31 May

New Apple Toy Makes A Killing

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 31.05.10 by John Meloche

If there was any doubt that the internet is fast becoming the world's most effective and widely-used marketing tool, it should come to an end today. Not only is use of the internet rapidly increasing, but the various sources of technology used to source the world wide web are mounting as well.

Today, The Toronto Sun reports that Apple Inc's new iPad device has sold more than 2 million units in the past two months. As if people didn't know what to do before this new magazine-sized, keyboard-less computer existed, consumers are flocking to stores in abundance to grab this new gadget.

As today's QMI Agency report decribes it, the iPad is a ?half-inch thick multimedia device boasting a 9.7-inch touchscreen (that was) first launched in the U.S. on April 3.? Apple sold over 1 million of these new devices within their first month on the market. When Apple first introduced the iPhone, it took 74 days for 1 million units to be sold.

Demand, apparently, is outdoing the supply. In countries all over the world, customers lined up outside of stores for hours awaiting the purchase of the iPad when it debuted. For Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K., that debut took place this past weekend.

Earlier today, Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs had this to say: ?Customers around the world are experiencing the magic of iPad, and seem to be loving it as much as we do. We appreciate their patience, and are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.?

Michael Oliveira of The Associated Press, however, reports that the cost of the iPad is not all that welcoming to many other consumers. He explains that the release of the various iPad models in Canada this week came with price tags ranging between $549 and $879.

Jobs, of course, insists that it's all worth it. The iPad, he believes, will eliminate the need for small laptop computers. Oliveira notes, however, that ?many users have said the tablet is not quite a replacement for a real computer. There have also been quibbles about the fact that the iPad?s web browser doesn?t handle video and animation-rich websites that use the Flash plug-in. It also lacks a webcam and doesn?t yet allow multitasking.?

The question for many Canadians will be whether or not it is worth it for them. Depending on both your needs and your budget, you will either be part of the overwhelming herd of people clamouring for the gadget of the day, or someone who will go on living without out, just as you did before. Only time will tell how essential the iPad will become.

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28 May

Protecting Your Online Presence

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 28.05.10 by John Meloche

Continuing in this week's theme of online business promotion through social networking sites, the Synergy Marketing Consultants blog will pick up where it left off yesterday. A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project study has revealed that while networking sites are extremely popular ? and therefore a hot target for major companies and their advertising campaigns ? the young users of these sites are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy.

The study's lead author, Mary Madden, surmises that the findings reflect the fact that the younger age groups have been using social networking sites for a longer time than their elders. This, of course, gives them more experience with the ins and outs of each website.

More importantly, younger people are at points in their lives where they are looking for work and are concerned about the image that they are developing for themselves. Interestingly, the study also revealed that many employers have policies about how their employers are portrayed online.

Says Madden: ?Young adults have, in many ways, been forced to become experts in their own form of social revision.? Perhaps, of greater concern to corporations who wish to advertise through the Facebooks and Twitters of the world is the fact that the younger generation is becoming very ?brand conscious?.

According to Fred Stutzman, co-founder of ClaimID.com: ?Increasingly, it?s the advice that young people get from counsellors and elsewhere: 'You need to have your own brand and you have to watch that brand',? adding that older people don't care as much because ?if you?ve got a pension, you can pretty much say what you want.?

This concept of self-branding is generally lost on the older generation considering that they have already established themselves in life. Would-be college students, however, who are looking to move up the academic ladder are quick to scan their online accounts so as to not give off the wrong impression.

Young employees do the same. Some actually open more than one Facebook account so that if fellow employees or supervisors wish to become their online friends, they may do so through a page that doesn't reveal intimate details about their lives.

28-year-old, Stefanie Juell explains: ?You don?t exactly want to reject your supervisor. Nor do you want him or her to see everything that your friends write on your wall or the pictures that people tag of you… ?It?s important to separate, and to maintain a work-life balance.? Now, Juell has both a ?professional? Facebook account in addition to her ?personal? page which incorporates strict security settings.

Evidently, social networking sites are extremely popular. Protecting your privacy on these sites, therefore, is becoming just as fashionable.

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27 May

The Politics Of Online Privacy

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 27.05.10 by John Meloche

In yesterday's blog, we touched back upon the growing popularity of using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to promote business. ?Promoted Tweets? is slowly, but surely becoming a top choice for major corporations to advertise their brands to the youthful population of today who flock to Twitter in abundance.

Interestingly though, Martha Irvine of The Associated Press reported earlier today that young people are becoming more leery of these social networks as they tend to impede upon one's privacy. Based on a report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, it has been discovered that most users of these popular websites are most likely to limit their personal information online by implementing specific privacy settings.

Irvine cites 21-year-old Clark University student, Marlene McManus as an example. McManus continually goes through her Facebook page to remove photos that depict any of her questionable college exploits like partying and drinking. McManus has also completely dropped Twitter.

Says McManus: ?I have to present a public face that doesn?t have the potential to hurt my image.? The Pew study has found that social networkers between the ages of 18 and 29 are ?leading the pack in online privacy?.

As Irvine writes, this young group is ?the most likely to change the privacy settings on their profiles to limit what they share with others online. The percentage who did so was 71 per cent, compared with just 55 per cent of the 50- to 64-year-old bracket. Meanwhile, about two-thirds of all social networkers who were surveyed said they?ve tightened security settings.?

In addition, the survey also found that half of the people in the 18-29 age bracket have deleted comments posted by others. This is compared to 29 per cent for those aged 30 to 49 and 26 per cent for those in the 50-64 year-old range. These numbers were close to identical for those who removed their names from photos that they were tagged in.

The Pew report also discovered that 28 per cent of the young adult group said that they never trust social networking sites compared to 20 per cent in the 30-49 bracket and 14 per cent in the 50-64 range.

According to Irvine: ?The Pew report, which was released Thursday, was compiled from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between Aug. 18 and Sept. 14, 2009, among a sample of 2,253 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.?

We will revisit this topic in tomorrow's blog.

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26 May

Twitter Protecting Promoted Tweets

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 26.05.10 by John Meloche

Back on April 13th, the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog revisited the topic of Twitter and its growth as one of the world's top social networking sites. Furthermore, our April blog commented upon Twitter's new advertising feature known as ?Promoted Tweets? which is geared towards businesses that wish to advertise on the popular website. Becoming a top search result on Twitter is one of the main features of the new advertising opportunity.

Today, QMI Agency's Stefania Moretti reveals that Twitter is taking further measures to ensure that this feature is advantageous to business owners. This past Monday, the ?micro-blogging network? revealed that it would be blocking third party ad tweets that serve to undermine the Promoted Tweets.

According to technology analyst, Carmi Levy, this is a model that has already been implemented by fellow online networking giant, Facebook. Moretti notes that with this new regulation in place, Twitter will now be able to ?better monitor its own proprietary advertising service.?

Levy adds that Twitter is attempting to dissuade ?spam-like activity? on its website so that it doesn't degenerate in the same way that e-mail has. According to Levy, 80% of all e-mail messages happen to be spam.

Twitter is convinced that its new policy will help make the site a major money-maker. Based in San Francisco, the increasingly popular social networking service is valued at over $1 billion and currently services over 100 million users across the world.

At present, companies such as Starbucks, Bravo, Virgin America and Sony Pictures Entertainment have already signed on to utilize Promoted Tweets to advertise their brands. However, most advertisers are taking what Levy calls a ?wait-and-see approach? before putting money towards a yet-to-be-proven advertising method.

Moretti describes why Twitter is implementing its new policy against the third party tweeting: ?The company said third-party ad tweets aren't necessarily looking to preserve the Twitter experience and at times seek to maximize ad click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.?

Added Levy: ?What Twitter is trying to do is trying to maintain the integrity of the service by keeping in the hands of real people.?

Naturally, it makes sense for advertisers to be cautious. It is quite likely that a business would require a sizeable budget in order to use Promoted Tweets to advertise. That being said, the growing popularity of Twitter gives credence to the idea that it would be a worthwhile venture. The site is definitely working to ensure that message.

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25 May

Securing Synergy As A Sales Manager

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 25.05.10 by John Meloche

One the most important aspects of our Synergy Marketing Consultants sales staff is…well, our synergy! As Wikipedia.org describes it: ?a synergy is where different entities cooperate advantageously for a final outcome. If used in a business application it means that teamwork will produce an overall better result than if each person was working toward the same goal individually.?

We know that producing an excellent team starts at the top. It is impossible to expect a staff to work cohesively and towards a common cause without a strong leader. Earlier this month, David Tyner of TheCustomerCollective.com wrote about how team leaders can inspire their teams without gaining the label of ?the dorky sales manager?.

Firstly, Tyner suggests that managers lead by example. We actually couldn?t agree more as we know that some of our strongest managers are our best salespeople. As Tyner puts it, ?do not sit like a bump on a log? but instead bring energy and excitement to your team by putting your own sales techniques into action.

Another tip that Tyner provides is to always make sure that you are prepared. Be sure to prepare your agenda and follow through on your previously made commitments to your reps. For example, if you informed one of your team members that you would provide feedback at a later time, be sure to do so within a reasonable amount of time. Be thorough and prepared, keeping in mind that the intent is to positively improve the team?s productivity.

Never belittle or speak down to your reps, says Tyner. He writes that no matter what the problem with a rep may be, it is important to never react disrespectfully. You also want to ensure that your feedback is well-founded. Jumping to conclusions before getting all the facts can make for an uncomfortable situation that may be hard to recover from.

One of your most important responsibilities, according to Tyner is to ?know what the heck you?re talking about?! He writes: ?As a leader, you should set the example of product mastery and artful negotiation.? 

As well, one of your most upstanding duties as manager is to take responsibility for when things go badly. It is important to not point fingers but instead take corrective action in order to make sure that there is no repeat of the error.

Finally, one of your most important tasks as sales manager is to ?give your team credit when credit is due?. Says Tyner: ?If you make sure your team shines, they will make sure you shine.  When someone has a great idea and executes on it, give them all of the credit and recognize them for it.  Never, never, pass someone else's idea off as your own.  The best of the best, are focused on simply getting things done.?

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24 May

Beat The Holiday Heat

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 24.05.10 by John Meloche

Can you believe it? Earlier today, The City of Toronto actually issued a heat alert! As far as we are concerned here at Synergy, that in itself, is cause for celebration. Of course, today is Victoria Day. It's a day off work that most Canadians use to celebrate with beers and barebeques and staying out in the sun.

If you're in the Southern Ontario area, however, you may want to be sure to put on that sunscreen. Today, Don Peat of The Toronto Sun writes that with the humidity, Toronto feels like 32 degrees Celcius. Surely, this is welcome news to Torontonians who suffered through a chilly Victoria Day long weekend last year.

And while most love to bask in the sun, the heat and humidity could produce dangerous results. As Peat writes, today's heat alert was issued at 8 a.m. this morning by Dr. David McKeown, Toronto?s Medical Officer of Health. McKeown is urging people to keep a close eye on those who may be at a high risk of suffering heat-related illnesses today.

?Adults and seniors, people with chronic and pre-existing illnesses, infants and young children and the homeless? are all at great risk, says the doctor. As a result, Toronto Public Health has issued a number of ways for citizens to ?Beat The Heat? on this holiday Monday.

One of the most obvious pieces of advice is to drink a lot of water and natural fruit juices. Keeping hydrated is of key importance, especially when the humidity is high. If the heat is getting to you, it is a good idea to spend time in an air conditioned environment.

Many Torontonians will use today to workout in the sun. Not only should sunscreen be applied, but the amount of time you spend in the sun should be limited. This is especially true between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. today. As well, do not leave anyone unattended in a car, as we all know that they turn into baking ovens when the sun is out and the heat is high!

Peat advises that ?during a heat alert those who need help or have heat-related inquiries may call the Canadian Red Cross heat information line at 416-480-2615 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.? This service, of course, is not just available for today's holiday. Temperatures, in fact, are supposed to remain high for the better part of this week in Toronto.

Tomorrow actually, may feel like 34C with the humidity in the city. Wednesday is also expected to be hot and sunny with the thermometer hitting the 30C mark, although it will likely feel closer to 36C.

So enjoy the sun and heat! But be smart and be careful. That way, you will truly be able to enjoy the holiday.

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21 May

Expecting A Warm Long Weekend

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 21.05.10 by John Meloche

As Victoria Day weekend quickly approaches, people from all over Southern Ontario are preparing to enjoy the sun. Just yesterday in Toronto, city residents experienced the hottest day of the year so far. The hope, of course, is that the best is yet to come as many are getting set for three full days of relaxation and enjoyment.

The Toronto Star reports today that senior climatologist David Phillips is calling for above average seasonal highs throughout all of Canada. Says Phillips: ?This is the weekend we go from hibernation to migration. We break out of that winter mode of staying indoors or around the property. We head out to the cottage or the garden centres. It?s the get-action type of weekend.?

And many Ontarians are definitely ready for action! Last year in the province, May?s long weekend was frigid. This year, however, it looks like pulling out the summer gear will be appropriate. Although there is some rain expected in Toronto, by Sunday there should be highs of 24 degrees Celcius.

Monday should put a smile on many faces. Instead of heading into work on Monday, people in the GTA can expect to bask in the sun with highs around 25C. This is up 5 degrees from the average day-time temperature for this time of year.

Toronto-based engineer Sharlah Morrison is one Ontarian who is excited about this long weekend. In The Star, she was quoted as saying: ?I don?t usually make plans for the May-two-four weekend because the weather?s so iffy. This weekend I?m going to take advantage of this as much as I can.?

According to the report, her ?plans include a patio rendezvous with friends, a picnic in a local park and runs through a nearby nature trail.? So what are your plans this weekend? Victoria Day weekend has long been known as the time that many Canadians head up to cottage country to rest and relax or even party it up.

There is, of course, plenty to do around the city of Toronto. We know that many members of the Synergy Marketing Consultants staff will be spending time with their friends and family over the next three days taking in all the sights they can. We just hope that after all of the partying, they will still be able to make it into work on Tuesday!

Obviously, we advocate that you party responsibly and enjoy the holiday. They don?t come often so making the most of them is always important. And how you could not love the warmth and sunshine? Let?s hope the weather reports actually hold up so that this may be one of your best long weekends yet.

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20 May

More Money-Saving Marketing Methods

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 20.05.10 by John Meloche

Over the past couple of days, our blog has taken a look at the number of ways in which business owners can utilize promotional gifts to grow the reach of their companies. As always, we proudly pronounce that Synergy Marketing Consultants provides the best promo items in the industry today?and we will continue to make that claim!

In all honesty, we know that our success is based on the success of our clients. Providing them with one of the most productive and cost-efficient ways to promote their businesses, our products continue to make business owners everywhere very happy.

Especially in the post-recession era, many owners are looking for inexpensive ways to market and promote their brands. In a post from April of 2006, MoreBusiness.com helps business owners by outlining some of the most proven methods of promoting that don?t break the bank.

As they write, not all businesses can afford the traditional forms of advertising. Television, radio, print ads and billboards cost upwards of six to seven-figure budgets. Not only are these methods expensive but they are slowly become known as ?interrupting ads?.

According to MoreBusiness.com, these types of ads disrupt the regular flow of TV and radio shows, magazine articles and even the view from the road ? depending on what type of ad, of course. As a result, many people have discovered ways to ignore them. Especially in today?s world where digital video recorders are becoming the norm, fast-forwarding through commercials is becoming commonplace.

Obviously, there are cheaper and more effective ways of spreading your message. The first that MoreBusiness.com mentions is ?pay-per-click ads?. These are online ads that you pay for each time someone clicks on them to end up at your website. They are effective because you know that, unlike TV ads, if someone ignores the ad you don?t have to pay for it.

As well, you?ll be guaranteed that whoever clicks on your ad is interested in what you have to offer. Another cheap way to advertise, according to the site, is ?permission-based marketing?. This is where you utilize your website to offer people the chance to sign up for an e-mail newsletter allowing you to market to them regularly.

?Back-end sales? are effective marketing tools as well. This is where you sell a product for a cost so low, you may lose money on it. The objective, however, is to be able to market to this customer numerous times in the future. For example, if you give away a useful, high-quality item for free, the customer may want to come back to you for more of your products.

Finally, you know we?ve mentioned this one before. Perhaps there is no cheaper and better way to promote than through ?word of mouth?. Says MoreBusiness.com: ?There really is no better method of advertising than from word of mouth. You can get word of mouth advertising in one of two ways; both are effective. You can encourage your happy clients to refer other people to you or you can do something that creates buzz and has people talking about you over the watercooler.?

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19 May

Making Magical Marketing Campaigns Pt.2

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 19.05.10 by John Meloche

As we were mentioning at the end of yesterday?s blog, we always do our best to please our customers. That being said, we feel strongly that our clients will be doing the very same thing with their customers when they offer their promotional items as gifts.

Of course, yesterday we started on the very popular topic, here at Synergy, that promotional items are used as key ingredients in the successes of businesses everywhere. A strong promotional campaign that doesn?t necessarily command a huge budget should always incorporate promo gifts.

But once again, you don?t just have to take our word for it. As mentioned yesterday, the very appropriately named website, HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com, insists upon good use of promo items to promote businesses efficiently and effectively. One of their strongest points involved choosing the right promo item company.

Naturally, that?s where we come in. We believe that the advice offered by HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com is both sound and accurate. Just as importantly, we believe that Synergy Marketing Consultants falls directly in line with the website?s description of what makes a good promotional item company.

According to the site: ?Promotional merchandise companies?listen to the needs and understand the objectives and goals of a business organization.? By offering each of the clients that we work with the most appropriate item to help promote their businesses, we ensure that we embody the slogan and message of each brand accurately.

Our services ensure the shipping of high-quality items that speak volumes about the businesses that distribute them. Now how else could we ensure that we continue to do good business ourselves if we weren?t pleasing our own customers? We treat each client with exclusive interest.

HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com provides the perfect example of what we often recommend to our clients. So, of course, we will join them in recommending the following to you. Says the site: ?When gifting to executives, select from make sure to select from expensive and larger gift items like lap top bags, barware or glass sets, deluxe desk sets, clothing and luggage.?

As always, it is incumbent upon all business owners to make clear the objectives of their respective marketing campaigns. From the overall message to the budget to the putting into action of the campaign, the intent must be made clear. The plan, of course, should always be to grow the business.

Proper planning of a marketing campaign utilizing promo gifts will ensure that the right items are put into the right people?s hands. As HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com makes clear, ?the success of the campaign depends upon its distribution.? Not to mention, ?a perfect promotional merchandise company is the one that offers all the services needed in a campaign.?

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18 May

Making Magical Marketing Campaigns Pt.1

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 18.05.10 by John Meloche

We have got to hand it to the people over at HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com. It was just last Friday that this wonderful blog posted a commentary on the importance of choosing the right name for your business. And while we will continue to herald ourselves as the masters of knowing good business promotion, the aforementioned website was definitely aptly named.

On HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com, there is a ton of information on how to do just that. However, one of the most intriguing pieces of advice offered by the site incorporates the proper usage of promotional merchandise to grow businesses. They agree that the distribution of promo items ?works wonders?.

According to the site, some of the most opportune occasions to hand out promo gifts are meetings, events, special sales, conventions and grand openings. Of course, the list doesn?t stop there. Business owners are generally presented with ample opportunities to meet new clients and potential partners to expand their company?s reach.

As we all know, it?s all about boosting attention to your company. And clearly, there are many ways to do that. HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com agrees that there is a promotional item for every business out there. It is important for each business owner, however, to select the one that is right for his or her company.

Advises the website: ?You have to choose something that?is practical, useful, and appropriate to your brand and makes your target customers talk about it.? That being said, it is imperative to determine exactly who your target audience is. Once this is done, you may better calculate your campaign?s budget in order to purchase the right product in the right quantity.

Synergy Marketing Consultants offers the best possible selection of pens, mugs, mouse pads, key chains, calendars and so much more. The list of promotional items that could help take your company to the next level is virtually endless. That doesn?t necessarily mean, however, that they are all perfect for your brand. But we do believe that when you choose an item that your recipient will use often and remember you by, you will have done yourself a great favour.

HowToPromoteYourBusiness.com points out another great point about working with a top-notch promo gifts company to grow businesses. Our clients are very well aware of this. They write: ?Promotional merchandise companies can fulfill your large requests in a short span of time. An experienced company handles your request easily without any delays or problems.?

We, of course, pride ourselves on ensuring that we deliver our products within the time we specify. We also ensure that the products are of the impeccable quality that we say they are. We know that, without question, making a great impression with your clients is a major key in running a successful business.

We will revisit this topic in tomorrow?s blog.

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