31 May

The Season Of The Gift

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 31.05.11 by John Meloche

Readers of our great blog have come to know that around the Synergy Marketing Consultants offices, there is a lot of love for summer. Yes, being headquartered in Toronto, Canada means that we have dreadful winters of cold and snow…but awesome summers of heat and sunshine!

The thing is, the month of May – not quite yet summer, we know – is usually quite sunny and warm. This year, however, the weather has been downright English! We mean, the rain and fog has replaced the usual bright spring weather. And until this past weekend, we thought that May’s usual beauty would never appear.

Thankfully, as of this writing, the temperature is a lovely 25 Celcius and the sun has made its long-awaited appearance. So, you know what that means…summer is just around the corner! You may be wondering why we love the summer time so much. Is it just the warmth and sun? Or is there more to it?

Well, let’s be honest. Summer is the season of the gift. This is the time when many people throw parties and barbeques, and you know it’s always polite to at least bring over something to drink. But even more importantly, summer is a time when many couples decide to tie the knot.

A survey in the Synergy offices this morning found that just about every member of our staff is planning to attend at least one wedding this summer. So naturally, they will be looking for a special gift to bring the bride and groom. Now we all know that the end-of-year holiday season is generally known as the one for “giving”.But, hey summer time is not to be outdone!

Perhaps it only makes good sense for your company to get in on the action. Consider that your customers are likely already feeling a bit more excited now that the sun is out and the weather is warm. Why not have them leave your store on an even greater high knowing that your company is one that appreciates its customers? Giving out a promotional gift is sure to do that.

Some of our most appropriate summer time gifts are located in the Summer Sizzlers section of this website. We know that visiting your store isn’t the same as going to a wedding…but it’s a reason to give a gift nonetheless. Remember that customer loyalty is the biggest benefit of being so generous. It’s your way of making your customers’ summers even brighter!

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30 May

Who Wants To NOT Be A Millionaire?

Posted in News on 30.05.11 by John Meloche

As business owners, we all have at least one characteristic in common. We like making money. And how could you not? Especially when you have taken the initiative to go into business for yourself, you are arguably the hardest-working type of individual there is out there. Accumulating wealth is an obvious desire of those who become their own bosses.

Now, we can’t all be millionaires, right? But it sure would be nice if that was the case, wouldn’t it? Well, according to Moneyville blogger, Alison Griffiths, perhaps being a millionaire isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. Perhaps, there is some truth to the saying that money can’t buy you happiness.

As Griffiths points out in her blog yesterday, a recent study by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services forecasts that “that the number of millionaires in Canada will increase from 1.7 million today to more than 2.4 million by 2020, and that as a group they will control $6.77 trillion in assets.”

However, a separate RBC survey last fall found that “less than half (49 per cent) of Canada’s millionaires feel they have grown happier as they have accumulated more wealth.” Is it possible that the more money you have, the less happier you become? Was The Notorious B.I.G. correct when he declared “Mo Money Mo Problems”?

As Griffiths reveals, the RBC report does, in fact, suggest that the greater one’s wealth, the greater the difficulties experienced. For example, managing investments, planning for retirement and succession planning all become major issues to worry about. Not to mention, money grubbing friends and relatives coming out of the woodwork!

Perhaps, this is a far-fetched assumption. Griffiths herself admits that life has got to be a lot more difficult when one is forced to live pay cheque to pay cheque. She notes that about 60 per cent of Canadians report that this is the way they live. Not being in debt, she continues, has got to present a circumstance for greater happiness.

At the end of the day, it’s always important to set financial goals for yourself and decide upon the ways in which you plan on achieving them. Especially as a business owner, you always want to ensure that your business is meeting the needs of its customers in order to secure its longevity. We’re sure that having too much money is likely a problem you wouldn’t mind having!

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27 May

Canadians Love Booking Travel Online

Posted in News on 27.05.11 by John Meloche

Just last week, we blogged about the fact that high gas prices across Canada would likely be causing a lot more “staycations” this year. The type of vacation that involves little to no traveling, staycations are often a direct result of people trying to enjoy time off from work within a budget. For the most part, this means staying home.

With gas prices being so high, most Canadians seem to be thinking that taking long car trips will be out of the question this summer. Just yesterday, however, QMI Agency’s Sharon Singleton reported that Canadians seem to have a solution for this particular issue. Instead, of driving…why not fly?

According to Singleton, Canadians are booking vacations like crazy! She writes that online travel bookings across the country is “growing like gangbusters”. The strong loonie, it seems, is being credited for a lot of the travel plans that have Canucks heading south into the United States.

Scott Durchslag, the president of Expedia Worldwide, has found that Canadians are among the most online-savvy people in the world when it comes to booking travel. Online transactions have been up by 30 per cent over the past year with gross bookings hitting a record high of $1.5 billion!

Among the ten most popular destinations for Canadians booking travel online, seven of them are in the United States. Toronto, Vancouver and Cancun, Mexico are the other three. Said Durchslag: “That’s really stunning growth. Canadians love the sun and because of the strong dollar, the U.S. is on sale. You can get the best prices in decades.”

We suppose that this is one of those “silver lining” situations. As gas prices may make driving a tougher task this summer, the strong Canadian dollar is allowing for more outside-of-Canada travel to be more affordable. Not surprisingly, Expedia is doing its part in making the entire booking process that much easier.

As we have blogged about numerous times before, the use of new technology to promote your company is important in the current world of business. Singleton writes that, this month, Expedia launched new apps for smartphone users that allow them to “find nearby hotels, ratings and then a map to get them there.”

This feature gives travelers constant access to bookings, advice and information about hotels including vacancies and rates. Said Durchslag: “We will think about coming to you, to make you think about going places that are relevant to your interests or have been recommended by your friends. The travel industry has lagged in innovation. We want to bring back innovation.”

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26 May

Time To Please Your Bosses

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 26.05.11 by John Meloche

Do you remember going on your first job interview? Chances are, you did your best to dress appropriately. You were sure to speak both intelligently and politely in order to present yourself in the best manner possible. And you did everything you could to give your interviewer the impression that you were the right person for the job. Now that you’re a business owner, what has really changed?

Sure, you can think that you are your own boss. But really, don’t you answer to your customers? In a way, you are on a new job interview each and every day. You still need to dress appropriately. It’s also important to sound both intelligent and polite.

And, by all means, you want your customers to be confident that your business is the right choice for their needs. There’s no reason to ever rest on your laurels. Being the owner of a business literally means that you need to get up each and every day ready to impress the world all over again.

Hey, no one said that it would be an easy job! Of course, there are many great benefits to being in business for yourself. But not having to answer to anyone isn’t one of them! Your customers call the shots. If it weren’t for them, you would have no business to run. So remembering that you always need to please your “bosses” is of paramount importance.

Excellent customer service always has been, and always will be a key ingredient to running a successful business. You want your customers to enjoy coming to your establishment so that they will be encouraged to keep coming back. They may enjoy the product you sell, but do they enjoy the process of buying it?

Promotional gifts have long helped business owners provide the personal touch necessary to encourage loyalty from their customers. The sentiment that connotes that “we appreciate you” is one that always well-received and felt for a long time. What better way to please your bosses than to reward them with a gift for their patronage?

Consider the next time someone walks into your store. It may happen in the next few minutes so think quickly! What can you do to take that extra step in satisfying that person and making the experience of visiting your store a memorable one? If you do not yet have any gifts to shower your customers with, it’s time to give us a call!

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25 May

It Never Hurts To Ask

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 25.05.11 by John Meloche

You know, sometimes just asking a simple question can mean the difference between deciding to buy or not buy a product. Is there a money back guarantee? How do I go about getting a replacement? What is your return policy? These are all questions that, if unasked, may lead to the loss of a sale.

This is why optimum customer service is so essential to a functional and successful businesses. As a consumer, you will want to make sure that you ask all of the pertinent questions that make you feel that you are making the right purchase. But, as a business owner, it’s important that you answer the questions that aren’t even asked.

Consider the reason why many business websites have a FAQ or “Frequently Asked Questions” section. When you can anticipate the question, it makes it that much easier to answer it. Give your customer the peace of mind in knowing that the product or service they are paying for is reliable.

In addition, you are also displaying to your customer that your company can be trusted. The more informative you are, the more trustworthy you will appear. In today’s Moneyville section of The Toronto Star‘s website, Alison Griffiths explains how asking a simple question saved her and her husband $150.

Entering a fitness club that he had discovered online, Griffiths’ husband informed the club of his personal circumstances and resulting time schedule. He then asked if there was a better option than signing up for a full year membership for someone like him. Griffiths notes that the salesperson did not volunteer any of this information before the question was asked.

But her husband then discovered that the fitness club did offer reduced day rates for those who worked out between 12 and 4 p.m. Just like that, $150 was saved simply because the appropriate question was asked. It should be noted that had the club rep offered the information earlier, a better impression of the company would have been made.

Nevertheless, the Griffiths were happy with the outcome as we’re sure the fitness club was as well. Do your part to make life easy for your customers. Speak to their needs and cater your services in a way that connotes that personal touch. Answer the questions that are asked and even the ones that are not. Doing so will place your business a cut above the rest.

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24 May

More Ways To Wow Your Customers

Posted in Promotional Products on 24.05.11 by John Meloche

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the awesome promotional gifts that Synergy Marketing Consultants has to offer. And why not? We’re proud to be industry leaders in the corporate gifts and promo items game. The reason we’ve done so well only begins with the products we offer. Our commitment to helping our clients grow their businesses is what really puts us over the top.

When you satisfy – or better yet – wow your customers, you are ensuring that you are earning their loyalty for the long haul. We know the importance of keeping your business on the minds of your clients so that they keep coming back. This is why we take our customer service to unparalleled levels. We do our best to be in constant communication.

This is why you may both order our products online or over the phone. While checking out our website, you’ll notice that there are a variety of gifts that may be perfect for your business. So, as always, we encourage you to give us a call. However, perusing through some of the great gifts on our website first may be of great help to you.

One way to get started is to take a look at our 2011 product line. With all of the new items we have to offer, we’re sure that you will find a new and innovative way to wow your customers. Take, for example, “The Escape” 6 in 1 Emergency Tool. This incredible gift can really come in handy when you are in a major bind.
In an emergency situation, this tool can be a life saver. It contains a double steel tip that can shatter windows and a razor-sharp knife that can cut through seat belts. It also includes a 3 LED flashlight and full length screwdriver bits. Quite the wow-inducing gift, you’ll want to be sure to give this to your favourite clients and colleagues.

If something a bit simpler is your speed, check out our Solid Bamboo Pens with Biodegradable Plastic Clips. With these cost-effective and widely useful gifts, you will be both saving the environment and promoting your business at the same time. These awesome pens are made up with over 60% biodegradable cornstarch plastic clips and tips.

As always, Synergy provides you with multiple ways to promote your business. Not to mention, save lives and the environment! Our 2011 product line is filled with useful gifts that are sure to wow your customers. Be sure to contact us to discover the ways in which we can help you to do just that.

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23 May

Texting Rules In Canada

Posted in News on 23.05.11 by John Meloche

On Victoria Day long weekend, there’s a lot of things that Canadians just love to do. Heading north to cottage country is certainly one of them. And weather people are choosing to travel or stay home this weekend (we all know how high the price of gas is), barbeques are a common occurrence during “May 2-4”.

May’s long weekend celebrations have long been part of a Canadian past time that citizens across the country look forward to. No doubt, friends across the country have been calling and texting each other all weekend in an effort to make holiday plans. Texting, by the way, is not a past time saved for holidays. Oh no, not for Canadians.

As Michael Oliveira of The Canadian Press reported a couple of weeks ago, texting happens to be one of the most popular activities in all of Canada! What exactly is it about electronic messaging that has captured the hearts of Canadians so much? Oliveira notes that while Canada is the birthplace of the BlackBerry, it’s also the home of the world’s most Facebook-crazed people.

You would think, however, that with the advent of Facebook, along with BBM and all the other ways to communicate using electronic devices, that texting may go the way of the dinosaur. Not so, says Oliveira. Currently, texting – first offered in Canada in 2002 – is bigger than it has ever been.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association reports that a whopping “56.4 billion texts were sent in Canada in 2010, up 60 per cent from the 35.3 billion sent the previous year. That’s an average of 4.7 billion a month, or 154.5 million a day.” This incredible number not only exemplifies the widespread popularity of texting, but highlights just how much our modes of communication have changed.

For example, two friends can now meet up with each other without ever sharing a spoken word. Giving someone a quick call has been replaced by “Where are you?” and “Five minutes away” messages. Consider that entire conversations are often had through text messages these days. There really is no stopping it!

CWTA spokesman, Marc Choma believes that texting has stuck with consumers because of its relative ease. Even though so many social networking media are available, “text messaging has a certain appeal just because it is so instant and so quick and all you have to know is a person’s phone number,” he said.

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20 May

Save On Gas This Summer

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 20.05.11 by John Meloche

Saving money has been somewhat of a recurring theme over the past couple of weeks, here on the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog. On one hand, we’ve have taken lengths to remind our great readers of the many incredible, yet inexpensive promotional items that we offer that may help your business to grow.

On the other hand, we’ve kept close watch of the gas price situation in Canada as it is an issue that has greatly affected the way that Canadians spend their money. This is an issue that is expected to impact the spending habits of Canucks all through the summer, at the very least.

Many people have already curbed their vacationing plans due to the fact that gas prices are so high. As Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew pointed out in the Moneyville section of The Toronto Star‘s website yesterday, this coming Victoria Day long weekend will present drivers with gas prices in the $1.28 per litre range.

Acharya-Tom Yew points out that during last year’s Victoria Day long weekend, gas cost about 97 cents a litre. The outlook for the rest of the summer doesn’t seem all that much better. So, in all likelihood, Canadians will be forced to choose between either very expensive car trips or a modified traveling schedule in order to save money.

Acharya-Tom Yew writes that “Earl Sweet, senior economist at BMO Financial Group. But Sweet argues that if things stabilize, oil will remain at about $95 (U.S.) for the next year, not far from current levels, and gas prices won’t climb much.” As a result, she goes on to provide a list of tips supplied by the Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Automobile Association on how save money this summer.

The first tip is sort of a no-brainer. Carpooling has been a cost and gas-saving idea that people have been using for years. When doing so this summer, be sure to ask all passengers to pitch in on splitting the gas bill, especially for long trips. In addition, don’t forget to check your tire pressure. This helps to improve your gas mileage.

Avoid costly repairs by ensuring that your car is well maintained. As well, take advantage of local attractions. The closer your summer entertainment is located, the cheaper it will be to get there. Ontario Place, for example, is free all summer in celebration of its 40th anniversary!

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19 May

Time To Make Your Summer Sizzle

Posted in Promotional Products on 19.05.11 by John Meloche

This week, we have been taking some time to remind you about our amazing product line. You know, just in case you had forgotten. As always, Synergy Marketing Consultants champions the use of promotional gifts to help advertise your business as it is both an inexpensive and highly effective marketing strategy.

Remember, of course, that is not just about the gift that you provide your colleague or customer. But more importantly, it’s about the feeling you give the recipient of your gift. It’s about the relationship. The bond that you build with the person you give the gift to is essentially the biggest reward you can give yourself.

Your brand is the emotion that one attributes to your company. So if the emotion is a positive one, then naturally, people will feel good about doing business with you. Consider also that if you provide your favourite customers with gifts that are practical, useful and of good quality, you will be promoting your brand with one simple item for years to come.

Now, with summer coming up, it’s always important to consider the type of gifts that will be useful during the warm months. Our “Summer Sizzlers”  selection of promo items is especially popular during this time of year as a result. Especially for the driver, the golfer and the barbeque specialist, our array of summer gifts are ideal gifts and awesome advertising tools for your business.

For the driver, we offer the very stylish Europa Driving Glasses! Consider that during the bright summer months, the sun will be shining. As beautiful as it will make the weather, conditions can make glaring light a driving hazard. Your snazzy pair of shades will help block the rays with 100% UV protection. Each pair comes in a draw string pouch that can also be used as a cleaning cloth!

For the golfer, we have the Pro Tour Two-ball Golf Putter.  Admittedly, this is one of our higher end promo gifts. So you will, no doubt, impress the socks off the recipient of this awesome selection! The putter features a steel shaft and a black rubber grip and is available for both right and left-handed golfers. It also comes with a head cover!

And finally, for the barbeque specialist, we have the Cattlemans Kitchen© Steak Knife & Fork Set!  The large steakhouse steak knives and forks are made with stainless steel and triple riveted rosewood handles. They also come in a two piece gift box. As always, when you provide gifts from Synergy Marketing Consultants, you do so in style!

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18 May

Gas Prices Causing Rise In Staycations

Posted in News on 18.05.11 by John Meloche

Last week, our blog took a discerning look at the excessive spikes in the price of gas throughout Canada. For the record, as of this writing, the price of gas in Toronto is somewhere around the $1.28 mark. Thankfully, this is a break from the $1.41 high that gas prices reached less than a week ago. So perhaps gas prices are finally headed downward.

Then again, as one online reader of The Toronto Sun wrote, one shouldn’t assume that the “lower” gas prices are all that low, after all. They may only seem relatively inexpensive in comparison to the “ridiculous” prices that have occurred in recent weeks. Therefore, today’s current gas price really isn’t anything to get all that excited about.

So is there anything positive about the nation’s gas price situation? Yesterday, QMI Agency’s Sharon Singleton suggested that there is a silver lining to this entire issue. That is, if you are a member of the tourism industry, you’re likely about to enjoy the fact that many Canadians will be taking “staycations” this summer.

What is a “staycation” you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s a vacation where you stay at home. And according to Singleton, the surging gas prices are likely to encourage Canadians to not make too many long car trips in the coming months. This isn’t to say that no one will be going anywhere. It’s just that people will be more apt to not going very far.

Singleton writes that in both Canada and the United States, travel industry specialists are noticing that the high gas prices are impacting many people’s traveling plans. According to Tony Pollard, the president of the Hotel Association of Canada, 42 per cent of people who claim to have no vacation plans this year cite high fuel costs as the reason.

Said Pollard: “What I am seeing and what I am hearing is that people are now saying that they are going to travel less and will probably stay closer to home. Ideally, we would want people to travel more and further but as long as they are traveling at all, it’s still a good news story.”

Staycations, it would appear, is becoming a popular trend in Canada. Singleton reveals that just last year, the word actually entered the Oxford English Dictionary for the first time. With gas prices as high as they are today, it is likely that this word – and this trend – will only grow in popularity.

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