The Man Who Sold Hot Dogs

Recently, a vendor of ours who makes metal bookmarks, die cast pins, ornaments and more, sent us a simple reminder to keep on marketing no matter what is going on around you. In a very simple cardboard folder was a small metal bookmark, etched and painted with a man selling hot dogs out of a cart. It came with a printed message inside the card that leaves a very powerful message – the story goes like this:

 

There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio. He had trouble seeing, so he had no newspapers. But he sold good hot dogs. He put up signs on the side of the highway telling how good they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried “Buy a hot dog, mister” and people bought . . . and bought often. He used promotional products to compliment his advertising. He increased his meat and roll orders. He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade. He finally got his son to come home from college and help him out. But then something happened.

 

His son said: “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? There’s a big depression coming on! The European situation is terrible. The domestic situation is even worse!”

 

That made the father think: “Well, my son has been to college, he reads the papers and he listens to the radio and he ought to know.” So the father cut down on meat and roll orders, took down the advertising signs, stopped using promotional products and no longer bothered to stand on the side of the road to sell his hotdogs. Sales fell fast, almost overnight.

 

 “You’re right son,” father said to the boy. “We certainly are in the middle of a great depression. There just isn’t any business. No one even comes by anymore!”

Ways Your Business Can Save Money

Reprinted
from http://www.SmallBusinessNewz.com
|  By Abby Johnson, Staff Writer

Every business likes to save money,
but when it comes to what
should be cut to save the money; many businesses are at a loss. So, before you
make the difficult move to cut budgets and maybe even staff, think about ways
you can cut your office expenses.

As pointed out in this video,
you would be surprised at how much money can be saved just from your office
alone. Business consulting expert
Ken Gaebler of Gaebler
Ventures
said that office expenses can amount up to as much as 5 percent of
total revenues for small businesses.

He went on to say, "Every
dollar you save on office expenses is a dollar that can be used to grow the
business."

In order to cut your office costs, you should consider operating virtually
as much as possible. The Internet provides numerous ways to communicate, which
makes the idea of running a business virtually feasible.

Secondly, try
re-negotiating your lease
. Since office vacancies are currently
on the rise, landlords are willing to be flexible to keep their tenants and
keep them happy.

Thirdly, you might want to think about sharing
your office space
with another business. This could also be an
opportunity to increase your sales by working closely with a complimentary
business.

 

The
fourth way you could reduce costs is by utilizing
economic development zones
. Some communities have these areas
which offer tax deductions along with other perks. If your town does not have
these zones, contact your city officials.

Lastly, you could try finding
short-term rentals
. The advantage of short-term rental
properties is that they eliminate being locked into a long-term contract. If
you have a week-to-week or month-to-month agreement, you wouldn't have to worry
about your contract if you needed to take a drastic measure, such as
downsizing.

You can also cut costs by utilizing used furniture and using energy efficient
light bulbs. In addition, businesses can save on printing, ink cartridge,
postage, and telephone expenses by enforcing electronic communication and
storage.

A Quick Reminder about CEShoppes Security Measures

Now that we are getting busier as businesses loosen up their spending I would like to take a minute to remind you that you should be careful with how you deliver your credit card to us, or anyone else you may be doing business with in the future.

 

CEShoppes has an encrypted fax number just for our customers. Your emails with sensitive credit card numbers can only be opened with a password by one of our authorized staff members. If you put your credit card information in an email (either scanning in our forms and then emailing them to us as an attachment, or actually typing it in your email), you are putting your number at risk.  There are many times an email from  a customer does not reach us for some reason or other (incorrectly typing in our email address, falls in to our Spam box, etc.). If you accidentally send your email to the wrong address or it gets redirected by unscrupulous people, you or your boss (if it is their card) will have to go through the hassle of cancelling the card and waiting for a new one – and this could also lead to the possibility of identity theft.

 

REMINDER: PLEASE fax your payment information to us through our encrypted fax. If you feel you would rather call and give us the number and then just send your signature on our order forms, we can do that too. We want your experience with CEShoppes to be a great one!!

When is a Watch a Gift and When is a Watch a Promotion? Part 2 of 2

Following up on installement 1 – Watches can be used as gifts, promotional products or as a corporate gift as symbols of achieving an elite status.

Case Back Engraving:

Case backs of watches can be engraved with corporate logos and commemorative text. When a watch is engraved on the case back it is generally considered a "gift" and not a promotion. Some watch manufacturers do not leave any blank areas on the case back for engraving. In this case, a circle must be "buffed" to allow for a clear engraving area. There is usually an additional charge for this service.

There is usually a required purchase of a minimum number of watches of twelve or more for this type of decoration when it involves a corporate or organization logo, but a single watch can generally be engraved on the case back when standard text is used.  When engraving the case back the customer is charged per character.

Clasp Engraving:

Clasps of bracelet style watches can be engraved with corporate logos and commemorative text. When a watch is engraved on the clasp it is generally considered a "gift" and not a promotion. There is usually a required purchase of a minimum number of watches of twelve or more for this style decoration when it involves a corporate or organization logo.

CEShoppes' CorporateGiftsandFlowers.com webshoppe carries a complete line of custom logo printed and engraved elegent Bulova Mens and Ladies watches. All of our watches can be drop shipped to your recipient direct from our factory on your behalf with gift cards and enclosures can be engraved or monogrammed on the case back. Contact us today to help you put a watch program together.

 

When is a Watch a Gift and When is a Watch a Promotion? Part 1 of 2

Watches can be used as gifts, as promotional products and also as symbols of achieving an elite status.

Promotional Watch Gifts:

When watches are custom imprinted on the dials with logos it is generally considered a promotional gift designed to repeatedly show the logo or "promote" the logo of the company or organization. Even when they are given to employees, in most cases, dial imprinted watches are considered promotional gifts or promotional products. There is usually a required minimum purchase number of watches starting at twelve or more for this type of decoration.

One of the most ingenious dial imprints has been by Freestyle, a maker of Surfer style watches. Freestyle imprints the underside of the crystal with their name in small print so that it does not impact the watch dial function.

Custom Dial Molds and Medallions:

The exception to decorating the dial with a printed logo is when a custom dial is created as a medallion in a limited series. A watch dial created in this manner is generally considered a special gift and signifies the owner is a member of a special group or club. There is usually a required purchase of a minimum number of watches of twelve to twenty four or more for this type of decoration.

See our line of promotional Bulova Watches

Next Installment – Part 2 of 2 Caseback and Clasp Engraving

Corporate Gifts: Engraved Wine Glasses vs. Imprinted Wine Glasses

Wine Glasses 101: Part 1 of 2
Over the years CEShoppes has worked very hard to become a premier provider of decorated wine glasses. As part of this endeavor we have provided decorated stemware to clients for all manners and scales of events. Needless to say we get a lot of questions involving the etiquette and best methods of decorating wine glasses. This is a short intro to using wine glasses for events and as corporate gifts.

Types of Decorating Wine Glasses and Decanters:
Traditionally wine glasses have been engraved with monograms, commemorative date and names, such as weddings and anniversaries and more recently corporate logos. Wine glass engraving or 'etching' is accomplished by covering the glass with a 'mask' or 'film pattern', then 'sand is 'blown'" against the surface. Wherever the glass is not protected by the masked pattern, it becomes "etched" or engraved where the sand strikes the surface. This procedure is different than metal etching techniques where the surface is covered with wax or resin, a design scratched into it and the material immersed into acid. The third method of glass etching is actually a form of engraving. The operator imprints the pattern or design on glass with a high speed drill and uses a fine, steel bit to engrave the decoration or text. The drill can be used freehand, but is usually done with the aid of a stencil guide in order to trace over a pattern or design.

Wine glasses normally are 'engraved' when the value of the glass is above $5.00 and in smaller quantities or as special gifts. Wine glasses can also be imprinted with ink and is a less expensive method of decoration, which is why it is used for less expensive stemware and when it is necessary to decorate a large number of glasses with an identical logo or message. It is important to note that most commercial stemware decorators have a special color ink that is used for imprinting stemware to 'look' like it is engraved or 'frosted'. This method is very popular for decorating stemware for events and gives the stemware an upscale look. Because the process is priced per color it also allows the wine glass to be decorated on both sides at no extra charge, one for the event name and the other side for a date or sponsor logo or name. This process is called 'satin imprinting' or 'satin etch', even though it is not actually etching or engraving the wine glasses.

 

Next Installment: Part 2 of 2 - Why the proper shape of the glass makes drinking wine more pleasurable.

Nothing Beats a Day of Education – Part 3 Internet Power Marketing

The night before this class I said to DJ, “I bet we can teach tomorrows class on internet power marketing”. We have built websites since 1996 and get great results in organic search. We have heard many of the classes that our industry has taught on internet marketing and in most of those instances; – yes, we could have taught those classes with our eyes shut.  - However, Starr Hall is not your average internet power marketer. We were not prepared for the wealth of information she bestowed upon us in the 75 minutes she had with us. Starr is a powerhouse! She started off telling us how she, as a child used to help her grandmother at tradeshows. She actually was told to “Trip” attendees to get them to stop at their booth!

Whether you are a large or small business you need to have a policy and procedure for social networking. You need to have a plan with goals defined – How can you drive from California to Michigan if you don’t have a map? The same is said about social marketing. – I had never thought about a policy and procedure manual, but it makes sense. We have one for the business, so why wouldn’t we have one for social networking. This policy lays out guidelines for your employees as to what they can and cannot say. – Sometimes what they can and cannot say on their own social networking sites too. You want to increase your company’s exposure, but you don’t want to do it in a negative way. If an employee is posting about the wild crazy parties they go to every night and how hung over they are at work three days a week, it looks bad on your company image. So these guidlines should be spelled out in your manual.

Starr also talked about how to build responses in to your social plan and how to handle negative reviews. At some time in your company history, you will get negative reviews, and how your company handles them out in the social sphere will be very important to how your company is perceived. If you document how to answer these problems before they come up, you won’t be reacting, you will be proactive in your approach.

She also recommends setting goals for social media and this requires you to measure everything. How many emails you receive and  how many sales you produce from it, etc. Constantly try new things and measure the feedback. Find the places your company fits in and become a part of that community. You don’t need to be on every single social networking site. Your company won’t fit all of these sites, so seek out the ones that do and don’t worry about the ones that don’t.

Nothing Beats a Day of Education – Part 2 Building your Brand

After Jay Levinson spoke on Guerilla Marketing we broke out in to sessions. There were a total of 4 speakers on various business related topics per session- and three sessions throughout the day. The amazing thing about each class, there was standing room only! The first session I attended was about Building your Brand to Build Your Business. Normally, in the past when I have attended education sessions at industry tradeshows you get the same old ideas, just rehashed in a new fashion or not, but really it is the same old, same old and you are not incredibly inspired, like I was after the Growth 2.0 Conference.

It might be because industry tradeshows focus on the business you are in – You end up getting a narrow view of what is happening in your corner of the universe and lose sight of the much bigger picture. I think this is why a couple of years ago DJ and I started to attend events that were not industry related, but business related. In doing so, a new world opened up to us. The branding session was taught by Susan Gunelius, President of KeySplash Creative, Inc.

Susan’s main approach to us was to remind us that your brand is NOT a logo, your company colors, your products, a slogan or a company. A brand is a promise that sets expectations, and to your customers- meets those expectations in every consumer interaction and experience. A brand is how your customers feel about your company and she used some brands as examples. If you think of these three automotive brands, a single word comes to mind when they are said: Toyota – reliable, BMW- performance, KIA- inexpensive. She asked us to find out what our customers think of when they say our company name. How do they feel our company lives up to our promises and the way we consistently present ourselves? That is a very good question.

 

Feel free to post an answer to help us better understand what we should be doing to make CEShoppes a brand in your eyes.

Nothing Beats a Day of Education – Part 1 Guerilla Marketing

They say that you learn something new every day. So, I will tell you that I received a year’s full of learning last Tuesday at the Entrepreneur Magazine’s Growth 2.0 Conference in Miami. It all started with breakfast and then an hour long talk with Keynote Speaker Jay Conrad Levinson, Chairman of Guerilla Marketing International. His ideas and his enthusiasm for the entrepreneur were just invigorating. He spoke about the difference between traditional marketing and guerrilla marketing and why guerrilla marketing works without spending a lot of money.  - One thing that I always wondered about and he made clear was that traditional marketing always measures sales performance. But the real truth of how a business is doing is measured by PROFITS –

In our industry, once a year a list of Top 40 companies is published listing their gross sales. I wonder how many of these top companies would be there if they showed NET PROFIT instead. I always thought that it was a crazy idea to rate companies on how much they sold. – It sounds good to say you sold $100million last year, but if you sold $100million and you lost $25million in the process, what makes your company better than mine, when I show a profit instead of a loss?  Mr. Levinson’s way of thinking makes much more sense.

He also talked about social media and how to embrace it as part of your marketing. No one thing, not television, nor newspapers, nor direct mail alone will grow your business. You need to use a combination of things to keep you in the public eye, as well as social marketing. And not just continually posting things about you, but really “Listen” to what is being said out there and contribute by engaging and participating in the conversation, so your marketing becomes a dialogue not a monologue.

Heading to Tradeshow – What do you need?

HEADING TO LAS VEGAS!!

Next week (January 10-16), we will be heading to Las Vegas to the largest Promotional Products Trade Show in the industry with over 1400 booths!!  While we are there, we would like to take the opportunity to help YOU with your marketing needs for this coming year.  

Over the past couple of months, we are sure you have been working on your marketing plans and incentive and award ideas for 2010. If you have a list of ideas and dates, we can walk the show floor and be your eyes and ears. Give us an idea of what you need and your budget and we will look for the hottest, most creative ideas out there, just for YOU!

 

If you would like our help we will make it easy – Just email us: CustomerService@CEShoppes.com with a list of event dates, the theme of the event, what types of items or ideas you are looking for, quantity, budget and any other information that would be helpful to have as we are walking the tradeshow floor. Please respond prior to January 12, 2010. We will follow up with an email to let you know we received your email before we leave for the show, so you will know we will be thinking of you while we are out there.