Sunday, March 30, 2014

5 Reasons Why Mark Cuban is Wrong...about SWAG

Let me start this post by saying that I am a fan of Mark Cuban.  I am a sports fan, and by all accounts, he is an aggressive, progressive owner of the Dallas Mavericks.  He is a serial entrepreneur (love that).  And he is great on Shark Tank!  I love that show!

But Mark Cuban is wrong about SWAG. 

Now you might be thinking, "What did Mark Cuban even say about SWAG?"  Good question!  Cuban wrote a post for Entrepreneur magazine where he outlined his 12 Rules for Startups.  I read it and was really surprised by number 10:  Never Buy SWAG.

Cuban's point was that startups should not send people embroidered polos because they are not using their money wisely.  But...wait...what?  Well sure.  It seems like Cuban has run across a few startups that have not used SWAG (or promotional products) wisely.  Obviously you want to be smart.  But throwing out the entire advertising medium is pretty small minded for such a big thinker.

It's like saying "I knew a guy who wrecked a Ferrari, so you should never buy a car."

So here are some reasons why Mark Cuban is wrong about SWAG:

1)  Promo (or SWAG) Creates RECALL:  Studies show that between 80% and 90% of people that receive a promotional product RECALL the company that gave it to them.  When your customer wants to buy, you want them to RECALL your brand.  Promotional products have great success with this!

2)  Promo Creates REACTION:  Other than recall, you want your advertising to create action.  You want your customers or prospects to contact you.  Another study shows that 15% of people who receive a promotional item will actually reach out to that company.  Incidentally, that number is 5 times higher than other media.  Ignore those numbers at your own risk!

3)  Promo is Targeted:  So many businesses (startups too) have a shotgun approach to marketing.  By using promotional products as a part of the mix, your company can reach out and touch exactly the market you want to reach.  More targeting = less waste!

4)  Promo is Cost Effective:  If you choose wisely (very important as Cuban points out) you can expect long term impact from a great promotional campaign.  This long term benefit means you get a lot of "impressions" for a one time advertising buy.  This creates great value for your advertising dollar!

5)  Humans Like Valuable Gifts:  Put simply, the Rule of Reciprocity is real.  If you provide customers and prospects value (or valuable gifts) they feel the need to do business with you.  And if you do this over time, the more inclined they will be to give you business.  I don't tell you this to manipulate.  I tell you this because it's true. 

The fact is, Promo (or SWAG) is a powerful advertising tool that you would be unwise to ignore.  As a matter of fact, I would bet that if you go to a Dallas Mavericks game, you would see Promotional Advertising everywhere!  From the banners, to beer cups, to uniforms of employees, all great brands use promotional products to leverage their business. 

So if it's good enough for the Dallas Mavericks, why shouldn't you use it to promote your business.  Short should.

Want more common sense business tips on Promotional Products?  Check out the new book "Delivering Marketing Joy!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014



(Coshocton, OH)—Owner of promotional products distributor, Hasseman Marketing, Kirby Hasseman has written a new marketing book called “Delivering Marketing Joy.”  The new book, Hasseman’s third, focuses on how businesses and organizations can use promotional products to grow their business and increase customer loyalty. 

“I think we are living through a shift in the way that marketing is done,” says Hasseman.  “We have been in a “push” marketing world forever.  Now we are moving into an era of “pull” marketing.  The customer has more power than ever.”

Hasseman argues in his book that though promotional products are a medium that has been around for over 100 years, they are a perfect advertising piece to use in this new era.

“We are entering a “give first” business economy.  Business owners need to provide value first.  Promotional products are perfect for this. “

Hasseman wrote “Delivering Marketing Joy” in order to showcase promotional products as an important piece of any organizations marketing budget.  The book includes chapters on: increasing customer loyalty, trade show success, increasing sales, non-profits and more.  In addition the book also includes many “case studies” from both national suppliers AND distributors in order to showcase how organizations all over the country are using promotional products to impact their business in a positive way!

“The goal was to explain why organizations should be using promo to grow their business,” says Hasseman.  “But it was also important to me to show them how!  In addition, I want both suppliers and distributors to be comfortable sharing this book.”

Some of the companies featured in case studies include: Jetline, Vitronic, Gold Bond, Commonsku, Brand Fuel, Halo, IpromoteU and more. PPAI President Paul Bellantone even agreed to write the forward to the book.

“As an industry we need to work together to educate the public on the power of promo,” says Hasseman.  “Paul has done a great job of reminding us of that!”

Delivering Marketing Joy is available for sale on Amazon in both a paperback and Kindle edition.  You can learn more about Hasseman at 

Hasseman is the owner of Hasseman Marketing & Communications in Coshocton, Ohio.  Hasseman Marketing is a marketing firm specializing in promotional products, video, social media and more.  You can learn more at 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Saying Thank You Enough

I am blessed with an amazing wife.  She and I have a great partnership (I think).  She is energetic, giving, thoughtful and loving (there is a point to this I promise).  She does a ton around the house (in addition to working at our office) to keep things rolling.  One of the things she does in our house is the laundry.  She does it all!

I know, I am lucky.

We were in a meeting the other day, with supplier Kari Morevec, who pointed out that if someone else does the laundry, you can't complain.  It's just nice that they did it!  I smiled at the time because I know that I NEVER complain about the laundry!  I understand how good I have it!

But then something else occurred to me.

It's not enough to not complain.  As is the case with the laundry--and all of the little things that your spouse, kids, team members and peers do for you--we need to APPRECIATE!  It seems like a common sense thing, but we know that it doesn't always happen for us.  And if we are honest with ourselves, we don't always do it either.

Here's the other thing.  Me saying "thanks for doing the laundry" once is not enough.  I need to repeatedly (and sincerely) thank Amy for taking care of me and my family.  When I tell this story about me you are probably saying "of course you should!"

But are you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Saying No Is Hard

Anyone who is busy will tell you that they need to "say no more."  We have all been there.  We commit to something and realize once you are in the middle of it, that you don't have time to be everywhere.  This is not unique to me or to you.

I have read MANY books and articles and blogs reminding me of the power of 'no."  One of my favorites rules was, "If the answer is not HELL YES, then it should be no."  The idea, of course, is that if you are not really excited about a project then it will only drain energy and time away from the things that really matter.  A lot of these books even tell you that people asking will really respect and understand when you say "no."

See that's the hard part.  Not really.

Though there are people that will appreciate that you don't want to commit to something you won't follow through with, not all people will feel that way.  They understand that you are busy (that is likely why they are asking you!) but most feel that their project is really important (otherwise they wouldn't be doing it!).  In my experience, they will be disappointed and even (sometimes) annoyed. 

So saying no can be really hard.  But it's worth it.

As I said above, if you say "yes" to everything (and I have totally done this) you end up doing nothing really well.  You are over-stressed and under-delivering.  And here's the other thing, you are not actually enjoying any of it either. 

In a very personal example, I have not gone to all of my daughters' dance competitions this year.  I am not an absent dad, but I don't enjoy these.  However, this week I am going to watch.  And you know what?  I am excited about it!  I am looking forward to the whole activity!  It's amazing how sometimes saying 'no' can enhance the activity of saying 'yes.'

But you already know this!  So let this serve as a quick reminder.  Unless the answer is "Hell Yes," say "No."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Business/Friend Relationships

Today I had the opportunity to reconnect with two good different times during the day.  On one occasion, my friend and I had lunch and talked "some" business.  In the other instance, we spent quite a while on the phone today catching up and brainstorming business ideas.  Both of these guys are "good" guys...and both are original thinkers.

I love it when I take the time to do that.

Each time I take time out of my "busy" schedule to invest in those kind of business/friend relationships, I get a lot out of it.  I come up with new ideas, challenge old ones, and generally leave the interaction in a good place. 

As I mature (I hope) in my career I seek this sort of opportunity out more and more.  I find that the more I learn, and read and grow, the more I understand how much I have to learn.  So when I get the chance to meet and interact with those I am learning from, I end up better for it.

So here's to more good, thoughtful, meaningful business/friend relationships!  And thanks Pat and Dana.  Good stuff.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Measuring What Matters

One of the reasons its important to have goals or rules within any organization is so you can measure the level of success.  You measure what matters.  Or as a leader, you show your organization what matters by what you measure.

There is a danger in measuring too many things.  We can certainly do this with technology in business.  We can measure all sorts of metrics!  There is a dazzling array of interesting statistics that we can place onto any marketing campaign, sales process, etc.

I think part of the job of a leader is to measure the right things.  If you don't measure anything, you create chaos (and not one that will last long).  But if you measure everything you will drive everyone (including yourself) crazy.

So the goal is to measure what really matters to you and your organization.  What really matters enough to measure?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

One Key to Video is Brevity

We do professional video production for companies and have done so for a long time now.  For quite a long time I have preached to companies and organizations that "brevity" was their friend when it comes to video.  Here is a (short) video blog about it!

When I first started doing video, clients would say to me "I want a 30 minute video to tell about my company."  I would say, "No you don't."  The fact is, most organizations create videos that they are interested in watching...not their customer.  We are all guilty of it. 

The thing that has changed is the definition of brevity.  I used to tell customers that they wanted to create a video that was 3 to 7 minutes in length (with 7 really being too long).  But that has even changed.  In this world where everyone can create video (not everyone can create good video, but that's another discussion) there is SO much content out there.  Consumers have tons of options and can jump from video to video without blinking an eye.  And once you've lost them...their gone.

The fact is, many people (myself included) will look to see how long a video is before they even click on it!

So REALLY consider the length of your video.  Brevity is your friend. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Change Is Here

Breaking news:  An historical change is upon us.

No it is not the Rise of the Planet of the Apes (wow that movie was bad).  It is a cultural shift in the way business is done.  It is happening now.  And if you are a fan of doing things "the right way" then you should be excited for the future.

The change has been coming for some time.  For years, companies have worked to automate all of their "service" services.  They have consistently tried to cut costs with outsourcing phone centers, one size fits all websites or even getting rid of human contact all together.  We have all experienced it at one time or another.  We have spent endless time on hold coming to the realization that customer service really had nothing to do with the customer at all.  


From a marketing standpoint, the change has been coming as well.  We have lived in an age of "push" marketing forever...since the beginning of time.  But the internet--and social networks--is changing that.  Right now.  Now, more than ever, the customer has a voice.  The customer has clout and power.  

And the customer wants better.  We want better.

So the shift is beginning.  Companies are beginning to understand that they need to humanize.  They need to engage.  They need to provide value.  They need to GIVE before they ask.   

What this means is that this large world is becoming small again.  Each customer needs to be treated as if we are business owners in a small town!  We might see them again in the grocery store.  If we treat them badly, they can tell their friends.  So as businesses we need to re-visit service and marketing.

We need to GIVE first.  We need to work at providing value to our customers so they trust us.  We need to think "small" things first.  

This is an excerpt from the upcoming book, Delivering Marketing Joy!  Coming Soon!