Markit on PPEs for Your Business

Huge selection of Personal Protective Equipment

In March, OSHA released a 35 page document with Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 that includes recommendations to employers about how to create a safe workplace for employees and customers.

Empty Shelves

Initially, Essential businesses scrambled to find the appropriate PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) to keep the workplace safe but the items they needed were nowhere to be found. Suppliers, unprepared for the increased demand, also scrambled to find alternative sources to fulfill the need.

Store shelves emptied as masks, bandannas and hand sanitizers were gobbled up by the general public. Thousands of home-made masks and face-covers started to be offered on Instagram, Facebook and Etsy to fill the void. Even recipes for making your own hand sanitizer circulated around the internet.

I personally witnessed a mother at the grocery store asking for the largest, cheapest bottle of vodka to make her own hand sanitizer for her family.

We’ve Got You Covered!

In response to the high demand for PPEs for businesses to create a safe workplace, Markit has assembled over 500 PPE related products for business owners and managers to find every solution to their unique business COVID safety requirements all in one place.

Of course, we have masks (over 130 to choose from) but we also assembled a selection of distancing barriers, infrared thermometers, coronavirus safety signs, social distancing floor decals, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, UV light device sanitizers and bandannas. Basically, we think we have thought of everything a business will need for workplace safety.

A Brand-New Opportunity?

In 2009, during the first season of the hit TV show ‘Shark Tank‘, the investors were presented with an opportunity to buy into a business of custom printed surgical masks. All 5 Sharks passed on the idea in 2009 but if they were presented with the opportunity in January of 2020 I’m sure the outcome would have been very different.

Of course, we’re a branding company so we see the opportunity for businesses to prominently display their company logo, slogan or positive message. PPEs are viewed hundreds of times daily on every face in public, every retail floor and every entrance to every business the public visits.

It’s amazing how fast PPEs have become necessary in our daily life and in the operation of our businesses. With the introduction of new products with such high visibility, businesses are now presented with the opportunity to utilize this space as an effective marketing tool.

Over 500 PPE Products To Choose From

Our selection of 500+ PPE products offer businesses the opportunity to display their company brand prominently.

Browse the product categories we have assembled for your business.

For guidance in selecting PPEs for your specific workplace requirements, call us at 877.553.0857.

Do Your Business Cards Measure Up?

Measuring Tape

This little seemingly insignificant 2″ x 3 1/2″ piece of paper can be the difference between a follow up or no follow up after a networking event like a Trade Show, or Conference.

There are really only 2 purposes for your business card, Establish your Brand and provide your Contact Information.

Here are some tips about what NOT to do with your card.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

Font Frustration

Don’t make your font too small. Avoid light colors and distracting elements.

Your name, company and relevant contact information should be easy to read at arm’s length. Don’t make me get my readers out. It makes us both look bad.

Icon Overkill

Only include social icons if it is important to your company.

If you haven’t secured your vanity URL ( ie: www.Facebook.com/MarkitMotion ) then a Facebook icon is unhelpful. Facebook thanks you for the advertising though. You must list the full URL if you can’t be found by name.

Unless you have a purpose for showcasing your social presence, leave it off your card. If you don’t manage your social sites, it’s like inviting someone to your house when you’re out of town.

Information Overload

Your Business Card is not a brochure. Decide what’s important first, before you design it.

  • Do you need your address if no one ever comes to your business?
  • Do you use a fax anymore?

Inconsistent Branding

Is your logo the same as on your website or store front? Policing your brand is crucial to building trust. Be sure your logo is consistent and clear.

Don’t forget about the back of your card. This is a great place to share your brand message or logo. Reinforce a promise or give directions.

                   www.markit4events.com

No Holidays, No Weekends…No Way!

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Throughout history we’ve relied on our calendars to track and plan events. Without them we wouldn’t have weekends or Holidays. 45 BC was called “The year of confusion” because Julius Caesar added 80 days to the year to synchronize it with the solar year.

Our Western calendar has deep roots in the Roman calendar, so it’s no wonder the months come from Roman words. It gets confusing at the end because many of the later months are just numbers, but they are wrong according to our current calendar. The Roman Calendar started in March. It wasn’t until Julius Caesar named January as the first month of the year that we had 12 months as we know it now.

What’s in a name? Do you know the origin of the months of the year?

JanuaryJanus the Roman God of beginnings and endings

FebruaryFebrua a Roman festival of Purification

MarchMars the Roman God of war

AprilAphrodite the Greek Goddess of love

MayMaia the Italic Goddess of Spring

JuneJuno the Goddess of Marriage

JulyJulius Caesar named the month after himself

AugustAugustus Caesar also named a month after himself

September – Latin Septem “seven”

October – Latin Octo “eight”

November – Latin Novem “nine”

December – Latin Decem “ten”

Wall calendars, desk calendars, pocket calendars and journals are welcomed by all, rarely tossed in the recycling and looked at multiple times per day. Calendars are excellent for getting your brand in the hands of customers and prospects.

According to a 2018 study by the Advertising Specialty Institute, 64% of people in the workplace own a promotional calendar and they view it 850 times a year. A $3 investment in a calendar will cost only $0.003 per impression. Very Impressive!

Get your company name on one and they won’t forget you for an entire year.

8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success

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Whether you’re a first time Trade Show Exhibitor, or a seasoned professional  attending multiple trade shows every year, the experience can be both fun and exhausting. Attracting attendees to your booth, then sorting out the qualified prospects will ‘make or break’ the experience.

You’re making a significant investment in being a trade show exhibitor so be sure you manage the process effectively after the event. Even the best looking booth won’t bring in business unless you follow through and take action on the connections you make.

8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success

1) Pre-Show Marketing

Let the attendees know you’re there and where to find you. Obtain a list of the attendees weeks before the show from the trade show facilitator so you can communicate with them before they arrive. Some effective methods of reaching attendees are email, direct mail, social media, and mentions on your website.

2) Set Goals

First you have to understand why you’re exhibiting. Most will say ‘to get sales’ but you need a more defined goal to make the goal actionable. Do you want to collect leads to pass on to your sales department for follow up? Do you want to make the sale on the spot? Maybe you’re there just for brand recognition in a specific industry.

3) Evaluate your Lead Collection Method

Simply displaying a fish bowl to collect business cards for a prize is not an effective lead collection method. All you learn is that they want a prize. Prizes are good, but be sure to have people fill out a short registration form to capture more information if that’s your draw. Not all attendees are prospects so focus on lead quality, not counts.

Ask for type of business, product interest, purchasing authority, contact info, etc.. Whether you’re using an electronic lead management system or a simple printed follow up form, include a limited number of qualifiers (hot lead, send salesperson, mail literature) to the form to get them in the correct follow up bucket.

4) Create a Winning Trade Show Booth

A free standing floor graphic wall provides an 8’ or 10’ backdrop to attract attention and tell your story. A less expensive option is to use 3 or 4 free standing retractable banners next to each other to create a similar affect. Tables are usually provided to exhibitors with a blank table throw. Use this 30” x 72” space to reinforce your brand with your own Custom Table Throw.

One note here – AVOID the temptation to place the table in front of your booth separating you from your prospects. Place it along the side of your booth to keep your space open and inviting.

5) Staff Training

Choose the employees that will staff your booth carefully. Representatives must be engaging, approachable and trained to understand the goals you set for the trade show. Not all of your staff needs to be trained for answering detailed questions about the product or service, but you should have at least one person available to field the detailed questions.

Provide your staff with qualifying questions to ask during training to avoid investing too much in the time-wasters that will show up just for the SWAG.

MarkitPopUpReady

Also provide your staff with casual uniforms like a polo shirt with an embroidered company logo so the attendees can identify them. A visually cohesive team adds a level of professionalism and strength to your brand. Selecting a shirt color that reflects your brand adds to the booth appearance. It’s also great when your team is recognized walking through the convention because of your stand out company colors.

6) Booth Giveaways

Part of the fun of attending a trade show is gathering great giveaways from each booth. Use this to your advantage and provide thoughtful items that create a buzz at the show. You don’t need to spend a lot on these giveaways for them to be effective.

A simple Toy  can go physically viral at a show while attendees play with them and others ask, “where did you get that?” Imagine colorful toys flying around the show sporting your company logo. Items they display instead of tossing in their bag are great walking advertisements.

A simple 3” dia. button that reads “My Name is Jim” can created a buzz throughout the show. Everyone will be calling each other Jim and they want their own custom button to be part of the fun.

 

Invest in some nicer Gifts for people who give you information and qualify as a good lead. Corporate logo T-shirts, branded cell phone chargers and selfie sticks with your company logo can be the most successful gifts given to a qualified prospect.

Keep your printed handouts minimal. Attendees are walking around with an event tote bag full of business cards, branded giveaways and  brochures. Their totes are too heavy for your complete printed catalog.

7) Daily Staff Debriefing

A daily staff gathering after the exhibit hall closes provides instant insights into what worked and what didn’t. Take notes no matter how unimportant the observations might seem. Most attendee feedback is forgotten shortly after the dust settles. The feedback on what wasn’t successful will help you avoid the same mistakes next time.

Remember that you’re seeing the trade show as an exhibitor but it’s the attendee experience you want to know more about.

8) Lead Follow up System

Prepare your follow up system before you exhibit at a trade show. You need to act quickly while you’re still fresh in their minds. Remember, trade shows are exhausting and attendees visit hundreds of exhibits while at the show.  Make quick notes on the back of a business card to remind you of a discussion that will set you apart.  When you send out a speedy response with a personal note it will insure you are remembered.

  • If literature or samples were requested from your company, send a daily mailing list to the office to have that information mailed out the next day
  • If they requested a call from a salesperson make sure all follow up calls are made within one week of the show.
  • If the conversation was more detailed and an estimate was requested, prepare the estimating department for multiple requests and demand that they are expedited.

An email from your company thanking attendees for stopping at your booth and reminding them that you are acting on their request will continue the relationship. This reconnection is also an opportunity to include clickable links to your website for more information.

Following these 8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success to assist in your Preparation, Execution & Lead Follow up to assure that you realize a substantial return on your investment.

 

www.markit4events.com

The Cost of Free Design

Nothing-Sign

You’re in a meeting discussing the need for a new brochure and redesigning your company logo, when George (from accounting) offers to create the logo for FREE. Everyone’s excited that the project can be done in-house and you’ll save tons of money because it’s free.

Sounds like a great idea right?

Wrong. Nothing comes for free. Free is costly and free can be damaging.

You may not know how much revenue is lost if a design is done poorly. But if you miss the mark with your customers, you will lose business. Maybe a lot of business!

Do you have someone on staff that can design a logo for free? What does that mean anyway?

Doesn’t it mean they are going to stop doing the job you are paying them to do to dabble in design?

Doesn’t it also mean that if they were a great designer, they probably wouldn’t be working for you in accounting?

Even if your billing representative artist comes up with a new design, they may not understand the file formats needed for various projects.

An incorrect logo file format might be:

  • Rejected by a printer
  • Incompatible with different computers
  • Painfully slow to download
  • Reproduce with terrible results

Be sure your designer can do more than sketch something fresh. If the designer happens to be your boss’s sister, you’ll want to approach this gently.

Professional printers will typically ask that the artwork be created as an .eps file.

Experienced designers know exactly which file type to use.

Asking your designer to provide the final artwork as an .eps file might be all you need to do to avoid a lot of pain and money lost later.

Ready for a Redesign? Talk to an Expert Today.

Tips for Effective Signs to Promote your Business

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When you combine the internet, television, radio, billboards and direct mail we’re exposed to 14,000 advertising messages every day but only 5 of them stick with us for more than 24 hours.

Summer is the season for outdoor activity that brings more pedestrian meanderers, road trips and outdoor events offering some new possibilities for marketing your business. Street side flagssidewalk signs and promotional canopies are some ideas that may apply to your business.

Here are 6 tips for designing a sign that will be remembered.

1) SIZE & SCALE

The biggest difference in designing a sign is scale. Considering that a brochure is maybe 8 1/2″ x 11″ and a business card is 3 1/2″ x 2″, large scale design requires a different mindset when designing it.

Signs have to be read and understood from a distance; often by people who only have a few seconds to look in that direction. Everything should be big and simple for maximum impact.

Billboards can be 14′ x 48′ so art file resolution is paramount and vector art is required to avoid a blurry image when enlarged.

  • File Resolution
  • Graphic Clarity

2) LOCATION

Designing for location can be tricky if a single design is going to be used for different environments. If you design a sign with a sky blue background that will have the sky behind it, it will blend in too much and not get noticed.

A sidewalk sign or street-side flag, however, may have lots of different colors behind it, so a bold solid color may be your best choice to break through the clutter.

  • Environmental Clutter
  • Viewing Distance

3) COLOR & GRAPHICS

Generally graphics and color should be bright and saturated. Avoid light colors or pastels and opt for colors that will stand out – especially between your text and background.

For images and graphics, pick a single element and go big with it. Your design has to catch the viewer’s attention in a second and a single, simple focal point will help.

Color can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make in designing an effective sign.

  • Go Big and Bold!
  • Keep it Simple

4) TYPOGRAPHY & MESSAGE

Aside from the company logo, pick a single typeface. A san serif font works best for signs.

And make it big! Think about lettering in terms of 10 to 100, that’s 10″ tall for every 100′ of viewing distance.

Bold lettering can increase the readability from a distance but avoid italics as they confuse the view.

An industry standard is to keep your message at 15 words or less and use the 3 x 5 rule. That’s 3 lines of 5 words or 5 lines of 3 words. Less is better if you can make your point.

  • Simple, Bold Type
  • Simple, Short Message

5) CONTRAST

While contrast is an important consideration of any design project, it is especially important when you only have a couple of seconds to get someone’s attention.

Every focal point must be clearly distinguishable.

With type, size and simplicity as key factors, selecting colors that stand out from one another will help get your message noticed.

While I’m personally not a fan of using borders in design, the use of a border can help to create a contrast between your sign and the background environment. Of course, using a border on a street-side flag will not make much sense.

  • Bold Colors Create Contrast
  • Borders are OK

6) SUBSTRATE

Substrate is the material that your message is being printed on. Knowing the material and method of printing can help in your design process.

Whether it’s a vinyl banner, fabric flag or a graphic-wrapped bus, consulting with your manufacturer can help you provide the appropriate art files for best results.

Knowing if your sign will be for indoor or outdoor use can help you select the appropriate substrate to print your message on.

  • Select Lasting Material
  • Environmental Exposure

Most designers don’t spend their day designing signs. Typically it will be the same person who creates brochures and business cards and only asked to design a large format graphic for special occasions like tradeshows, outdoor events or special promotions.

Reaching out to your manufacturer before you begin designing for large format graphics can help you avoid the headaches that may come after the design is finished.

Markit in a big way!

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Top Tips for Postcard Design

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The postcard has evolved into the marketing instrument of choice for many successful B2B & B2C companies. Marketing Postcards provide a method of presenting your company’s message quickly and clearly, without asking too much of your prospects’ time.

A lot rides on the design of your postcard because you must capture the reader’s attention before they discard it (if you will).

For valuable insider tips on getting the most from a postcard

Size Matters

When many think of postcards, they conjure up images of the old-school 4″ x 6″ ineffective version. Today’s postcards come in many sizes that get you noticed in a mail stack of #10 envelopes.

We recommend designing a 6″ x 11″ postcard with an in-your-face image area to get their attention.

Color Outside the Lines

Always, always, always print your postcard in full color. Wow your prospect with color. Don’t stray too far from your brand colors but certainly don’t be shy about making them big and bold.

Use color on the entire postcard and beyond. Don’t use borders; bleed your colors off the edge of the sheet to create intrigue.

Use full color postcards for maximum impact.

Write it Right

Keep your copy short and to the point.

The reason postcards are so effective is that we’ve learned to scan subject lines in our email for relevant content. Write your headline copy like you would an email subject line. The advantage postcards have over emails is that you also have graphic images and color to get their attention as well as copy.

Use 2 or 3 word headers, bullet points, and just enough copy to engage your reader. Make them want to look on the other side.

Break the Code

The front of the postcard captures attention, but the back of the card should be designed with the clear response mechanism (or call-to-action) in mind.

Consider how you want people to respond and make it easy for them with a phone number, website, address or map to your location.

QR Codes can be added to the design to allow potential customers to scan the card and give them more detailed information on their mobile device.

Tell the recipient exactly what you want them to do; visit your website, sign up for conference, call for more information, go to your store location on Saturday for the 2 for 1 sale.

The response prompt should be the focus of the back of your postcard.

Postcards can be used for more than just mailing, the offer many benefits:

  • They make for a great tradeshow booth handout
  • Fit nicely into a pocket in presentation brochures
  • Are an effective “leave behind” at sales calls with potential customers
  • Don’t take up much space next to the checkout at your store

Following these design tips will increase the response rate of your postcard.

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Social Blue Bird Seeded in Promotional Products

 

Twitter-Logo

According to legend, eBay was started as a way to locate PEZ dispensers?

Another startup seeded in promotional products is Twitter. When this early bird was still in it’s nest, many other dot coms were closing their virtual doors.

When Twitter was beginning as a simple social texting platform in 2006, an employee named Noah Glass was at a party called “Valleyscwhag Hoedown” in San Francisco. With all the failed startups, there was plenty of unused swag, so the idea was to gather and gift their dead branded merchandise to the party-goers.

Odeo was one of the flailing startups represented at the party, and also happened to be the corporate parent to a little blue bird we’d all come to know as Twitter.

As the story goes, Glass shared Twitter with Om Malik, a popular tech blogger, who tweeted “looking 4 food,” and then blogged about Twitter the next day and that little bird took flight.

When done successfully, branded merchandise is the strongest marketing tool companies can use to connect with their customers. These days there’s hardly a website or storefront that doesn’t have a Twitter bird on it.

Twitter caught the attention of one person that night, and with a social stage the next day, the buzz about Twitter spread and the curious started trying out this new way to communicate.

To think none of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for some left over t-shirts and key chains. The bird was born because a bunch of people gathered to mark a milestone (or gravestone) of ideas that never took flight.

 

 

 

Learn more about PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS in our article archives.

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Paper Mill Powered by Hydro

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When I was visiting my hometown of Niles, Michigan, I went on a tour of the French Paper Company’s paper mill with 6th generation paper maker, Brian French. It was an exciting field trip while Brian showed me enormous vats of pulp and huge hot machines all powered by hydro.

Established in 1871, French Paper is a sixth-generation, family-owned American company. French Paper Company has been manufacturing paper for more than 150 years in the same community of Niles, Michigan. In an industry known for corporate acquisitions and shutdowns, French Paper has persevered, emerging as one of the strongest, smartest, and most consistent paper brands around.

Remaining as one of the last, small, independent mills in America, French Paper has learned to take their direction from customers, not corporate consultants. They keep their eye on the bottom line by improving their product lines, and when they talk about stock, they mean papers, not shareholder value.

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Why You Must Know the Four Personalities of Design

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Perception is reality. How your customer perceives and receives your message is just as important as the message you intend.

The telephone game shows us that what is heard is rarely what was said. We send and receive communications in many ways, depending on our personality types (Personas).

Marketing requires we make broad assumptions about our audience while targeting them enough to get them to act. The complication is that we are all a mix of 4 personas.

  • Get to know the 4 personas and how they buy.
  • Understand your customer’s personality.
  • Talk to them the way they want to hear it.

Here are the 4 Personas and how to engage them…

Director (Competitive)

This persona doesn’t have much time, wants to get down to business, and move on to the next challenge. These are the ‘Natural Leaders’ that are awesome at their best, and insensitive at their worst. This crowd has an eagle-eye view. You won’t find them in the weeds.

Who are they? CEO’s, Owners, Upper Management

What they want? Achievement, Control, Winning

Best ways to engage them?

  • Authenticity. Don’t pretend you’re not trying to sell them.
  • Clarity. Give it to them in bullet points.
  • Efficiency. Tell them on the cover of the brochure and above the fold on your website.
  • Challenge. Let them think it’s their idea.
  • Get out of the way. Allow them to act fast and decisively.

Socializer (Spontaneous)

This persona is great at brainstorming. They love coming up with ideas and discussing them. Similar to a Director, they don’t spend too much time on one idea. These are the 3rd shelf shoppers; they won’t be searching the bottom shelf at the grocery store for items they have to reach for.

Who are they? Public Relations, Salespeople, Entertainers

What they want? Attention, Peer Appreciation, Persuading others

Best ways to engage them?

  • Activity. Give them something fun to do.
  • Ask. Get their ideas.
  • Specials. “Free”, “Buy now”, “Save” work well. Starbursts on your site.
  • Shine. Be the shiny object that gets their attention.
  • Fast & Easy. Don’t make them jump through hoops to purchase.

Thinker (Methodical)

This persona does it correctly every time. These are spell checking, spreadsheet formula writing dynamos. Unlike Directors and Socializers, Thinkers take a long time to purchase while analyzing all of the information. The Director set the goal of getting man on the moon but the Thinkers got us there.

Who are they? CPA’s, Engineers, Scientists

What they want? Precision, Accuracy, Dependability

Best ways to engage them?

  • Proof. Graphs, Charts and Research.
  • Solutions. Exactly how does this solve their problem?
  • White Papers. They will scroll down on your site for details.
  • Information. Feelings have very little to do with their buying habits.
  • Time. Don’t rush them. They are a slow sale.

Relaters (Humanists)

This persona wants to know what others think. They frequent online forums and seek out groups for their opinions. Relaters look at your testimonials from other satisfied customers to support their decision. They will go out of their way to avoid buyer’s remorse before they purchase.

Who are they? Negotiators, Counselors, Customer Service

What they want? Stability, Consensus, Friendship

Best ways to engage them?

  • Predictability. Don’t surprise them with an up-sell.
  • Stories. Let others tell your story and listen to theirs.
  • Testimonials. Share feelings from other satisfied customers.
  • Modesty. Flashy, boasting messages are a turn off.
  • Time. Once again, don’t rush them. They’ll get back to you in a few weeks.

It’s likely that you see yourself in more than one of these personas. You may be a Director-Thinker, or a Socializer-Relater.

Analyzing the titles of your current customers can reveal a lot about their personality types and how to talk to them through the sales process.

DESIGN TIP:

Your designs should include bullet-points for your Directors and an easy to understand offer for your Spontaneous types on the cover or above the fold on your site. Then for your Thinkers and Relaters, place testimonials and statistics inside or below the fold on your site because they will do their research and find them.