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July 12, 2017

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Are Solar Eclipse Glasses Safe?

We hope you're enjoying our three-part series on celebrating the upcoming solar eclipse.

Whether you're planning a viewing bash with our Over the Moon Total Solar Eclipse Party Plan, or using the Perfect Sips for a Solar Eclipse to organize a cocktail audition party (or two!) for your closest friends, there's something we need to share with you.

Some of you are going to miss the most important detail of all.

Those big, goofy glasses aren't just party favors. Without them, you risk permanent damage to your eyesight. And we're talking about serious, life-long impairment.

So are these fun paper glasses really enough to protect your eyes?

Yes! They are, but only IF....

 

If You Understand the Damage Done Without Eclipse Safety Glasses

You may be tempted to sneak a peek on the big day. After all, it's just a few seconds. But don't do it!

You probably won't notice any damage until the next morning, Ralph Chou, professor emeritus at the School of Optometry & Vision Science at the University of Waterloo in Canada warned in a recent article in Scientific American.

He warns readers that, "The cells get overloaded, and they're actually still able to function for a little while, but overnight while you're asleep … the cells start to lose their function, and then they even start to die depending on exactly how badly they've been affected..."

According to NASA, "The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as 'eclipse glasses'..."

If You Have the Proper ISO Safety Level 

Unfortunately, there are going to be eclipse glasses offered that don't have the proper level of protection.

How can you tell?

Not all glasses will meet the ISO 12312-2 standard recommended by NASA.

So what is ISO?

First of all, if you're a photographer getting ready to take pictures of the eclipse, don't confuse this with the same term that refers to the sensitivity of your camera lens to available light.

And please, don't think that a camera lens in place of the safety glasses is protection. It's actually just the opposite! The lens is designed to magnify the image and could potentially do more damage.

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. According to their website, they bring experts together on a voluntary basis to set International Standards that support the latest innovations and solutions.

 

You may be wondering how our products measure up to NASA standards.

PROMOrx supplies 2 mil, scratch resistant polymer lenses that filter out 100% of harmful ultra-violet and infrared rays.

And of course, our solar eclipse safety glasses have the ISO 12312-2 rating!

They've been independently tested for safe solar viewing at all phases of the eclipse and create a sharp, natural orange color.

Before you think we're taking all the fun out of this, remember, they come with a full color imprint included so you can give them away as a company promotion or even a personal party theme!

Bonus: They're made right here in the USA!

But they only work if...

If You Wear Them Correctly

Remember, it's possible to look at the eclipse partially covered by the moon without knowing you're already doing damage. Chou recounts stories of seeing a small sliver of an eclipse burned into the back of the eyes of patients who gave in to temptation.

Here are a few tips Chou recommends:

  • Practice with them BEFORE the event so you can enjoy without worrying about damage.
  • Put the glasses on before you look up.
  • Make sure to understand EXACTLY when it's safe to remove them.

So when can you take them off and see the actual eclipse? We love the NASA team because they give very precise viewing directions. We recommend you read Eye Safety During a Total Solar Eclipse at the NASA site.

It's tempting, but the risks are too high, so take a few minutes and make sure you wear your eye gear correctly.

 

If You Know How to Assist the Kids at Your Party

Children sometimes have sensory issues with things touching their face. Getting them to wear safety glasses is complicated by their ability to understand the potential danger.

If you have kids attending your get-together, consider sending parents a link to the NASA article and make sure they understand they may have to help hold glasses in place to keep their kids safe.

Please remember, there are only a few seconds that the eclipse is safe to watch without glasses, so make sure they have them in place BEFORE there is danger of impairment.

If You Know How to Handle Accidental Exposure

You may not know you've damaged your eyes immediately. The next day, however, you may focus on an object and find it isn't there. You can't see it in front of you.

You should immediately call an optometrist.

About half of patients diagnosed with eclipse blindness will recover their full vision in about six months. Others may lose their sight and will remain legally blind for the rest of their lives.

 

What We Would Like to Share With You

While we love a great party and we love giving you all kinds of fun tips, this is probably the most important tip we can give you:

Be safe. Keep your kids safe. And don't take chances.

Your party glasses are safe if...

  • You understand the potential danger of viewing a solar eclipse
  • There is an ISO 12312-2 certification
  • Both kids and adults wear them correctly, and
  • You get educated about when it's safe to remove them

 

If your glasses are scratched or damaged, they aren't considered safe, so check the kids' glasses and replace them if necessary. And always make sure they have the ISO certification.

Once you've got the safety covered, it's time to plan a party!

If you missed our Over the Moon Total Solar Eclipse Party Plan or the Perfect Sips for a Solar Eclipse list, you can catch up right here. You don't want to miss all the fun, so let's get started!

Happy Viewing!

July 07, 2017

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The Perfect Sips for a Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse Cocktails for...Everyone!

Memorable parties start with getting the details right.

If you're throwing a solar eclipse party, it's time to start making plans. While you're picking out invitations and decorations, don't forget this important detail.

It's time to plan an eclipse inspired cocktail menu!

Right now is the perfect time to audition a few solar themed favorites to offer guests on the big day. It's a great detail that helps make it a memorable event.

We've put together a couple of ideas to help you get the party started and then scoured the internet for some truly solar inspired cocktails for you to consider.

Enjoy!

 

Before You Design a Cocktail Menu

You have a couple of decisions to make.

Are you using a bartender, or letting your guests mix their own drinks?

As anyone who's ever tried to plan a cocktail menu can tell you, it can become expensive chaos to throw a bunch of liquor and mixers on the bar and hope for the best. It won't take long for the liquor to dry up leaving nothing but mixers.

You have options.

First, decide whether you want to spend your time mixing drinks, or enjoying time with your guests. If you've decided you don't want to be stuck behind the bar, you still have a choice:

  • You can hire a bartender, or
  • Serve a single "batch" cocktail

 

Hiring a bartender can get expensive, unless you bribe your nephew to help out. So you may want to consider serving a really terrific punch that can be made ahead of time. Big-batch cocktails can do double-duty as a gorgeous center-pieces and are easily replenished as the party goes on.

No fuss and no mess!

 

Location Isn't Just for Real Estate Agents

Location. Location. Location.

You hear it all the time in the housing market, but today, it's important for you, too.

If you're having your party in the field adjoining your house, for example, do you want to serve in your best champagne flutes?

Probably not.

There are great alternatives that still look classy. Whether you're serving water, beer or mixed drinks, you can get creative and provide your guests with a great party favor at the same time

Try color-changing beer mugs, tumblers you can have printed with your logo or party slogan, and these squeeze to drink BPA free water bottles are terrific ideas.

And above all...

DON'T FORGET THE CUSTOM SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES!

And yes, we can have them printed with your business or party slogan.

 

The List

Every time we open a search page we're finding new and creative party ideas.

According to US News & World Report, the event venue, Blue Jar Barn in Belton, South Carolina is offering a solar eclipse wedding package. Now that's creative!

We've put together a resource to help you plan your own Over the Moon Total Solar Eclipse Party. You can find it here.

While you're planning your menu, remember, it may only take a few changes to turn some drinks non-alcoholic for guests who prefer them.

Here are some of our favorite solar-inspired cocktails with links to their recipes to pull it all together. Some made the cut because they are so beautiful, they could easily become a "solar-themed" cocktail with a quick name tweak.

So here we go!

  1. The Solar Eclipse by Patron
  2. The Eclipse by Liquor.com
  3. Total Solar Eclipse by SimplyDarrling.com (Looks amazing in a tumbler!)
  4. Solar Eclipse with extra kudos for creativity...Rim the glass in Pop Rocks!
  5. Ring of Fire (and a few more) from Mic.com
  6. The Rising Sun from Absolutdrinks.com
  7. Check out the video with pro tips from Alien Tequila for their Solar Eclipse
  8. Loving those videos with pro tips? Try Art of the Cocktail Hour Eclipse
  9. Video! We love it, too! History and tips on the perfect Tequila Sunrise from GQ Mag
  10. A non-alcoholic version that's just as gorgeous and tasty from MixThatDrink.com
  11. Sophistication with an original twist? Try the Eclipse Collins from Rum N Pineapple
  12. We haven't forgotten the moon's part in all this! Harvest Moon from Space.com
  13. Supermoon also from Space.com
  14. Eclipse watching in the South? Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktail from Joy the Baker
  15. Perfect' sun tea from the popular Pioneer Woman is a must have base recipe
  16. The Dirty Gourmet (love the name!) brings us Sun Tea Cocktails
  17. Don't forget the kids with the Best Lemonade Ever!
  18. Going for the big-batch option?14 Big Batch Cocktails for $30 or Less
  19. Really great fruit punch from Courtneyssweets.com
  20. For that exact moment ...Glow in the Dark Drinks from Spaceships and Laser Beams

 

Last Minute Tips

There a couple of quick tips that can make life easier.

Freeze ice rings with sunny slices of orange and lemon to give the punch an added kick. You can add them to tea and lemonade by using the drink itself, rather than water, so they don't get watered down.

You can also learn to make a simple syrup. It's, well, simple. It's also the base for a lot of drinks, including non-alcoholic lemonade. It's a breeze to make and you'll use it often.


 

And above all, be responsible. Make sure you have a few designated drivers lined up. You can also post a link to Uber, Lyft and your local cab service, too.

 

Your To-Do List

Remember, August 21st is the big day, so it's time to plan, now!

So here's your list:

Protective solar eclipse glasses? Check.
Over the Moon Total Solar Eclipse Party Plan? Check.
Outdoor drinkware? Check.
List of designated drivers? Check.

And one long summer weekend to audition your drink menu with your friends?

Time to get out the calendar and book your audition party. And then give us a call so we can make sure you have everything you need in time.

Cheers from all of us at PROMOrx!

June 27, 2017

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Over the Moon Total Solar Eclipse Party Planning

 

The sun is high on a perfect spring day. Two of the most influential scientists of their time stroll through a terrace of hanging plants and water features considered rare in their country.

They are discussing the impact of their most recent findings.

Without warning, the sun begins to fade and the two sweep their robes aside, sit with clay tablets and record what they fear is the ultimate dark omen of their time.

The year is 1375 BCE and these ancient Babylonian astronomers recorded what we now recognize as the earliest known account of a total solar eclipse.

 

On August 21, 2017 on the other side of world, the story plays out a bit differently. The time of dark omens is over.

The United States is hosting a viewing party!

Everyone from the world's leading scientists and astronomers to kindergartners and Fortune 500 CEO's will gather together to witness a celestial event that has never taken place in US history: A total eclipse of the sun will track across the entire continent from Oregon to South Carolina.

If you haven't started making plans, you're late! The party has already begun. Festivals, camp grounds, rooftops, and fields across the nation are being booked to host viewing parties that, for most, are a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Are you ready to throw a party that goes beyond the ordinary? Let's get started fast because we're literally burning daylight!

 

What's the Big Deal About a Total Solar Eclipse?

A total eclipse is a rare event. We don't want to go all "science nerd" on you, but this is a big deal! The last one happened in 1979 and was only visible for a portion of the northwestern US, so it's no wonder the entire country is ready to celebrate this time.

Okay, we are going to go a little science nerd on you, but for good reason.

Many people have seen a partial eclipse, but the chances you've seen the moon totally obscure the sun (without traveling to see the event) is highly unlikely.

A total solar eclipse is a bucket list event and has been since ancient civilization.

 

Am I in the Path of the Eclipse?

The eclipse will track an approximately 70 mile wide path from east to west starting in Oregon and sliding across the nation to South Carolina.

The US has never had an eclipse travel across the entire continent in the history of our country.

And don't worry if you're not directly in the path. Most residents of the US will experience at least some degree of eclipse, so get planning!

If you want to experience the full impact and you’re not directly in the path, NASA will be live streaming here! It's completely acceptable to order up a big screen and stream the event.

Party saved!

 

Planning an Eclipse Viewing Party in Your Kingdom

So what's the history behind our celebration?

A total eclipse used to be the darkest of predictions in ancient times. It was considered a foretelling of dire events in the kingdom, so you can imagine how important it was for the royals to hear about it ASAP.

It was so important that, according to History.com, there is a legend that two royal astronomers named Hsi and Ho decided to take a personal day and have a private viewing party of their own.

They got a bit tipsy.

The the emperor sentenced them to death for failing to predict such an important event.

The good news is that today, everyone is planning a viewing party and our kingdom is totally on board! In fact, the United States Postal Service unveiled one of the most science-nerd-worthy Forever stamps ever, to commemorate the event.

The new stamp shows an actual photograph of a full moon taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak.

The coolest part?

The stamp is printed with thermochromic ink. When you place your finger over it, a second picture of a total solar eclipse, also taken by Mr Espenak, is revealed.

How's that for being science-nerd-cool!

We don't have to point out that these are a "must have" for any viewing party invitations you send out, right? You can find them online, here.

Oh, and bonus...there is a map of the path the eclipse will take on the back of each stamp, so let's get those invitations planned!

 

Out-of-this-World Eclipse Party Essentials

Now that we understand the general why and how of a total solar eclipse, let plan a party!

Everyone from homeschool parents to physicists will be planning a viewing event, but we have a couple of ideas that can make your viewing party shine.

First, decide whether you're going to join an already growing number of public events in your area. Here's where to look:

  • Local observatory
  • Museum
  • Municipal Parks & Rec Commission
  • City Events
  • Homeschool Co-Ops
  • Public School Systems
  • Eclipse Festivals (Check out this fabulous state-by-state list!)

Second, if you plan on holding a private viewing party for business associates or just your neighborhood pals, don't just throw the same old party.

Let your imagination run..."To infinity and beyond!" (Had to say it, sorry.)

Turn your party into a charity fund raiser:

  • Invite local celebs to entice ticket sales
  • Hire a fabulous local band to help spread the word
  • Include hourly giveaways, printed with your message

 

Sponsor an educational event:

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Find a local astronomer to speak
  • Provide kid friendly solar eclipse experiments
  • Talk about eye safety
  • Teach the history and science behind the event

 

   Make it an "Adults Only" Viewing Party:

  • Leave the car keys at the door
  • Post a link to Uber or the local cab company
  • Enjoy lunar inspired cocktails (Stay tuned for our list!)
  • Offer appetizers for a more sophisticated palate
  • Provide shade and seating as well as an exposed viewing area

 

Party Favors, Giveaways & Eclipse Party Essentials

PROMOrx has you covered! We know how to throw a themed party around here.

The most essential party favor is of course, safe viewing glasses. We'll update you with an entire article on why these are more than just a fun gift soon.

But since we all have to have them, we may as well party in safety AND style!

PROMOrx can provide custom ISO compliant glasses, independently tested for safety during all phases of the eclipse. They will give you the sharpest solar images with a natural orange color. And on top of that, you'll be able to brand them with custom colors and logos of your choice! 

If you're having a corporate or charity themed viewing event, remember, you can have all of our items branded with your message. Custom orders are our specialty! Get in touch and we'll show you how that works.

Here are just a few suggestions for prize giveaways and general fun, safe viewing.

We're very excited about helping you plan an Eclipse Viewing Party that goes beyond the average get-together.

Remember, it's essential to have protective eyewear you trust. Don't forget to coach the kids about why they need to leave them in place. Stay hydrated and out of the August sun when possible, and above all, help us celebrate one of this planets most rare and awe-inspiring events.

June 20, 2017

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4 Secrets for Prospecting with Branded Giveaways

 

Only three percent of the people searching for your product or service are ready to buy the moment they see your marketing.

That means 97% are in the process of refining their list of needs and suppliers.

How can you be in front of the right prospect when they decide it’s the right time to buy?

Today at PROMOrx, we’re going to cut through the noise about what prospecting strategy works and what doesn’t.

And we’re going to teach you a promo industry secret marketing gurus rarely talk about.

# 1 Be Different than Your Competition

You have two choices:

  1. Show up competing for prospects by looking and sounding just like your competition.
  2. Be willing to do what your competition either can’t or won’t.

Most companies look at their biggest competitor and think that by modeling their style, customers will recognize that they are big enough to compete and deliver the same quality.

Big mistake.

The quickest way to be overlooked is to look and sound like every other company out there, especially when you’re prospecting.

Prospecting tactics are a bit like fashion trends. They are cyclical in nature, so when popular methods become outdated by tech or by social convention, they are replaced. And when one method works well, everyone tends to employ that tactic.

Nothing will ever compete with an old-fashioned face-to-face meeting. You’re always going to need that fabulous elevator pitch. But right now, everyone is following the latest trend.

So what’s in fashion right now?

Online prospecting, of course! Check your inbox and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Everyone is using email to sell.

120.4 billion business email are sent per day according to the 2017 estimate by the Radicati Group. But on average, only 37% are opened, and it may be even fewer in your industry.

Your competition is likely using email campaigns, which is great. You should be, too. But remember,
email can be deleted and it’s rarely in front of your buyer when they are ready to buy.

That’s why you see the same offer repeated so many times you begin to delete before you open.

So if the absolute kiss of death is to look and sound just like your competition, you’ve got to go beyond email marketing.

Solution?


Direct mail works!

Here at PROMOrx, we hear it all the time—“Direct mail is back!” But the truth is, it never left. It’s alive and well, but we stopped talking about it when email marketing hit it big.

Direct marketing allows you to personalize with something tangible in a way that email can’t compete.

According to the Data & Marketing Association report for 2017, “Customer response rates increased year-over-year by an impressive 43%, but prospect response rates more than doubled – reporting an astounding 190% increase! So it’s no wonder that brands that have never mailed before are finding it a viable medium for both their retention and acquisition efforts.”

Here’s our tip: Don’t use one or the other. Use email and direct mail marketing in combination so you can make use of both fantastic marketing strategies.

But direct mail also allows you to deploy an industry secret. The next tip is as timeless as the face-to-face meeting, and will stay with your prospect indefinitely.

 

# 2 Create a Trigger Device

Give potential buyers a trigger to help them remember you when the time comes.

A trigger can be anything that flips a switch in the buyer’s memory.

  • Your company tagline
  • A short story
  • Small gifts
  • A contest
  • The offer of a free service to get you hooked

 

Anything that sticks in their memory will work as a trigger.

Providing a gift, even a very small gift is a perfect example.

But only if it’s done right!

Getting it right is the difference between sending junk mail and sending memorable sales material that gets a response.

And we all get too much junk mail…so do it right!

Here’s the secret: When you use direct mail, sending out a small gift doesn’t work if you don’t link it to an emotion. A prospect MUST have an emotional response to the trigger, one they will remember every single time they see whatever you choose to send. And done correctly, that gift will “trigger” a memory of you and your company when it’s time to buy.

Let’s see a deleted email pitch do that!

Let me give you a few very basic examples.

Let’s say you’re sending out a sales letter and the goal is to get you prospect to sign a contract with you. It’s fine to send out a letter asking them to do just that.

Or…

You could send them a pen with your contact information printed on it. In the envelope send a short note: “Our last client saved a fortune when he used this pen to sign with us. What are you waiting for? Isn’t it time for your company to sign-up and save money, too?”

The idea is that you have painted a quick picture of a happy company saving money while they are still losing. One simple note and a pen created intrigue, curiosity and urgency.

Just how much is a fortune, anyway?
How much extra money are we losing?

And if the time isn’t right for them to act, add, “P.S. Don’t lose the pen. You’re going to need us soon.”

Every time they see the pen—even a year later—they remember you and wonder if they shouldn’t check out the savings. Frankly, even if they lose the pen, they’re still going to remember that they are probably losing money they don’t have to.

Or maybe you need traffic to a new local business and you want to increase the budget a bit to entice the perfect buyer. Target your select audience for an exclusive, invitation only event. Try earbuds in a case with your company logo along with this note: “Listen up!  We’re opening a new store at 123 Center Street. You’re invited to this exclusive, “By Invitation Only” Grand Opening and sale.

Again, you’ve tied an emotion to a trigger. It’s exclusive and there will be pre-opening special pricing. And even if they don’t make the sale, every time they use the earbuds, they remember you.

Are you starting to get the idea?

But they don’t work unless you tie an emotion and show value. Make sure to explain very clearly what’s in it for them and ask them to take a specific action!

 

# 3 Master the Unforgettable First Impression

It doesn’t do any good to send direct mail if you can’t get them to open it. You MUST learn the art of making a first impression to get them inside and present the trigger.

There is one industry rule: Don’t look like the usual business mail.

Skip the bar codes, window envelopes and company logo printed stationary. Anything that hints at a mass mailed sales pitch is going to hit the waste basket because that’s what your completion is using.

Do you know what happens when you set a stack of your competitors’ mass-mailed business envelopes on top of a foil envelope? They all slide off, leaving your foil envelope on top. Hmmm…

Or, have you ever received a small box or tube that rattles? You have to shake it! You have to find out what’s inside.

You and I know it’s a trigger item that helps you remember the offer, but most prospects won’t make it to lunch break before the curiosity has them ripping open the container like a kid at Christmas!

Learn to be outrageous and creative to get your message opened. If you can put a stamp on it, it has to be delivered! But whatever you choose, make sure it’s in good taste and you can tie it to your business in an intriguing way.

And never, NEVER forget to ask them to take action in some way.

 

#4 Swipe Tactics from the Legends

The legendary ad man, David Ogilvy said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.

”People delete email…but they SEE direct mail, and done correctly, they won’t forget you if you’ve tied a creative trigger item to an emotion.

But it’s nice to get some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

That’s where one of marketing’s other secrets comes in.

We call it a swipe file.

It doesn’t mean you should actually swipe an idea and put your name on it. It means looking at what gets results and applying the idea to your business.

But be careful here…remember the kiss of death? Don’t repeat what you’re seeing from your direct competitor. Look at work from other industries and see if you can apply the basic idea.

Start noticing what’s coming in the mail and take note of what you like and what you don’t. What caught your eye? What made you want to check out their website, or buy something you hadn’t considered before?

Another way to get the juices flowing is to go through the  PROMOrx catalog of items. What relates to your industry? What fun messages can you send? How outrageous and memorable can you make adult coloring books or fruit infusers?

If you want to be in front of your customer for 30 seconds and hope they open your email, it can be done.

But everyone is relying on that.

Get creative. Choose a trigger item and tie it to an emotion that’s important to your buyer. Send it out and know that your name, your products and solutions are in front of the other 97% when they are ready to buy.

Because it’s next to impossible to delete a really creative memory.

 

 

 

June 02, 2017

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Fidget Spinners Turn Plastic Into Sales Gold

 

Guess what $500,000,000 toy industry has parents (and kids) going in circles?

 

Fidget Spinners! And yes, we've got them!

One of the things PROMOrx recommends is to watch retail trends for the next hot product, and this billion dollar industry is sizzling.

So what makes these little bits of plastic so irresistible for kids and adults, especially when there are no screens, cords or battery assists needed?

Today we're taking a look at the newest global trend and how it can give your company or school promotion some much-needed spin.

 

Quick History of Toy Fads that Paid BIG

Does the name Gary Dahl mean anything to you? In August of 1975, Dahl made it big when he introduced the Pet Rock.  He sold 1.5 million rocks with training manuals to a very hungry public and made millions.

And a year later they were gone.

But that isn't the case with all toy fads. In February of 1996, a quiet little franchise of "Pocket Monsters" known as Pokémon made their debut. In May of 2016, Money Inc. reported that Nintendo is still making approximately $1.5 billion a year from cards, comics, videos and associated products.

There's that "B" word again!

Whether you're old enough to remember the Pet Rock, or young enough to have bought a pack of Pokémon cards with your allowance, you'll recognize that retail toy trends are big business and carry the ultimate in name recognition and branding.

Rubix Cube®, Beanie Babies®, Frisbee's®, Friendship Bracelets and even Hula Hoops are all great examples of brands who have an immediate and lasting awareness in the minds of their public. 

 

The History of the Fidget Spinner

This little piece of plastic spins in the palm of your hand, on the table, on your nose, or on the top of your beer bottle! Well, that's according to GeekBite, the YouTube sensation and Professional Fidgeter. 

Apparently, spinner mania is so big it has created such a thing as a Fidget Pro.

As of today, he’s having fun with well over 7 million views for that video alone!

Fidgets are a hit and frankly, a no-brainer for companies who understand the importance of tracking a retail trend and capitalizing on it when they choose promotional products.

So here's the spin.

In the US, New-York based producers have sold more than 20 million fidget spinners to department and toy stores in April alone, according to the New York Post.

“At this rate, it would be our largest-selling toy in our 50-plus-year history,” the vice president of the company, Allen Ashkenazie, told the Post.

 

 

Is the Fidget Spinner a Toy or a Therapy Tool?

The Fidget Spinner gets a lot of press as a therapy aid, especially for autism and ADHD. And while this toy has no proven track record for helping people, it is common practice for therapists to give patients "fidget tools" to help them concentrate.

Does it work?

Have you ever clicked the top of your pen while you're thinking about what to write or played with a stress ball? According to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, hyperactive movements—fidgeting—help people focus and learn better.

Yeah, fidgets work!

And now that it's gone mainstream, self-conscious patients are less likely to hide therapy tools from their peers. In fact, they can proudly rock their favorite spinner tricks with everyone else! 

 

Spinning Plastic into Gold

If you aren't ready to get on the bandwagon just for fun, then let's talk numbers and marketing opportunities for your company.

This is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow. How can you tap into that?

Picture your next trade show. Are your reps standing around talking to each other with their backs to the room?

Or worse, are reading scripts on how to engage people and pull them into the sales funnel?

Instead of a canned sales pitch, how about turning the fun into profit? Give your crew Fidget Spinners branded with your company logo. They are a great way to break that awkward moment when you want to talk, without being high-pressure. 

They are a natural conversation starter!

Or hire a couple of high school kids to do tricks and get your audience involved. That leaves your sales staff open to talk once attendees are in the booth and feeling less stressed.

Spinners are an ideal promotional giveaway for so many reasons. Here's our spinner hit list.

  • High demand product
  • Tremendous public awareness
  • Small size
  • Flawless engagement technique
  • No tech support required
  • Easily branded
  • Perfect price

 

It's rare that a product that exceeds every expectation comes along. If you want to spin plastic into sales gold, give us a call. We'll help you put some spin into your next marketing campaign.

May 30, 2017

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The Ultimate Summer Camp Organization Tip Sheet

Did you know that there are more than 14,000 accredited summer youth camps in the United States alone? That's more than 7.2 million kids getting together every year — some overnight and some just for day camps.

That's a lot of kids to keep entertained and educated every summer!

Camp programs are an $18 billion industry that has been on an upward trend for some time. In fact, 49% of the camps that report stated their enrollment had a 90 to 99% fill rate in 2016.

That's a lot of kids to keep happy this summer!

To the approximately 1.5 million staffers, we hear you...and we're happy to help!

That's why we've put together a few tips to get you through. And to follow-up, we've created the Ultimate Summer Camp Organization Checklist to help you stay organized and in charge.

 

Before You Open the Gates...

There is a lot to consider when you're running a summer youth program of any size. You'll love some of the new and creative trends in camp themes. And don't forget, we live in a digital world, and with it comes new rules that you may not have considered.

So let's get started.

Trending Camp Themes

According to the American Camp Association, camps are adapting to the evolving interests of the day. In the past two years, there are several emerging trends:

 

  • Adventure camp
  • Family camp programs
  • Nature and environmental camp
  • College planning
  • Community Service
  • Community Gardening
  • Cooking (using what they grow from their garden)

One of the fastest growing trends is to tie the camp theme, whatever you choose, to a community service including food drives, recycling programs, senior citizen and hospital volunteer work, and community clean-up.

Promoting Your Summer Camp Program

You might think that branding is something only businesses need to think about, especially if you're a church group or other non-profit program. An $18 billion industry makes branding something you need to think about, too.

When you start planning your theme, you should also be thinking about how you're going to promote your program and find attendees.

Social media is a natural! A Facebook page specifically for your summer camp will help parents get details about sign-up deadlines and updates once you're in progress. Or you may want to go all out and have a separate website. But before you do, there is one major question that's bound to come up.

Is it okay to take pictures of kids and use them online?

This is an extremely sensitive issue. Parents are very serious about how or even if images of their kids are used, even to promote a great summer camp experience next year.

Currently, at least two states have considered legal action to make it illegal to take pictures of their kids without permission, but the legality isn't the real issue.

Sometimes doing the right thing means you ask permission, whether it's a legal requirement or not.

So make sure to get permission to take pictures, especially if you plan to use them to promote future programs online or in print.

Looking Professional and Polished

Take a minute and imagine two different scenes.

The first is chaos. It's a ninety-degree day and you're running late on the first day of camp. After missing the turn twice, you find the right drive and begin navigating a labyrinth while you look for parking.

Once you've landed, you find kids running every direction, parents asking other parents if they work there, cars pulling onto the sports field to get a better spot, and even a couple of dogs running loose.

And worst of all, the sign-up table has no shade.

The second starts the same way, but this time there are printed signs pointing to the entrance with a clear camp title. As you drive in, there are adults in matching shirts and ball hats with camp ID clearly displayed on a lanyard. They're motioning you to an area with a large printed PARKING banner.

After you get inside, there are more staff members wearing the same t-shirts and lanyards, channeling families over to the sign-in area. Over the table is a colorful array of umbrellas stamped with the camp logo.

And at the end of the table, more staff are handing out water bottles with the camp logo prominently displayed on the side.

Which scenario would give parents the sense of security they need to feel good about leaving their kids?

Branding isn't just for business. It's an essential part of promoting the image you want to convey.

In the planning stage, make sure you think about the theme and how you want to promote your program and the staff. First impressions make a difference and they inspire trust and professionalism that parents are looking for.

So if you're ready to get down to business, print out our Ultimate Summer Camp Organization Checklist and have a blast this summer!

 

The PROMOrx Summer Camp Organization Checklist

 

¨ Adopt a theme
¨ Select a community project to partner with
¨ Find a location (Special needs accommodations and all safety requirements
    should be considered)
¨ Apply for any permits needed
¨ Design a logo
¨ Audition colors that match the theme and are highly visible

¨ Design curriculum or daily plan
¨ Download take-home material (Try giving your entire program away on a
    flash drive as a bonus)
¨ Order staff shirts in theme colors
¨ Order staff ID and lanyards
¨ Select giveaways & contest prizes (Lunch Bag Cooler, Messenger Bag or popular
     Fidget Spinners)

¨ Set up work schedules
¨ Plan field trips
¨ Create permission slips
¨ Coordinate with partner projects
¨ Create clean up teams

¨ Follow-up for testimonials and questions after the program
¨ Send thank you cards to partners

 

No matter how much planning you do, unexpected questions and situations will come up. Make sure to keep track of them for the next event.

Another idea you may want to include is to plan a parents coffee morning. Invite them to meet for an hour and get to know each other. Put together a short presentation going over everything their kids are doing and give them some fun ways to follow up in the weeks after camp.

This is also a great time to give them a USB with your program curriculum if it's appropriate for your theme. Or you could give them a list of local resources that tie into the camp experience like community garden contacts, volunteer opportunities, local courses etc.

Summer camp is a much-loved tradition. Above all, have a great time! And if there is anything the staff at PROMOrx can do to help you plan, just give us a call.

May 22, 2017

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We’re Talkin’ Trash About Your Promo Products (And Why You Will, Too!)

Now you did it! You've got 'em talking trash about your promo...and we're so proud of you!

Sustainable giveaways and eco-friendly promotional items are hot!

Today we want to say thank you for buying responsibly by helping you develop a sizzling marketing strategy around going green.

Yep, we're talking trash—more specifically, how to run a promotional campaign with a focus on recycling and sustainability.

It takes some chops to stand up and be different, but the rewards, both personally and professionally, are worth it.

But before we get started...

 

Why Base a Marketing Strategy on a Trend?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has gone from being a nice company perk, to "a fundamental strategic priority for businesses large and small," according to Forbes Magazine contributor, Susan McPherson.

In short, sustainability is no longer a trend. It's a qualifier for whether other businesses choose to partner with you or not.

Any good marketing strategy is based on research. So let's go over the numbers.

 

  • Fortune 500 firms spend more than $15 billion a year on CSR.
  • That number is rising as businesses see CSR investments improve company performance, talent recruitment and retention.
  • 33% of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good according to a Unilever Consumer Study.
  • 81% of Americans believe corporations should take action to address important issues facing society; and 88% believe corporations have the power to influence.

Clearly, whether you're a one-man startup or a multinational, understanding the importance of CSR in any marketing campaign has serious financial and branding implications.

Recycling and strategic sustainable promotions are a cornerstone of CSR. 

  • On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.
  • There are 4 pounds of trash generated daily, on average, by every American...the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • The US population discards each year 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, 220,000,000 car tires, and enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over.

But here's the statistic you're going to love...

An estimated $1.2 trillion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.

That number makes quite a case for finding out how to incorporate eco-friendly promotional items into your next corporate event.

So how do you get started?

 

Know Your Market

As I said, all good marketing strategy is based on research. It's absolutely essential to know your target in as much detail as possible.

To do that, borrow a trick from marketing analysts and sales copywriters. Learn to develop a strong buyer persona.

According to industry leader, Hubspot, "The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.)."

You may have more than one, so start small and concentrate on details and accuracy. You can add to your persona library as you grow.

A buyer persona will help you provide promotional products that will have true value to your customers.

If you design a green marketing campaign, it's important to choose items that fit your customers' lifestyle. If they're into tech, for example, they're more likely to appreciate a 100% Recycled USB Drive, than a plastic paper weight.

Developing a marketing persona may seem like an unnecessary step, but it's the details that will make or break your campaign. Hubspot offers a free template to help make the process easy.

 

Develop a Company Policy

Speaking of personas...what is your company persona?

It matters!

Back in the 1970's a phenomenon known as greenwashing rocked the corporate world. Greenwashing is a conscious act of presenting a product or organization as environmentally responsible to enhance public image.

It still happens. In 2015 Volkswagen promoted their diesel as a low-emissions alternative to gasoline and spent $77 million to promote their green campaign. At the same time, they altered 11 million of the clean diesel engines with software to trick emissions tests, allowing those cars to spew far more than the legal limit of pollutants.

Most companies wouldn't consider doing something as outrageous, but what happens when you run a promo based on sustainability and your company is chucking out plastic bottles of water at the next trade show.

Did you know that we throw away 35 billion plastic bottles a year? That's enough to circle the earth four times!

Authenticity is a word you'll hear a lot in both sustainability and marketing. And unfortunately, your reputation can take a hit even when you don't intend to be insensitive. 

Make sure you know your company policy and make sure your sustainable promotion remains authentic.

 

When to Embrace a Trend

Now. Now is the time to start looking at what's trending.

After you've laid a strong foundation for your campaign by fully understanding the importance and making sure you know your target market as well as you know your own company, it's time to have a little fun!

About time, right?

There are four trending buzzwords in the branding and promotional industry right now. Use them as a buying guide and have some fun with it!

 

  1. Quality

Always begin by choosing a quality logo'd product. A promotional giveaway may seem like a small thing—a gift really—and who criticizes a gift? But the truth is, a giveaway is an early indicator of the way you perceive your company, your employees, and your future customers.

So if you provide a quality branded product, you've indicated your standard to the receiver. And you've let them know this is how much they will be valued as you move forward together.

 

  1. Tech

That's a trend worth watching closely. If it makes life easier, fits into your buyers' lifestyle, and if it's high quality, you have a winner.

And yes, there are eco-friendly and sustainable tech promotional products to choose from. Ask us.

 

  1. Retail

If it's trending online and in the stores, it deserves a second look.

Two easy to replicate trends right now are bags and cups.

Instead of plastic bags that many cities are beginning to outlaw, try reusable grocery totes. Tired of throwing away foam cups and plastic straws? How about a stainless insulated cup and straw?

 

And the fourth...Sustainability.

Eco-friendly promotional items are an essential part of any green marketing campaign. It's easy to be different and stand up for what you believe in. And don't forget, PROMOrx is always here to help you choose if you have questions.

It's what we do. Who we are. And what we believe in.

Give us a call...we love talkin' trash!

 

 

May 18, 2017

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4 Keywords That Will Make...or Break Your Marketing Strategy

Promotional products share almost seven percent of the advertising market in the U.S alone. That's $21 billion and rising! But what's most helpful to you, the buyer is that promotional products are ranked highest by consumers across all generations as the most effective advertising vehicle.

That's great news for companies that cross-promote to more than one audience.

But unless you can spot the trends and know which products are valued by each audience, promotional giveaways are just another expense. 

Spotting trends and knowing when and how to use them is your best way of ensuring ROI, or at the very least, making sure your brand stands out in a sea of competition.

But you already know that experience proving the effectiveness of one product over another doesn't always come cheap.

That's why we've put together a quick list of keywords that will help you choose what will work for your audience based on the latest market research and trends. 

So here are four keywords that can save you time and money on your path to finding the product that speaks to your market.

 

  1. Quality

Remember when you went trick-or-treating on Halloween as a kid? Everyone flocked to the house that had the full-sized chocolate bars, right? And what happened to the house that gave out toothbrushes with the dentist's business card?

Nothing has changed. We still talk about the businesses that go the extra distance and provide quality promotional gear. And we're still not impressed by the less than authentic attempt at manipulation by the companies that forget who they are marketing to.

Branded material has moved up in the world and more and more companies are moving toward the higher quality, higher profile giveaways. That holds true for all generations, but especially Millennials. They have very little patience for cheap and poorly thought-out marketing.

Quick tip: If you are promoting high-end products or services, but you reach out to your potential customers with low-end, cheaply made gifts, you may be sending mixed messages that your buyer won't take the time to decipher. What you put your brand name on says a lot about the quality of your own company and how customers will be treated in the future.

 

  1. Tech

When it comes to tech, all you have to remember is that whatever products enhance your buyers' lifestyle are probably winners.

As long as they are of good quality.

According to the latest PPAI consumer study, 48 percent of Millennials said they kept promotional products because the design fit their style and/or personality.

And there is your key takeaway. Target the demographic you are trying to attract. Provide branded accessories that they love to be seen using. 

Your branded promotional products have the highest advertising reach above any other form of advertising providing exposure on a daily basis, according to the same study. 

That's a huge opportunity for your company. Five in 10 consumers polled stated they come in contact with promotional products most of the time or at all time during their day.

Quick Tip: When you provide high-quality, high-demand cool tech giveaways that people want to be seen with, you dramatically increase your company visibility. The National Retail Federation highlights that this year's tech trend is also about exploring what to expect in the future. So keep an eye on what's hot, but keep both eyes on what's sure to be the next tech customer experience.

 

  1. Retail

There's a shift. Customer convenience has taken a primary role in the choice of products over the last few years, enhanced by the choices consumers have in the retail world. That trend will only increase in popularity.

Every year consumers have come to expect the same experience across platforms. In other words, they expect the same lightning fast service, ease of use, and the number of choices they have online in all of their product experiences.

The ultra-insulated mug they find on Amazon, for example, is the product to beat if you're thinking about branded travel mugs. Expect to see more and more promotional items mimic the experience of high-end retail products.

And expect that your audience will be looking for nothing less from your products.

Quick Tip: When choosing a product as a company welcome, or an incentive gift, pick something that reflects not just your company logo but is also something your employees will choose over the product they bought for themselves.

 

  1. Sustainability 

"What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another."  — Mahatma Gandhi

The world is changing and being sensitive to how our choices affect the planet and each other are of primary concern for a growing number of people. Sustainability is not just a fad or a trend. It has become a way of life.

In marketing, when you make a product selection, your choice is more than just a reflection of how we see ourselves and the world around us. It's also a reflection of our company values and beliefs.

Choose wisely and choose with your target audience in mind. Failing to get your know your audience before you buy, could be embarrassing, to say the least.

Quick Tip: Choosing the right products means everyone wins. Make sure to evaluate not just the trusted products you've used in the past, but also the Eco-Friendly choices to reflect the company values you want to share with the world.

 

The Wrap

Four keywords can make or break your marketing strategy. But the ultimate strategy is knowing how to combine them for the best customer experience.

  1. Begin by choosing quality products. They are a peek behind the curtain to your company values and set the bar for customer expectations.
  2. Choose tech items that reflect the user's style and personality so they love being seen with your branded product.
  3. Keep an eye on retail trends. It's a fair assumption that what's hot in retail is what you should be looking for in a branded product giveaway.
  4. Remember to take into consideration how products reflect your company values and the values of those who will receive them.

Begin with quality and then evaluate your product choice using the remaining three. It's a four-step solution to ensuring your marketing strategy is a success.

 

 

May 04, 2017

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The Psychology of Swag

the psychology of swag

If I gave you a crystal ball—one that told you the future of successful swag products—that would be powerful, right? You could motivate your staff with the ideal recognition gifts, choose the perfect employee on-boarding pack, and send holiday promotions that really work!

But most of all, you would have an instant advantage over the competition.

That’s powerful.

The truth is, I don’t have a crystal ball to give you. I have something better.

 

The Psychology of Swag

When you reach out in search of promotional products, your options seem limitless. But ah, with options there are decisions.

According to Nir Eyal, who has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design School and authored several books including Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, there are three core motivators that drive most behavior.

  1. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
  2. Seeking hope and avoiding fear.
  3. Seeking social acceptance while avoiding social rejection.

When you understand how each motivator helps you choose your products, it’s more powerful than any crystal ball. Let’s take a look at how to use them.

 

The Right Product Means Everyone Wins

Is there anything more painful than watching a marketing promotion tank? We’ve all witnessed the trade show booth that sat with stacks of promo products untouched and people passing without a second glance.

Or how about that look on your colleague’s face when the boss hands her a gift certificate to the best steak house in town to say thanks for a job well done…but she’s vegetarian?

It’s brutal.

Knowing who you are marketing to—and how your gifts will be received, ensures that you don’t miss the mark. It’s a lot more fun and definitely shows your company in a better light.

So let’s turn that around. What if her boss had searched out Eco Friendly promotional items? Everyone wins! Your colleague would probably love the Eco-Friendly Journal Pen Set, or one of the cool tech Mobile Chargers with a sustainable bamboo case, for example. They are more in line with her personal beliefs.

But more important, the perception of your company as being in touch and sensitive to the experience of their employees can go a long way when it’s time to recruit staff.

 

When the Job of Buying Falls to You

How many times have you been tasked with the job of finding the perfect promo items? It seems like such a small thing, but no one wants to be responsible for telling the boss why the company trade show booth was the one everyone ignored.

It wasn’t memorable. It wasn’t relevant. It wasn’t eye-catching. Or even worse, it offered exactly what everyone else was offering, and you didn’t stand out in the crowd.

The fear of choosing the wrong trade show giveaways is very real. It can make or break your campaign if you don’t research your market, pair it with a relevant and useful product, and match it to your brand.

And making the wrong choice will definitely trigger that pain option we just talked about!

So let’s offer a little hope. A reputable company should offer some assistance in helping you make your decisions. PROMOrx, for example, is a phone call away when you need advice. With 17 years in the business, the team has a lot of experience in targeting the right audience with the right product, and branding you as a professional in the process.

It’s okay to let go of the fear of choosing. You can relax knowing your choice is going to have exactly the intended results.

 

The Social Connection to Branded Products

There is a synergy between today’s buyers and technology. We all love our cool tech gadgets and at the same time we crave privacy that still other tech products provide. That cycle feeds not just our social networks but how we personally interact with tech. Did you know that 75% of you check your phones immediately after waking up? We are addicted to the social connection that tech provides.

Social perception is equally important in the marketing and promotional world.

If you’re worried about how your company is perceived when you send a holiday promo, or even a simple customer appreciation gift, just know that there is a social connection to the products you choose. Remember the boss who gave his vegetarian employee a steak?

It’s a very human thing to seek social approval. No one wants the social rejection of being “that guy” or "that girl." My advice to you is to know your target audience. Make sure the company swag or trade show giveaways you provide are not just functional and useful, but also speak to their social beliefs if that’s relevant. Sustainable, recycled and eco-friendly products are here to stay.

 

Your Personal Crystal Ball

It’s true, you have some decisions to make. If you want the instant power that only a crystal ball can give, take time to study what motivates your audience and keeps them loyal. Then, find out how to use that information to personalize your event.

Start with a goal in mind and then make sure you’re providing something that gives true pleasure. Once you’ve chosen, empower your employees, clients and future customers to get social with products that have your brand name and your unique message.

Because the right corporate swag, combined with the right message is the true power.

February 20, 2017

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Marketing to Demographics. Just Say NO!

When buying corporate swag or your trade show giveaways,
consider the usefulness of the item and its' connection to your brand. 
www.PROMOrx.com
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