Category Archives: Marketing Tips

Top Marketing Fails [SlideShare]

Many companies find that their marketing message gets “lost in translation” during international ad campaigns

It can happen to anyone. You’re having a conversation with someone from another part of the country – or maybe even from another nation entirely, and you say something that really makes him or her gasp. What an odd reaction, you say; until you realize that what you were trying to say didn’t translate with the intended meaning. Major corporations around the world have also encountered these types of communication failures – the kind that cause marketing managers to shake their heads in disbelief and customers to question the motives of those in charge of the ads.

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Sometimes, marketing issues arise due to an incorrect translation between an English-speaking company and their international audience. Just ask Pepsi. Their international campaign targeted at the Republic of China touted that “Pepsi brings you back to life!” In China, this translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!” It is curious that a company as large and savvy as Pepsi wouldn’t ask for a consultation from a Chinese language or culture expert before launching a major ad campaign that promised to resurrect the dead.

Other companies have suffered similar marketing failures, especially those who have tried to jump all over the popularity of newsworthy world events. Kenneth Cole, the great, Brooklyn-based purveyor of trendy clothes and fashion accessories, decided to piggyback on the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 by tweeting “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online — KC.” With people dying in the streets and a nation facing severe political unrest, it was obviously considered in bad taste to make light of such a serious situation.

Several other companies, from Chevrolet to Gerber Baby Food, have committed catastrophic faux pas through a variety of marketing campaigns. Many marketing fails have resulted in absolutely hilarious situations – some of them providing lessons and insights into international customs and traditions that don’t end up aligning with Western marketing ploys. Others have emerged as truly insensitive or narrow-minded marketing activities that have tarnished the reputation of several well-known companies.

Whatever the result, there is a seemingly endless list of companies who have committed serious marketing fails over the past few decades. Here is a SlideShare of eight of the top marketing failures that demonstrate just how easy it is for an honest marketing message to get lost in translation – or for a company to offend millions via a simple Tweet.


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It’s a Slam Dunk! Custom Sports Bottles Help Propel Your Brand

waterbottlesHere is a shocking fact – In 2006, 1.3 million tons of plastic water bottles were produced in America, which required the energy equivalent of 50 million barrels of oil. About 76.5% of these bottles found their way to the landfill.

Consumers today know that the decisions they make have global ramifications. With filtered water consumption increasing year after year, savvy consumers are switching from disposable water bottles to refillable sports bottles en masse. These bottles prevent serious buildup in our landfills, and allow more affordable consumption of water. After all, bottled water is expensive – and you can certainly refill a sports bottle from a filtered water dispenser on your home refrigerator! The market for custom water bottles is booming, and today is a great time to take advantage of this boost from a marketing angle.

There are few consumers today who don’t use a refillable sports bottle – so why not take advantage of this fact to get your message out? Most people use theirs daily, and the specific design on the water bottle helps to differentiate the bottle from those lurking in the cubicle next door. With the focus on the green movement and eco-friendly products, this is a fantastic way to increase market penetration and show that your organization supports responsible causes. According to the latest data, Americans consume an average of 167 bottles of water per year. This means that the ability to increase exposure for your product is substantial.

Consumers are using their sports bottles on a daily basis. Take advantage of a powerful marketing message by affixing your logo to a quality water bottle. Your clients and prospects will likely use your sports bottle several times per week – and that’s the type of promotional giveaway that really pays back.

The Top Seven Promotional Products That Can Make Your Business a Hit

Promotional ProductsYou know you need to market your brand with promotional products – now, which ones are the right items for your organization? The first concept to realize is that no marketing approach will fit all businesses. Ford doesn’t sell cars by adopting the same principles that has made Apple so successful. That said, the promotional giveaways that are typically exchanged at tradeshows and during sales calls must be engineered to make a lasting impact at a reasonable price. Here are seven items that are guaranteed to make statement at any event:

Pens – so simple, yet infinitely useful. Everybody seems to use one on a daily basis and when you find one that writes nicely, it creates brand loyalty. Investing in high-quality custom pens can have your prospects and customers seeking out your pen to use on a daily basis. This subconscious connection between your company and quality is priceless.

CoolersPersonalized lunch bags and coolers are a great way to get your company’s logo in front of consumers during their downtime. Coolers come out during BBQ’s, at sporting events, on camping trips, and at the beach. Keep your logo modest, so as not to put off a prospective client, and you’ll have brand recognition during those happy moments in people’s lives.

MagnetsPromotional magnets are a simple way to increase your marketing reach. Magnets are typically used to hold either photos or important documents within reach of the user. Your magnet will see a lot of use, and provides a highly visible reminder of your organization.

Flashlights – Literally brighten your company’s future with a keychain flashlight. These units provide actual real-world value and are a constant reminder that your organization cares for the safety and convenience of its customer base. LED technology has increased performance and reduced costs.

Sports Bottles – Sports bottles will hopefully overtake the plastic water bottle fad someday. With the green movement at full steam ahead, eco-friendly products like a custom sports bottle can tell your customers and prospects that you are a powerful company that supports key initiatives.

Travel Mugs – These moveable billboards for your company are a great way to enhance your marketing ability – at a low price. Also embracing the green movement, these refillable mugs offer an environmentally conscious way to keep favorite hot or cold beverages within reach, even on the road!

Calendars – A promotional calendar that is in use provides an entire year of daily reminders about your company. Get creative and customize a calendar with information specific to your company or client base. 365 reminders of why your organization is great is priceless.

Promotional giveaway items have the ability to increase your market share, provide a real-world benefit for your customers, and enable you to entice prospects with timely marketing materials. These top promo items are sure to help grow your business, and can do so at remarkably little expense!

Small Business Saturday Tips

Small Business Saturday is almost here!  This Saturday, November 24, marks the 3rd annual day that this event will be held.  As small business owners, planning and developing ways to effectively enhance your business image is a vital process in attracting and procuring customers during this day.

Inform the Customer, Raise Awareness.  Letting people know that Small Business Saturday is on November 24, or this Saturday, is crucial.  Many people are aware of national events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but being that Small Business Saturday is only in its third year, they still might be unaware.  When customers come into your store during this week, let them know that the event is going to be going on this Saturday and find ways to raise awareness.

Create Something Tangible.  Whether an advertisement, fliers, a storefront sign, or a creative display, let people know what Small Business Saturday is all about.  Tangible items and/or products better inform the community and provide them with added information needed in decision making processes.

Provide a Takeaway.  During this week leading up to the event and also on the day of, provide your customers with something that will allow them to remember YOU.  Takeaways allow customers to ingrain your business into the back of their minds and remember what you have to offer them.

Build Relationships.  Lasting relationships will not only benefit business success, but will also highlight your business proficiency and effectiveness for meeting needs.  Make the customer and community feel as though it is family.

So let us “shop small” and show support within our community by helping those who give so much to us!

 

Stay Positive!

October is Positivity Month.  Looking for some ways to stay on top and be more efficient?  Here are some ideas to manage energy and promote positivity:

The Power of a Good Night Sleep.  While days generally consist of long hours at work followed by trying to complete tasks afterwards, many people underestimate just how important sleep plays in the energy that we have.  According to the American Psychological Association, 40% of adults suffer from daytime sleepiness a few days a month, and another 20% suffer a few days a week as a result of their sleep habits.  This reduces energy, well-being, and ultimately causes daily activities to hinder as a result.  By aiming to average at least 8 hours of sleep a night, you will begin to feel better on a daily basis and operate at a higher level.

Develop Daily Plans.  Take time on a daily basis to map out what you need to accomplish.  By staying organized, you will begin to develop efficiency and identify tasks that are necessary for the utilization of your energy.  Think about the hours at work and home that are dedicated to tasks other than those that are necessary (surfing the web, telephone, social media, etc.).  Though we all want a little “me” time here and there, this leads to unproductive habits and drains our energy by not staying on task.  By keeping an organizer, schedule, or list, you can accomplish tasks quicker, save energy, and create more time for yourself to do things you want!

Create Time For You.  Half the battle with staying energetic and positive is that there seems to not be enough “me” time.  Whether work feels overwhelming or life becomes hectic, making sure that you set aside time for yourself is one of the most important aspects towards maintaining health and happiness.  On a weekly basis, find time in which you can perform something brings yourself happiness.  Whether it is catching a football game on television, going to the movies, meeting up with friends or family, and/or performing your favorite activity, find time for such.  By doing so, you will feel more relaxed, refreshed, and ready to take on tasks and goals ahead.

Go For It.  Don’t be afraid and have a “can do” attitude.  One major obstacle to obtaining positivity is the fear of failure.  Set goals that you see yourself being able to reach and go for them.  By holding back, you are only promoting negativity and the possibility of failure.  Whether win, lose, or draw; knowing that you gave it your all will allow you to gain satisfaction, bring about positive energy, and affirm your actions as being successful endeavors.

Surround Yourself With Positive Energy.  Whether it is being around good people, extending a helping hand, or becoming more involved (activities, organizations, etc.), surrounding yourself with positive energy will help promote health, wealth, and happiness.  Positivity and energy are transferable sources that when shared create mutual satisfaction and happiness.  Immersing yourself into actions that promote personal and communal positivity will lead to greater satisfaction and success within your daily lives.

Do Your Part, Raise Awareness!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast Cancer has touched and afflicted the lives of many, and it is during this month that we all should take time to acknowledge this devastating disease.  Whether you are a fighter, survivor, or somebody that has been touched by the disease, we should all take part in raising awareness to promote hope, further inform those around us, and seek advancement in medicine for a cure.

How can one become involved?  There are many ways this October to become involved in the fight against Breast Cancer.  Whether through charitable acts, joining a fundraiser, or simply donning the pink ribbon to show your support, anyone has the power to raise awareness.  The most important factor in becoming involved with the cause is to show your support with kindness of heart and dedication.  You can find further information about National Breast Cancer Month at the National Breast Cancer Foundation: (http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month?gclid=CPejhoy71rICFad7QgodgEwAJA).  The website gives in-depth information about what the month entails and highlights possible ways to raise awareness and get involved.

National Pen and Breast Cancer Awareness!  We at National Pen extend our thoughts and respect to all of those who have been touched by this dreaded disease.  During this month, National Pen is dedicated towards informing those who follow us about the importance and significance of spreading awareness.  We are taking a first-hand approach through the products we offer (Breast Cancer Inspired!) and our involvement with those who share in our business activities.  Our Breast Cancer inspired products allow you, your business, consumers, and others to show support through actively raising awareness.  Help combat this disease and raise awareness through our products!

Show Your Support by Promoting Awareness:
http://www.pens.com/October-is-Breast-Cancer-Awareness
http://www.pens.com/site/products/CLX
http://www.pens.com/drinkware/11-oz-ceramic-mug/mug

Also Check Out Pink NFL Pens:
http://www.pens.com/pens-and-writing/nfl-squiggle-pen–low-minimum/nf2

Let us all remember to do our part the rest of this month in raising awareness.  Each day is another step forward, and through our support and recognition we can help raise hope to all!

It’s National Thank Your Customers Week

The first week of January is usually a busy week for everyone. We set business and personal goals, get excited about the promises of a new year, and are often just taking time to catch up after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This week is also National Thank Your Customers Week. As you begin 2012, remember to take a moment to thank those who supported your business in 2011. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.

Showing your appreciation can be as simple as writing a personal note to your best customers. Include a favorite inspirational quote to help set the tone for a great year. If you didn’t get a chance to give thank you gifts last month, here’s your chance. Personalized calendars are a timely option. You can also give gifts that support your customer’s resolutions for the New Year – a lunch bag to pack healthy meals, a duffle bag to take to the gym, or a new padfolio or business card holder to get organized.

However you choose to thank your customers, make sure they know you value them. Keep your message personal and memorable, and you’ll be off to a great start!

Get ready for Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 26, has been dubbed Small Business Saturday – a day all about supporting YOU. For the second year, US consumers will be encouraged to shop small and support the local businesses who continue to create jobs and boost our economy.

Next weekend marks one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year so make sure you make the most of it. Check out tips on how to promote your business in the days leading up to this event and take advantage of the opportunity to put a lasting message in the hands of the new customers that come through your door. There’s still time to use our Rush service to purchase personalized gifts that ship in just 48 hours.

Our tried and true Contour pen with bright full color designs is both impressive and practical. And it’s Made in the USA!

Our Monthly Patriotic Pocket Planner is a great way to say “thanks for your support” all year long.

However you choose to welcome your customers, we hope that Small Business Saturday is a huge success for you. Kudos to American Express Open for rallying us all to support small businesses nationwide.

How you can make small marketing dollars equal year-round advertising

One of the easiest ways to keep your message around month after month is with a promotional calendar. Calendars don’t get thrown in a drawer, they get coveted wall space, and they are a unique way to display your personalized message. Cost-effective and budget-friendly, calendars are a great way to show your customers and prospects you care. They make great holiday gifts and are the perfect way to generate goodwill and brand awareness at the same time!

We offer a variety of calendars and planners to fit your brand, your budget and your look!

Our most popular option, the Reflections Wall Calendar, offers style and stunning graphics for a fraction of what you would think.

For a touch of fun, choose the Mickey and Friends Wall Calendar with colorful Disney designs.

The Translucent Monthly Pocket Planner comes in vibrant colors and will help keep your ad message in the hands of your customers and prospects all year long!

The Bristol Deluxe Weekly Planner with a FREE pen is sure to impress everyone who receives this elegant planner.


No matter what your budget or your style, there is a calendar out there for keeping your business in view 12 months a year. Tell us what works best for you and your business!

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Proud to be American-made

We recently received the letter below from a happy customer. You may not know that many of our National Pen brand products are 100% Made in the USA. We manufacture top-selling pens like the Contour and the Colorama at our plant in Shelbyville, TN. The benefit to you is that you get American-made quality, factory direct prices and fast delivery. Most of all, you can feel good knowing that when you buy our products, you’re helping to keep dollars and jobs here in the USA.

“Dear Mr. Thompson:

Several weeks ago, I ordered pens from your company. We plan to give them away at the county fair. The pens arrived promptly, and look even better than as displayed on the website. Last week, I brought them to our monthly meeting and everyone was pleased with them.

It is important to our members that we shop for items made in America (the real America, not some off-shore territory). But even if that were not a factor, the price, quality and speed of service would ensure I recommend your company to others.“

For a complete list of promotional products Made in the USA, visit our site.