Monday, July 27, 2009

Back from the Geiger Galleria

What's a Geiger Galleria? It's Geiger's annual education conference for its Sales and Production Partners. It's a four day event, held this year in Phoenix, Arizona.

You don't have much, if any downtime, because the time there is crammed full of presentations, educational seminars, networking, socializing and a massive Trade Show. The time spent there was incredibly worthwhile, both from a practical and motivational standpoint. I picked up a TON of new ideas which I know will help my clients get better returns from their promotional product dollars spent with Geiger and myself.

One terrific presentation that I attended was a talk by Author and Speaker, Tony Rubleski on the subject of Mind Capture, which is the process of rising above the clutter of all the marketing messages that are thrown at us daily. In other words, to reach out and capture the minds of our intended targets -- the prospective and existing customers that we're all trying to reach.

Tony's presentation resonated with me because his concept of Mind Capture, to me is what promotional products are all about. Our everyday useful items like pens and magnets have the ability to carry a sales message into places that most other forms of media have a lot of trouble your kitchen or office for example. If there ever was a tool made for Mind Capture, it's promotional products....which is probably why the Geiger folks booked Tony to begin with...but I have to say it was a great call. This guy is good.

My immediate goal is to take some of Tony's ideas and utilize them to help you use promotional products more effectively. Stay tuned......

More on the Galleria in my next post....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Promotional Products Banned in MA

On July 8, a Massachusetts law took effect that bans pharmaceutical companies and medical-device makers from giving doctors gifts such as vacation trips and tickets to concerts and sporting events. A similar law is taking effect in Vermont and several variations of this legislation are being considered in other states across the US.

The reason is our lawmakers believe that doctors are being unduly influenced to prescribe certain drugs to their patients based not on what's best for them, but what delivers better perks for the doctor's own benefit. Now one can certainly argue the merits of this one. Personally I would hope my doctor, who I very much like and respect, wouldn't stoop to being 'on the take' and prescribe something I don't need because he's eyeing box seats at next week's Sox/Blue Jays game.

But what's interesting about this -- and impacts me directly and you, the reader, in a way that I'm about to explain -- is that this ban also includes promotional products. This means the next time you visit your doctor, you won't be seeing anymore of those pens, post it notes, or pads of paper touting Ritalin or the latest high blood pressure medication lying around the office.

Let's ignore for a moment the fact that this ban will very likely result in job losses for a promotional products industry that like every other industry in this country is struggling with the worst recession of our lifetime. In fact the dollar estimate for projected losses due to this and similar legislation in other states could run as high as $1 billion this year according to one industry source. This is something that the powers that be in our industry are now dealing with.

But lets instead focus on the what this says about the medium of promotional products and what this means to you as a user of this medium.

It's proof that they work

And all too well, in the opinion of a group of people that's one of our industry's biggest customers -- politicians. Yes, those state reps and senators, most of whom are veteran pols who have come up through the ranks, winning elections at various levels of government to reach their current positions, realize that those imprinted buttons, sponges, bumper stickers and yes, pens that they handed out at 4th of July parades and and Town Days work their magic.... and do it so well that they're afraid that our doctors are going to be influenced to prescribe certain drugs over others to their patients -- the drugs who's brand names have achieved top of mind awareness in the doctor's heads.

Talk about a ringing endorsement.....our pols know all too well that promotional products are an extremely cost effective way to market products and services. They know that they can be easily targeted with little waste, are very functional, and deliver terrific value in terms of cost per impression -- in fact they're so effective that they'll unfairly taint your doctor's judgment to the point where he or she may well be tempted compromise their professional ethics.

Just imagine what they'll do for your organization's sales message....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Geiger Advantage - Part 2

On Geiger's website at, there is a list of Core Geiger Values. Trust me, none of it is BS. Having been a part of this organization for close to 20 years, I can tell you emphatically that Geiger management actively promotes these core values daily in dealings with both Associates (i.e. employees) at the home office in Maine and with its Independent Sales Partners like myself throughout the country.

The first 3 Values are as follows:

1. Quality Customer Service is our goal and our commitment.

2. We focus on solutions.

3. Continuous improvement leads to lasting success.

Here's my take on these one by one:

1. Quality Customer Service -Let's face it, we fully understand that you can buy a Bic pen from any name on those business cards you have piled up in your desk drawer. But how many of the companies named on those cards receive real time order updating from Bic? How many companies will email you the tracking number (a la when your order ships? If you're working late at night and have a question about the order, you can email me the question and very likely receive an immediate answer as I usually work nights -- one of the reasons I can't tell you much about Jon & Kate or who deserved to win American Idol this year.

Our competitive advantage is our commitment to Customer Service as we operate with the mindset that we're only as good as our client's last buying experience with us.

2. Focusing on Solutions- Company A sells financial services to well heeled clients and the office manager is asked to buy some pens to hand out at some upcoming seminars aimed at finding new clients. She wants to get the task off her To Do list as quickly as possible and emails me an order for 500 Bic Round Stics. Now the Round Stic is a great pen for the price -- quality product, best imprinting capability in the industry from the most reliable supplier in our industry. But you know what? A $.32 cent pen may send the wrong marketing message to a client with a half a million dollars to invest.

We'll run that thought by you before placing the order and ask whether you want to re-think the situation. We focus on the solution first and foremost because we want a long term relationship with you...not a quick pen order.

3. Continuous improvement- Geiger realizes that stagnancy is a sign of an organization that has taken its eye off the ball. We are constantly looking to improve the way we do things whether it's streamlining our order entry process, integrating video into our efforts to update clients on the hottest new products or consistently attending industry education courses in an effort to better serve you.

When you work with Geiger and me, be assured that we adhere to the concept of striving to improve on a daily basis. We're never going to be perfect, but we are always committed to doing the best possible job of delivering value to our clients.