open fridge door with magnets

Branded Products Can Be So Much More Than Swag

Thinking through retention and return on investment

Retention is a commonly used word in marketing to refer to how long customers or advertising products are kept.  It is a measurement of value.  Although many people talk about best practices for the greatest return on investment (ROI), they all agree that the longer a customer or promotional item is kept, the greater your ROI. The investment may be time or material cost. Let me tell you a short story about retention from one of my customers.

A local builder wanted product for the home builders show in our area. This is a big event and a huge commitment, so he wanted something that would tie into his booth theme and be kept by potential consumers. Thousands of these would be given away. He had a small budget for us to find a product that would generate interest in his booth and his business and be kept for months after the show. We chose a magnetic dry erase board, because it enhanced his “Take Note” booth theme.

A couple of years after the show, my customer saw firsthand how retention works.

He told me the story with a smile, saying he had gotten a picture from a heating and air company subcontractor two years after the home builders show. That subcontractor was repairing a central unit in a home when he saw our builder’s magnetic dry erase board on the home’s refrigerator. Two years of advertising for the cost of about $1. That is great retention!

Let us work with you and your marketing plan to maximize your ROI. Email or call 423-364-7343.

Connections Promotional Products

“Your Branded Strategy”

Is Your Business Planning for Success, or Leaving It Up to Chance?

Anyone who has ever sat in an inflatable raft in a swimming pool knows that no one ever simply drifts to where they want to go. When you release control of the raft, the pool’s currents take control and move you without your direction. Leadership expert Michael Hyatt explains strategic planning for business owners in a similar way. Businesses rarely happen upon their dream destinations. Far more often, it takes a dedicated plan with concerted steps to achieve the desired results. If there’s power in a plan for your business, shouldn’t the same principle hold true for your marketing? Taking the time to plan your marketing and promotional budget can have a significant payoff for your business.

First, planning your marketing and promotional budget will prevent you from missing important dates on the calendar. As Hyatt frequently tells his audiences, “What gets scheduled, gets done.” Taking the time to pull out your annual calendar and consider when you’ll need certain items will make your events and promotions much smoother and easier to manage.

Second, planning your marketing and promotional budget can enable you to get the best prices. Frequently, we’ve seen clients who are bumping right against a firm deadline and must pay additional rush shipping costs. These costs are almost always avoidable if the order is placed earliest. Rather than waiting until the week before, take the time to plan with your promotions partner to map out of a schedule for what you’ll need, when you should submit designs, and when it should be ordered. Say goodbye to the overnight shipping charges!

Third, planning your marketing and promotional budget will help you make wiser choices with your money. Time is the most valuable resource in the world. As the old saying goes, “Time is the only thing they’re not making any more of!” Allowing yourself time to make the wisest choice will help you be aware of all your options and identify areas where you might be able to maximize your dollars.

At Connections Promotional Products, we place a significant value on investing in a relationship with our clients. We’d be honored to assist you with your yearly planning! Please feel free to reach out online or by calling 423-364-7343, and we’d be happy to map out the entire year with you.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy”

Living an active life

Business Spotlight: Lookout Valley Chiropractic

Join us as we highlight our business of the month, Lookout Valley Chiropractic.

Lookout Valley Chiropractic is a locally owned business with their offices located at 3536 Cummings Hwy #120, Chattanooga. Their history dates back to 1997. Neil Kjos graduated from Life Chiropractic College in 1997 and then moved to Lookout Valley to open his new chiropractic office. In 2017, after twenty years in practice, Dr. Kjos decided to follow a new direction in life but still wanted Lookout Valley Chiropractic to continue to serve the needs of the community. Dr. Kjos and Dr. Matthew Lester met that same year and quickly realized that the two had the same vision for the office and came to an agreement to transition the ownership of the practice.

Professional, customized scrubsThe mission of Lookout Valley Chiropractic is to provide natural, medicine free, and affordable pain relief and to inspire members of the Chattanooga community to lead a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle. They do not believe in a one size fits all approach. Each patient is treated on an individual basis. Their goal is to create a welcoming environment.

These ladies will be there to greet you wearing their customized scrubs, adding a different level of professionalism to their office and uniformity to their appearance.

Stop by and see Lookout Valley Chiropractic or give them a call at 423-825-5252 for a personalized approach to improve your health.


Do you want to add visual branding through the use of apparel but are not sure how to start? Contact us at 423-364-7343 or email

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy

5 Brand Strategies to Make 2019 More Profitable

5 Brand Strategies to Make 2019 More Profitable

Are you looking for strategies to make your year more profitable? Of course you are. All the time. You are reviewing budgets, evaluating revenue streams, forming strategic partnerships, and presenting your brand and company image in a consistent, strategic manner. When looking at your 2019 strategic plan, think about these 5 different brand strategies.

  1. Review last year’s strategies. It is important to evaluate last year’s plan and how it performed in order to move forward. Did you have measurable goals? If you worked on raising awareness last year, maybe this year is the time to shift your focus to conversions.
  2. Clearly define your company and mission. Whether you are planning personal or company strategies, it is virtually impossible to stay on track and reach goals when there is no clear direction.
  3. Clearly define who your market is and how you intend to reach them. You have to know who is buying your product or service so that you can build your marketing strategy to attract them. A good company can easily perceive itself as being useful in one way only to discover their customers are using their products in other ways.
  4. Make sure that your company is clearly and consistently using the brand across all marketing platforms. Well-known product marketing, such as Nike and Coca Cola, are known in part for their consistent message. Because those brands are used consistently through all mediums, the public easily recognizes the logo when seen and often associates a certain image with that logo.
  5. Form strong partnerships with suppliers and vendors. Working with a small pool of suppliers will insure better service and more buying power.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to review the past and plan new brand strategies to increase your profitability. Let’s make time to talk about what you want to achieve this year. Call us at 423-364-7343 or email us at

Save by Ordering Before December 26th!

Call it an extended Cyber Monday. Many vendors will adjust their prices up in the new year, and by thinking ahead you can save your company money on 2019 promotional products.

Talk to us today about your specific plans or unspecific concepts for promoting your business in 2019. What has sparked your interest in reading this blog over the last several months? Take advantage of 2018 pricing and still purchase quality products with your 2019 marketing budget with this coupon.

We look forward to helping your company make a lasting impression on our community. Call us at 423-364-7343 or email


Special Year-End Opportunity

Place your order by December 26, 2018, and receive an additional 10% off your order.


Six Questions to Help You Evaluate the Success of Your 2018 Promotional Products

We are coming to the end of another year, and your company’s marketing budget may be set already. What place have you given to promotional products? Before you reorder the same promotions you ran this year, we have a few questions to consider.

Some things to think about when looking forward to 2019:

  • Did you buy products in 2018 that stayed in the closet or were they asked for?
  • Did you reach your target audience?
  • Did those products generate discussion and interaction? Were they clever, quality, or best of show?
  • How long were they kept?
  • When ordering, did you worry about receiving a product on time and what it would look like when it got to you?
  • How much money did you spend in employee hours researching products?

Looking back to move forward makes perfect sense. Do you want to make 2019 a more profitable year for your business? Your profit will be in the detail. Schedule a year-end review with us to take place by December 31, 2018, and save an additional 10% on your next order. (Orders will need to be before December 26.)

 423-364-7343 or

What Would Get Your Company Noticed?

Chris Brogan got it right when he said, “Cultivate visibility because attention is currency.” The best position for your business is the one that gets noticed. What does that mean for your business?

Visibility is being seen, “the capability of being readily noticed, or a measure of the ability of radiant energy to evoke a visual sensation.” It’s being a head taller than the crowd.

How does this translate into currency for your business? Simply put, visibility earns credibility in your community or market which draws in customers. The more you hear about a company, the more likely you will think of them when a need arises or possibly go to them out of curiosity.

What if your company could continue to be visible for months after an event – or even years – and reach hundreds to thousands of people? That’s exactly how promotional products that complement your marketing plan work. Your branded products make a huge number of impressions with their owners, friends, and passersby over the lifespan of that product, impressions that get your company noticed.

Increase your visibility with tools you can afford. Let’s talk. Call us at 423-364-7343 or email today.

An Attitude of Gratitude and Thankfulness

Far too often we can get lost in the day to day of being business owners. There are always bills to pay, meetings to attend, and fires that need to be put out. If you’re like me, the answer to “How are you doing?” far too often becomes, “Busy, but good.”

Part of the reason I love the holiday season is that it provides an excellent reminder to pause and reflect on the year and rekindle an attitude of gratitude. No one grows a successful business by themselves, so it’s important to say thank you to the people who have been a part of what you’ve built. We’d encourage you to take time this week to send a message to these groups to let them know how much they’ve meant to you in 2018!

Family and Friends: I’ve been tremendously blessed in my life to have a family and friends that I love with all of my heart. These folks supported me when life has presented challenges, loved me when I’m down, and have pushed me to succeed in so many areas of life. Without my family and close friends, life would not have nearly as much joy and happiness. I am truly grateful for you!

Business Connections: I have the sincere pleasure to have so many friends and connections in the business community in Chattanooga! I believe that Chattanooga is a rare and special place that fosters collaboration and has created an environment that makes all ships sail higher together. The Chattanooga Chamber provides fantastic events that allow us to mix and mingle with business connections, who quickly turn into friends through the various opportunities to interact. I am so happy that I get to work with so many kind, talented people!

Clients: I would be absolutely nowhere without my wonderful clients. Part of what I believe sets my business apart is the service I offer my clients. One of the biggest benefits of this is that I’m able to get to know you and get to be a part of so many lives. Thank you for allowing me the honor of partnering with your business. I wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for you, and I am honored that you’ve entrusted me with your promotional dollars. I sincerely hope that I’ve done you proud. As a thank you to our clients, please check out our client Facebook page that is designed just for you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Join the experience

Be Seen. Be Remembered.

When you think of a city, you tend to think first of the most visible aspects of it: the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Statue of Liberty. When you start to plan for a general experience, you also start thinking of the most visible aspects of it: the beach, the stadium, or the finish line. Along with these high visibility things come many other sights and sounds that build together into a memorable experience.

What if your company could add to one of these enjoyable experiences with a product that would remind people of good times every time they saw it? Branded products can do that.

Billboards and commercials have their own influence, but they can be more easily ignored than a product your customer uses for several months after the event.

Promotional product facts:

  • Promotional products are kept an average of 8 months.
  • 60% of consumers state they would be more likely to do business with the advertiser who gave them a useful promotional product.
  • 58% of U.S. consumers own promotional shirts.
  • 50% of U.S consumers own promotional writing instruments.
  • 50% of U.S. consumers own promotional bags.

In a 2012 BMPA Research survey, 87% of respondents said they kept a promotional gift for over a year and 30% said they kept it for as long as four years. That kind of brand visibility is priceless, because products worn or use in public are seen hundreds, even thousands, of times, building credibility for the brand each time.

The more your brand is seen, the more it is remembered. Increase your visibility with tools you can afford. Let’s talk. Call us at 423-364-7343 or email today.

 Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy

7 Tips on Selecting a Strategic Marketing Partner

What criteria will you use the next time you select a strategic service provider (i.e. marketing partner or promotional products company) as a business partner to advance your company? We talked about the value of doing this earlier this month, so here are 7 tips on selecting a strategic marketing partner. (These points were taken from an article by Kathleen Jordan, a senior project manager at Source One Marketing.)

  1. Talent and Functional Expertise. What is the range of services the potential partner being considered offers and are they equipped to handle the job?
  2. Account Management. If ongoing issues arise that need to be addressed, do you feel confident the potential partner can navigate and address the issue in a timely manner?
  3. Industry/Category Expertise. Consider how the potential partner’s previous experience in your industry or category (or lack thereof) can be utilized to differentiate your company from competing brands, products and services.
  4. Executional Excellence. Ask potential partners for case studies. Look at tactics and strategies to determine if the potential partner can accurately achieve your vision.
  5. Cultural Fit. Because this connection and co-working relationship is so crucial, it is important that potential partners share similar perspectives and values.
  6. Adaptability. A potential partner that recognizes and willingly suggests necessary changes in direction or strategy and takes ownership of implementation is an asset.
  7. Demonstrated Commitment to Working with Other Strategic Partners. It is critical when working with several strategic partners that all parties are willing to communicate and work well with one another in the best interest of your company.

In summary, it is simple. Know who you are working with and make sure they are a good “fit” on all levels. After all, they are an extension of your business image.

Contact us at or 423-364-7343.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy