DIY Advertising. Would you cut your own hair?

DIY home improvement shows are awesome. I especially love the ones that feature some weekend-warrior attempt to build a dream bathroom, only to fi nd him or herself hip deep in a major mess. In business, DIY advertising is worse than a home reno fail. DIY advertising is more like a DIY haircut. It never looks good. It’s embarrassing. It will take a long time to fi x. And, your next trip to the salon will be expensive.

I’ve recently encountered several situations where advertisers were going to take a DIY approach. The most recent example involved a prospective client. After reviewing at least three ad agencies, and having worked with two others in the past, this advertiser informed us that they were taking everything in house. They are actually going to invest in creative staff, design software, new computers, media buyers, media planners, media software, ratings data and market research.The cost will be relatively astronomical. In a real way, this advertiser is starting a new business that is unrelated to its core competency. Investing in new staff, new software, new equipment, etc. could add up to tens of thousands of dollars a year (or more)! And there won’t be any return!

If someone were to propose giving themselves a new haircut, I’d yell “NO!” So, if given the chance, I propose these three questions to people considering a DIY approach to advertising.

Can you afford the learning curve?

Why make the investment?

Don’t you deserve better?

You want someone who knows what they are doing to cut your hair. So why not a professional ad agency?

By M. Gillespie

Pennsylvania Considering Ban on All Gifts to Politicians: What Do You Think?

What do you think? Should Pennsylvania follow the lead of states like Florida and enact a total ban on gifts to politicians? Should allowances be made for gifts under a certain value, as other states have done? Or should there be no ban on gifts at all?

I found the following by Michael Cornnell in Promo Marketing Magazine:

The state of Pennsylvania is currently considering a major political reform bill affecting the value and type of gifts that politicians from the state can receive. The current bill, which affects cash gifts only, has passed the state senate but a larger ban—one that could include physical gifts of any kind—could be possible.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Senate State Government Committee chairman Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R., Lancaster), has “advocated a wide ban on gifts and hospitality.” What a “wide” ban would mean is unknown, but if it mirrors bills that exist in other states, it could mean a total exclusion. This would mean common promotional thank-yous—such as a crystal award from a nonprofit or a commemorative flag from a veteran’s association—would be illegal in Pennsylvania under such a bill.

The current cash-banning bill is not yet law, still having to pass the state House and be approved by the governor. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a spokesperson for Governor Corbett said that he would approve the cash ban, but “stopped short of saying the governor would support a complete gift ban.” Others in the Pennsylvania government have also expressed doubt over banning gifts. Said the Inquirer:

“Senate President Joe Scarnati’s chief counsel, Drew Crompton, said he thinks a total gift ban could be unwieldy and difficult to enforce. Would that mean returning or destroying flowers from a constituent? Plaques from civic clubs? Coffee mugs from a local business?”

5 Ways Promotional Products Can Help Grow Your Business

Promotional products (sometimes called “advertising specialty items”) are one of the most cost-effective marketing choices you can make for your business.

That’s because promotional products significantly increase positive awareness of a company or brand in the people who receive them. They also have one of the best cost per impressions (CPI) of any advertising medium.

For example, the Advertising Specialties Impact and Exposures Study (October 2008) found that promotional bags were used an average of 9.33 times per month and delivered an average 1,038 impressions in that month.

Promotional products are good choices for more than just advertising, however! Here are five more ways advertising specialty items can help grow your business:

(1) Increase Brand Awareness and Name Recognition at Trade Shows

Giving a promotional product to qualified leads at trade shows is a good way to keep your business top of mind with potential new customers and increase their receptiveness to follow-up campaigns.

According to a study by Schreber & Associates, 39% of people who receive a promotional product will recall the advertiser’s name as long as six months after they received it.

(2) Raise Direct Mail Response Rates

A Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) study showed that bulky mail – which is perceived to contain a product rather than simply messaging — increases response rates by up to 50%.

This works for trade shows as well!  Research by the Dallas Marketing Group found that trade show booth traffic can be tripled by sending registered attendees a promotional product in a pre-show mailing.

(3) Make It More Likely Customers Will Make a Purchase

An Advertising Specialty Institute study indicated that 62% of recipients of a promotional product were more likely to make a purchase than those who did not receive an item.

 (4) Get Customers to Buy Again Sooner

Southern Methodist University found customers who received free promotional products along with their purchases re-ordered up to 18% sooner than those customers who received coupons. Plus, promotional produces build awareness and customer loyalty!

 (5) Get More Referrals

In a study by Baylor University, researchers found that Mary Kay consultants who gave promotional or advertising specialty items to their clients were more likely to receive a referral than those who did not.

So from trade shows to retail stores, from direct mail to networking events, promotional items can help your business … win more business!