertising that we are all exposed to on a daily basis, many people are self-trained to stay away from most marketing messages.

The challenge: Find out what marketing IS working in order to best to reach your prospective AND current students.

With Generation Y (and upcoming Gen Z) being the most tech savvy generation(s) ever, it is essential to understand the latest trends and technology tools for effective marketing plans.

In this presentation (given at the IACAC conference in Sioux City, Iowa), we focus on:

  1. Latest market research on Generation Y and Gen Z  
  2. Gen Y Marketing
  3. Social media trends and tools: Facebook, Twitter, Image Powered Platforms

View Prezi

How do you effectively market to Generation Y and Z?  What do you think of the latest features in social media platforms?