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 

The Return on a Relationship with a Marketing Partner

In the digital economy, consumers have been empowered like never before. We can become our own hotels and taxi companies with brands like AirBnB and Uber and we can choose to purchase and receive items in infinite ways. We love cutting out “the middle man” whenever possible, hopefully trimming costs or providing an added level of customization. However, we believe that there is incredible value in working with an external marketing partner in your business!

The business owners that we regularly work with are among the hardest workers that we’ve ever encountered. No job is too small and no task is too large to fail to get their attention. The great part of that is that hard work regularly pays off! The downside is that it can leave owners drained because they are pulled in many directions. Having an external marketing partner can alleviate a major contributor to this stressor while also helping your business in these three critical ways.

  1. Your communications will be more organized and streamlined. If you’re like most business owners we know, the item in front at any given moment can distract you from the big picture. It’s like the dog from the popular Disney movie “Up” who is easily distracted from his first conversation when his sees a squirrel! Having a dedicated marketing partner ensures that your marketing needs are given the attention that they deserve and that schedules are met, even when you’re dealing with distractions.
  2. An industry expert will help you understand your needs and how your target market reacts to certain products. Marketing partners simply must stay attuned to consumer behavior to have a successful business. Marketing partners also have the benefit of an increased network that can touch a wider market than only one business, giving you a higher multiplication of insights. Wouldn’t you like having the benefit of learning from other companies’ successes and failures?
  3. Your marketing partner will be able to marry industry trends and pricing discounts with a strategy for what will best help your company. Handling your marketing needs on your own can easily lead to personal bias in decision making. Simply put, business owners can tend to purchase what they like rather than what will work best for the consumer. An outside resource can help provide third party insights on what strategy can work best for you, all while leveraging their buying power to provide you special pricing.

In a world that values DIY, we believe that purchasing marketing materials for an organization is an area where working on your own is simply not worth the savings. Marketing partners provide streamlined and dedicated communication, deeper industry insights, and special pricing that working by yourself simply can’t offer. If we can be helpful to you at CPP, please feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to chat.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy

Fall is in the air

You’re Invited! New Opportunities Start This Fall

With the cooler temperatures that accompany fall come a refreshing energy and the change of seasons. Connections Promotional Products is happy to announce an exciting change that will allow us to better serve our customers.

We have created a closed Facebook page that will be available to our existing customers by invitation.  The purpose of this page is to keep you up to date with new products, special pricing, and new trends as they become available, putting you ahead of your competition.  If you are an existing customer of Connections Promotional Products, here is your invitationIf you are not one of our customers, what are you waiting for?

Email us at or give us a call at 423-364-7343 to take your marketing plan to a new level.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy

Three Ways to Give Great Holiday Gifts to Clients (Part Two)

In a world full of emails, text messages, and virtual meetings, there remains something special about receiving a package from someone. The surprise of receiving the gift, the knowledge that someone thought of you, and the smile produced by the gift itself can last far beyond the actual use of the item that was given. We know there is more to the holiday season than giving, but isn’t giving and receiving presents fun?

If you haven’t read our previous article, take a few minutes to see three of the biggest things you should avoid when giving clients gifts during the holiday season. Gift-giving is a tremendous opportunity to share your appreciation with clients and partners, but done improperly, a gift can lose its impact. However, we believe  the holiday season can also present stellar opportunities for your business to impress upon your clients how much you appreciate them. Here are three key things to keep in mind as you plan out your holiday gift-giving strategy.

DO… put your customer first instead of your company. Gifts that solely seek to serve your company’s marketing goals might not be the best option. While we love branded products, be careful with emblazoning your logo on items you’re giving your clients. Frequently clients work with multiple vendors or need to remain private about working with outside organizations. Make sure your focus is on thanking them above advertising for your own business during this season.

DO… consider a charitable donation in their honor. One of the most impactful, fail-safe options is to give a donation in your client’s honor. Frequently, businesses can be overwhelmed with trinkets and baked goods and your well-intentioned gift can fall through the cracks. However, when you make a difference in the things that matter most to your clients, you’re letting them know you value them deeply and you’ve been paying attention to what matters most to them. To make the biggest impact, select an organization that matters most to your client, not just one that matters to you. You’ll be amazed at their heartfelt appreciation!

DO… be aware of your client’s gift receiving policies. The most well-intentioned gifts can turn unfortunate if they go against the recipient’s company policies. Keep in mind that this isn’t always as dramatic as being construed as bribery. Often, companies have policies about receiving gifts that are only given to certain departments. The reason for this is that other departments that are not client-facing are frequently left out of this, creating an issue in the organization. Similarly, many nonprofits, organizations, or businesses are not allowed to receive certain types of gifts, such as wine or gift cards. Make sure you’re aware what restrictions are in place prior to purchasing and delivering the gift.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy

Three Ways to Avoid Giving Bad Holiday Gifts to Your Clients

Even between grownups, holiday gift-giving is one of the most fun activities of the year. For businesses, it’s a great opportunity to creatively tell your clients that they’re appreciated and valued by your business. It’s that “creative” part that is often the biggest challenge. A recent survey from Incentive Magazine noted that 77.4% of all businesses give gifts as part of their incentive programs, so standing out from the crowd is more difficult than it ever has been. Gifts take valuable time and money, so it’s important to ensure that a company chooses wisely and not allow their gifts to simply blend into other gifts that might be received.

Because we believe corporate gift-giving is such an important component of a company’s overall customer relationship strategy, this will be the first in a two-part series to assist companies in the process of choosing effective gifts for clients and business relationships. To begin, here are three key things to AVOID when giving gifts.

  • DON’T…. wait until the last minute to come up with an idea. The goal of gift-giving is to show sincere appreciation for the contribution the other party has made toward your business. Waiting until the last-minute limits your options for what you can give and often leads to haphazard gifts. This tends to present itself in two polar ways: Either the gift is seen as cheap and was just “laying around,” or the gift is too expensive and could have been more thoughtful at a smaller cost. Allow yourself plenty of time to select, obtain, and deliver gifts instead of scrambling.
  • DON’T… let cost be the controlling factor. Frequently, we’ve seen that companies create a budget for their holiday gifts and simply look at items that are close to that mark, assuming the option that is most expensive within the budget will be best. This is far from true! Some of the most appreciated gifts we’ve seen are relatively inexpensive, but they suited to client’s tastes and/or needs perfectly. For example, many of the portable cell phone battery packs are less than $10 per unit, yet people have told us they are a big hit when given out as gifts! Don’t assume that your clients will equate cost with quality. It truly is the thought that counts!
  • DON’T… give it the week of Christmas. While this might seem counterintuitive, keep in mind that your clients will likely be receiving gifts from people in various areas of their lives during this time span. Your gift will likely fail to stand out from the crowd, particularly during this busy time of year. Also, keep in mind that many people’s schedules during the final weeks of the calendar year can be hectic, meaning they might not even receive the gift! Stand out from the crowd by giving it a bit earlier than most, and make sure that the holidays aren’t the only time that your client is told that they are valued.

Stay tuned for our next blog post where we cover the top 3 things to DO when giving holiday gifts!

Contact us at or 423-364-7343.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy 

seeds on the wind

Sowing Seeds with Corporate Gift Giving

The business benefits from corporate gift-giving are multifaceted, spreading like seeds on the wind:

  • Increased productivity
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Longevity in customer relationships.

You can divide corporate gifts into two categories – external gifts to clients and customers and internal gifts to individuals or your own staff. Internal gifts for employee appreciation often encourage your staff and can help build comradery. External corporate gift giving can be equally as effective with existing and prospective customers.

There are two key advantages to gifting externally:

  1. You can attract new clients and strengthen your brand image
  2. You can also build better relationships with your existing clients.

One gift does not fit all. There are several different levels of gift giving. The first of which is the “leave behind”. These gifts are typically items that are not as expensive but that are very functional and useful. This type of gift may stay around the office or on the desk for months, reminding your prospective customer of who you are, giving you increase visibility, brand recognition and an advantage over those that do not have a quality leave behind.

A couple of ideas that may work in the corporate world are notebooks with sticky notes and flags or perhaps Bluetooth earbuds. Whether large or small, you always increase the odds of being remembered by leaving a customized “leave behind” with potential customers.

We can help you match product to any situation. Contact us at 423-364-7343.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy 

End-of-Year Strategy

How Soon Should I Plan My End-of-Year Strategy?

It doesn’t seem real, but it’s time to start preparing for the holidays! Even though most of us still have the air conditioning cranked up, it’s important to remember that the brands that prepare properly are the ones that almost always succeed the most.

For many of our clients, the end of the year presents one of the biggest opportunities for a final push to increase donations or put sales figures into the black. For others, the end of the year is simply an outstanding chance to tell valuable customers how much you appreciate their business over the previous calendar year. Promotional products have proven to be a critical component to this equation, and we’d like to start helping you plan for it now.

At Connections Promotional Products, we take pride in having a consultative approach to providing you with the right products at the right time of the year that will connect with the right people. At the end of the year, you have a powerful opportunity to spur your clients on to give or to buy through small incentives or reminders.

  • A recent study from Bloomerang and Pursuant showed that 50% of nonprofits receive the majority of their donations between October and December. A small reminder of your presence during this critical season can go a long way toward spurring action among your supporters.
  • For businesses seeking to drive sales, providing items that are frequently used during key moments, such as USB drives or a coffee tumbler, can be a perfect reinforcement of your brand message. This can make you both useful and extend your gratitude to them at the same time.

We’re strong proponents of the old adage, “An ounce of planning is worth a pound of results.” This year don’t wait until the holidays to begin making your year-end plans. We’d be happy to help you plan ahead so that you can be at your best! Contact us at or 423-364-7343.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy 

Think Marketing Differently

How familiar are you with last-minute promotional product orders or rushed marketing decisions? Have you or your team taken time to consider new options for promoting your company only to fall back on what you have done before because it feels less risky?

A new marketing plan will not be an automatic win, but neither will sticking with the old one. After all, insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.

How can you make sure you approach your company’s marketing differently to avoid the possible or actual mistakes of the past?

  • Know the value of your time. Let an industry expert help you with your next project and free up your time so that you can focus on your business.
  • Don’t wait too long to get started. Waiting until the last minute to select products for your events can decrease your selection and your ROI as well. Partner with an industry specialist to not only brainstorm the best product for your upcoming events but also help with managing your event schedule so that last minute purchases will not be necessary.
  • Know your target market. Is going to multiple events with different audiences and using the same product giveaways a good use of your advertising dollars? Consider what product is right for each event and your promotional wares will help you reach those who will be interested in your business.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten,” education professional Jessie Potter said. So let’s think marketing differently and see what new results we can get.

We will be happy to talk with you about the products and trends that will fit your company and marketing goals. Contact us at or 423-364-7343.

Connections Promotional Products
Your Branded Strategy