I struggle with what to write most times on our Blog. I always have ideas, just not sure if the subject is interesting enough, I easily procrastinate.
Feedback is great, but it's hard to decide which topic path to follow: "Talk about new cool promotional items, don't talk about products, make it more personal, educate readers, get in key words, use more photos, start using video..." Like David Grohl of the Foo Fighters said "I just want to rock" It doesn't feel right trying to fit special searched phrases into Blog entries. I don't want to be in "sales mode". My hope is that we're in "help mode". Our goal is to help you come up with cool products to represent your brand. It's nice to have the freedom of writing what comes naturally, as thoughts hit. It would be great, if you have a minute to leave a few words of guidance. Let me know what you think is of value, that I can offer. Are we on the right track? Are we just blowin' smoke? Anything you can share would be most appreciated.
For today my theme is One Vendor. I've heard it a few times this week during meetings with clients. "We don't want to fool around. We want to work with just one vendor that we can rely on for great service and quality products." I write it down in big bold letters in my notebook. One Vendor. I think on my way home: How can we be that company for our clients? ... or better yet ~How can we let them know that we are that company for them? Are we doing something wrong, that they don't know all our capabilities? And HEY ~ Why the heck are they going to another vendor? "We didn't know you did uniforms, or custom badges, or logo hard hats." Hmmmmm....maybe it's just trying to be all things to all businesses. With over 600,000 products...What's a promo company to do?
We try to make each visit/email/phone call with our clients personal. The software company who has to exhibit at a trade show in Palo Alto, California needs something totally different than the financial consultants giving a conference in Melville, New York. We read everything we can get our hands on regarding trends, we attend international shows, listen to what people say, watch styles, identify new color changes, try out new textures, keep the website fresh, up to date, add new products weekly, find funky promotions, etc...
I read an article in the Harvard Business Review over the weekend that said in the grand scheme of things true business volume is created by popular products, not the obscure niche products. I was really surprised. Here I have been identifying stand out individual products that I think will attract new customers, but research shows the opposite to be true. When I really think about it, most promotional buyers stay with the tried and true. Maybe there is an "Eco" twist to do the right thing, but it is still mostly pens, mugs, bags, notebooks, caps, t-shirts. The article said "The people who choose obscure products tend to be familiar with many alternatives, those who know of few alternatives tend to stick with popular products." I find it's the marketing managers who are looking for the new. The "feet on the street" folks who want to be first out of the gate placing a wager with their brand, on new products to get noticed, taking the chance.
We'll be smarter now. Not exactly sure what your company does, but here are some bullet points from the article:
- The companies to succeeed will be the ones that are most capable of capitalizing on individual best sellers
- Acquire and manage customers by using your most popular products.
- If the goal is to cater to your heavy customers, broaden your assortment with more niche products.
- Manage costs of offering products that will rarely sell by constructing creative models for online sales.