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Top 10 Markets for International Expansion

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Indonesia FlagDid you know: 95% of the world’s population resides outside of the United States? Think about that for a minute, then think about this: establishing a global presence will help you tap into a vast potential of new opportunities.

But beware … there are rules, and Advantages magazine’s got the 411. Read the October article titled “Business Across Borders” for all the deets, and in the meantime here are the top 10 markets for international expansion:

  • Indonesia (flag shown at right)
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Egypt
  • Vietnam
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • South Africa
  • Colombia

3 Pen Trends Past Their Prime

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Pen TrendsThe power of the pen is arguably the most potent in this industry, where its popularity is unquestionable (46% of all consumers in the U.S. own a promotional pen). So mighty is this ad specialty that Counselor magazine devotes an entire issue each year to it.

In this year’s annual issue, Betsy Cummings goes in search of five trends impacting the writing instrument market right now. Find out what she discovered in this month’s cover story “Writing on the Wall“.

And in the meantime, here are three pen trends past their prime:

  • Green is Gone: Well, not really, but all of the hype surrounding eco-friendly inks and parts isn’t being reflected in the volume of orders some suppliers are seeing, says Jay Soltan, director of sales for Lakewood, NJ-based GMG Pen (asi/55583). 
  • The Middle is Losing Ground: Given the mood of the economy in recent years, it’s not surprising that companies are opting for less costly pens. But, surprisingly, they’re still also purchasing Montblancs and other high-end writing instruments as incentives, suppliers say. What they’re avoiding, at least for the moment, are the mid-range writing instruments – those whose features can be “close enough” in lower-priced comparable items.
  • Educators Don’t See Red: At least not in Laura High’s world. The senior trade marketing manager for Norwood & BIC Graphic North America (asi/40480), based in Clearwater, FL, says she’s getting plenty of reports from distributors and their clients that teachers and schools are stepping away from their infamous red pens and pencils used for grading and opting for other colors that don’t strike fear in the hearts of students.

5 Highlights of Hoodie History

Filed under: Fun, Tip of the Day

HoodiesThere’s no denying the power of the hoodie. From the classroom to the boardroom, the popular apparel seems to be everywhere. Even my grandmother has one … with bling no less!

This month’s Wearables feature “Hoodie Nation” by Christopher Ruvo drops the knowledge on how you can tap into the sheer awesomeness of this wearable and strike sales gold. Read on for details, and in the meantime enjoy these 5 hoodie pop culture highlights:

  • Yo, Adrian!: When Rocky Balboa donned a hooded sweatshirt and ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the 1976 movie Rocky, he helped catapult the hoodie into the realm of everyday sportswear. 
  • Manifesto Destiny: Ted Kaczynski, was an unshaven, disheveled recluse. But as pictured in an FBI sketch with hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, he was something else: mysterious and dangerous. In 2011, federal authorities auctioned Kaczynski’s hoodie and sunglasses, for $20,025 to raise money to compensate his victims. 
  • Coach Vader: Once upon a time, football coaches wore suits on the sideline. Today, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick sports a hoodie and a terse expression, earning him comparisons to Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
  • “Like” This: It’s tough to picture Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg without his trademark hoodie. The billionaire mogul is synonymous with the new generation of mega-successful entrepreneurs: dressed-down, techy, and very, very rich. 
  • In The Crosshairs: Controversy surged after Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American male, was shot to death in Florida. George Zimmerman, the multi-racial neighborhood watchman who shot Martin, described the teen as being “real suspicious,” in part because he was wearing a dark hoodie.

8 Online File Sharing Resources

Filed under: Tip of the Day

DropboxWe’ve all been there before; in a rush and scrambling to send or transfer large electronic files only to be rebuffed with extreme prejudice by the limitations of technology. “File size is too large” barks your email client. “Go make dinner or something, and come back in an hour!” laughs your remote connection as you try to upload large files to it.

In the last few years, however, several creative entrepreneurs have befun offering services that address the need to quickly and efficiently exchange large files across multiple devices. And that’s the topic of this month’s SGRTechnology Today” column by Alan S. Horowitz. Read on to find out more about the fine art of file sharing, and here are 8 services that can help make your life a lot easier:

7 Tips for Client Retention

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Mad As HellThis month’s Advantages cover story “Mad As Hell” provides expert analysis and advice on how to manage angry clients. Ever had to deal with a screamer, steamer or somewhere in-betweener? Then this article should not be missed!

Also as a sidebar, seven client-retention tips from the experts … enjoy!

7 Tips:

  1. Listen to your customers; let them vent, says Promo Biz Coach Rosalie Marcus. Determine if what they’re saying makes sense, and if it’s reasonable, and then offer solutions or alternatives.
  2. Distinguish between a bad client and a difficult client. A bad client is constantly complaining, giving you very little business and even fewer referrals, she notes. A difficult client may be demanding and have high standards, but pays on time and gives you continued business. Focus on making the difficult client happy, work hard but within reason, and cut your losses on the bad client.
  3. Have organized systems in place. This is especially important with demanding customers. “Get to them before they get to you,” Marcus says. Spell out dates and what will happen at specific times. Keep the client in the loop. Provide exact specifications, lots of samples and tracking numbers.
  4. Nurture the relationship. Remind the client of what you can do, especially if there is a problem.
  5. Follow-up is paramount to success. Marcus recommends every sales rep follow up after every order to make sure the customer was happy. This can help a rep avoid losing clients without ever knowing they were unhappy. If the client does tell you there was a problem, contact the supplier and see if there’s anything you can do, or ask the client what they’d like you to do to fix it. Sometimes it’s not possible to do what the client asks, but she suggests the rep say, “This is what I CAN do.”
  6. Send tracking numbers with the date of when items will ship. Marcus says many reps get frantic calls from clients saying an order hasn’t arrived, but it turns out John in receiving signed for it but neglected to tell the rep it arrived. Providing tracking numbers calms customers down.
  7. Track communications with your supplier. Distributors often get mad at suppliers when things don’t go well. Avoid this by keeping track of every communication with your supplier. Keep a paper trail of every person you speak with along the way as well as the progress of the order.

ASI Radio Show Finger Puppets

Filed under: asi radio show, Fun

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … the ASI Radio Show finger puppets?!

Just when I thought I’ve seen it all in the studios of ASI Radio, in walked SGR Editor Michele Bell today with a straight flush of superhero finger puppets, each depicting a different host of the show. We’ve got:

  • “Batman” Joe Haley
  • Andy “Superman” Cohen
  • Kathy “Cat Woman” Huston
  • “Supergirl” Melinda Ligos
  • Michele “Wonder Woman” Bell

In case you’re interested, Rich Carollo from Lion Circle (asi/67620) created these. Here’s a pic of them all:

Photos from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte

Filed under: Fun

Another week, another political convention! My colleagues Joan and Jen visited the RNC last week in Tampa and sent back fun pics of ad specialties they found (Click here for products from the RNC). This week: It’s Joan again, and our very own Joe Haley, scouring the DNC in Charlotte for promo products. See what they’ve found, below.

Democratic National Convention Promotional Products

Democratic National Convention Promotional Products

Democratic National Convention Promotional Products

Democratic National Convention Promotional Products

Democratic National Convention Promotional Products

Democratic National Convention Promotional Products

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