A Practical Giveaway for a Man

Giving gifts to a woman is quite easier than giving gifts to a man. It is because you need to take a lot of considerations if you want to give gifts to a man. Some of the things and considerations that you need take include his hobbies, his likes and fashion where he may be interested in and his work up to this moment. All these factors may certainly affect the desires of a man when it comes to gifts or giveaways. So, it is essential to know all his likes, tastes and preferences when it comes to gifts and surprises.

Choosing a practical giveaway or any kinds of gift for man would be challenging for you, especially if you are after for cheaper price but quality items. Once you already know the taste and preferences of a certain man, then you already know what specific type of gifts you will give to him. You can choose any types of gifts or giveaways through online if you want an easier way to find a gift for man.

Actually, there is a wide array of selections when it comes to gifts and personal giveaways. So, you don’t need to worry about the specific item that you will select. You can probably give personal gifts like perfume, t-shirts, souvenirs and any kinds of items as long as that it will catch his attention. If you think that he is fond of doing some household chores or any kinds of gardening works, then you can also give him a gardening tool for his garden or yard maintenance. Try to look for the best weed wacker in the marketplaceand give this equipment to him. This would be a practical giveaway which you can give to a man since it can be used for cleaning and proper maintenance of his garden or yard.

If you think that weed wacker is a good option, then you need to choose the best and high quality type of it. Don’t just pick a specific type of product which you don’t know if it’s high quality and can provide you long life span. As much as possible, go to a reliable site and be able to explore the best features and remarkable services of the product. You can visit to http://weedeaterreviewscenter.com/ and read some product reviews there. In that site, you can have a chance learn how to buy the best product in the market and what specific type of weed wacker is good for you.

When giving a specific item for a man, you should always its quality and impact to him. You may purchase any item even if it is not quite expensive. Always remember that the price of a certain gift or giveaway is not important. What is important is the thought that comes from the giver and not the total price of it. As the saying goes, “It is really the thought that counts and not the total price of an item”. Meaning to say, you don’t need to focus on its actual price but instead, focus on your feelings as you give the gift whole-heartedly.

A man’s practical gift

Giving any woman a gift could be quite easy. Women are fond of a lot of things, may it be in fashion or just stuffs around the house. Giving something to a man on the other hand is most often a different story. Picking out what they want and need could be an arduous job and somehow costly too.

gifts for men

Giving a man a gift could need some researching about what he is interested in, his hobbies and the job he has. The safest giveaway is always something practical. Opt for anything that can help him out at work, when getting into his hobbies, in performing some sports and in fulfilling his recreational activities.

In terms of the cost, well, you can always do something about it. The very first thing to do to be able to save is to plan the gift-giving way ahead of time. Never rush as this can land you into something out of budget. Now plan and finalize what you want to give. Visit different stores and find one that offers the product of good quality at a reasonable amount; or take some ample time to go on sale hunting. It is always wise to be in a look-out of grand mall sales.

Now, what specifically can you really give? As mentioned, give something practical and avoid clothing in general. If your man is a cyclist then you can give something that can be very functional on his bicycle or anything that he can easily carry around while doing his sport. If in case he loves to play basketball, then you can give him a pair of basketball shoes. Well, a pair of shoes can be a very neat gift to a man especially if that guy has been a friend of yours or partner for quite a time already. Although, when giving a gift like this to man, you have to be very careful as to not make any wrong impression of buying the man off with material things. For an office guy, you can give him something that will organize the files on his table. Contrary to what most people think of men as being passive with cleanliness and orderliness, men are in truth more organized than women, so to help them up with the task, a nice desk organizer can be very helpful. And for a homebody or a guy who is fond of doing things around the house, give him some tools that can be helpful in fixing household concerns or in carpentry. Consider giving the guy the best compound miter saw that you can check out at http://thebestmitersaw.com/. This piece of equipment can be highly useful in making that tiny or simple furniture around the house. With this, wood cutting can become easier and more accurate.

At this point, if the examples are not very helpful yet and you are still in doubt of what to give to your beau then remember that you can always go straight to him. By this, it means that you should not hesitate to ask him what he wants. In this case, you can be assured that your gift or the giveaway is really something that will make him very happy.
Remember, aside from considering what his passions and interests are, always give gifts in accordance to the depth of your relationship. Also, stay on budget and do not push too much in getting something that is way too expensive for the allotted money; as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts”. Truly, it’s not the cost that matters but the feelings behind the giving.

Creating Giveaways as a Marketing Strategy: Good or Bad?

GiveawayA lot of businesses create various marketing stratagies in order to promote their products and services. It is very important to do these marketing strategies so you can boost and promote your business without paying a lot. One of the marketing strategis that is popular nowadays is giveaways and promotions.
The prices can be anything: from a new product that will be launched to the latest service that can be availed for free when you join and win the giveaways.  This is one great strategy where you can get information of potential customers and, at the same time, develop and long term relationship with them.
If you are a small business (or any business for that matter) and want to promote your products and services without ease, doing giveaways as a marketing strategy is one of the best. And we will tell you why as you read on.

Giveways as Marketing Strategy

As we have mentioned, giveaways are very popular marketing strategies among businesses and it has never failed in promoting them, no matter how small or big. Here are some information you need to know about giveaways as marketing strategies.

What is a Giveaway?

First of all, what is a giveaway? A giveaways is a marketing promotion where establishments and businesses give away something for free—whether it is a product and service. They are used to spread the word about the business and make a name for themselves to the customers. This is also done so customers will continue to buy the product. The more people join the giveaways, the more possible customers the business will get. Giveaways come in the form of sweepstakes, contests, raffles and freebies.

How Effective is it?

Businesses invest a lot on giveaways because they know it is an easy way to attract customers and even develop a long term relationship with them.  It is a powerful and effective tool in making sales and making sure your brand is known to everyone. When you offer giveaways to your consumers, it can result into a flood of new and repeat customers who will always go back to your shop and buy more of your products and services.
The reason why giveaways almost always work is because it is on a two-fold aspect. For one thing, if those who win yoru products or services test it without them spending anything, they recognize the value of it more and will continue purchasing the product even after the giveaways end. There may even be a chance when they will get hooked on the product or service being given aways and will more often go to your shop and business to get more.
Second, becuase the product or service was give to the customer/consumer for free, there will be some sort of a psychilogical pressure to return the favor by continuing to purchase the products and services. Plus, aside from the free gift that they got, they  might be obliged to try other products and services too as a way to try it or say thank you for the free gift. We think the “Law of Reciprocity” applies here where people naturally feel obliged to return the favor as a way to say thanks.
But doing giveaways is not just about giving free gifts or holding contests just to increase your sales or develop customer service. You must think well about giveaways and what you must remember in order to have be successful in this strategy. And we are here to help you with that.

Things to Remember When Doing Giveaways

There are things you mus remember when doing giveaways so you can successful and get the sales that you need:

1. Information is key

Together with the giveaway, you should also give information regarding the giveaway and the product you plan to give.  It is not enough that you just say you have a giveaway, but do not provide all the details. There are a lot of social networking sites out there that you can use to promote your giveaways and products.
One example we can give is from Weaver Optics, an outdoor gear/sporting goods store that sells one of the best rifle scope and various guns. They held a giveaway where they gave out various gun accessories and one of them is the Weaver Grand Slam Riflescope and promoted it in their Facebook page. When people saw this, they looked for rifle scope reviews of this product and joined the giveaway after seeing its positive results.
As you can see, information is indeed key and you must give that to your customers.

2. Too Good To Be True

Don’t make your giveaways too good to be true or people will be skeptical about it. To avoid this, always explain how you can offer such a great deal and why you are offering them. Whether you are overstocked, got a great deal from your supplier, or you just want to say thank you in a meaningful way, just explain to them why the giveaways is great.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • When doing giveaways, it can result to improve in sales or traiff of expenditure.  This is one of the best ways to attract customers into buying or getting the store’s products and services.
  • It is also a great stand-alone advertising medium because it promotes the business, brand, product, services and the giveaway itself.
  • It can be added to the media mix and social networking, creating a huge impact on both the business and the consumer.
  • It gives a positive and great overall image to the business because it means they value the customers a lot. It leads to a higher likelihood of buying the products and availing of services again and again.
  • Allows repeared exposure to the compant’s message based on the repeated promotions and the lenght of time the products are used.
  • It offers a better perception of the business or store.
  • Repeated promotions of the giveaway makes the customers remember and recall the business/store name.
  • And when you do giveaways, you provide a higher likelihood of customers recommending it to others and haveing your customer base increase more.


  • When you do more giveaways than usual, there is the possibility that customers will expect more free products and promotions consistently.
  • When the giveaways stop, customers become disappointed and unsatisfied, thus your sales may drop and not do good to your store.
  • If you don’t plan giveaway well, this can decrease your sales and you may even lose money. You must avois needless pending along with wasting of income.
  • It is very diffciult to satisfy people so it is good to pick the right products for giveaways.
  • There are products that are sometimes hard to give as freebies like for instance, customized shirts or keychains. For examplein customized shirts, it is difficult to find the right shirt that will fit for customization. For keychains, it may not be the best promotional material because they are hidden and not often seen by people. Choosing the wrong type of product that does nothing to change customer perception of your business will waste money on an unsuccessful marketing campaign.
  • Many giveaways or promotional products are given or thrown away or used just once.


All in all, giveaways as marketing strategies is great and will make your business good. Just make sure to plan it and that it won’t affect your store or business. Let our guide help you with that.

Discounting craze: quick fix, long headache

For the past 10 years, food-service operators have been relying on couponing, discounting, games, promotions and just plain giveaways whenever the going gets tough. The idea is to build customer counts and avoid empty seats. With traffic ailing this year, the discounting trend has zoomed.
Price cutting or dealing has sharply accelerated and has cut earnings without appreciably improving traffic in the long run. It is like trying to halt a leak in the dike with a Bandaid — strictly a stopgap measure.
Endless discounting has been grabbed as a quick solution by Burger King, Wendy’s and others. While the technique is indeed building traffic, profit margins are suffering. The price-cutting giveaways are too much for most bottom lines to absorb.
When the drum beating and couponing stop — as they inevitably must — the return to reality is traumatic as customers balk at the higher prices. A quick fix turns into a long-term disaster. The price-value image that was established through discounting and couponing erodes and leaves customers disillusioned.
The schizophrenic price cutting that is assailing the industry sees chains veering back and forth, with discounting one month and full pricing the next. But they can’t have it both ways and must draw the line somewhere.
“Discounting is a quick needle in the arm — a quick shot, but it doesn’t last,” observes Leon Gottlieb, a Tarzana, Calif., restaurant consultant. “Price is not the first determining factor in building a local customer base. It’s good, speedy service that yields long-term results.”
The way another source puts it, “Price promotions are escalating from the occasional fix to full-blown addiction.”
Some of this can be measured by dealing-index rates for major chains. Charts released by George Rice’s Chicago-based NPD CREST firm show that the ratio of meals purchased at discounts from chains in CREST consumer surveys soared to 17 percent in 1987 and 18 percent in 1988.
It may reach 20 percent before this year is over. In fact, the dealing percentage has steadily risen from a comparatively tame 7 percent 10 years ago.
Another dealing index compiled by the Wefa Group, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., indicates the rate has soared from 12 percent to 21 percent in the past five years and may hit 22 percent in 1990.
Burger King and Wendy’s have been dealing at a frantic rate to halt traffic drops and recapture diminishing market shares. Other chains have jumped into the dealing derby to capitalize on competitor vulnerabilities to a lower-pricing strategy.
Two-for-one promotions have proved popular, too. Burger King has been offering a second Whopper for only 35 cents to customers who buy an initial one at full price.
Wendy’s has launched a new Super Value menu emphasizing junior bacon cheeseburgers and garden salads at 99 cents each. Burdened by $12 million in additional company restaurant operating costs from heavy couponing, Wendy’s sustained a 77-percent pretax income decline in its first quarter. The picture has not improved either.
“We have to stay with discounting if traffic keeps declining,” declares Wendy’s chief executive, James Near. “We have to protect and build our market share.” But Near says he would rather not be forced into continuing price wars.
In the battle of Ohio, beleaguered Rax, with its ongoing identity crisis, resorted to heavy couponing and suffered a $5 million loss for its first half, prompting then-president Larry Ritter to call 1989 “some of the toughest times we’ve ever been through.” Rax cut the price on its roast-beef sandwiches from $1.49 to 79 cents.
Taco Villa, Dallas-based operator of 150 fast-food units, got trapped in discounting battles and lost $507,000 in one quarter.
How long can the crazy-quilt discounting continue? One encouraging sign is that some of the dealing inevitably seems to have run its course and could be reduced by year-end.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s, sensing blood in the comparative weakness of its competitors and trying to boost traffic counts after more than a year of comparative declines, is fighting competition by unleashing a couponing barrage in selected markets. It also is trying a loss-leader strategy, dropping basic hamburgers to 49 cents and cheeseburgers to 59 cents.
In an especially clever promotion, McD has been playing it both ways, offering 99-cent Quarter Pounders with cheese for each week after the Chicago Bears football team wins and a reduced price on french fries when they lose.
Other chains are trying switch-off value promotions. A customer can buy french fries and a soft drink and then get two hamburgers free on Monday, two cheeseburgers on Tuesday and so on each day of the week.
Amazingly, full-service independent restaurants, harder hit and more vulnerable than chains, are stepping up their couponing and dealing activities at the fastest pace. The Wefa Group’s index shows that the ratio of meals purchased at discounted prices has climbed from 8 percent to 15 percent in the last five years for full-service restaurants.
Most significant, a Nation’s Restaurant News survey of 1,000 consumers, conducted by the SRI Research Center, Lincoln, Neb., emphasizes that friendlier service draws far more customers to restaurants than does price cutting.
The frenetic pace of discounting has permitted operators in all segments to lose sight of the fact that courteous service and quality food present a vastly superior price-value image than price cutting ever can.

Canada Giveaways That Are Yours for the Taking

With the summer season upon us, it’s only inevitable to see summer-themed deals available online. And they are only available during the summer as a way to clear the inventory before the next season.

This is also often viewed as the reason that’s easiest to explain why Canada giveaways come in close to the deals seen online. There are usually 2 deals that you end up seeing in your newsletter – discounted/marked down deals of products or freebies that come upon purchase of certain products.


That come with a free pail doesn’t make sense until you realize that it’s a lot harder to take home

There are deals that come across as sensible like buy several packs of seasoning and you get a free bowl or buy this mop and get a couple of towel rags for free. You see the freebies attached as items you can use immediately that go with the item that you purchased. But there are deals on the other hand that just don’t make sense. Imagine buying a carpet and getting a couple of sunglasses for free or buying a new laptop and getting a car sunscreen for free. Where’s the connection? At first it seems like buying a package of grocery items that come with a free pail doesn’t make sense until you realize that it’s a lot harder to take home the package of groceries when there is no pail to ensure that no spillages would occur.


The help of giveaways attached to products sold

This is why some Canada giveaways can be tricky too – no need to mention names as you may remember some deals that you have signed up for in the past only for the freebies to not make sense. Since these shops are trying to clear inventory anyway, they should have at least used some creativity in matching the freebies that go with the products sold. Discounts may not be applied on them but whatever discount was not applied in summer deals are reciprocated with the help of giveaways attached to products sold.


Sometimes it’s not always the season that’s the reason behind the giveaways. In some instances, buying a new lawn mower and receiving a t-shirt for free is a way for the store to celebrate their anniversary or a holiday perhaps by letting you wear something that helps them advertise more. At least you get a shirt while cutting the grass on your lawn with the help of one of the best lawn mowers available today. It keeps you safe from the blistering sun as you try to do your chores.


When trying to buy one of the best lawn mowers in town, it’s not always about finding the cheapest deal online. It often boils down to finding the best value for your money. The cheapest deal may not always be the right deal. This is why you need to click here to know the difference between the low-priced deals and the deals that maximize the value of your money.

Send a gift of love for your beloved women

People say that behind a successful man is a woman. That woman may be a wife, a mother or even a friend. Regardless of who that woman is, she is also playing an important role in your life.  What have you done for your beloved woman? Women are very delicate and sensitive. You can not present them haphazardly, but it is necessary to donate one’s true preferences. You need to observe and make wisdom choices before you present giveaways to a girl or a woman. I will provide you with some suggestions according to specific entities.

If your woman would love traveling and rarely go outside your city, the best advice is giving her couple of traveling ticket. This is especially beneficial when two young people are in need of foster feelings at the place of only 2 people with interesting experiences. After that trip, you will see your feeling much better and closer.

If the woman who you want to give a present is serious to emotion, a little gift will also make her happy. You can give her a bundle of flower, a dress, a necklace…. With a little sensitive girl you can donate something related to art. Holding a party with many candles around is sometimes acceptable in a family to warm feelings for those long – lasting couple.

If your woman has a strong and pragmatic character, please give them practical giveaways. A woman like that would never uptight about luxury and flash object. You should focus on the mentality of efficiency and practicality. They will never take notice of beautiful flower or expensive jewelry. Why don’t you give her a household appliance to help her with household chore; for example, a multi purpose broom or an electric smoker. However, you should reference electric smoker reviews carefully or you might be complained all day long if it does not belong to http://topelectricsmokers.com

More than half of the world is women and they are contributing to the beauty of life. Never forget it until you pass away. Give the most precious woman in your life the most meaningful giveaways. And never extinguish the flame of love burning inside them because making them happy is also making your life more beautiful. Not only by giving giveaways, but you can also share joys and sorrows with them, which is actually the most meaningful gift you give them.

Pushing Bigger Buys

Whether it’s sweepstakes, merchandising events or price-point specials, vending promotions are essential elements of turning single-item sales into larger, more frequent purchases. Often done in partnership with suppliers, promotions are designed to make customers’ daily vending visits a more enjoyable activity. In turn, these unique contests and giveaways generate higher vending sales, higher customer satisfaction and more product sales and brand recognition for suppliers–a win-win situation for everyone.

Brian King, Compass Group’s dir. of marketing and creative services, creates four or five new promotions a year for the Canteen Vending Services division, which go out to 90% of its clients across many segments, including healthcare, colleges and B&I.

Marketed under the brand-name Sparx–New Ideas from Canteen, the promotions are major events customized in partnership with at least two suppliers. One of the tricks, King explains, is to tell people through visuals what you want them to do. Show products together in a happy scene–the all-important point-of-purchase merchandising display.

Gift 1

“What we try to do is suggest a combination purchase in one consumer visit. We do that by offering fun activities and opportunities to win exciting prizes with that purchase behavior. But you have to get something in front of consumers that they can understand in two to three seconds. You’ve got a captive audience, but you still need to capture interest,” King warns.

Habit building: With a lively promotion, he says, companies can increase the number of times the consumer comes to the vending area. “We’re building the habit and giving them another reason to come down and look at the machines. That has translated into sales increases–at the low end 4%, but more typically we’re talking in the 6% to 7% range. We’ve even seen double-digit increases.” King adds that Canteen’s sales force markets the colorful programs to prospective clients as a point of difference from its competitors.

Currently he’s partnering with Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, Hard Rock Cafe and American Airlines for a promotion called “Two Ways to Rock Your Snack.” A purchase of either Lay’s potato chips or regular Pepsi gives buyers a chance to win a coupon that offers a $5 discount on Hard Rock merchandise when purchased over the web. Or winners can take the coupon to a Hard Rock location and get a free dessert valued at $5. In addition, instant-win prizes include Hard Rock duffel bags, leather jackets and limited-edition motto pin sets.

Gift 2

Wood Dining Services has run continuous vending promotions since 1994 at a large Baltimore/Washington, DC-area account. On glass-front machines, static-cling posters give details on the giveaways customers might get if they purchase the winning item.

When a customer gets a product with a “WINNER” sticker, he calls the company’s vending office at headquarters to claim the prize, using the number provided on the sticker. Over the years, prizes have included bicycles, Baltimore Orioles baseball and Baltimore Ravens football tickets, gas grills, T-shirts, hats, stuffed animals, key rings and other items.

Participating suppliers, which donate all prizes, include Frito-Lay, Pepsi-Cola, Snapple, Coca-Cola, Nestle, M&M Mars, Hershey and Act II Popcorn. Some promos are run for a month and others for just a week, depending on the promotion and supplier.

Vending customers are happy with the ongoing program and enjoy participating, says Leiba Parmeter, marketing coordinator. “Our customer base for vending is young and they just love winning whatever it is.”

Free samples: At another Wood account, staff offers tastings of vending food tied in with surveys, T-shirts and more. To increase traffic through vending areas, coffee machines run on free-vend for the day the promotion runs. This tactic encourages people to try products they wouldn’t normally try, officials point out. Random free vends in food machines are also very popular with this location’s customers.

The most recent ARAMARK vending promotion was run last spring, in conjunction with Nabisco. A $5 folded-up Pizza Hut gift certificate was attached to the back of four different products. Machines in all locations had four winners over the course of the promotion.

“It’s an instant win and immediate gratification,” says Mary Halloran, v.p. of mktg. for ARAMARK Refreshment Services. “They take the taped coupon from the back of the cookie bag to their Pizza Hut and use it.” Prizes from past promotions include a coupon for a free video rental at Blockbuster or a $5 cash card at Kmart. Both prizes were tied in with Frito-Lay, so again customers became instant winners when they discovered the notice taped to the back of their snack bags. Posters announcing the promotion are set up near the machines and a static-cling notice is attached to the front of the unit to reinforce the display.

Halloran does national promotions twice yearly, primarily for B&I clients, but says on the local level the company adds a couple more. ARAMARK has been running vending promos for many years, but the programs have evolved over time. “Our focus in vending is on employee needs. That research, different prizes and instant win demonstrate an example of our employee focus,” Halloran states.


Cola giants pack promotional power

At the U.S. House of Representatives, Beth Stankewich, Guest Services’ dir. of food svcs., does most vending promotions with Coca-Cola. Sometimes Coke buyers will receive a coupon for another Coke product right on the bottle or can. Or, the coupon might be good for a Coke fountain drink or bottled beverage in one of the House’s eight food operations.

Monthly raffles for prizes are also run; customers fill out entry blanks with no purchase necessary. Prizes vary from Coke products to a seasonal gift, like this summer’s picnic cooler. Stankewich says Guest Services’ national account is with Pepsi so the company does periodic Pepsi promotions as well.

“We get a lot of positive feedback when customers come in to redeem coupons or pick up prizes, and from comment cards,” she notes. The account is in its second year of running company-generated promos and Stankewich has seen nice sales increases in vending overall. “I will continue to run these promotions based on their success and the favorable reaction I’ve had.”

Giveaways: Freebie favourites

1. Confectionery

Simple but very effective and an exhibition stalwart, as everyone loves a free chocolate. Sweet Temptations offers branded confectionery and its current clients include financial services firm Medex Direct, which uses its lollipop sweets, chocolate bars and chocolate fountain as a mainstay.


‘The chocolate fountain has proved an absolute show-stopper,’ explains Sweet Temptations director Colin Levene. He should know – he’s even managed to sell his products to dental clients for use on their stands in recent times.

2. Goody bags

goody bags

Not only will most people gladly accept goody bags, but they also attract attention as recipients carry them around. They can be as exclusive or mass market as you like, and the latter option doesn’t mean skipping on creativity. Julia Harris, partner at Ultimate Promotions, says: ‘One of our clients makes inflatable beds and exhibited at this year’s Ideal Home Exhibition. We created 300 gift bags for the press day containing eye-masks, ‘do not disturb’ signs and chocolates and they proved a real hit.’

3. Colour-Change products

Perhaps not the most obvious choice, but a great way to go beyond the norm. B&H Colour Change supplies clients such as Kingfisher Gift Vouchers.

Kingfisher recently ran a competition on a pre-exhibition mailer containing a colour-changing ice cream spoon to bring to the stand. They received free ice cream and if the spoon changed colour from pink to blue when placed in it, the recipient won incentive vouchers.

4. Funky info packs

Everyone needs to get their details out there, but with delegates swamped with unwieldy information, how do you stand out? One solution is the iKyp – a pocket-sized data holder featuring retractable information cards.

Recent users include The Kennel Club at last year’s Discover Dogs show.

‘We needed a device that communicated lots of information to both children and parents,’ says Kennel Club marketing manager Fiona Pearce. ‘The iKyp’s huge capacity for information provided the perfect solution.’

5. Business cards

With all and sundry dishing out their cards at shows, the challenge is to get yours noticed. One way to leave a lasting impression post-exhibition is with Mint Cards – credit card-sized containers filled with sugar-free mints – from Propaganda. Available in a variety of colours, they can be printed in up to four colours. Recent fans include consulting firm Sinclair Knight Merz, which has been using them successfully at exhibitions to drive brand awareness.

6. Clothing

Free caps, t-shirts and badges may not seem the most inspiring choice, but when a megabrand such as Microsoft puts its weight behind promotional clothing, it’s fair to say that it must work for them. Since 2001, BTC Group has produced merchandise for Microsoft’s annual TechEd conference and exhibition, which attracts 7,000 delegates. BTC decks out Microsoft’s exhibition staff as well as producing caps, pens, stationery and party items, which the supplier says form a vital part of reinforcing Microsoft’s position as show organiser.

7. Interactive information

Described as a cost-effective giveaway by supplier Propaganda, the Web Key creates an instant link to your firm’s website via the USB socket to provide post-event brand recognition. It’s available in a range of colours with a large print area for personalisation. Recent exhibition users include IT specialist Computer Services.

8. Pens

Perhaps the most dependable of giveaways, the pen may seem obvious, but it needn’t be uninspiring. The Yoropen may look odd but it is surprisingly comfortable and easy to use. It offers finger support, adjustable grip, extra visual space so you can see what you’re writing, and supplier Coles says it’s also ideal for left-handed people. Converts include London-based courier and transport company Addison Lee at shows such as Olympia’s Business Travel Show.

9. Recycled products

With environmentally friendly premiums in demand, suppliers have stepped up their efforts. CN Promotions has sourced lines from Remarkable such as mousemats made from recycled tyres (right), which CN business development manager Christine Eden says have been a huge exhibition hit. ‘We work with a lot of environmentally-minded bodies and it’s great that so many innovative recycled products have come on stream.’

10. Electricals

High perceived value means that almost everyone loves a gadget. A 64-megabyte USB memory stick keyring from the Electrical Incentive Company (EIC) costs from pounds 7 per unit and was given away by the firm to draw customers to its stand at last year’s National Incentive Show. ‘We demonstrated its abilities and handed them out with our price file and product details pre-saved on them,’ says EIC director Ray Jobz. ‘The show proved to be a great success for us.’

For that fussy executive

For that fussy executive, Balok would try a yo-yo By KAREN GENGENBACHEDDY

Elaine Balokhs gifts list is so long this year that she’s turning over her law practice to a colleague and coverting her downtown office to a gift showroom.

gifts showrom

Gifts Showrom

No, the office full of gifts isn’t all for her friends and family. The array of 130 gifts is for customers of her business, Gift Connection, which is going on its third holiday season.

Gift Connection selects, wraps and delivers gifts priced from $5 to $300. The service charge is $6.50 per gift, with a discount for larger orders. Balok generally goes to her clients, but during December, her downtown office will be open for perusal several afternoons a week.

“We’re here to make the lives of business people easier and to make it convenient for them to provide thank yous, welcoming VIP gifts, employee awards, and gifts for their family and friends.,” says Balok, 40.

Gift Connection initially catered to small to medium-sized businesses in the downtown area. But now she fills requests throughout San Diego County.

“Most people tell me they could easily call the florist, but they want to do something different,” says Balok, who strives to tailor her gifts to meet special needs.

“For one company we do an employee-of-the-month gift basket. It contains business items like a leather portfolio, a Cross pen set, not4e pads and gold-plated paper clips,” she says. “For one dentist who wanted to say thanks without promoting tooth decay, we created baskets with an assortment of popcorns.”

For the holidays, Balok says, “The most consistent request is a gift basket with gourmet foods. But this year I’m getting requests for more fun items. California people take themselves less seriously,. so hardwood yo-yos for the excutive, money socks for financial people or handmade kaleidoscopes are some high-class fun itmes.”

Balok buys at gift shows from Los Angeles to New York. For unique items, she searches out craftpeople. Two of her local sources are Ray Gordon, who hand carves wooden clocks — a favorite with attorneys — and Carrara di Carrara, who supplies her with marble vases. For more traditional items, she deals with major gift and jewelry companies.

She’s also developed her own line of recycled note pads.

Balok became a professional shopper in 1985. With a partner who has since left, she used $25,000 in savings to buy Gift Connection’s initial $12,000 inventory.

“I’m a born shopper,” she explains. “All the articles about starting a small business say go into something you know about and, I though I knew something about this one.”

Her profit comes from her ability to buy wholesale from vendors rather than from her service charge. She pays a secretary, one part-time employee, and takes on extra help during the holidays. She expects to break into the black this year with sales of $50,000.

Balok thinks she’s profiting from a change in people’s attitudes. “Years ago I waxed my own car,” She says. “Now I don’t do that anymoer. The change in attitude is toward services.”

“All the articles about strting a small business say go into something you know about, and I thought I knew something about this one.”

Lorrain Griswold, sales manager for Money Financial Services, agrees. “I work and have a 4-month-old baby,” Griswold says, “and I just don’t have the time to go out and shop.” She turned to Balok for National Secretaries Week gifts for her office staff and for a Valentine’s Day gift for her husband.

Eleanor Jaeschke, vice president of accounting at N.N. Jaeschke Inc., a property management and service business, used Balok for two years to put together 100 employee Christmas baskets. Says Jaescheke: “We also use her for our employee-of-the-month program. I call her a few days before the award, give her some information about the person, and she takes it from there.”

Gift Connection is hardly Balok’s first project. She says she usually does two or three things at once. In addition to a law degree, she has a background in administration.

She’s worked for six years as an assistant to three city managers: Ray Blair, Sy Murray and John Lockwood. While in the city manager’s office, she reorganized the paramedic system and worked on the dial-a-ride and Sander projects. She quit her part-time county job in April to devote full time to her gift business.

Balok is quite aware, however, that she’s running a risky enterprise. Four personal shopping services listed in the March 1987 Yellow Pages have gone under. “I think that at the holidays, people consider this an interesting business. They get started and then are unable to carry it through. I think we’ve lasted because we plan for peaks by adding extra people and supplies, and we cultivate our holiday customers and bring to their attention other times during the year to thank people and get their company’s name out,” she says.

Balok’s competitors range from florists to specialty advertising people. One well-established local speciality advertiser is The Recognition People. As a listed distributor for the Advertising Specialty Institute, the firm has access to hundreds of manufacturers and suppliers, says owner Augie Sindone.

He says he can do gift baskets too, but notes he’s somewhat more quantity-oriented with the distributors, setting both the price and the number of items he needs to order. Sindone lists such clients as PSA and Merrill Lynch.

Key to distinguishing Gift Connection, Balok says, are variety and flexibility. “We try to reach those companies who may not want pen and pencil sets for everyone, and we offer the idea of general gifts. I get last minute calls from people saying, “The company is having a dinner party and I need a hostess gift for tomorrow night,’ or ‘We have an employee who is ill and we want to get something right over to the hospital.’” She carries an inventory to accommodate last minute requests.

Balok’s plans for the future include developing a catalogue and tapping the convention and business travelers’ market. She is a member of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and has been active on its host committee.

Giveaways boost volume in 2d Samplefest at Byerly’s

Byerly'sFor the second consecutive year, Byerly’s has run a four-day food giveaway called Samplefest, which proved so successful that the cost of the promotion was absorbed in three weeks through increased sales, according to Don Byerly, president.
The promotion, which ran Oct. 7-10 – 1984, featured 400 demonstrators giving away over 200 food items at Byerly’s six superstores. Among the sample fare were cheese, pizza, soup, salad dressings, dips and ice cream, all washed down with cups of cider, soft drinks and dealcoholized wine.
Although Byerly lauded the promotion’s impact, he declined to release any sales figures or explain to what extent the demonstrations were paid for by participating manufacturers.
Byerly first thought of the idea for a sampling promotion while attending an FMI convention.
“I watched grocers with millions of dollars of inventory in their own stores hit the exhibit floor. All they could think about was getting a free piece of pizza or a hot dog.
“The excitement and enthusiasm for trying even old established products was part of it,” Byerly said. “It struck me that it might be kind of fun to expose our consumers to a similar experience.”
This year, Byerly estimated customers consumed 552 gals. of wild rice soup, 10,000 ice cream cones, and 500 lbs. of parmesan cheese salad dressing. At one store, more than 125 gals. of soft drinks were given away.
“One of the problems you have when you don’t advertise or give away dishes and encyclopedias is that the store doesn’t change much from week to week. It can get a little boring. We wanted to do something that would create a little excitement.”
Byerly altered his institutional-advertising-only policy somewhat to spread the word about Samplefest. The chain ran a quarter-page ad in dailies in Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud, and bought radio time to promote the event.
Organization for the promotion began in August. Store managers decided where to put demonstration tables. Manufacturers were contacted for participation. In some cases, they carried the entire cost of product sampling. With more expensive products, they sometimes agreed to pay partial costs. With private-label products, however, such as wild rice soup and ice cream, Byerly’s absorbed all sampling costs.
To minimize aisle congestion, Byerly’s store managers made an effort to spread demonstrators throughout the store. They extended employe hours to make sure there would be enough help to keep the stores clean. When demonstrators arrived the first day, managers gave them additional training to insure that their approach to customers would be consistent with the service-oriented upscale Byerly image.
Managers had learned from last year’s mistakes, byerly said. For example, toothpicks were seldom used to serve samples. “They get all over the store,” said Byerly, “and they’re really difficult to pick up with a carpet sweeper.” Instead, Byerly’s substituted pretzel sticks. “The consumer gets two items instead of one,” he said, “and since a pretzel is a consumable utensil, there is less mess in the store.”
Last year, some customers who arrived early or late to sample were disappointed. Although the promotion had been advertised as an eight-hour event, demonstrators needed 10-15 minutes to set up or dismantle demonstrations and could not serve shoppers for the entire period. This year, sampling was promoted from noon to 7:30 p.m. to give demonstrators adequate preparation time.
Products served over the four days varied. To cut preparation time, some items were prepared in the chain’s central commissary, some were served from store kitchens and others were prepared on site. To relieve demonstrators serving popular items, workers stepped in during break periods and for lunch. Otherwise, customers waiting in line would be disappointed.
BOSTON — Stop & Shop recently ran its own Sample Fest in all stores from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 21-27. It was backed by radio, television and print advertising.
A spokesman said it was the first time the chain had used this type of promotion and that the company was “very pleased with the results.” He added that Stop & Shop would consider doing it again.
All of the planning was done inhouse. National and local companies participated in the promotion; every area was covered, including groceries, produce, meats and general merchandise.
The program was flexible enabling local firms to limit sampling to just a few stores.
Some product demonstrations that required cooking or preparation were stationary. Other demonstrators walked around the stores with trays, offering samples. In addition, some companies offered coupons.
Product displays from participating companies were set up by Stop & Shop.
The chain also gave out booklets to customers with 150 coupons worth over $40 in redemptions good for one month. Products featured in the booklets included both items represented in the Sample Fest and others that were not.