30 Apr

The Power Of The Promotional Pen Pt.2

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 30.04.10 by John Meloche

In yesterday's blog, we revisited the topic of utilizing the power of promotional pens to enhance the reach of your business. Pens have been and continue to be extremely succesful marketing tools for businesses of all kinds. In fact, it is difficult to think of any type of business that hasn't had its name, logo and contact info written on the side of a pen at some point.

Lightweight, inexpensive and practical, promotional pens are perhaps, the easiest promo item to carry around and give away. They are used regularly by pretty much everyone and are useful and durable for long periods of time. A Matthew Zande article from EzineArticles.com helped for us to remember some of the best ways to use promo pens to the benefit of your company. We wish to revisit that piece today.

One of Zande's strongest arguments on behalf of the pen is that it can be given as a gift for practically every possible occasion. Conventions, trade shows and seminars are just a few of the examples of events that are perfect for handing out pens. He notes that they are almost never refused by those who are offered them, ensuring that this simple giveaway provides successful results for the company who distributes them.

Writes Zande: ?These pens have become like a walking billboard, a silent but active marketing sales force of the company…Promotional pens are really a great advertisement. It is low in cost but high in functionality, the reason why a promotional drive with a pen as a give-away never fails to provide successful results for the company.?

We mentioned yesterday that one of the most popular promo items sold by Synergy is the banner pen. Our unique design which features a pull-out slip from the pen's barrel comes in a variety of themes. They include professional Canadian hockey team schedules, a two-year calendar, an amortization chart and even first-aid information.

And while these designs are both highly popular and effective, we have many more available for your company to choose from. Depending on the type of company you are and the size of your marketing budget, you may want to also consider some of our higher-end models. We know, it sounds as if we're talking about cars or something. But the sleek design and superior quality of our products do make them just as cool.

For example, we have promo pens that are made of solid maple or rosewood. Our catalogue features a 3-in-1 laser pen as well as metal pens with rubber grips. We have special designer pens crafted by the likes of KRESSMAN© and Franco Serretti. Not to mention, we carry the impressive and cool-to-use tape measure pens and Stylus Techno pens.

Don't forget, as we mentioned on our blog last week, we also proudly sell recycled pens that contribute to the protection of our environment. With so many to choose from, we can only recommend that you simply check out the ?Pens? section of our website. Put our pens to good use by promoting your business with them today.

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29 Apr

The Power Of The Promotional Pen Pt.1

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 29.04.10 by John Meloche

This wouldn't be the first time we have advocated the use of promotional pens to expand the reach of your business. And chances are, it certainly won't be the last. But the more we do our research, the more we realize that the promo pen is one of the most useful, practical and successful marketing tools used by just about any business.

Checking out a Matthew Zande article from EzineArticles.com, we received further incite on just how successful the pen can be at being a top-notch promotional item. Zande agrees that ?although gifting promotional pens is not a new idea, it is still a widely preferred promotional item because these are known to cement a brand name in the minds of their targeted market.?

Firstly, the pen is useful. Generally speaking, people use pens just about every single day. Yep, even in the world of computers, Blackberrys and other technical gadgets, the good old-fashioned pen is still in widespread use. As Zande mentions, ?everyone will need a pen to write something. Pens have their own way of passing on to various hands and your ad campaign would travel a long way.?

That being said, your promotional pens should stand out from the everyday regular ballpoint model. Of course, Synergy Marketing Consultants offers a wide array of pens that have dazzled just about everyone who has come into contact with them. We are, as you may already know, especially proud of our banner pens which showcase pull-out schedules and calendars from the barrel.

Needless to say, these pens have left lasting impressions on all those who have received them. Our repeat orders assure us that these items have become extremely popular due to the fact that their recipients often become repeat customers themselves. As always, a successful promo pen includes your company's name, logo and contact information impinted on the barrel.

According to Zande, ?it is all a matter of making these pens attractive to easily draw the attention of the other people. In this way, those who are using the pen will take their time to read what is written on the surface of the pen.?

Obviously, it is important to be creative not only with how you design your pens but with how you distribute them. Our staff often encourages their clients to keep these pens with them at all times, storing them in their cars and trucks to ensure they are never without one. You never know when you will bump into a colleague, customer or friend.

Zande notes that the creativeness of the promotional pen has helped it to outshine mugs, caps, umbrellas, shirts and other items as a top seller. He suggests making ?varying color presentations to ensure that they will be eye-catchers. More colors incorporated in these pens mean that the more successful is your promotional design. Mix and match trim colors with full color barrel prints are what comprises a successful promotional pen.?

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28 Apr

It's All About Respect

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 28.04.10 by John Meloche

Two years ago, freelance business, finance and economics writer, Heather Johnson offered ReturnCustomer.com her ?5 Ways To Better Treat Your Customers?. We couldn't help but research this article today after considering a conversation that took place at Synergy headquarters about the many ways in which our reps develop such strong relationships with their clients.

And since we have doled out countless tips over the past several months to all of our loyal blog readers, we figured we'd continue to share with you. According to Johnson, the way businesses treat their customers is what will define their companies. There is no better advertising that providing top-notch customer service. There is also no worse publicity than creating negative experiences for your clients.

As Aretha Franklin sang, it's all about respect. Johnson writes that respecting your customer base will generate the type of word-of-mouth promotion for your company that can actually do much more than a strong advertising campaign. She offers up five essentials tips that will help business owners show the type of respect that their customers deserve.

First of all, says Johnson, you should ?make it easy for customers?. Quite often, customers are pointed in a variety of different directions when making an inquiry. It is not uncommon for a customer to become agitated when calling a company for customer service only to be met by a voice prompt that offers an abundance of options that seem only to lengthen the process. Insists Johnson: ?Eliminate the need for the customer to travel through the cross section of your company to receive proper attention.?

Second, owners should ?limit who attends to a given customer?. Try not to make your customers have to speak to more than one representative of your business. It may make them feel as if the competency level of your employees is lacking. It may also give them the impression that they are unwanted or a nuisance. ?Whoever starts the process with a customer should be the one who finishes it,? says Johnson.

Number three: ?Chop down the phone tree?. Have one phone number for your customers to call your company. It becomes cumbersome to have to sift through a long list of numbers to determine just which department to call for a concern or question. This, of course, falls in line with making things easier for your client base.

As well, you should ?own up to your mistakes?. If you have made a mistake, simply admit that you were wrong. Customers will appreciate this honesty and think more fondly of your company. It will also encourage them to leave with good feelings about their experiences with your business, creating better potential for them to return.

Lastly, writes Johnson, ?humanize your call centre?. We love this one, as we feel that it is a concept that we have mastered here at Synergy. Says Johnson: ?Let your representatives be real human beings and let them attend to a customer?s complaint or issue in a manner that leaves the customer feeling good. Ultimately, this is more important than statistics.?

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27 Apr

Canada Is Lazy!

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 27.04.10 by John Meloche

Canada is is becoming a nation of couch potatoes. Hey, don't look at us. We work our butts off everyday here at Synergy Marketing Consultants. We also have developed awesome working relationships with business owners all over Canada who spend a lot of time trudging away to make their companies the best in the world.

Ask Mark Tremblay, the chief scientific officer of the research and advocacy organization, Active Healthy Kids Canada, and he'll tell you that Canadians are spending far too much time on the couch and in front of the television. In a report released by Torstar News Service earlier today, it was revealed that more than half of Canadian preschoolers are ?dangerously inactive?.

As well, Chum FM's Jeff Howatt adds that shockingly (or maybe not so shockingly), ?Toronto is the couch potato capital of Canada?! Based on the findings of a 2010 report card by Active Healthy Kids Canada, Tremblay remarks that ?there are measurable cognitive, social, emotional and physical consequences? to kids who are simply plunked in front of a TV set by negligent parents.

The Torstar News Service report reveals that this is happening to kids earlier in their lives than ever before. ?In 1971,? it reads, ?the average age kids started watching TV was four; now it's five months…The report card states children between ages one and five need at least two hours of exercise each day, whether it's exploring the playground, playing games or walking to the grocery store.?

Clearly, having these bad habits develop so early is positioning this country to grow into a nation of couch potatoes. Howatt reveals on ChumFM.com that a study called the Get Active Toronto Report concluded that ?57 per cent of Torontonians aged 12 and older were inactive during their leisure time in 2007-08.?

Howatt notes that this figure is 7 points higher than the national average of 50 per cent. Toronto's number is also up 6 points from the last survey, which was conducted in five years ago. Tremblay fears that this sense of lazyness is starting far too early, taking away the basics needs of growing children.

Says Tremblay: ?Active play may be fun, but it's not frivolous. Kids have a biological need to move.? With less than half of Canada's kids getting the type of daily movement that they require, parents are putting their children at risk of obesity among other health issues. The country, he continues, may soon face a ?a major public health issue on par with a pandemic.?

Want to know how you can be more active? Howatt's article, which was posted to TheSpec.com reveals the Get Active Toronto Report's interpretation of an active person. That is, ?someone who walks at least an hour, jogs a minimum of 20 minutes or expends the equivalent amount of energy every day. (Meanwhile) an ?inactive? person expends less energy on all leisure time activities than is required to walk for half an hour a day.?

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27 Apr

How To Make Your Brand The Best

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 27.04.10 by John Meloche

What separates you from the rest of the bunch? What makes your company so special? What sets you apart from your competition? Why should anyone choose your brand over the others?

As a business owner, if you haven't asked yourself these questions several times by now, you probably haven't gotten a leg up on your competitors. The Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog has often championed the concept of being original and developing a strong brand image. You can't necessarily compete with everyone in your marketplace on price because you may simply be a smaller company than some others.

Take grocery stores for instance. There are both large chains and smaller independent stores that compete for customers. The smaller stores, obviously, do not possess the same type of advertising power as the bigger names. But that doesn't have to mean that they shouldn't draw a significant number of customers into their own locations.

Mike Kraus of AllBusiness.com recently posted an article listing a number of ways in which small retailers can create a compelling brand. This way, they will be better equipped to competing in the marketplace with their larger competition. As Kraus reiterates for us, ?many small retailers aren?t going to be able to compete with the behemoths on price. So it?s best to find another way to compete.?

Kraus suggests that smaller store owners become masters of product knowledge and customer service. Of course, it doesn't take a huge budget to be successful in either of these two categories. He insists upon three methods of creating a strong brand image. They are studying your competition, determining your point of differentiation and staking out and executing on an ownable segment and not deviating from it.

In other words, carve out your own niche, says Kraus. Establishing your brand as something uniquely different from every other competitor is what will encourage a loyal client base. Following his first guideline, Kraus advises that business owners not base their concepts on their competition. In other words, don't be a mimic.

If you watch what your competition is doing, you will know what you will be able to do even better. Says Kraus: ?In order to succeed, you have to stake out the leadership position and own that. And being a leader means you lead, you don?t follow.?

Another ?trap? that Kraus wants owners to avoid is bringing in merchandise that does not fit the store concept and brand. He writes: ?Too often, stores find themselves chasing sales in categories that deviate from their core competency. How can you be a photography store and carry candy??

Although this may not make sense to do, Kraus acknowledges that ?It?s simply because they need to increase sales. But this isn?t the way to do it.? Finally, he also advises that you don't continually change what the retail concept stands for. Changing things simply for the sake of changing makes no sense, he says.

Two main reasons that retailers fail: ?They don?t support the new initiative and they don?t measure the success of it. For both of those reasons, retailers find themselves in a revolving door situation, where new product lines or services come and go. And that?s deadly for a brand.?

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23 Apr

Going Green Is Great

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 23.04.10 by John Meloche

In yesterday's blog, we commemorated the 40th annual Earth Day. By going over a number of ways in which we can all help the Earth by conserving energy, recycling and not polluting, we were reminded that there are a number of ways that we can help the Earth at the office all year round.

Synergy Marketing Consultants has long considered itself a ?green? company. Check out our ?Go Green? blog from March 5th of this year and you'll know that we don't just try to do the world a favour on Earth Day alone. With the exception of some mandatory paperwork, we do our best to work in a paperless environment. ?Save the trees? is what many of our associates say when referring to this business practice that is in keeping with conservation and less waste.

If the use of paper is necessary at our office, we tend to use scrap paper. Old sheets with outdated information generally serve as our notepads. We use both sides of these pieces of paper, ensuring that we waste much less. This, of course, is a simple task that is effective in conserving both resources and money.

There are a number of very simple methods to making every day Earth Day in your office as well. Ever notice that every time you walk into the restroom, the light is already on, even if no one is in there? Why is that? The simple practice of turning the light off when you leave the restroom can not only help preserve the Earth's energy but save your company some money as well.

Of course, be courteous and keep the light on if there is still someone using the restroom when you are leaving it. In an effort to be more pranksters than environmentalists, some of our staff have flipped the switch on their fellow teammates. Thankfully, this generally elicits a good laugh from all parties involved.

Turning off the lights, however, should obviously not just be restricted to the restrooms. If you are leaving your office, flick the switch. There really isn't a reason for the lights to be on, especially during the sunny days of the spring and summer, if you are not in the office.

Synergy Marketing Consultants is also very proud to remind our clients that we do offer the top of the line in biodegradable pens. These special pens are marked with the three arrows that represent the universal recycling logo. We often enscribe ?Always Thinking About The Environment? along with a business' name and contact information on these pens as well.

Always a hit, these pens are still available, although selling quickly. They have consistently made good impressions on all those who receive them. Most importantly, they demonstrate a business owner's concern for the world. Give us a call and share your enthusiasm for a healthier environment too. Take it from us, going green is great.

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22 Apr

Happy Earth Day!

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 22.04.10 by John Meloche

At the end of March, the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog discussed the fourth annual observation of Earth Hour ? a 60 minute activity that encourages the entire world to use absolutely no electricity whatsoever. This conservation of energy is an act that is acknowledged and participated in worldwide and continues to grow more popular with each passing year.

Today, Earth Hour's older sibling (if you will) celebrates its astonishing 40th year of existence. Happy birthday, Earth Day! Yes, April 22nd is Earth Day, and today marks its 20th year of celebration in Canada. As QMI Agency's Suzanne Elston reports, Earth Day ?has become a global event and universally recognized symbol of growing concern for the environment.?

The conservation of energy, the avoidance of polluting and the reusing and recycling of non-biodegradable products are some of the practices associated with Earth Day. Understanding that the environment is a top priority, people from all over the world have participated in Earth Day celebrations by insisting upon carrying out the abovementioned tasks.

Jed Goldberg is the president of Earth Day Canada, and has held that position for the past 18 years. Says Goldberg: ?When we first started our goal was to raise environmental awareness and make people understand this was an issue of concern. It is now commonly understood that the environment is one of our biggest priorities.?

Goldberg, of course, continues to work towards showing people ?how they can transfer their awareness and concern into action.? He has identified a number of easy-to-do actions on how people can make every day Earth Day as, of course, respecting the environment is not something that should be done only one day of the year. Some are quite simple tasks .

Take the first one, for instance. Goldberg recommends that people buy only what they need, and not just what they want. Consuming less and conserving more helps people to become what he calls ?prosumers?, as in producing consumers. One way to do this, says Goldberg, is to plant a garden.

He also recommends going vegetarian at least once a week. Not only is there resounding evidence that this is a healthier life choice, but meat production also has a huge impact on the environment. According to Goldberg: ?Eating lower on the food chain just one day a week helps to conserve water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve valuable farmland.?

Convenience can be a killer. Goldberg suggests using tap water instead of buying bottled water as an example of doing something that is environmentally responsible, even if it is perceived as less convenient. He also advises to eat and shop locally as well as walk, cycle and rollerblade to as many destinations as you can in place of using a motorized vehicle for travel.

So enjoy the Earth, and do your part to help it to remain as beautiful and resourceful as possible today and everyday. There's no better way to celebrate Earth Day!

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21 Apr

Boost Sales This Summer

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 21.04.10 by John Meloche

Is there any better word in the English language than ?free? to a customer's ears? Probably not. That's why we know the value of handing out free promotional items to customers. Sometimes, it doesn't even matter what type of item they are receiving. It's the satisfaction they get in knowing that they received something of value at no cost. This generally encourages them to want to come back to the business who ?hooked them up?.

With summer around the corner, the timing is perfect for business owners to consider the many different ways that they can set up promotions to generate more business. Earlier this week, the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog discussed how work barbeques can truly help boost the morale and overall energy of a staff. But what about holding an event that is open to the public?

Sometimes all that is necessary to generate interest in your business is to hold a sale of some kind outside of the store. Offer free drinks and snacks, or better yet, a keepsake such as a pen or keychain with your company's name, logo and contact information on it. Employing interactive activities will invite people into your store to see what else your business may have to offer.

A raffle, for example, is always a good idea. Allowing customers to sign up for ?free? not only provides you with the potential to increase your client base, but helps for you to develop a greater image for your business. For instance, if you hold an outdoor sales event each week throughout the summer, the chances of more and more people coming to visit regularly will surely increase.

In addition, the relatively inexpensive cost of providing a weekly winner with an item from your store will help generate more sales for the products you have available. Now, all of this may sound like obvious advice, but the truth is, many business owners miss out on opportunities by not taking advantage of the sunshine and warmth that the summer brings.

One member of our esteemed sales staff shared with his teammates a memory from his childhood earlier today that sparked this topic. He mentioned that his father used to often take him to a store that sold electronic and music equipment. Somewhat of a gadget afficionado, his father liked this store a lot. But what helped to bring him back so regularly was the free ice cream that the store offered children on the weekends.

Something as simple as this free snack helped inspire a sense of loyalty. Not to mention, it left quite a lasting impression on our colleague who was the regular recipient of the aforementioned ice cream. Now, if only this store had distributed something long-lasting like a mug or a flashlight with its name and contact information on it, our staff member may have remembered its name.

The key is not to trick people into coming to your establishment, but instead to provide an inviting atmosphere that will better aquaint them with your brand. With summer coming, you may want to make use of both the sun and your promotional items to keep customers coming back all year round.

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20 Apr

Icelandic Volcano Grounds Canadian Travel Industry

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 20.04.10 by John Meloche

As the world is already aware, earlier this month, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull (how to pronounce that is anybody's guess) erupted, sending up a six kilometre plume of ash that has inhibited air travel throughout Europe. This is an astonishing feat, considering the distance between Iceland and the continental European countries.

The eruption has wreaked havoc on the Canadian air travel industry, which according to a 680news.com report from yesterday, stands to lose up to $4 million a day due to grounded flights. Obviously, having planes take flight into the montrous thick clouds of smoke is extremely unsafe, to put it mildly.

For many, this is the first occurrence of a volcanic eruption causing this much disruption to any industry, especially in territories so distant from the initial explosion. According to airline analyst, Robert Kokonis of travel consultancy Air Trav Inc.: ?This is totally unprecedented in the history of the airline business…The problem is this volcano couldn't be situated any worse… the transatlantic air corridor is infinitely busier than the North Pacific air corridor.?

Kokonis estimates that Canada's air travel industry has lost about $20 million in the five days following Iceland's volcanic eruption. He also suggests that if the ash floating over Europe continues to cause flight disruptions, there could be layoffs at airlines and airports due to reduced service.

Being Canada's most frequent flyers to Europe, Air Canada and Air Transat are experiencing the heaviest losses due to this natural disaster. According to the 680News.com report, Kokonis estimates that ?Air Canada is losing about $2.6 million each day on about 36 grounded daily flights that would be carrying about 6,500 passengers (and) also stands to lose another $400,000 a day in lost cargo revenue.?

Said David Tyerman, an airline analyst at Genuity Capital Markets: ?Air Canada has fixed costs that its running day in day out whether its running the airplanes or not…They won't be earning any income on the North Atlantic as long as the volcano prevents them from flying it, so they're losing that chunk of revenue to offset those costs that are there whether they're earning revenue or not.?

Clearly, airlines are experiencing heavy loss as travellers are unable to fly into Europe. The International Air Transport Association believes the loss is to the tune of about $200 million per day. In addition, shipping companies, tour operators and travel agents are also suffering from the effects of Iceland's volcanic eruption.

Airports are especially taking a hit as everything from landing fees to concession purchases are seeing obvious declines. The peak travel time to Europe, says the report, is in May. There is hope, of course, that the disruptions being caused by the ash will not continue into next month.

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19 Apr

It's Barbeque Season!

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 19.04.10 by John Meloche

Spring is most definitely in the air, and many are already anticipating the summer. With spring and the warm weather that accompanies the season comes a new sense of excitement and joy. It is running all through the Synergy Marketing Consultants offices. And why wouldn't it? Our entire staff is well aware of what is coming.


If ever there was group of individuals who loved a good barbeque, it's our Synergy team. Barbeques, of course, not only help to celebrate the outdoors and the awesome weather of the spring and summer seasons, but more importantly they invigorate a team of employees and help give them a boost of enthusiasm needed to get through each work day.

A happy staff, as we have often said before, garners greater productivity. And clearly, that's good for business. Who knew a hot dog could be so lucrative? Charles Hopkins of the community news and articles website, Ezilon.com, wrote about how to throw a good barbeque a few years back. If you're planning to host a barbeque for your employees, it may be a good idea to follow a few of his tips.

Hopkins reminds us that this type of event is a relatively inexpensive way to provide food and fun for your family and friends. He begins by telling us how to make BBQs fun for everyone involved.

?First, consider how many people will be attending,? writes Hopkins, ?since size affects pricing a great deal…The portions of food will also affect size. Consider that 5 burgers take up a lot less space than 5 sides of pork. In other words, think about what you are going to be cooking when choosing your barbecue.?

Don't forget to consider the dietary habits of your employees either. Keeping in mind that not everyone may be into the traditional burgers and hot dogs, it is important to consider other options. Says Hopkins: ?The barbecue is not just for meat, either. You can also consider roasting vegetables like corn, squash, and potatoes on your grill as well.? As well, side dishes including baked potatoes, potato salad and fresh green salads should also be available.

Barbeques are excellent ways to impress and please your staff without having to spend a lot of money. Remember that you can also save money by simply picking up cheap plastic plates instead of paper plates. These reusable inexpensive plates cause a lot less waste as well. You may want to consider using real silverware instead of plastic knives and forks so that a simply run through the dishwasher will replace a garbage bag full of plastic.

Following some of these simple tips will help for your barbeque to be a hit, believes Hopkins. Remember, BBQs were meant to be relaxing and fun. It helps for you to enjoy the good weather while keeping your entire staff happy and feeling appreciated.

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