Archive for the ‘Business Development’ Category

Mobile Loyalty Rewards Program | Earns Points

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

InterContinental Hotels Group rolls out Android-based rewards

[tweetmeme source=”javilabbe”
InterContinental Hotels Group is using an Android application to reward loyal customers with points for future deals.

The Priority Club Rewards application contains booking and reservation management features for Priority Club Rewards members. The application is also available for iPhone users.

“As an early entrant into mobile travel, IHG has always aimed to provide solutions to improve the guest experience – whether it be searching, booking, arrival planning or staying in one of our properties,” said Bill Keen, director of product management-branded Web and mobile solutions at IHG, Atlanta.

“Mobile as a channel allows us to stay engaged with customers throughout the entire guest experience as it is always on and always tethered,” he said. “We are pursuing solutions that are device and platform appropriate and provide guest convenience – inclusive of regional and local languages – in the core markets we serve.”

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns, through various subsidiaries, over 4,400 hotels and more than 650,000 guest rooms in 100 countries around the world.

Book me
Using the application, consumers can check rates and view or cancel reservations for all seven of IHG’s brands including, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

Loyalty members can find and book a room, view photos and amenities for each hotel, click-to-call the front desk for each hotel and use Priority Club Rewards account information to facilitate bookings.

In addition, consumers can view Priority Club Rewards member details, including the number, level and points balance.

Members can manage their account profile, redeem points for Priority Club Reward Nights, use Corporate IDs to get corporate rates and view special offers.

“Our Android and iPhone applications are targeted at our most loyal customers whose expectations are convenient service and recognition of their loyalty,” Mr. Keen said. “Also, because our target market indexes towards busy business professionals, we wanted to make sure we used functionality inherent in the devices such location aware search, voice search and map integration.

“We have a multichannel marketing plan aimed a driving awareness but also inclusive of promotional incentive aimed at driving consumer usage,” he said. “We are merchandising across all of our electronic channels via landing pages that make consumers aware of our mobile options whether they be mobile applications for the iPhone and Droid or our multilingual mobile Web sites.

“We will also be sending emails and continue efforts in both mobile search and mobile display advertising.

Mobile priority
IHG is offering 1,000 Priority Club Rewards bonus points to members for each qualifying stay up to Sept. 30.

There is also an enhanced version of the iPhone application that includes two new features that let consumers use corporate IDs to get corporate rates and to redeem Priority Club Reward Nights.

“We currently support multiple device and platform types through our mobile Web and downloads – regardless of feature phone or smartphone, we have an option available,” Mr. Keen said.  “Also, as a global company we are looking at solutions to support solutions in key international markets such as Japan, China, Britain and Germany.

“We are currently working on several initiatives that extend into new markets and new mediums,” he said. “We will be extending our mobile Web language support beyond our currently available languages of English, Spanish, German, Chinese and Japanese.

“We will be enhancing our downloadable apps to include branded versions as well as translated versions.”

By Rimma Kats


T-Shirt Buyers BEWARE! The Cost of Cotton Through The Roof.

July 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Cotton Fields

I was reading blogs, posts and other information when I ran across this from ASICentral.  The numbers are alarming, so if you are in the business of T-shirts, please take note!  Prices will have doubled from last year by Fall of this year.

This isn’t a sales tactic or some sort of guerrilla marketing campaign.  These are the facts!

Cotton Costs Increase Rapidly

According to the National Council of Cotton, world cotton prices are now about 50% more than last year at this time – from about 60 cents per pound to 90 cents per pound – and will likely increase further in the coming months. With T-shirts the top-selling item in the ad specialty industry, suppliers, already feeling the pressure of the increase, are advising distributors to prepare for costs on apparel to climb in the next few months.

“By late summer and early fall distributors will start to see across-the-board price increases,” says Anthony Corsano, CEO and president of Anvil Knitwear (asi/36350), though he could not say exactly how much costs would increase by. Corsano suggests that distributors order supplies for orders as soon as they can to lock in lower prices where possible.

Gary Adams, vice president of economics and policy analysis for the National Council of Cotton, agrees, saying that distributors, “have to anticipate what their needs are going to be as much as possible so they’re not caught short or unaware.” Adams says that not only has the price gone up, but as corn and soybeans have become more profitable crops to produce, and regions like India have curbed their exports, the supply of available cotton has gone down. “We are seeing those higher prices moving up the textile processing chain – yarn prices are higher than they were a year ago, and eventually that’s going to make its way up to the retail level.”

Echoing this sentiment, Garry Hurvitz, president and CEO of Counselor Top 40 supplier Ash City (asi/37127), recently sent a letter to customers outlining the current apparel pricing environment and specifically pinpointing cotton as a raw material cost that was increasing. In the letter, Hurvitz wrote, “Specifically impacting our cotton based apparel is the worldwide shortage of this product and with yarns being more difficult to obtain, we are seeing production delays and material cost increases everywhere.”

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Why use Promotional Products and Solutions?

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Your investment in Promotional Solutions provides more return than [tweetmeme source=”javilabbe” media.  Of course, when putting a promotional solution in place, it is always best to add measurement to determine ROI.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see what kind of return you get on average from various promotional products?

Thank you ASI for the Research.

If you’re looking for a partner for all of your promotional, printing eCommerce and multimedia needs, we’d love to hear from you.

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Promotional Marketing | The History

June 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Early History Of The Promotional Products Industry

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The first known promotional products in the United States are commemorative buttons, tracing back to 1789, when George Washington was elected president. Dating back to the early and mid 1800s are advertising calendars, wooden specialties and the Farmers’ Almanac. But it was not until the latter part of the 19th century that an abundance of promotional products were developed and marketed, leading to the birth of the industry as it is known today.

Jasper Freemont Meek was one of the earliest significant contributors to this budding industry. He owned a small newspaper in Coshocton, Ohio, and like many other small newspaper owners of the time, he supplemented his revenue by taking on job printing, which used his printing press between editions.

Seeing a child drop her schoolbooks in the dirt on Main Street spurred Meek to approach his friend, Mr. Cantwell, owner of Cantwell Shoes, with an idea about building store traffic, name recognition and ultimately increasing sales.

Meek’s idea was to imprint a burlap book bag with a simple but direct advertising message, “Buy Cantwell Shoes.” Cantwell would give every child who came into his shoe store a free bag. The children would carry the bag as they walked to and from school so Cantwell’s name would be seen all over town. Mr. Meek manufactured the book bag, imprinted the advertising slogan on his printing press, and both Meek and Cantwell reaped the rewards.

After launching another successful promotional product—imprinted horse covers, seen on virtually every horse in town—Meek officially started his own innovative and successful promotional products company, the Tuscarora Advertising Co. He organized a sales force, who until 1889, would sell specialty items with practically no competition.

Ironically, Meek’s first competitor was Henry D. Beach, another small newspaper man in Coshocton, Ohio. Both men were aggressive and wanted to be the first to create new products by printing advertisements on anything that could be run through a printing press: cloth caps, aprons, hats for horses, bags for marbles, buggy whips, card cases, calendars and fans.

Beach was the first to take an interest in printing metal signs, and soon Meek became interested in the process as well. Both were aware that perfecting a printing process for metal would open up an entire new product line. Both succeeded, and although Beach managed the process first, both were successful, and proceeded to produce metal advertising trays (Coca-Cola®and some beer companies are the best known), which are collectors’ items today.

Two more newspaper owners, Thomas D. Murphy and Edward Burke Osborne, of Red Oak, Iowa, are credited with the birth of the art calendar in the late 1800s. Like Meek and Beach, they needed a business to keep their presses going and to bring in additional revenue. Osborne had an idea to print a watercolor painting of the new Red Oak courthouse on cardboard, place advertising around the painting, and then, attach a calendar pad. The calendar was an instant success, and even today, no home or office is without one.

Selling advertising space on calendars was not new, but until Murphy and Osborne, no one had thought of placing attractive art on the calendars. The men purchased photographs and paintings from a variety of artists. They also improved printing capabilities so that three-color images of original paintings could be printed. By 1894 Murphy and Osborne employed 94 people, including 14 traveling salesmen, and produced between two and three million calendars.

At the end of that same year Murphy and Osborne ended their partnership. Murphy sold his interest in the business to Osborne. Osborne went on to expand the business. In order to be closer to art and business centers, he moved the company to Newark, N. J., then established a pricing schedule and acquired a new printing process, now known as letter-press printing. Osborne later expanded his highly successful calendar business worldwide, setting up plants in Toronto, London and Sydney, Australia.

By the way …

Have you ever wondered how the pocket protector got its start? It was a promotional product designed to sell slip-on vinyl covers that protected loose-leaf binders.


Promotional Marketing | Give Them Something Useful

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week we had an inquiry from one of our customers to recommend a unique way for them make a presentation, of their new software program, to a group of C-level Executives, at a laser development company.  They’ve done the mini-cds, the power point presentation and the bound printed piece.  Not that there’s anything wrong with those concepts. However, they wanted something “cutting edge” (no pun intended), at the same time leaving the attendees with something that would make a lasting impression.

We thought “why not include the information as part of the Laser Pointer.” That’s definitely something new, cutting edge and techy; and you can use to run presentations on it. As a bonus, there is more than enough space to archive supporting documents, that might not otherwise seem appropriate to bring all bound up in a printed presentation.

We all know about USB thumb drives, but did you know we have USB drives with a laser pointer?  Laser Pointers combined with a USB Drive.  We can pre-load the data that you wanted to attach…or an auto-run presentation.

USB Drive with built-in Laser


Silver with black rubberized trim hi-speed USB 2.0 flash drive.  Shapely flash drive has powerful laser pointer that’s great for presentations.  Ergonomic design with rubberized trim.  PC and Mac compatible

Size: 3 1/2″ x 1″ x 5/8″

Imprint Size: 3/8″ x 3/8″

Colors: Silver-Black

Material: Plastic

Production: 15 Business Days after art approval

Of course, we didn’t stop there. Our customers have come to rely on our ability to present them with creative, professional marketing solutions.  We pride ourselves on going the extra mile, when it comes to providing proven marketing solutions that meet or exceed our customer’s expectations.

Not only did we find them a better way of presenting their product, we also included a few others with more bells and whistles.  See below for a selection of “USB drive/laser pointer/executive pens.”

USB Drive Pen with built-in Laser


Hi speed USB 2.0 black ink pen drive with silver trim.  High quality pen with built-in flash memory.  Soft rubberized finish.  PC and Mac compatible.

Size: 5 3/4″

Imprint Size: Upper Barrel:  1 1/2″ x 3/8″ OR Lower Barrel:  1″ x 3/8″

Colors: Black (Standard) Custom Color add – $93.75:  Red, Blue, Orange, Green

Material: Plastic

Production: 15 Business Days after art approval

USB Drive Executive Pen with built-in Laser


This very well may be the ultimate in multifunction pens.  In addition to a twist action barrel ballpoint pen (black ink), it is a USB Drive, laser pointer and LED flashlight, all of this in an elegant pen!  How much cooler can you get?  The USB drive is hidden in the barrel.  It’s available in silver and black.

Size: 5 3/4“

Imprint Size: 1 3/16″ x 3/8″

Colors: Black, Silver

Material: Metal

Production: 15 Business Days after art approval

USB Drive Pen with built-in Laser and Gift Box


Hi speed USB 2.0 laser pen flash drive.  Executive pen with flash drive and laser pointer.  Black with chrome trim.  Built-in laser pointer is ideal for presentations.  Flash drive built into upper barrel.  PC and Mac compatible.

Size: 5 3/4″

Imprint Size: Upper Barrel:  3/4″ x 1/4″ OR Lower Barrel:  1 1/8″ x 1/4″

Colors: Black, Silver

Material: Metal

Production: 15 Business Days after art approval

Promotional items aren’t just pens, mugs and hats, that you slap a logo on. They are professional marketing tools businesses use to promote their brands. More importantly, these items should have an added value associated to them.  The recipient should relate your brand to the item every time they use it, look at it or even when they give it to someone else to use.  No one wants to do any of those things if they don’t appreciate the item or believe it holds any value.

Graphic Communications

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

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As a full-service solutions provider, Proforma PPG has assembled a complete offering of products and services to handle all of your graphic communications needs. We’ve been the One Source…with Infinite Resources for all our clients’ promotional products, printing services, business documents, marketing (mobile, online, direct) and eCommerce solutions. With our vast experience, Proforma PPG applies creativity and innovation to all of your business challenges.

We are also a proud partner of “award winning” Panoptic Studios, a nationally recognized multi-media production company. Our online and multi-media services are uniquely focused on integrating strategy, motion and design to help companies communicate with customers, prospects, employees and shareholders through powerful video production.

When you partner with Proforma, you connect to the power of a large North American organization with the responsive service of a local business.

Please visit our Proforma website for Our E Commerce Solutions.

Proforma is proud to partner with Panoptic Studios, a nationally-recognized multimedia production company to create award-winning media for some of the biggest names in business and industry.  Connect here: Proforma Mulitmedia Services.

Looking Beyond ROI with Promotinal Products

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Construction Industry

Money is short and the years of frivolous spending are over. We are no longer living in a time when companies will throw money at a marketing campaign without looking for results. Companies have been forced to be smart and are now being held accountable for their efforts.

The most popular term that marketers use to measure results is ROI (return on investment), which evaluates the effectiveness of an investment. Most often it is simply referred to as the return or benefit. However, a new buzzword has arisen in marketing circles. Beyond ROI, marketers are increasingly using ROO (return on objective) as a measuring tool. A bit more simplistic and straightforward, ROO measures the achievement of set goals. Simply: “A client wants that.”

This is where you come in. Promotional products, if used correctly, can deliver the level of measurement that marketers are looking for. Because of their ability to appeal to all five senses and their adaptability to any industry, promotional products are the ideal solution to any marketing dilemma.

For example, the construction industry is complex and ever changing, as the demands are great and the challenges are many. Builders are finding it more difficult than ever to maintain a strong labor force, while securing raw materials.

The construction marketplace is divided into three sectors:
  • New home construction and residential improvements
  • Commercial
  • Heavy engineering/non-building/tool manufacturers
In order to market to this group most effectively, you must do a few things:
  • Show the cost relevance of your products and services, particularly how the value of both will positively effect your client
  • Show measurement of the existing marketing efforts
  • Deliver more than just products and services-deliver solutions
Those solutions must have a strategy:
  • Uncover the need or exact pain point
  • Drill down to a specific audience
  • Create a theme
  • Determine the winning success matrix
  • Unleash your creativity, making sure it fits the need and satisfies client objectives

Remember the ROO. Work with your clients to set realistic goals. Then deliver. It’s this simple. Whether in the construction industry or any other industry, clients want an edge that sets them apart from the masses. Look at the challenges they face and how your efforts can solve them.

Remember: You offer more than just products—you offer solutions. Promotional products are an essential element in the marketing mix. Adding your message to a tangible product turns an ordinary message into a marketing experience your audience can see, touch, hear, smell and even taste. Promotional products are the only way to make a sensible—and memorable—impression.

For more information about Proforma PPG or to learn more about the proven power of promotional products (including research, products and services), visit the Proforma PPG website or contact Proforma PPG at 847-429-9349,

Promotional products are an $18.8 billion industry and include wearables, writing instruments, calendars, drinkware and many other items, usually imprinted with a company’s name, logo or message.

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