Don’t Collect Dust! Invest Wisely in Your Promotional Products

When I first started this company almost ten years ago, I was referred to a conservative CPA firm. The managing partner was “doing me a favor” by talking with me. During the course of our conversation, I asked questions about how they had used branded products in the past and how they use products now. He told me they had coffee mugs they used when clients came into the office.  He soon became frustrated with the discussion, saying, “This is a waste of money!” I asked what made him think that? He leaned up in his chair and told me that he had a closet full of mugs that he has had for years.

This valuable insight into perceptions of branded promotional items has stuck with me. Using branded promotional products and embroidered uniform apparel is an extension of your company image. Your company is perceived as it is consistently seen through your marketing efforts. The quality, type, and usability of these products are extremely important.

A successful marketing program using branded promotional items has these components.

  1. Products are matched to the event and people who will be attending.
  2. One size does not fit all! Would you give a referral source that sends you thousands of dollars of business a year, the same $.33 pen that you pass out in mass giveaways?
  3. Products need to be thought through with retention in mind. If they are valued and usable, they will be kept longer and will generate conversation.
  4. Track your marketing to see what is working.

Probably the most important key to a successful marketing plan using branded products is to work with an expert in the industry who will take the time to learn about your company, its needs and challenges, and work alongside you to match the right product to your marketing plan. Branded promotional products and apparel are a large part of many marketing plans.  Invest in them wisely.


Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy”


Value Vs. Price – What’s the Difference?

Throughout the years, we have seen this dilemma not only with our customers and their promotional products, but in our own attempts to balance the cost of goods and services. No one wants to pay too much for a product or service, but …“what is too much, and how do you measure that worth”? 

How do we define value and price? Let’s take a look at what Webster says.


  • The quantity of one thing that is exchanged or demanded after a sale for another
  • The amount of money given or set as a consideration for the sale of a specified thing
  • The cost of which something is obtained


  • A fair or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged
  • The monetary worth of something
  • Relative worth, utility or importance…a good value at the price

“Price is what you pay … Value is what you get.”

Warren Buffett

Even though these are similar in definition, how does buying solely on price verses value make a difference in your business? Here are some things to consider.

  • What has it cost you to “research” products during business hours?
  • What has it cost you to handle problem resolution?
  • Do you have confidence that you will receive quality items in time for your event?
  • Do you have a specialist in the industry to help guide you?
  • How have you measured the success of products ordered?
  • How is your brand/image represented?
  • Do people remember your company as a result of their take away?
  • Have deadlines crept up on you, resulting in last-minute ordering?
  • Have you ever paid a higher price for an item and actually saved money?

As a business owner, I continually look at price verses value and how that directly relates to the growth and image of not only my company, but the image of my customers. What has purchasing based solely on price cost you?

“Price is only an issue when there is an absence of value.”

Unknown author

Let’s talk … Contact Kay Huggins at or 423-364-7343.

Success starts here…




nonprofit marketing strategy choices chattanooga

Nonprofit Business Spotlight: Choices of Chattanooga

Choices is a local nonprofit that exists to educate, support and empower women and men in the community. Since 1985, they have been dedicated to providing a safe, confidential place where women and men can receive accurate information, medical services and practical help without judgment or bias.

They provide free, confidential services to men and women regardless of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. Some of the services offered include:

  • Lab-grade pregnancy testing
  • Ultrasounds
  • Accurate information on all options
  • Medical consultations
  • Support for men
  • STD/STI information and education
  • First time parenting program
  • After abortion counseling and support
  • Referrals

Choices attends community events like UTC campus events, festivals, and fairs. They have campus ministries and a small talk series on UTC campus where they like to bring more awareness to their organization.

To reach their audience we carefully choose products that will be kept and used such as lip balm, water bottles, and selfie sticks.

Choices provides a supportive environment, daily hours, a 24-hour hotline and two convenient locations. If you find yourself or a family member in need of help, contact Choices by calling (423) 892-0803.

nonprofit marketing strategy choices chattanooga

Nonprofit Marketing Case Study: Choices of Chattanooga

We asked Julia Kurschner, marketing director of Choices of Chattanooga, to rate the support she receives in selecting “the right stuff” to attract her target audience, among the many product options available. Here is what she said.

Who Is Choices of Chattanooga?

Choices of Chattanooga exists to educate, support and empower women and men in our community. Since 1985, Choices has been dedicated to providing a safe, confidential place where women and men can receive accurate information, medical services and practical help without judgment or bias.

Julia summed up the mission statement with, “No matter what, we are here for you…”.  Their job is to love people to the best of their ability.

How This Chattanooga Nonprofit Organization Marketed Itself in the Past:

Q:  How have you used promotional products in your marketing plan in the past?

Julia responded that “we didn’t have much before … it was pretty lame”. When she came to Choices, they were ordering the same pens, rack cards and magnets as they had ordered for years.

Q:  How did you order promotional products before using Connections Promotional Products? What was the process like?

We went through a printing company that only had so many products. The selection was very limited, and we had to handle finding products that we wanted without suggestions or input from that company. We just ordered the same thing every year.

Q:  How did that process work – were there any problems or concerns?

There was no one there to advocate for us if there was a problem.

Q:  How much of your time was spent getting promotional products for your events?

If we had a problem with the order, the time spent in getting it corrected could sometimes be hours of wasted time on the phone with no one person to go to. The quality of the product was not an issue.

How This Chattanooga Nonprofit Organization Markets Itself Today:

Q:  How has the process changed since using Connections Promotional Products?

Great, when we have an event and we don’t know what we want or what might work for us, you give us suggestions. This allows me to spend my time on my job instead of spending hours online looking for promotional products and not knowing what will work and what might not.

Q:  How do you use promotional products now?

We use products specifically for campus things, fairs, donor gifts and small groups. We have campus ministries and small talk series on campus where we like to leave group members something that they will use and remember that we are there. We have used products like chap sticks, smart wallets, ear buds and car chargers that have been a big success. These have all been received very well.

Q:  How does the time you spend on ordering products compare since using Connections Promotional Products?

I spend much less time on the product end of the event. We email you about a couple of months in advance with the event, its purpose, target audience and a few other things and set a meeting for us to talk in person. You bring us thoughts and ideas and we choose from there to fit our budget for that event, and we are confident in the quality of the product. We now have someone advocating for us, and there is a face behind the company.

Q:  Why do you think someone should use Connections Promotional Products?

We would recommend you to others without hesitation. You help companies figure out what they need. In our case, we attract more people to our booth or event because we have “the right stuff”. It is much easier to start conversation when people are excited to come by and talk. It makes going to all of these things so much more fun.