An Educated Customer is the Best Customer


Your Potential Customers Want to Hear From You! The question is what are you saying to them and how are you saying it?  In a recent conversation with a local business I found out that they provided a service that I didn’t know they provided.  In fact, when I found out what they did, the first thing I said was “I had no idea you did that.” I asked the owner of the business “How would other customers know about that service?” and he replied, “We haven’t done a good job of promoting it so in most cases they wouldn’t know.” At that moment I had a marketing “Ah-Ha!” moment.  Marketing is the ACTION of promoting a product or service.  Many businesses spend a lot of time creating a product or service but fail to ACT when it comes time to letting potential customers know about how great they are at what they do or provide.

Knowing what a business does helps me to know when to contact them when I have a need.  I want to know so I know where to go.  Your customers want to know what you do.  It should be so obvious to them that you are the expert that they would be crazy to call anyone else.  Translation, your potential customers want to hear from you.  Your job is to make sure they will contact you when they have a need that you can meet.  With that in mind, make sure to be clearly and concisely communicating why you are the business to help them.  You have 4-5 seconds in most cases so don’t waste time telling your story. Most importantly, be consistent.  Telling your story one time will not reach all of your potential customers.  They need to hear from you multiple times over multiple marketing tactics.  Potential customers have short attention spans so make a plan that best fits your marketing budget while having the best reach to your potential customer.  Not sure where to start?  Look at what your competitors are doing.  Success leaves clues.  Follow those clues to make your next marketing campaign a success.

Increase Response Rates With New Movers


New home pricing across the country is at record highs, available inventories are low, and buyers are getting into bidding wars.  The housing market is strong and so are the marketing opportunities.  Moving is a major life event for most people and it opens people’s mindsets to change.  Their address, neighborhood, route to work and school, grocery store, and more are all about to change.  In fact, many new movers spend more in the next 6 months than they typically spend all year.  This is a key moment for your business from a marketing perspective because new homeowners are embracing change and that change can be them considering using your company instead of who they have used in the past.

This is why businesses up their game to new movers and direct mail is one of the best ways to reach these potential new customers.  On average there are 300,000 – 400,000 new movers every week nationwide and you can build a direct mail campaign specific to your product or service.  Having a timely message increases your likelihood for a response as well so it’s the perfect recipe for a low cost per sale.  Here are some examples of new mover opportunities:

-Welcome to the Neighborhood

-Switch and Save

-Upgrade Your Lifestyle

-New Home New You

Industries like TV Service, Internet Service, Home Security, Lawn Care, Pest Control, Home Repairs, Furniture, Home Improvement, Restaurants, Vehicle Service, Insurance, Medical, Travel, and more can all benefit from this important life milestone and help new movers along the way. Remember, advertising is most successful when you are in the right place, with the right message, at the right time.  New movers give you the opportunity to hit on all 3 at once which positions you for the best opportunity for success.

If you want to explore new mover mail campaigns.  Contact the direct mail marketing experts at Trost Marketing today.

Effective and Usable or Just “Brand Fill”

Brandfill“Brand Fill” is just one of the many terms for cheap, useless, and unwanted merch that is given out to people and is immediately thrown away.  From a marketing perspective, you want to get as much visibility on your brand/promotion as possible, so no one wants their marketing to end up in the trash.  And yet, I can think of countless times I end up sorting through a trade show bag to figure out what I’m going to keep and what I’m going to throw away.  What separates a good promotional product from a cheap and worthless one?  To answer that I believe there are several factors that make promotional products stand out and endure.

  1. Useability– Functional promotional items are more likely to be kept. Think of an umbrella, tactical flashlight, carabiner, Koozies, pens, drinkware.  These are all promotional products that serve a purpose and fill a need.  On their own, they have value because people can see themselves using them and they are less concerned with using something they got from somewhere else.
  2. Co-Branding– People like name brands. Several years ago, Yeti was the hot item.  Everyone wanted the cooler and tumblers and there was limited ability to put your logo on them aside from a laser etch.  If you gave a customer or potential customer a Yeti tumbler, they knew it had a high value and was a great cup.  As a result, every Yeti item ever given out was kept and used.  The same goes for brand names like Nike (for the most part), Under Armour, Igloo, Carhartt, The North Face, Tervis, and more.  Products co-branded on brand name items last.
  3. Creativity– This one is a little more subjective but catchy phrases, cool designs, things that are funny tend to be kept. Because they are subjective, they are not as guaranteed as some of the other items on this list but a friend of mine has a pen that he would give out that is inscribed with “There is a 10% chance that this pen was up someone’s nose. – Arthur Greeno”.  As you can imagine, his pen was kept by all who got one and it even made it onto their social media as well.  You don’t have to go to that extreme to get someone to keep something but if you think beyond your logo and tagline, you can get people to hang on to your promotional item.  In Arthur’s case, he’s known for creativity and it ties well into his brand, so it was a perfect creative message.
  4. Cause– Personally, I don’t think this is used enough in promotional items. Making an item mean something is so powerful.  I’m reminded of a small white flag we produced for a non-profit named Hope Is Alive.  The flag was for an event they held a few years (Night of Hope) back and the message they were pursuing was the idea of surrender.  In this case, it was surrendering their addictions and their own ability to find freedom.  They handed out these white flags and as a group waved the white flag.  It was one of the most powerful moments in every one of those people’s lives and it’s a symbol of their steps towards freedom.  Now, those flags are a symbol of that moment and are priceless to them.  The same can be said for things like a charity walk for a loved one, a memento of a donation, or a historic moment.  Anything surrounding those events becomes a memento of that event.
  5. Quality– “You get what you pay for” stays true today. People can tell the difference when something is cheap or quality.  I recently got a sample t-shirt that was in a smaller size and gave it to my wife since it was a soft shirt.  It’s a new technology called “Butter Wash” and it makes a screen-printed shirt feel amazingly soft.  She wears the shirt all the time, not because it’s a cool logo, name-brand design, or anything she would want to promote.  She wears it because it’s comfortable and loves the feel of the shirt.  That shirt will be around for a long time.  The term, “Brand fill” is often most closely associated with apparel because of how much energy goes into making clothing compared to the cost to produce.  When you have an option for quality in apparel that can be the biggest factor in whether or not someone keeps your shirt or not.  Think beyond the product and consider the end game and the impact of going with a lower-quality option.
  6. Personalized– A friend of mine recently turned 40 and I wanted to give him something that I thought he would keep. He loves Diet Coke, so I got him a personalized Diet Coke bottle with his name and a birthday message on it.  As much as I know that he likes Diet Coke, I’m confident that he won’t drink this one and instead keep it in his office.  Why?  Because it’s a Diet Coke with his name on it.  Try throwing that away.  The same can be true for your promotional items.  There is an increasing amount of ability to personalize in addition to adding your logo.  These options are great for keeping and retaining customers and you indirectly stay in front of them as well.
  7. Association– Everyone wants to be a part of something. When done correctly you can have an item that becomes a symbol of what you are a part of.  Lapel pins are a great example of this, but it can be done with other items as well.  Challenge coins, car stickers/license plate holders, exclusive items, all are a status symbol of sorts that people will want to keep and even show off.

Hopefully, you will use this list as a reference point for selecting your next promotional item.  I would make the case that the exact same promotional item could be kept forever or be thrown away depending on how you use them.  With that in mind, when you can, think beyond the price and select products that promote your brand in such a way that they will stay with your customers.  Build your marketing for something bigger than to just get into someone’s hands and for a purpose so they don’t get wasted.

Choosing The Right Marketing Partner Matters


Imagine you are a marketing manager for a large corporate brand and find out that one of your local acquisitions has partnered with a Major League Baseball Team to use a drone disinfection program to protect fans using a fast-acting formula that inactivates pathogens within four (4) minutes of the drone application, including coronavirus, norovirus, H1N1, SARS, MRSA, swine flu, E. Coli, Salmonella and more. Great news right?  Huge brand moment, press releases, TV interviews, Photo ops, and more.  Your CEO will be there and you have a team scheduled to demo this amazing drone technology. In the frenzy of preparing for this amazing partnership launch, you find out 3 days before the event that your team needs matching shirts in Miami before the event.  And then it happens.  Your normal corporate supplier says they can’t get them done in time.  Cue the panic.

This is the situation Rentokil North America found themselves in for the launch of their partnership with the Miami Marlins.  Fortunately, that panic quickly dissipated once they called Trost Marketing.  Over the last year and a half, Trost Marketing has become a growing resource for Rentokil’s acquisition marketing team.  This relationship arose as a result of Trost Marketing’s ability to quickly quote and turn direct mail jobs for new acquisition mailings.   Since then, Rentokil has been able to see the many powerful marketing solutions of Trost Marketing extending into commercial printing, promotional items, and branded apparel.  The Trost Marketing difference is taking printing and promotional items beyond a commodity.  Brands like Rentokil are discovering that creating effective marketing campaigns takes more than just having a supplier that can check a box.  Marketing managers need trusted and reliable partners that are an extension of their team.  Even the small jobs count, and that’s why it’s important to partner with companies that view your success as their success.

As you can expect, the shirts were produced and shipped to Miami the day before the event.  It was a tight deadline, but the team at Trost Marketing made it happen to fulfill our brand promise to “View our customers as partners” and “Be more than marketing”.  Consider your marketing partnerships.  Do you have vendors or marketing partners that will go the extra mile for you?  Are you supporting each other and can you depend on them when the timeline is tight?  Start investing in the right partners, even if it costs a little more. When the time comes that you need a marketing miracle, you’ll be glad you have a team you can depend on.

Want to see the end result?  Check out this article from The Miami Herald.




It’s Time To Give QR Codes A Second Chance

TMQRI remember the first time I did a direct mail campaign with a QR Code.  I was so excited to link direct mail and online marketing with this little barcode.  I figured everyone would think it was so cool and they would scan it right away.  As a result, I would be able to show a huge digital response rate in addition to the calls received for that campaign.  I linked it to a video on YouTube that better educated potential customers on the product we were advertising and I just knew it was going to change the way we advertised.  In a perfect world, I would have set up a landing page for it, but in this instance, it needed to be a little more generic.  Regardless, I couldn’t wait to see the response rates.  This was back around 2012 when smartphones were still new, but I figured everyone would figure out how to download a QR code app and they would know what that little picture was for.  I was wrong.

Responses were in the single digits.  No one was using them or responding to them.  I had to explain to everyone what they were, and I finally jumped on the bandwagon of “I tried that, and it didn’t work”.   I even laughed at the first-time last year when I went to a restaurant and they told me to scan the QR code instead of handing me a menu.  I flashed back to those campaigns and thought to myself that no one would know what to do with this.  I was wrong.

The reality is QR codes were ahead of their time.  In 2010, 20% of the population had a smartphone, and phones had to have a 3rd party app to read a QR code.  By contrast, in 2020, 81% of U.S. adults have a smartphone and Android & iOS cameras can read QR codes without an app.  Internet speeds on mobile devices are lightning-fast and QR Code affluence has gone up to 11 million scans by U.S. households in 2020.  People use QR Codes for payment, coupon redemption, to unite offline and online experiences, and to raise customer awareness.  The world caught up to QR codes.

So, given my track record for being wrong about QR codes, I recognize that I could be wrong again.  But recent testing data has shown that QR codes are now a relevant tool for adding to response rates, linking customers on offline marketing campaigns like direct mail to online funnels and landing pages, and increasing customer impressions.  QR codes are proving that they do have a place in marketing, and you may want to consider one for your next marketing campaign.  Direct mail, brochures, flyers, door hangers, you name it.  They all can easily add a QR code and drive customers to learn more about your products.  The risk is minimal, and you may even qualify for postal discounts on direct mail campaigns.  It’s time to give QR codes a second chance.

Top 5 Promotional Products With Staying Power

monthsWhen you think about marketing these days you think about getting a number of impressions.  According to Investopedia impressions are “a metric used to quantify the number of digital views or engagements of a piece of content, usually an advertisement, digital post, or a web page.”  “impressions are not a measure of whether an advertisement has been clicked on but how many times it was displayed or had potential “eyeballs” on it…”

Marketing managers spend countless dollars just to get a potential customer’s attention or even a glance at their ad.  When you think of what goes into getting that fractional moment of attention you may ask yourself, what if I had their attention for longer or even a way to stay in front of them.  Is it possible to get the equivalent of 500 or more impressions on a single marketing piece?  According to an ASI Global Survey, Outerwear averages 6,100 impressions and it has tremendous staying power.  Other promotional items also have a high impression high longevity value. Here are the top 5 promotional products with staying power by month’s kept by a customer:

  1. Outerwear 16 months
  2. Umbrellas 14 months
  3. T-shirts 14 months
  4. USB Drives 13 months
  5. Desk Accessories 13 months

When you think about making an impression on potential customers consider more than just clicks and impressions.  Think about who you want to be in front of them and how long you want to be in front of them.  If you are trying to target a specific kind of customer, consider giving out higher-end promotional items to your existing customers.  Based on the statistics above, they will keep it for a long time and your branding will be in front of all other kinds of people just like them.  Going back to the digital world, you want to create a target audience based on your current customers for future marketing campaigns.  Why not do this in the real world too?  Give your ideal customers a high impression and long-lasting promotional items and they will personally represent your brand to all of their friends who are just like them.  When they are asked where they got that cool jacket or umbrella, they will point them directly to you.  It’s one of the best kinds of referrals and it builds customer loyalty.

Have you considered this as a marketing strategy for your business?  If you see the potential in promotional products with staying power let’s connect.  Trost Marketing can help you create some of the highest impression and longest-lasting marketing campaigns for your company and we can even help you with a company store.

Does Made In The USA Matter?

Made in the USA

A recent study showed that in total, 53% have a more favorable opinion of an advertiser if the promotional product is made in the USA.  Often marketing managers look for the lowest price for an item when they start but there are often other factors that additionally play into making the final selection like turnaround time, quantity availability, and quality.  American-made products often cost more than mass-produced items overseas but may have quicker turnaround times and more readily available inventories. This makes them a great option for shorter deadline projects and anything during the Chinese New Year.

How often do you think about your customer’s perception of your business when selecting products?  Think about your target audience or ideal customer when making these decisions.  A product that is cheaper and saves you some money may not achieve the same impact on your potential customer.  So, consider this when making your next marketing decision.  It could be the difference between you getting new business or a customer using your competitor.

Not sure where to find promotional products made in the USA?  Savvy marketing companies like Trost Marketing know how to find products made in the USA and can guide you to the right items that will connect with your potential customers.    Get started today!

Top 5 Things To Consider When Ordering Branded Masks

Masks and face coverings are the surprise promotional item of the year for 2020 and we’ve been getting a lot of requests for promotional masks to provide to customers and employees.  This is a great opportunity for you to provide a timely item to potentially promote your business but there are some things to consider when designing what to put on your mask.  Here are the top 5 things we recommend you think about when ordering a customized mask.

  1. Color- Darker colors are better since masks will most likely get multiple uses before cleaning but anyone who wears makeup knows that it can rub off with a mask.  Try to stay away from lighter colors that may pickup up and show any makeup.
  2. Logo size- As much as someone may love your business or brand they may not want to have a giant logo on their face.  To ensure that people will actually wear your mask consider a pattern of some kind that reflects your brand without it being the actual logo as a dominant feature.  Consider putting your logo off to the side as a secondary image instead of the entire printable space of the mask.
  3. Attachment- Does the mask go around the ears or hang on the face with less tension.  Elastic ear bands can cause discomfort over time.  If you have employees who may wear them a long time look for options that aren’t as tight to the face.
  4. Material- Since the purpose of the mask isn’t medical consider what the wearer will be doing when they wear it.  If they are going to be more active look for materials that are lighter like a t-shirt.  This will also help with the overall comfort.
  5. Be Creative- Is there a way the mask can tie into something you do?  Can you use it to tell your story?  Think about what you want to say when you give someone the mask.  Masks will be around for the foreseeable future.  Keep it fun and consider ways to use it to help tell your story.

Looking for mask options for your business?  Check out for all kinds of mask options or call a Trost Marketing Representative today to learn more.

Direct Mail Marketing Tips and Tricks

Direct Mail Tips And Tricks

Are you looking to use direct mail marketing in the past to reach your local market?  Trost Marketing president Evan Uyetake was recently featured on the Tulsa, OK based Local Market Monopoly Podcast to discuss how you can maximize your next direct mail marketing campaign.  Together with host Clarence Fisher they discuss the importance of demographic targeting, creating and building the right mailing list, using direct mail to prospect, integrating direct mail with online marketing tactics, and how to choose the right direct mail partner for your next campaign.  This episode is full of great insights and we believe it will be a great tool to help you with your next marketing campaign.  Enjoy and let us know your thoughts.

Listen Here

Brand Stores for Non-Profit Fundraising

Our online store for USA Shooting is gettings some great attention in the non-profit markeitng world.  It’s a great way for organizations like USA Shooting to promote their brand with their fans and supporters and the proceeds beneift USA Shooting.  We are honored to have been chosed to create the store and supply all of the store inventory and partner with our sister company Aegis Processing Solutions for the fulfillment.  Check out th is great article about how the store is a model for helping other non-profits see new ways to raise funds.

How non-profits are enhancing the service experience through e-commerce 

USA Shooting Store Homepage

USA Shooting Store Homepage