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How The Scodix E106 Is Changing Printing

A large part of our mission at Forefront Group is to ensure we’re staying on the bleeding edge of tools and technology. We've spent a great deal of time and resources expanding our print capabilities. 

An output of that research has lead to the Forefront team having access to Scodix printing machines. Scodix, and machines like the 
Scodix E106 – is revolutionizing the world of printing. Interested in learning more about this device? You’re in the right place! We’ll take a deeper look at its benefits, features, why we’ve invested in this technology, and more. Let’s get started.

Unparalleled Speed

Speed is king in the world of printing. The faster you finish a job, the more jobs you can do. The more jobs you can do, the more customers you can serve – you get the picture.

Scodix E106 offers ultra-fast production and is able to support production speeds of up to 4,000 SPH, in the unique B1 (1060*760mm) format.

Reliable Results

Speed is nothing without consistency. Using the latest digital tools, advanced materials, and industry best practices, the 
Scodix E106 has been designed to offer incredible performance and reliable results. And because it’s fully digital, there is no tooling that will snag, snarl, or otherwise fail. 

Rapid Setup – Without Tooling Costs 

As a fully-digital printer, the Scodix E106 offers incredibly rapid setup. The device can be installed and run in just a few hours – ensuring that you do not have to stop your business operations to install or service a new unit. And since it’s digital, it does not have to be retooled – unlike other “analog” printers in use around the world.

Incredible Set Of Diverse Features

Speed, reliability, and ease-of-use are not the only benefits of the 
Scodix E106. It’s also incredibly feature-rich.

Features like Scodix Foil™, Scodix Sense™, and Scodix Spot allow customers to create unique foil, metal, and “holographic” style designs – all in a single machine! By doing so, Scodix allows customers to distinguish themselves from the competition in a very crowded marketplace.

Specialized For Short-To-Medium Run Lengths

Scodix E106 has been built to support short-to-medium run projects, allowing companies to have increased flexibility when it comes to client workloads. Because it is digital, there are no long lead times when switching between projects. Simply load up the new project file and materials, and you can get started almost immediately. 

The Scodix E106 – Leading The Way In The  Printing Industry 

The Scodix dedication to useful, fast, and powerful printing tools has led to the Scodix E106 – and this printing machine promises to revolutionize the way the printing industry works worldwide. This is exactly why we’re invested and will continue to invest in tools and technology like the Scodix Machines here at Forefront.

Check out the Scodix Machine in action here and get in touch with the team at Forefront if you’re interested in learning how YOU can leverage Scodix.

How To Incorporate Seasonality Into Your Promotional Products

Promotional products are popular at all times of the year. However, seasonality can play a big role in the types of products available to customers, and which items are the most popular.

Seasonal Changes

Just like retailers are affected by seasonal shifts, so are promotional product companies. Apparel, for instance, is the area in which seasonal change is the most obvious.

For example, windbreakers, fleeces, warm hats, and gloves are more popular in the colder months, because people are more likely to be bundling them up when shopping for winter clothing.

Conversely, the warmer months increase the desirability of golf and polo shirts, ball caps, and other apparel. Picnic and barbecue accessories are also much more popular during the warmer months, making them a great choice for a promotional product.

The Impact Of Holidays on Promotional Products Industry

Holidays often have a big impact on the promotional products industry. Companies are thanking their employees and clients for the previous year, so higher-value promotional products are more popular. Gift baskets, apparel featuring company logos, and other high-value items are commonly given during the holidays.

Other Seasonal Shifts

One of the other big shifts often seen in the promotional products industry is the beginning of a new school year. Often, items like backpacks, USB drives, pens, and other office supplies are very popular after the summer break. This is especially true of companies who work with clients in the education industry.

Take Advantage Of Popular Items – Give Away Seasonally-Appropriate Items!

If you work with the right promotional products company, you’ll be able to stock a wide variety of items that can be given away throughout the year.

Whether it’s branded gloves in the winter, coolers and picnic baskets in the summer, or USB drives at the beginning of the new school year, you’ll be able to take maximum advantage of seasonal shifts.

Need help staying with the seasons? Let our team make sure your promotional products are right for every season!

3 Bold Trends We Love For Promotional Products In 2018

At Forefront Group, we pride ourselves on being at the “forefront” of new promotional products – pun definitely intended! And this year, we’ve put together a quick list of our top 3 predictions on where the promotional products and apparel industry may be headed in 2018. Take a look below!

1. Promotional Products Will Begin Appealing Specifically To Millennials

Millennials are entering the workforce in droves, and as of 2016, they overtook Baby Boomers and Gen X as a percentage of the working population. This means that there are more millennials working than ever – and promotional products companies have to adjust to this.

As we all know, millennials have different attitudes towards work and life than older generations.

Millennials aren’t afraid to be bold and brash, and they love electronic devices and technology, and are very comfortable with it.That’s why we predict a major upswing in bold patterns, more engaging and quirky promotional products, and high-tech gadgets.

2. Wireless Accessories Are Going To Continue To Boom

Since the introduction of the iPhone 7 and “EarPods”, wireless headphones and other wireless technology have become very commonplace. Brands like Google and Samsung are also removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from their phones, and this trend does not seem to be slowing down any time soon!

We predict that BlueTooth speakers, headphones, and other wireless accessories are going to be even more popular in 2018, and that upscale manufacturers like Bose or Harman Kardon may even begin offering brandable items in the promotional products space.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone X have also repopularized an older technology – wireless charging. We predict that wireless charging accessories will continue to become more popular as more phone manufacturers begin using this technology for new flagship smartphones.

3. Wearable Technology Will Become More Commonplace

This is certainly our boldest prediction. We think that “smart clothing” is going to enter into the promotional goods space this year, in some way. This category is still very new, but there are already examples of great implementations by some companies.

For example, Nike sells jerseys with NFC tags that can be scanned, opening up the team’s highlights for the day. And Levi’s new Commuter Trucker Jacket includes “smart fabric” that allows you to control your touchscreen from your sleeve. You can answer calls, interact with your GPS, and change music without touching your phone.

Other technology includes Lumo running shorts/capris, which can measure metrics like ground contact time, cadence, and other fitness information, helping to improve running form.

While these products will probably be very niche and a bit on the expensive side, there is a lot of potential for use in the branded products space – and we expect a few companies, at least, to harness this power for promotional products in 2018.

Let Us Know What You Think Of Our Predictions!

Think we’re on-track with our big predictions for 2018? Disagree with one of our choices? Regardless, we’d love to hear from you, and discuss how we can help your company thrive in 2018 with our branded products. Get in touch now, and see what The Forefront Group can do for you!

The Vendor List: Why It's Important To Audit Vendors

If you run a business of any size that uses promotional products, branded collateral, inventory management, or wants to explore an all-encompassing portal, you’ve probably got quite a few vendors that you use regularly to meet all of these needs. And there are many reasons that you may use multiple vendors.

Perhaps you needed a specialized product in a pinch – like custom multi-chargers for a major upcoming expo – and you couldn’t get them from your preferred supplier. Or you had to meet some sort of vendor quota 5-10 years ago that’s now an outdated business practice. Maybe you took over a new position and it’s simply “the way it’s always been done”.

Regardless of how you go there, what typically happens is you’re now left dealing with 5 or 6 different vendors, when you could be relying on only one or two – and they probably aren’t doing that much to keep your business. They’re just waiting for their next set of “marching orders.”

Think about it – when was the last time that a vendor reached out to you to see how they could add more value to your business, rather than just waiting for your next product order?

Taking A New Approach In 2018

As you’re moving into 2018 and looking to increase employee productivity, consider the amount of time an employee spends finding new products and interfacing with multiple vendors, when you could streamline this process by having one true branded solutions partner. What we’ve observed is that you may be partnering with five different companies when you only really need to work with one. This leads to confusion, more emails added to your overflowing inbox, and even delays in shipping your promotional products, collateral, etc.

By taking a look at each vendor you’re partnered with – and why you’re partnered with them – you can understand whether or not it’s advantageous to continue your current business relationship.

When auditing your vendors, there are two primary questions you should ask yourself.

Has This Vendor Been Proactive Or Reactive?

The best vendors are always proactive. They’ll reach out to you with ideas about new products and methods you can use in your business, and help you leverage the power of branded and print materials to succeed.

If most of your vendors are reactive, you may want to consider putting them on notice – or even breaking ties altogether. You need a partner that works with you closely and doesn’t just wait for your next order without adding any value.

Am I Using This Vendor In A “Fractional” Manner?

Even if you are partnered with several great, proactive vendors, you may want to reconsider your business relationship if you’re using them fractionally.

For example, if you have one vendor for t-shirts and another for custom digital mailers and yet another for fulfillment, you may want to consider finding a vendor that offers a wide range of products and services, so that you can leverage the value of a centralized vendor.

Centralizing your vendors helps you save money and time, and reduces the risk of late shipments, incorrect items, and other major issues.

Audit Your Vendors With This Strategy!

As an all-in-one branded solutions provider, we believe in the power of centralized, proactive service. At Forefront Group, we pride ourselves on providing the very best service to all of our clients, and self-auditing to ensure we are always bringing fresh materials to the table.

So take another look at you branding vendors, and if you think you could do better, contact Forefront Group now, and learn why we're the best in the business!

Dont Leave The Wrong Things Behind At Your Holiday Party Our Quick Tips

At Forefront Group, we know all about good “leave-behinds” – promotional products like YETI mugs, quarter-zip fleeces and shirts, sales collateral, and more. But at your company’s holiday party, there are a few things you don’t want to leave behind – your car keys, spouse, wallet, or reputation! We’ve all been there when someone gets a bit too wild at a holiday party, especially with an open bar.

So don’t become the “talk of the town” going into next year. Follow these quick tips to have a great time at your holiday party – but avoid embarrassment!

1. Don’t Drink Too Much

No surprise, here. Our #1 tip is… don’t drink too much! Drinking with your coworkers can be a very fun way to blow off steam, and enjoy yourself among friends.

Unfortunately, drinking excessively can cause you to lose your good judgment – and if you do, you could end up making career-ending mistakes, or at least embarrassing yourself in front of colleagues and managers.

Understand your own alcohol tolerance. Sure, you can drink enough to lighten up – but once you start to feel unsteady on your feet, cut yourself off!

You should also make sure you have a plan in place to get home if you’re not driving – and if you do end up drinking too much, excuse yourself politely and leave. It’s better than making a scene.

2. Be Positive And Have Fun

An office holiday party is supposed to be fun and light – so attend with a good attitude, and expect to have a good time. Don’t use the party as an excuse to vent to your colleagues or managers – and definitely don’t turn it into a board meeting or a brainstorming session!

Dress in your best, show up, eat some hors-d'oeuvres, down a couple glasses of white wine, and have a blast! And if you don’t feel like you can do that, don’t attend. Not going at all is better than going with a bad attitude and leaving behind negativity for everyone else to deal with.

If your party allows for +1s and other guests, be respectful and kind to them – and include them in your conversations. A person attending a party at a place where they don’t work may feel uncomfortable or stressed – especially if everyone is just talking about work.

Make it a point to talk to party guests who don’t work with you. Including them in the fun is the best way to ensure they have a great time!

3. Don’t Be A Grinch!

The Holiday Season can be stressful on many. Not only can it drain your energy, but also your wallet. Maybe you didn’t get that year end bonus you were hoping for or you didn’t win some of the company awards given out. Now wouldn’t be the time to express your frustration in front of the world to see (although it might feel necessary).
No one likes a Grinch and although it can be difficult, work to ensure you don’t turn green this holiday season! Take some time to enjoy and look back on the positive notes this year, being mindful is critical to accelerating your 2018.

Follow These 3 Tips For A Great Holiday Party!

  1. Don’t get too drunk 
  2. Don’t talk about work (too much) 
  3. Make sure you include guests in your conversation – it’s just that simple! 

Thanks, from everyone at the Forefront Group. 2017 has truly been an excellent year, and we’re looking forward to 2018. As you get through your work holiday party, we hope you feel the same way – and we can’t wait to work with all of you again next year.

Happy holidays – and don’t forget about us in 2018 for bold, innovative promotional products!

Bigger Means Better... Not So Fast

When it’s time to choose a partner for the creation of branded solutions, it’s tempting to choose the largest company you can find.

There are a few reasons you may choose to do this. The story larger companies will tell is that they have stronger buying power, quicker turnarounds, a wide variety of customizable products, and increased capabilities versus the “little guy.”

However, choosing a larger branded solutions company is usually a bad idea. Why? Their size actually works against them. The reality is, smaller and larger firms can sell all catalog items equally. It’s when you get into customized items that the ability to have a one to one interaction with someone who knows and is truly invested in your business is critical.

Still not convinced? Here are 3 more scenarios that show why it’s often better to partner with a one-stop-shop branded solutions firm, such as Forefront Group.

1. Better Vendor Relationships

The supply chain of a multinational promotional products company is, in a word, enormous. There’s a lot that goes into creating, finalizing, and shipping your products – and the larger the company is, the more likely it is that your products will be “lost in the shuffle.”

However, Forefront Group has personalized relationships with domestic vendors, direct-from-factory partners, and a more streamlined supply chain. We stand by our promise to deliver forward-thinking promotional solutions on time while upholding a standard of excellence in the quality of products from idea generation to delivery.

2. “Better Pricing” Vs. Value

Due to their resources, larger companies have the ability to make a ton of noise in the marketplace; touting additional discounts, purchasing power, and more. What is more important is the actual value that a true partnership brings. Partnerships that can only be built on a personal level. We actually give clients better pricing by leveraging our lean structure. This means our reduced overhead and operating costs ensure we’re delivering the best value instead of the highest markup.

You may cut costs by a fraction of a percent (doubtful though) – but you’ll miss out on what makes promotional products special.

3. Better Client Service

When you're with a smaller firm that has all of the same capabilities as bigger firms, you'll get the full package of care and attentiveness that you deserve. Problems are always going to arise for any business no matter how hard you try to avoid them. When a problem does arise, do you want to call a 1-800 number and sit on hold or do you want to call and immediately talk to a person? It may not seem like a big deal now, but when you’re up against a deadline and an order is messed up, there’s no peace of mind in sight.

We love asking potential clients when was the last time that a large firm picked up the phone and actually suggested a branded solution to them. It rarely happens, and when it does, it’s only to push the “latest and greatest” that might not have any relevance to your business.

Smaller firms are more invested in the quality of the products and how their new ideas creatively blend with your brand. Customer satisfaction and retention is their number one priority, and it’s certainly ours at Forefront.

Don’t Leave Your Brand To The Big Guys!

For the three reasons listed above – and many more – you shouldn’t just trust any branded solutions company with your essential promotional materials. Forefront Group is the perfect partner for you – the personalized attention you deserve, with competitive pricing and service that can’t be beaten.

So shop our products today, and get in touch to learn more about what we offer, our capabilities, and our unique business approach.

Going Beyond The Trade Show Booth The Power Of Promotional Products

Trade shows are a great place to draw in potential clients and customers. Your exhibit is the “magnet” that can draw in these individuals – and has been designed to be attractive and attention-grabbing.

However, you’re surrounded by a sea of other booths. Unless you differentiate your company somehow, your booth won’t have much staying power – and you risk being outcompeted by other displays.

So what’s the solution? Promotional products.  Promotional products and giveaways are a great way to provide a potential customer with a permanent, branded reminder of your company.

However, you must use the correct strategy to make proper use of these products – otherwise, you could be wasting time and money.

Leverage Your Promotional Products Wisely – And Maximize ROI!

Not all promotional products are built alike. You may be willing to hand out hundreds of branded pens, for example – but a branded coffee mug or a high-quality bag is a different thing altogether.

Because of this, we recommend implementing a three-tiered promotional product strategy, as follows:

Classifying your items into these three tiers helps your sales team/booth staffers interact with individuals more intentionally
. They’re going to focus on understanding which leads are “worth” a high-value item.

  • Tier 1 – These are inexpensive products that booth visitors can grab at-will. Things like can koozies, pens, and even some T-shirts may fit into this category. These items are designed to promote your brand but are relatively inexpensive, so they can be given away en masse.

  • Tier 2 – These mid-tier products should be kept behind or underneath your booth, and given to booth visitors who are serious potential leads, or who have engaged in a long, insightful conversation. Branded mugs and electronic devices such as phone chargers fit into this category. They’re still relatively inexpensive, but much more impactful than “Tier 1” items.

  • Tier 3 – These are high-tier, expensive products that should be generally only be given to high-importance clients and leads. High-quality drink tumblers, custom leather bags, and high-end pens are common tier 3 products. Because these items are quite expensive, they should be given away more sparingly.

Your Booth, Your Staff, And Your Promotional Products – 3 Keys To Success!

With a combination of a friendly, well-trained booth staff, an attractive and informative exhibit, and a comprehensive promotional item strategy, you’re sure to differentiate yourself from the competition, and succeed at your next conference or trade show!

How To Give Promotional Gifts Externally And Internally This Holiday

It may seem a bit strange to start talking about the holiday season already – but when it comes to promotional gifts, it’s never too early to start conceptualizing.

We believe in being proactive – not reactive. High-quality gifts can take a while to produce, so it’s best to start planning early. In addition, if you put some thought into the process of creating specialized promotional internal and external gifts, the results will astonish you!

In this article, we’ll take a look at two of the most common recipients of promotional gifts – executives (external) and employees (internal), and discuss strategies for designing and creating the perfect gifts for both external and internal recipients.

Executive Gifts

The gifts you give to an executive are a reflection of your relationship – both with your clients and your brand. The holidays are a critical time in your business-client relationship – it’s often the last point of contact you’ll have with a client before the holidays and the New Year.  Because of this, holiday gifts are a perfect opportunity to really impress executives, demonstrate thoughtfulness, and drive home your marketing campaign.

Naturally, this means that the gifts you give to executives should be quite a bit more thoughtful than your typical “leave-behinds” (pens, beer koozies, shirts, notebooks). You need to give them, a meaningful item that’s unique, useful, and personalized.

There are a variety of options available to you in the modern promotional gift space – things such as high-quality apparel, utility-type products, and travel items are popular. A branded leather Dopp kit, for example, is a useful and attractive product – and if you get it monogrammed with the executive’s initials, you’re sure to make an impression.

So put some thought into individual gifts for each important executive – and you’re sure to succeed.

Employee Gifts

Of course, executives aren’t your only valuable team members. Your employees need to be recognized, too – and everyone loves feeling valued and appreciated. Holiday “thank-you” gifts are a great way to spread cheer among employees and thank them for another fantastic year.

There are two guidelines you should follow when selecting employee gifts:

1. Keep It Practical – The best gifts are things that are actually useful to employees – items they can incorporate into their everyday lives. For this reason, tech gadgets like branded Bluetooth speakers, phone docks and cases, duffel bags, and high-quality apparel like windbreakers and light jackets are popular. When in doubt, choose something that can be used by everyone – regardless of hobbies, interests, etc.

 2. Go Gender Neutral – Don’t select gifts based on gender. All your employees should receive similar gifts – don’t get things like perfume and jewelry for female employees, and tools/sports equipment for male employees. Choose gender-neutral, useful items like water bottles, mugs, jackets, and electronic accessories. Failing to do so will lead to discontent among your staff – nobody likes getting something they don’t want just because they’re of a certain gender.

Partner With Us For Expert Advice And High-Quality Products!

At Forefront Group, we’re not “yes men or yes women.” We have years of experience in the gift-giving space – and we can provide you with excellent recommendations for both employee and executive gifts. 

So partner with us. We’ll help you create a strategy, buy and brand/personalize the right products, and ensure your success this holiday season. Contact us today

Promotional Products: When To Save & When To Splurge

Promotional products are extremely effective marketing tools. Unlike traditional marketing materials – flyers, business cards, brochures, and so on – promotional products are meant to be useful.

This means that the average lifespan of a promotional item is much longer than any other kind of marketing or advertising product – in fact, a study conducted by Promotional Products Association International found that 69% of all recipients of a promotional item plan to keep it indefinitely.

But not all promotional products are the same. In order to truly take advantage of the power of promotional products, your company needs to know when it should save and purchase more low-cost products – and when to spend serious money on high-quality, branded items.

Saving Money With Low-Cost, High-Impact Items

Just because low-cost items are cheap doesn’t mean they’re not appreciated. In fact, low-cost items like custom pens and logo bags can provide a huge return on investment, and are a great way to promote your brand.

This is because the cost isn’t really a factor that people consider when they keep branded products – instead, the utility is the biggest factor. Your customers will keep a useful item, even if it’s not high-value.

For example, if you purchase a $1 branded pen instead of a $3 branded pen and give it away to your customers, they’re not going to turn it away – in fact, they’re likely to hold onto it, despite the fact that it’s a relatively cheap product.

So for smaller items that you give away regularly, it’s a wise idea to invest in some low-cost stock that you can give away whenever you want – this ensures that you’ll always be able to provide a potential customer with some kind of useful item, and promote your brand.

There’s also a place for giving away these type of low-cost items. We see these appear with high frequency at smaller trade shows, sponsorship events, in charitable donations, and more. Why is this? It comes down to the fact that many brands aren’t going to distribute higher-end type products in large volumes (unless they have the budget to do so). Products that go into executive gifts, high-end marketing campaigns, and more, simply require more personalization, customization, and strategic planning than the low-cost items mentioned above.

That being said, there’s still a threshold of “junk” to sort through when obtaining a low-cost promotional item. It’s important to work with someone who understands that low-cost shouldn’t reflect low-quality. Those variables do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Investing In Expensive Branded Products

You shouldn’t just invest in low-cost branded products. When it’s time to really impress a client, it’s a good idea to have plenty of high-value items to give away. These would include items such as:

  • High-quality apparel                               

  • Electronic gadgets

  • Branded drinkware

  • Bound notebooks

  • Coolers

And so on. Though value is not a huge factor in whether or not someone keeps an item, giving away higher-value items certainly makes a better impression on a potential client.

For this reason, these items should mostly be reserved for current clients and leads who have potential to convert to paying customers. When you give someone a high-value branded item that’s useful, they’re much more likely to stick around and listen to your sales pitch.

Trust Forefront Group To Help You Make The Right Choice

At Forefront Group, we’re promotional item experts. Our team specializes in providing incredible branded products to our customers and offering expert advice that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your promotional items.

So talk to us today. Our team of strategic partners and consultants can help you design a fantastic promotional item marketing strategy – ensuring that you get maximum ROI on your investments, and continue to bring in high-value customers.

Your Promotional Products Need To Be Useful Not Just Pretty

At Forefront, we’re well aware of the mistakes that some clients make when picking out promotional products. Promotional products are powerful marketing materials. 

However, to truly maximize your ROI when using promotional products, it’s important to pick products that are useful – that offer some kind of value to your potential customers. Why? Here are 3 reasons.

1. 77% Of Customers Say They Keep Promotional Products Because They’re Useful

The longer a customer owns your product, the more value you get out of it. For example – if you give a branded travel mug to a potential client and they use it for over 2 years, you’ll get a huge return on investment.

According to Sage, 77% of consumers keep promotional products because they’re useful. Not only that, useful products will be used in public more often – creating even more marketing impressions, and further maximizing your ROI in promotional products.

2. It Takes (At Least) 6 Impressions To Turn A Prospect Into A Customer

If you give a potential customer a branded hat, they may look at it once, wear it a few times, and then toss it. If you give them a set of luxury branded pens, on the other hand, they may start using them exclusively – and each time they look at them, they’ll think of your company.

This is critical for marketing success. It takes at least 6 solid impressions to turn a prospect into a customer. Utilitarian products provide a powerful way to keep your company at the forefront of your customer’s mind. By providing more impressions, these products can increase sales.

3. 53% Of People Use A Promotional Product At Least Once A Week

If a product is useful and functional, customers will use it.That’s just a fact, and that’s why so many people use promotional products regularly.

If you’re not offering a useful promotional product that can be used by your customers, chances are that your competition is. So focus on creating useful promotional products, and you’ll be able to dramatically increase the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

Focus On Utility – And Increase The Effectiveness Of Your Promotional Products!

For these 3 reasons – and many others – it’s critical that you choose promotional products that are appropriate for your industry, and will be useful and versatile.

Interested in what we believe are some of the highest engaging utility products available right now? Get in touch with our team and we’ll share with you the most effective pieces today!

3 Powerful Ways Promotional Products Build Your Brand

We’re focused on continuing to push the envelope at Forefront Group when it comes to creating innovative branded products and know it’s a surprisingly effective way to build your brand. But when you think of promotional products, you may think of branded beer koozies, bottle openers, pens, and other cheap objects.

In reality, promotional products can be just about anything – and the more innovative and useful they are, the better. Research shows a surprising level of efficiency for branded products. A 2010 study by PPAI revealed that 94% of people who owned a promotional item could remember exactly where they received it – up to two full years later! So whether you’re investing in some branded pens, or an entire complement of branded accessories and other fun “schwag”, just remember – these products are important, no matter how big or how small. Here are 3 reasons why.

1. Products Open Lines Of Communication

When you give away a product, you open lines of communication. A study done by L.J market research found that 52% of participants who were given a branded promotional item ended up doing business with the company in question. Not only that, even the 48% who didn’t do business with the company at the time still said that they would be more likely to do business with them in the future because of the gesture. People like getting free stuff! And when you give them something for free, they’re more likely to stick around and hear what you have to say, whether you’re planning on pitching them, selling them on another product, or just trying to strike up a friendly conversation.

2. Products Stick Around For A Long Time

Think about the longevity of a branded pen, bag, or bottle opener compared to other forms of advertising. A Google AdWords ad? Gone in a half-second. A television commercial? We’ll give you a couple weeks of runtime at 10 seconds each ad – by then, viewers will be so sick of it that they’ll stop paying attention. A billboard? You’ll get a couple months out of it, max. Promotional products are eminently useful, and usually quite durable compared to other forms of advertising. T-shirts, pens, bags, water bottles, key chains are all useful in everyday life. Once you give them away, your customers will keep using them, seeing them, and being reminded of their interactions with your company.

3. They Can Exponentially Increase Your Brand Recognition

Brand recognition is all about repetition. The more a customer is exposed to your brand, the more likely they’ll be to remember it. According to epromos, 89% of customers can recall the exact branding of an item that they received within the last 24 months. By giving a customer an item they will use all the time, you can increase their exposure to your brand exponentially. Every time they look at their keychain, use their bottle opener, or take a drink of water, your brand will be there.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Branded Products

Because branded products create feelings of goodwill, last an incredibly long time compared to other advertising methods, and can increase your brand recognition at an exponential rate, they’re one of the most powerful – and least cost-intensive – tools in the arsenal of any good marketer. So next time you head to a convention, trade show, are sponsoring an event, or just want to better arm your sales team, consider investing in some smart, innovative, and useful branded products. Once you’ve felt the difference that smart promotional products can make to your brand, you’ll never want to go without them again.

Feel free to get in touch with our team to learn about some of the truly innovative work we’ve been doing for our clients at Forefront.

3 Trends For The Promotional Products Industry For 2017

The industry of promotional products, as with every other marketing industry, never stays static for long.

Companies creating promotional products are always on the lookout for the next breakthrough and paying careful attention to industry trends in an attempt to stay at the forefront of the needs of modern companies and gain an advantage over the competition. So to help you understand the common trends in the promotional products industry for 2017, we’ve put together a quick list of the 3 hottest trends in the business.

1. High-Value Items Are The Future Of Promotional Products

Gone are the days of beer koozies, branded pens, and other inexpensive promotional products. These products certainly have their uses, of course – but market research has suggested that these inexpensive items are not as effective at converting leads and that higher-value items could hold the key to delighting clients.

The reason for this is simple – people place value on items based on the true monetary value of that item. You may enjoy getting a branded pen, but that’s not exactly a high value, exciting item. Items that are useful and are slightly more expensive – such as 12-pack coolers or electronic accessories like branded Bluetooth speakers – are both useful and higher in monetary value. This leads to increased appreciation from clients and potential leads – and boosts the efficacy of your promotional products.

2. Technology-Focused Electronic Accessories Are More Popular Than Ever

The fact that higher value items are becoming more popular is innately tied to this fact. Electronic accessories like phone chargers, earbuds, wireless speakers, and even flash drives are incredibly useful. Now, clients and potential leads do love expensive items – but the utility is just as important. Think about the ROI of a pair of branded wireless earbuds, for example. They may cost about 20 bucks to buy branded, but your client will probably use them for a very long time, especially if they’ve never had the opportunity to try out a pair of wireless earbuds before.

People spend more time today than ever before interacting with the digital world – and the promotional products industry will not be immune to this trend. We can certainly expect to see the world of branded technological accessories continue to grow in the future.

3. Promotional Products Are More Inspired By The Retail Industry

In the past, promotional products have remained a bit static compared to the retail industry. Pens, t-shirts, bags were among the most popular items – and the industry didn’t really change to reflect the changing tastes of consumers.

However, this is no longer the case. Promotional products are now being increasingly affected by changes in the retail industry, and many companies are looking for partnerships with specific brands, in an effort to provide higher-quality branded items. Promotional product companies have begun to understand how valuable brand recognition can be for a branded item.

The best example of this is drinkware. Over the past few years, companies like Yeti, Nalgene, Tervis, and many others have been causing a huge buzz in the promotional products industry. Their products offer a great combination of brand recognition, usability, and affordability, and this has resulted in an explosion of popularity for branded drinkware such as tumblers and water bottles. Understand These Trends – And Look Toward The Future It will be essential for both consumers and manufacturers of branded promotional products to understand these trends. And while it’s impossible to predict exactly where the future of promotional products will go, it seems likely that these trends – higher value items, technology-focused accessories, and branded retail partnerships – will shape the industry not just in 2017, but in the years to come.

For more information about branded promotional products, visit us online at the Forefront Group.