Tradeshow Marketing

Trade Shows: A Smart Use of Your Marketing Budget

At the beginning of each new year, companies, non-profits, and associations go into the year with marketing budgets set and event schedules planned. Many of those companies include a portion of their annual budget for attending trade shows, but are trade shows really worth the money?

Statistics you might want to consider when making your decision:

  1. The #1 reason for attending (not exhibiting) trade shows is to see new products.
  2. 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products. 
  3. 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority.
  4. The average attendee spends 8.3 hours viewing trade show exhibits at a show or exhibition. 
  5. 83% of exhibitors agreed that “Building, expanding brand awareness” is a high-priority marketing-related objective for trade shows. 
  6. The top 3 sales-related objectives at trade shows intend to manage and engagement relationships. Above all else, exhibitors want to meet with existing customers, key customers, and prospective customers. 
  7. 67% of all attendees represent a new prospect and potential customer for exhibiting companies. This means trade shows are always rich in new business targets for you. 

What conclusions can you draw from these statistics?

How important is extending your company image through branded products? Given the high percentage of decision-makers that are present and the fact that 92% of attendees are there to see new products, do you really want to look like everyone else,  or would you prefer to stand out from the crowd? 

Give us a call to build your branded strategy today 423-364-7343 or email us at

Connections Promotional Products

“Your Branded Strategy”

Announcing Our Custom Apparel Line For 2020!

We are excited to announce our custom apparel line starting in 2020! 

Connections Custom Apparel. 

Many of our customers don’t realize that a large part of our business is customized apparel. We work with restaurants, businesses, and non-profits to customize apparel to meet their needs.  Our specialties are embroidery and silk-screened apparel. 

Uses include:

  • Restaurant uniforms
  • Dress shirts and polos for sales staff and executives
  • T-shirts for construction uniforms and special events
  • Apparel of all types for merchandising

Our custom website will take you directly to quality apparel with reasonable pricing. The process is easy…


  • Shop our apparel store
  • Select what you would like
  • Add your apparel to the shopping cart then send your inquiry.
  • You will receive a quote for customized apparel within 48 hours. 

Are you already a customer?  Ask us about a company store to make your reorder quick and simple. 

In 2020, we are committed to exceptional service, as well as bringing you new ideas. Apparel couldn’t be easier. Give us a call at 423-364-7343 or email us at 

Connections Promotional Products

“Your Branded Strategy”

Business Spotlight: International Furniture Supply

This month we are excited to feature International Furniture Supply, Inc., located in Cleveland, TN.  

International Furniture Supply has been family owned and operated by the Frees family since 1977. Charles “Chuck” Frees commitment to excellence in the furniture supply industry began years earlier than this when he began Paragon Sales, which supplied upholstery materials for buyers. A desire to best serve his customers led to the merger of Paragon Sales with International Furniture supply in 1988. Patrick Frees is committed to carrying on his family’s legacy of supplying international brands as though they were neighbors, with a commitment to efficiency, value, and quality.

While the furniture industry has changed drastically since 1977, International Furniture Supply continues to evolve as well. Through these changes, one thing that will never change is their effort to provide competitive pricing with unmatched customer service to their clients. When you talk to their office, you won’t be speaking with middle management- there isn’t any. International Furniture Supply cares about their customers.

For their long term customers, they have chosen to use branded stainless steel tumblers to show their appreciation and continued commitment.

Like these tumblers and want to find out more about similar options for your business? Connections Promotional Products is happy to help you with matching branded product and apparel to your marketing plan.  Give us a call at 423-364-7343 or email us at 

Connections Promotional Products

“Your Branded Strategy”

Year-end gifts for contacts

Fourth Quarter Quick Marketing Tip

Be realistic about your contacts.

This year I am hearing about and having a number of discussions about year-end gifts. We all want to thank those that have helped to make us successful, but are all contacts created equal?  One customer put it into perspective.  “This year we want to buy fewer/higher quality gifts and be selective about giving them out.”  The realization is that we all have wonderful contacts, but do they have the final purchasing decision?  Perhaps this year is the year to start differentiating between gifts for decision-makers and everyday contacts.  It is not difficult to stay within a budget and say thank you to everyone. 

Tip:  Know your decision-makers.  One gift does not fit all. 

We are here to help you with your year-end and to maximize your marketing budget, while still saying thank you. Give us a call today at 423-364-7343 or email us at

Connections Promotional Products… matching branded product to your marketing plan.

Connections Promotional Products

Your Branded Strategy

Year-End Planning: Look Back to See What May Be Ahead

The last quarter of the year is not only a time to reflect on the current year to see what has been successful and what could be improved upon, but it is also a time to look forward to plan for the new year.

Looking Back … Review your year for several key points:

  • Was there one campaign, event or product this year that was especially memorable?
  • Which campaign, event or product facilitated interaction with your customers or prospective customers?
  • Which campaign, event or product would you consider a waste of time and money? Why?
  • Did you reach the audience that you were targeting?

Looking Forward … Take what you have learned from the past year and plan for next year. Things to consider:

  • What is your budget for the new year?
  • How do you want to structure your new plan to maximize your return on investment?
  • What events are you planning on attending in the new year?
  • How do you effectively match the product to those events?

Reviewing your marketing plan past and present is as important as creating your business plan for the new year. Being deliberate with your plan and having a roadmap to reach your goals is critical to maximizing your return on investment.

Give us a call to review what products have worked this year and what changes need to be made next year at 423-364-7343 or email at

Connections Promotional Products… matching branded product to your marketing plan.

Connections Promotional Products

Your Branded Strategy

Event Promotional Items

Things you might want to consider for upcoming events

I have gotten many calls over the years from prospective customers wanting “just something cheap” to giveaway at an event that they will be attending.  Imagine having an audience of tens of thousands of people that could leave with a positive impression of your company. This requires thought and knowledge of your market if you are going to be successful in marketing your company. 

Some points that you might want to think about…

  • Will there be room for your branded tent or banners?  Items such as imprinted event tents and banners can be seen above the masses of people and reused at all events, thus presenting a consistent image of your company.  Stand out from the crowd!
  • Who will you be targeting?  Make every dollar count by matching the product to the event and who will be attending it.
  • Continue your branding on even the least expensive product.  Promotional products should be considered advertising and approached with the same message as other components of your marketing plan. Remember that your giveaway should not be junk.  You want it to be unique, useful and have a high retention value.  According to industry studies, promotional products are kept an average of 6 months.  At an average cost of $0.04 per view per impression, promotional products are a very cost-effective form of advertising.
  • Make sure to carry your company image through on your apparel and company name badge.  Again, this is all about presenting your company image as many times as possible and reinforcing your brand through repetition.
  • Don’t look for the cheapest item possible.  Have a qualified promotional products expert help you tailor your giveaways to enhance your company image as well as provide you with a product that will be talked about for months to come.  That can easily be done on a budget when you have the help of someone that is knowledgeable in the industry.

Cheapest is not necessarily the best. If you don’t have someone to back the product up.  We are here to help you with your next event and to maximize your marketing budget. Give us a call today at 423-364-7343 or email us at

Connections Promotional Products… matching branded product to your marketing plan.

Connections Promotional Products

Your Branded Strategy

Business Spotlight – Coffee News Chattanooga

The mission of your local Coffee News® is to strengthen your community by promoting small and medium-sized businesses and bringing awareness to local non-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

Randy and Vanessa Cole purchased the local Coffee News® franchise in January 2008. They discovered the Coffee News® franchise on the website as one of the fastest growing franchises in the United States. They thought it was a cool little paper and started doing research on the franchise. Both Randy and Vanessa were in law enforcement, but had wanted to own their own business for some time.

Randy and Vanessa published their first edition in February 2008 in Dalton, GA. Since then, they have added editions and now have six editions from Dalton, GA, all the way to Chattanooga, TN. Their motivation is hearing all of the positive comments from their weekly readers and helping people grow their own companies with affordable advertising.  This is exactly what Coffee News® offers.

Everything in Coffee News® is fun and entertaining — no bad news here. It is a big breath of fresh air to millions of readers who are tired of hearing only bad news. Coffee News® is positive. It provides the “other side of the news,” something that makes people SMILE!

Over 725 editions of Coffee News® are printed every week all across the United States and in 52 other countries! You can join the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy reading Coffee News® each week.

Advertisers reap benefits unseen from other newspaper advertising, from our unique publication, and monthly “Find the Coffee Man” contest, which is so very popular among the many who read Coffee News®.

Vanessa and Randy often share with their customers the importance of using multiple marketing formats to increase their visibility, including promotional giveaways.  What better product to go with their paper than a Coffee News Mug? Vanessa stated, “Coffee News loves the quality of mugs we get from CPP.  We use them at vendor events and expos. We use them as gifts for our clients and in promotional giveaways.”

Check out how you might grow your business through Coffee News advertising.


Connections Promotional Products… matching branded product to your marketing plan.

Connections Promotional Products

Your Branded Strategy


July Tip: Summer Is Peak Golf Season

Greetings to all of you who follow Connections Promotional Products! We are excited to enhance our services with a change in our social media format. Our focus over the years has been to provide our customers with relevant industry information and examples of practical applications of how our customers use products in their marketing plans. Now for the next step …

Each month we will be posting a tip of the month. These tips will be based on several different factors including seasonal trends, product information, and successes that our customers have shared.

July 2019 – Tip of the Month

Do you want to have an effective marketing plan that will target a $84 billion industry that is at its peak from May – October of each year? Check out the golf industry. Whether you are sponsoring tournaments or finding a golf gift for your good customers, there is something for everyone.

Golf and outdoor activities are a wonderful opportunity to optimize your marketing dollars and increase visibility and product retention.  Contact us for options within your budget that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Connections Promotional Products

“Your Branded Strategy”

How Visible Could Your Brand Become?

Bags from a clothing store. Pencils in an office tray. Ball caps on kids on a field trip. The brands and taglines we see on promotional products like these leave an impression on us. The greater the impression, the more the brand has raised its visibility.

Visibility in the advertising and marketing world refers to how many times you are seen in different markets and many places. So, how does branded apparel increase your brand’s visibility?

A couple of years ago my son attended a chamber luncheon with me. He was a graduate assistant to the UTC Mocs basketball team and was going to be graduating with his master’s degree soon.  It was important for him to talk to people now about his future. He came to the luncheon wearing his embroidered Mocs shirt.

As we walked in, the first person to whom I introduced him was a local banker. You may be thinking, “How can a banker help with a future coaching career?” Well, the first question he asked my son was, “Are you with the Mocs?” This started a discussion in which the banker stated that he knew various coaches with colleges and schools in the area. He was willing to help my son make connections. The next person to whom I introduced my son had almost the exact same response.

That’s visibility through apparel.  But what about visibility and merchandising?

How many times have you gone somewhere on vacation and taken a souvenir hat or shirt home with you, or better yet, how many times have you won apparel at a golf tournament? Businesses spend millions of dollars each year on branded apparel to make sure that they are remembered for years to come.

Increasing your visibility through the use of apparel is a marketing strategy that will not only yield a great return on your investment but will also provide your company visibility for many years to come. We are your apparel partner that understands the importance of branded apparel throughout your marketing plan. From uniforms to merchandising, we can help.

Connections Promotional Products can unleash your branded strategy through increased visibility.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy”

golf gifts for a greater good

How to Encourage Golfers So They Will Remember You

“A professional, well-dressed golfer . . . gives the impression that he thinks that the golf course and the people there are important.” – Lorii Myers

Golf tournaments are not that different from other events. When you give away something of quality that matches your company’s purpose, you leave a lasting positive impression with your audience. When planning a tournament, focus on the impression of importance it will have on the players.

Goal: The primary reason for golf tournament gifts is to improve the event and retain players for next year’s event. Even when you get your gifts donated, if players just throw them away, they have cost you more than you realize.

Successful Golf Gifts

  • Choose Golf Gifts over Non-Golf Gifts – Put something in the goody bag that they will actually use when golfing and will remind them each time they use it while playing.
  • Choose Subtle Logos over Large Logos – If you want players to wear an item, use subtle logos. Golfers want small logos or no logo at all, so keep it subtle.
  • Choose 2 or 3 Small Prizes over 1 Big Item – If you give one large gift, it is highly likely that you will miss many of the participants. Have several smaller, quality items.

Suggestions for a Positive Impact:

  • Make it a kit! No setups, multiple logos, and multiple products. Under $10, Shoe Tote Golf Kit, or talk to us about creating your own.
  • Embroidered cap with the golf course logo on the front and the event name on the back or side.
  • Golf glove with the event name on the patch.
  • Microfiber pocket towel with your logo embroidered in the corner.
  • Ball markers with a simple logo.

Whether it is a golf tournament or a marketing product for your business, the basic principles are the same.  Know your audience, understand what is important to them, and match the product to your event.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy”