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  • March 14, 2023 7:05 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    February 23, 2023, members of the Specialty Advertising Association of California, the state’s largest membership organization of promotional product professionals, gathered to celebrate the installation of the 2023 SAAC Board of Directors and the 2023 SAAC Honorary Life Membership recipient, Robert Collins.

    The event at Orange County Mining Company brought together industry professionals to network, enjoy a fabulous dinner and celebrate the beginning of a bright new year, sponsored by Logomark and J. Charles.

    Honored during the event were:

    Past SAAC President’s - Honorary Life Member Rick Greene, Stephen Ropfogel, MAS, Tara Villanueva, MAS, Jacob Dobsch, Beverly Walter, Michael Bistocchi, Honorary Life Member David Messe and Bob Levitt, MAS

    In recognition of his longstanding dedication and contributions to the association, the SAAC Board presented Robert Collins, of Collins & Associates, Inc., with Honorary Life Membership. Having served SAAC and its members for over 35 years, Robert has remained active in the industry and the association, including holding the positions of president in 1984 and immediate past president in 1985. To this day, he remains an invaluable resource and advisor to each SAAC president.

    During the event, Rick Green from HALO Branded Solutions introduced the 2023 SAAC Board Officers and Directors and led them in taking the SAAC oath of office, signifying their commitment to their roles. The 2023 SAAC Board of Directors includes a group of experienced Officers and Directors who will guide the association towards its goals for the upcoming year.

    President: Jeff Stevens, WestCo Marketing
    Vice President: Amy Williams, AB Unlimited Worldwide
    Immediate Past President: Bob Levitt, MAS
    Treasurer: Heather Valle-Laird, Logomark
    Secretary: Ryan Paules, Radar Promotions
    Director: Daniel Henderson, Proforma
    Director: Kimberly Horton, FPS Apparel
    Director: Steve Parker, The Magnet Group
    Director: Victoria Schmitz, Goldstar
    Director: Heidi Selleck, The Vernon Company
    Director: Mary Skeen, AIM Smarter

    View the Photo Album Here

  • March 09, 2023 9:16 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    For most, the idea of starting their college or trade school journey is daunting and yet also very exciting.  The Foundation for SAAC developed a scholarship program to assist industry college students with their continued education in 2011 and awarded its first scholarship recipients in 2012. 

    We want YOU to be one of the awardees of our annual scholarship fund!

    The scholarship is open to children of individuals in the promotional products industry who are members of SAAC. The SAAC Presidential Education Scholarship Program recognizes and encourages academic performance, intellect and achievement as well as personal growth through participation in extracurricular activities within the civic and academic communities.

    The application window for 2023 scholarships will open on March 18, 2023 and will close on May 20th, 2023. 

    Please see the application requirements below and start completing your first step toward consideration for this very special scholarship season.

    2023 Presidential Education Scholarship Program Requirements:

    -child of any current SAAC member

    -household income of $99,000 or less (a Pell Grant is $60,000)

    -a system of questions

    -personal essay

    Visit https://saacfoundation.square.site/scholarship for more information

  • March 09, 2023 8:58 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Content marketing is one of the most meaningful ways you can connect with your target audience. Whether you produce videos, podcasts, blogs or newsletters, this content allows you to provide relevant and helpful information to prospects and clients.

    According to new research from Semrush, content marketing is more valuable than ever. By simply updating their content, 53% of marketers saw their engagement go up and 49% saw their traffic and rankings increase.

    Want to ramp up your content marketing? In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share some tips from Seth Richtsmeier, a contributing writer for Smartbrief, on how you can harness the power of content marketing.

    1. Strategize. For your content marketing efforts to be effective, you need a plan. Don’t just send emails on a whim or post to social media when an idea strikes. Richtsmeier says you should regularly publish blog content, maintain an active social media presence and curate interesting content.

    2. Know your audience. LinkedIn is a great platform for most B2B marketers. Richtsmeier says 94% of marketers distribute content on the platform. But don’t limit yourself to only LinkedIn. You could try building a TikTok presence or experimenting with user-generated content. The idea is to meet your audience where they are, he says.

    3. Branch out. To maximize the power of content marketing, your message should appear in as many places as possible. Try out different channels and see what resonates with your audience. Richtsmeier points out that it can take 5 to 7 touchpoints for a customer to remember your brand, so keep creating content and getting it out there.

    4. Be authentic. People want to see what’s real. Give them a sneak peek of some new products at your company or take them on a behind-the-scenes tour of your offices. You might also get vocal on social issues, Richtsmeier says, or use humor as a way to connect with your audience.

    5. Invest in data analytics. Data is one of the most powerful tools you have at your fingertips. With more access to data than ever before, Richtsmeier says you can leverage your website’s traffic, consumer behavior data, social media metrics, case studies and so much more to adjust your approach to content marketing. Data is a superpower that every brand has access to, so use it, he says.

    Content marketing, in all its many interesting forms, allows you to reach your audience in impactful ways. It can help you showcase your industry expertise, bring in new leads, and build long-lasting relationships. Follow the tips above to make sure you leverage the full potential of content marketing.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    SourceSeth Richtsmeier is an SEO professional and freelance writer. He’s a contributing writer for Smartbrief.

     Published with Permission from PPAI Media

  • March 09, 2023 8:57 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Keeping your sales pipeline full is critical to sales success. To close deals and hit your numbers, you need to have qualified prospects that you can convert into buyers. However, it’s not easy creating and maintaining your sales pipeline. It may feel like the number of people you can sell to is decreasing, but your quota keeps rising.

    To keep your sales pipeline full, Colleen Francis, an award-winning writer, consultant and bestselling author, says you must never rely on marketing for warm leads — you must learn to become self-sufficient and self-sourcing.

    In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share some of her top strategies for ensuring your sales pipeline is always flowing with qualified leads.

    1. Build in redundancies. Francis says one is a dangerous number in sales. Your success should never be based on one client, one contract, one line of communication or one process for converting a lead into a buyer. By building in redundancies, you won’t be leveled if you have one failure. Create multiple sources of leads, networking opportunities and points of contact with every account, Francis says, so that if the marketing department gets you prospects, you can consider it the icing on the cake.

    2. Network consistently. Don’t rely on your existing network for future sales. Francis says it’s important to foster and maintain your valuable connections, but you should always be having meaningful conversations with other prospects across various channels. Networks are meant for growing, so keep growing yours.

    3. Ask for new business. It seems basic, but many salespeople overlook the simple step of asking for new business from their current customers. Francis advises creating a list of your existing accounts and calling each one. Ask them for external referrals from suppliers, partners and colleagues. She says people who do business with you want to help you succeed, but you must first ask them for that help.

    4. Work at building your contacts. Your work as a self-contained selling machine means you must work consistently on building your contacts within each account, Francis says. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to a staff change, a downsizing exercise or an unexpected early-retirement decision. These could all happen if your selling method depends on a single point of contact. Build out. Leverage your efforts at asking for new contacts so that you discover new people who work in other departments within your customer’s organization, Francis says.

    When you have qualified leads on tap, you can close more deals and boost your sales. Follow the tips above to build a sales pipeline that attracts, qualifies and converts quality leads into long-term customers.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Colleen Francis is an award-winning writer, consultant and bestselling author of popular sales books. She is also a Hall of Fame keynote speaker.

    Published with permission from PPAI Media.

  • March 09, 2023 8:52 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Use these special occasions to ignite your imagination for relevant – and distinct – client promotions.

    Earth Month

    April 6 
    National Caramel Popcorn Day

    caramel corn snack bags with custom labels

    Product Idea: Satisfy your sweet tooth and celebrate with custom-branded bags of Copper Kettle Caramel Corn, a rich, traditional caramel popcorn cooked in real copper kettles from scratch. Made in the USA. Each snack-sized bag is 3.75 oz., with a four-color process imprint on a 2.75-inch round label. 
    Maple Ridge Farms / PPAI 114165, S8  

    April 19 
    National Poker Day

    April 27 
    National Bring Your Child to Work Day

    National Physical Fitness & Sports Month 

    May 6 
    National Nurses Day 

    May 18 
    National Notebook Day 

    May 27 
    National Sunscreen Day

    travel-size sunscreen bottle with custom label

    Product Idea: Show you care about the environment as well as your recipient with this 2-oz. Happy Reef Sunscreen. This eco-friendly coconut-scented lotion offers SPF 30 coverage and contains only natural ingredients – no oxybenzone or parabens. 
    HPG Brands / PPAI 110772, S11 

    Pride Month 

    June 1 
    National Olive Day

    June 18 
    International Picnic Day

    collapsible fabric picnic basket with aluminum handle & frame - shown open & flat

    Product Idea: This Collapsible Picnic Basket comes equipped with a heat-sealed PEVA liner and double zippers for easy access to chilled drinks and snacks, as well as a built-in bottle opener. It’s lightweight for easy carrying and collapses flat for convenient storage. Available in four colors (lime shown) with 3x2.5-inch imprint on the front pocket. 
    Koozie Group / PPAI 114187, S13 

    June 21 
    International Yoga Day 

    If this calendar is helpful or if you have ideas for ways that we can better provide this information, email the editors at magazine@ppai.org.

    Published with Permission from PPAI Media

  • March 09, 2023 8:50 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    I recently had the privilege to sit down with Denise Taschereau, a member of the PPAI Board of Directors and the CEO and co-founder of Vancouver-based distributor Fairware. Denise is one of the pioneers of sustainability in the industry.

    Despite developing the secret sauce of corporate social responsibility that drives her business, Denise is remarkably generous in sharing the recipe.

    Before she launched Fairware, Denise served as the director of sustainability and community for Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s largest outdoor retailer. A significant part of her role was overseeing the company’s environmental programs and community grant-making, and she was struck by how difficult it was to get promotional products that reflected MEC’s sustainability values.

    Realizing this challenge was not unique to MEC, Fairware was born with a mission to source promotional merchandise that reflects the social and environmental priorities of the brands and organizations she admires.

    It’s not an easy task now, but it was significantly more difficult back in 2005.

    Part of Fairware’s magic formula is doing the research to protect the client’s brand. And they don’t focus exclusively on sustainability. They examine all the CSR pillars – diversity, equity and inclusion; community impact; and environmental responsibility – to make sure the products align with the client’s brand and values.

    I shared with Denise my concern that when it comes to sustainability in the promo industry, not every PPAI member is prepared with the right product and message to compete on the CSR stage. There are likely to be winners and, unfortunately, there are likely to be losers as well.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, while sharing the concern, Denise had a very pragmatic response: The idea of winners and losers is not unique to CSR. There will be winners and losers relative to digital transformation as well. Companies that embrace technology are going to win, and those who don’t will lose. CSR, technology, business strategy and all the things that drive innovation and resilience will position companies to be more successful and relevant.

    Denise is most concerned about our industry ending up on the wrong side of history. She rightly doesn’t want our industry to be perceived as out of date, out of touch and unsustainable.

    This isn’t related only to sales – it also applies to your recruiting potential. If you don’t evolve, you will be left behind by clients, which everyone fears. But more importantly, you will lose the talent war and be unable to attract younger, cooler and more interesting people to your team.

    Denise gave me a key piece of advice. She warns that if you are going to go down this road, you have to invest in the process, noting that this is not a marketing initiative – it must be baked into your organization’s DNA and operations. Savvy clients expect you to know how a product is made, where it’s made, what it’s made of, who made it and how they are treated, and what happens to it when you are done with it. Gathering and maintaining this data takes commitment.

    There are many roads to incorporating CSR as a fundamental element of your business. One road is to decide it is a brand differential and go all in. But that is not the only option.

    For most distributors, a more reasonable approach is to take small steps to curate products that align with your client’s brand.

    Here are a few tips for you to begin sourcing products that reflect your clients’ brands:

    • Use the FTC Green Guides as a script for what you can and cannot say.
    • Conduct an internal review of your key clients and determine if CSR is reflected in their corporate values. If it is, identify the CSR pillars that are most relevant and begin aligning product recommendations with those pillars.
    • Gather data about the products you sell. Start with the suppliers you do the most business with and begin to collect answers to the kinds of questions mentioned above.
    • Ask your supplier partners to indicate what they are particularly proud of and tell those stories to clients. Denise is quick to say there is no perfection in the journey toward sustainability. However, the scrapes and hiccups are powerful stories in the journey to improve.
    • Begin to analyze your own corporate footprint. This alone will make you more sensitive to the environmental impact of the products you source for your clients.

    There is no easy button for CSR. It takes time, it takes effort and, just like product responsibility, it is a journey, not a destination.

    But it is a journey of continual improvement that at the end of the day will benefit your client, your conscience and your planet.

    Stone is the director of member engagement at PPAI.

    Published with Permission from PPAI Media.

  • February 09, 2023 8:53 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)


    February 6, 2023Post

    No matter how long you’ve been in the business, sometimes we all have questions. And most people will tell you that when they need help, they ask their peers. Supervisors, colleagues, friends, and other industry professionals – these can be our greatest resources for information. That’s exactly why with SAGE Total Access, you can join your very own collaborative group in SAGE Community!

    Why join SAGE Community?

    Want a product recommendation? Looking for marketing suggestions or business tips? Join a community group in SAGE Total Access and interact directly with industry professionals and SAGE specialists. SAGE Community allows you to ask for help from other distributors in the industry who understand your business. In addition, participating in community groups is a great opportunity to network with other professionals.

    SAGE users are already discussing preferred suppliers, posting about unique products, and asking about best practices. If there isn’t already a group discussing your topic, creating a new group is easy. You can create a group to share with all SAGE promotional product distributors or create a private group to communicate exclusively with specific groups and colleagues.

    Here are a few tips for using SAGE Community:

    Start with Searching

    Before creating a new group or posting a question, try searching the boards for your keywords. If you need help finding a promotional item for lawyers, just type “lawyer” into the search bar. Looking for a garment supplier? Try searching “garment,” “shirt,” or something similar.

    Be Concise

    When you do decide to post, get right to the point. These groups are being used by hundreds of busy professionals. They are more likely to respond if you ask a direct question.

    For example, instead of: “Does anyone know of a good supplier for fountain pens? I saw a couple but wonder if there might be others out there. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.”

    Try rephrasing to something like this: “I’m looking for a reliable supplier for fountain pens. Any suggestions? Thank you.”

    Read and Respond

    Community groups are only as good as their contributors make it! So, participate, read through other people’s questions, and be sure to provide thoughtful responses. The more users that actively utilize the community groups, the more helpful they become! Remember, every time you post or answer someone’s question, you are helping to build a community of resources and support for everyone.

    Joining a Group

    To get started in SAGE Community, log into SAGE Total Access. Next, select Community from the left side menu. From there, you should be able to locate Groups on the right-hand side. To join a group, click the plus sign to add it to your feed. From there, you can comment, like, and even add new posts to the group!

    Adding a Post

    To add a new post to the group, simply click the New Post icon. You can add your topic and ask your question. You can even add a picture of a product from your photos or the product search. When finished, hit post! Group members and SAGE experts can now reply to your posts.

    Joining Multiple Groups

    You can also join multiple groups in SAGE Community by clicking the plus sign next to the group name. You can view one group at a time by switching tabs underneath the MY FEED bar in the upper left-hand corner.

    Unfollowing Groups

    To unfollow a group, simply go to the Groups tab on the right, and go to the group you wish to unfollow. Simply click the minus circle to unfollow a group.

    Creating a New Group

    To create your own group, click Create New Group at the top of the group’s column. From there, you can insert a name and description and add members to your group. You can also change who can access your group.

    We want to hear from you!

    SAGE Community is just one of the tools we offer to help grow your business. How are you currently networking with other industry professionals? Learn more about this exclusive benefit with SAGE Total Access by connecting with your Account Advisor today!

    This article has been updated from its previous publishing in 2016.

    Published With Permission From SAGE

  • February 09, 2023 8:50 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    It’s one of the most common sales objections out there: “We just don’t have the budget right now.” This phrase may sound like you’ve reached the end of the road, but there are many ways you can navigate the path forward.

    Ivan Kreimer, a contributor to the Nutshell blog, has asked some sales experts how they would respond to this objection. We share what he learned in this issue of PromoPro Daily. Read on for some expert tips and tactics on how to overcome the dreaded no-budget objection.

    Recognize the objection’s validity. Simply saying “I understand” can be a great way to neutralize the objection. Then you can follow up with something like, “How do you decide which initiatives get priority for funding?”

    Talk about pricing early. It’s smart to raise the objection even before the prospect does. This allows you to get ahead of any budget objections that may come after the prospect understands the value of your offering.

    Use strict criteria to qualify leads. Make sure you’re working with a decision-maker. You should also understand what it would cost the prospect to maintain status quo.

    Highlight the value, not the cost. If a prospect is concerned about the dollars, don’t talk about the money aspect — talk about your offering’s value. You can acknowledge they may not have the budget and then follow up with a statement like, “I see a lot of people allocate their budget for something they see valuable. And based on what you’ve said and my research, I believe we can really help your company.”

    Drill down on the problem’s financial cost. The prospect may be working with a tight budget, but what is their problem or challenge costing them? Try saying something like, “What do you think would be a reasonable budget to solve that problem for you?” Remember that people don’t mind buying things, but they don’t like being sold to.

    No one likes to hear, “I just don’t have the budget,” but don’t take this as a sign that a deal is impossible. Try out some of the strategies above to move past this oh-so-common objection.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Ivan Kreimer is a contributor to the Nutshell blog. Nutshell is a web and mobile CRM and email marketing automation service.

    Published With Permission From PPAI Media

  • February 09, 2023 8:48 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Customer engagement is all about cultivating lasting relationships with customers. Rather than working with customers just once, companies can tap into customer engagement strategies to foster brand loyalty and repeat business.

    You can do this in numerous ways, according to Sammi Caramela, a contributing writer for Business News Daily. The key, she says, is to continuously maintain and strengthen customer relationships to build a loyal, engaged audience.

    In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we highlight Caramela’s thoughts on some of the most effective ways to boost customer engagement. 

    1. Cultivate a healthy customer lifecycle. Aim to make this lifecycle as long and prosperous as possible, Caramela says. You can do this by continuously improving the customer journey.

    2. Examine more than purchase data. Yes, it’s important to understand your customers’ buying history, but that’s not all you should take into account. Caramela says you should consider things like your customers’ channel preferences. Once you have this data, be sure to use it when communicating to your clients.

    3. Think like a big business. Small businesses should think like big businesses and act using available tools, Caramela says. If this means emailing more customers individually or making more calls, do it and know that you are targeting your best possible customer. And because you may run a smaller business, you can take advantage of your flexibility and try different approaches.

    4. Don’t overcomplicate it. You can create a detailed customer profile, but remember that you can also find out about your customers by simply asking them. Many people will happily offer information in exchange for something of value, Caramela says, so send out those customer surveys or start a customer loyalty program.

    5. Challenge assumptions. Something may have worked for you last year, but don’t assume it will continue working for you. Caramela recommends reframing your existing data and insights to ensure you have — and act on — the best available data.

    6. Establish your brand voice. You can improve customer engagement by embracing your brand voice in everything you create and every interaction you have. This helps you build an emotional connection with your target audience.

    7. Embrace social media. Caramela says channels like Instagram and Facebook are essential customer engagement platforms for businesses. To boost engagement on your company’s channels, try conducting giveaways, reposting content or encouraging followers to tag their friends.

    8. Invest in content marketing. From blog posts to videos, you can use all kinds of content to build relationships with prospects and establish yourself as an authority in the industry. Many experts believe video will be particularly hot this year, so if you only choose one content type to focus on, make it video.

    Different companies may use different customer engagement strategies. There’s no one right approach or single strategy that works best. Mix and match the ideas above to get and keep your customers engaged.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Sammi Caramela is a contributing writer for Business News Daily.

    Published With Permission from PPAI

  • February 09, 2023 8:45 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Use these special occasions to ignite your imagination for relevant – and distinct – client promotions.

    National Weddings Month

    February 17
    National Caregivers Day

    February 22
    National Margarita Day

    Product idea: Margarita? Martini? Margtini! This MargTini tumbler combines the best of both worlds, keeping favorite cocktails ice-cold. The MargTini prevents dilution and ensures your beverage of choice stays as fresh as the moment it was poured.

    Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10

    National Nutrition Month

    March 10
    National Pack Your Lunch Day

    March 19
    National Chocolate Caramel Day

    Product idea: The chocolate and caramel gift box is perfect for anyone who loves caramel and chocolate. It has eight smooth, creamy caramels in a dark chocolate and sea salt shell. There are also eight milk chocolate pecan turtles with a creamy caramel center. These delicious sweets are packed in a stylish, red magnetic closure gift box, imprinted with your client’s logo in white and tied with a white grosgrain ribbon.

    Maple Ridge Farms / PPAI 114165, S8

    March 23
    National Chip & Dip Day

    National Brunch Month

    April 7
    National Beer Day

    Product idea: This 16-ounce beer can glass candle is already a favorite. Choose clear or amber glass and add a fragrance for winding down or setting a mood. These candles are 100% soy-based wax, and fragrances are paraben-free. Once the candle has been completely burned, wash out the remaining wax and continue to use the container.

    Numo / PPAI 112597, S9

    April 11
    National Pet Day

    April 23
    National Picnic Day

    If this calendar is helpful or if you have ideas for ways that we can better provide this information, email the editors at magazine@ppai.org.

    Published With Permission From PPAI Media

Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) 
6442 Platt Ave.  # 2001
West Hills, CA. 91307

p:818-600-1340  e: info@saac.net

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