Yes, We Do That

The Allied Group is New England's leading provider of Printing, Kitting, Mailing and Fulfillment services. Our blog authors have backgrounds in Sales, Marketing, IT, Production and Operations and post useful tips, trends, news and opinions in our industry and beyond. We know you'll find something you enjoy. Most of all, be sure to jump into the conversation!

Recognizing your employees

Recognizing your employees is something that every business owner and 'boss' thinks about. Unfortunately it can be costly and saying "Nice job!" just doesn't always cut it.

According to a Maritz Research study, employees who participate in employee recognition programs at work are five times more likely to feel valued, 11 times more likely to feel committed and seven times more likely to stay in their jobs. That's pretty noteworthy considering on average it can cost an employees yearly salary to replace them.

Below are a few ways of using cost effective promotional imprinted products to ensure employee retention - even in today's economy.

 

1. Give winners a choice. Hold a sales or customer success contest and let the winners choose from a selection of prizes so that they get what they really want - even more rewarding. Include usable and trendy promotional product ideas like solar-powered charging stations, customized iPod skins and cool watches with features like mini flashlights.

2. Award lapel pins to top achievers. Think Hard Rock cafe and Friday's. Some employees have so many pins they can't even fit them on but they are proud to wear them. 

3. Don’t leave out the little guys. Suture maker Hephicon celebrated 50 years in business with a huge outdoor picnic. The company awarded logoed anniversary watches to every employee, from top executives down to the maintenance man. That can make each and every employee feel special.

4. Reward brilliant ideas. Periodically ask for suggestions with whatever you may need help with and reward the best ideas with logoed merchandise or gift certificates. 

 

5. Create your own recognition awards. Choose from custom items, crystal creations and inspirational trophies. Even better, have an award (like a custom bobblehead) created exclusively for the employee you want to reward.

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Excellence in Execution

Excellence in Execution

Would you hire a new employee without doing your due diligence? Without the interview and checking references? Well, you want a company that prides itself in its ability to execute what you both agreed upon. This is where due diligence of the current vendors is critical. Get a list of their current customers that you can contact and talk to them about their experience with the vendor you are considering. 

Do they respond well? Do they meet and exceed their customers’ needs and expectations. Understand the customers’ they will provide you will be the best they have to offer. If those contacts provide you with any cause for concern be cautious. If they provide you with great reviews then it makes choosing your supply chain fulfillment partner much easier.

Up next: Is your outsource partner all talk?

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What's Trending 4

So I guess we are doing this on a monthly basis (roughly) because it seems that must be the exact timing between "fixes" I need of pop culture. So what's going on in the world according to Yahoo right now? here goes:

 

1. Metallica. Has it really been 20 years since the release of the infamous "Black" album? Yup.

 

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Tennis Anyone? Are You Returning Your Shots?

Tennis Anyone? Are You Returning Your Shots?

This summer I have been playing tennis one night a week. I have always enjoyed watching the professionals, maybe even watching some of the finals of Wimbledon or  U.S. Open; but as far as playing, I was never involved in any organized tennis teams or clubs. But as my basketball group looks to stay active in the summer months, we have been meeting and playing tennis – as much a social as an athletic endeavor.

As I re-learn the few tennis “things” I might have learned as a kid, I have enjoyed playing the game as an adult. I like the competition and trying to play with my (minimal) strengths and take advantage of my opponent’s weaknesses (by the way, all of these guys would not consider themselves "tennis players" so there are abundant weaknesses all over the courts we play on). Having a group with varied talent levels play tennis together and you get a different tone for each game of the match.

 

Playing tennis is similar to managing and marketing your business. In tennis, a competitive match is made up of sets, which are made up of games, which are made up of individual points. Maybe that type of thinking is not as obvious in business but a successful business plan is made up of a strong marketing plan, which is made up of specific business operations, which is made up of reliable and capable workers executing the plan. Lots of other things go into this “tennis versus business” analogy but you get the idea.

 

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Partnership - more than just a friendship

Qualities of a successful outsourcing partner continued....

Creating a true partnership with another company is much easier said than done.  There are always trust factors and competing priorities.  To find a company that has your best interest at heart is tough to find, but worth the exploration.

Like every human being, organizations have their own unique personality.  All too often due diligence comes down to some sort of on-line auction.  Great way to get a good price, but how will the vendor react to your customer’s needs? Isn’t that as important as the price?

You have to find a partner that meets your needs and keeps costs low, all while being as loyal to you as you are to them. 

Business process outsourcing solutions companies should be more than a vendor, they should be a partner.

Up next: Does your partner demonstrate excellence through execution?

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The Dog Days...

As temperatures hover in the mid-nineties throughout the country, we tend to lose that spring in our step and the overall pace seems to slow to a crawl. And while I'm just as susceptible as the next, in the back of my mind I realize that there is a really opportunity here that, if capitalized upon, could be the key to your year.

What is it? If we can muster up the energy to give that needed jolt to our corporate marketing communications plan and get our lead generation methods kicked into high gear, we might actually put together and August that gets us into a nice position for the upcoming fall months and right into the holiday season.

At the beginning of the year, when we put our plans in place, we often plan for slow months in July in August. And I'm not recommending that we skip the vacations and cook-outs and plant ourselves at our desks while everyone else is enjoying themselves. But, if we can just throw a few ice cubes in the water bowl and get Fido from under the shady tree, we might be able to get our direct marketing postcards out the door and get a little boost in our integrated marketing communications campaign.

It really isn't going to take much and the reward will far outweigh the extra effort. You'll thank yourself December 31st. Look for The Allied summer newsletter in the coming weeks. Larry Rondeau, part of our business development team, has the lead article and he addresses this very issue. Stay cool!

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Marketing and Yardwork: It Never Ends

As we turn the page on July and enter August, those with a yard probably start to get sick of the "yardwork thing." Back in the Spring it was fun to get the grass, flowers and mulch going and fixing up after a long winter. Now, after a couple months, it starts to get routine as you cut the grass, pick some stray weeds amd sweep the driveway to keep the yard looking good.

The same story goes for a company and their efforts in Marketing and Fulfillment. We have all seen initiatives at our own companies get off the ground with all the best intentions, only to have the routine set in and see the intiative becomes "yesterday's news."

As a strategic marketing consultancy, Allied is constantly working with clients to gauge the success of their marketing efforts. As a company who offers mail order fulfillment service, Allied works with clients to make sure their processes in this area are running as best they can.

Our goal with clients is to make sure that their strategic plans are followed and carried out. If Marketing in Medical Devices is your plan, are you on track for your company goals? If Life Science Marketing is your future, how are you addressing that? Whatever is your future, are you constantly nurturing those initiatives, similar to the way you keep up the yard each summer?

Allied's mission for all clients is keeping your mission "on point" and keeping the routine out of your company.

Are your marketing intiatives becoming routine?

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Creativity through promo products

Creativity through promo products

After a while you can run into the same ol' same ol' and you run out of ideas about what to do with your promotional products. Keeping creative and innovative is key and following these easy tips should help you move forward.

Bring In The Experts
Being stuck is an awful feeling but you don't have to be without promotional product ideas for long. Another common mistake is to be overly protective about your novel idea for a product or program. At the earliest possible time you should have your design or composition reviewed by an associate, faculty member, consultant or other trustworthy knowledgeable advisor. You don't always have to disclose critical details so you can protect your idea from copying, and very often a reviewer can give you surprisingly good guidance.

Focus On The Practical, Useful, Needed And Beautiful
Very often inventions and other creations start out answering to a major need or a broad interest. Then the project morphs into a personal passion with little or no market value. Make sure that your promotional imprinted products are items which economically fills a real need and which looks attractive to potential buyers.

Be Persistent! 
Chances are you won't find what works for your company right away. Just know that some things are tried and true but keep trying with any new ideas that you may have. You may discover a new promo product that works wonders for your prospects.

Seeking the guidance of a marketing services company to help with your promo products is a great idea especially if this isn't something that you have the time to dedicate to. Please visit our site to learn more.

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Facebook vs. Google+...and the War is on!

Or is it? I guess it technically started June 28th. But I haven't really heard too much of an uproar or witnessed too many battles. Google reports that Google+ is up to 18+ million users so far...after just under 1 month. Also reporting to be adding an average of about 750,000 users per day (with a peak of about 2 million per day 2 weeks ago). So, before we can start thinking about corporate marketing services and how to use/leverage Google+ for local lead generation for example, should we sit back and see where it's going to go first?

 

 

If anyone knows me, they've heard me say many times that "Google rules the world". And right now they do. They won't forever. But Facebook, with 750+ million users, certainly rules the social networking world and has blossomed into a legitimate corporate marketing communications tool/medium. But in a recent survey of 700,000 US consumers, Facebook is the least popular social media site with regard to user satisfaction. So could you say that for the past couple of years, they were kind of the only game in town and even though people have griped a bit about their user experience, it hasn't really prohibited them from adopting it?

 

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What you need from your vendor

Qualities of a successful outsourcing partner continued...

Does your vendor have a one size fits all solution or are they willing to build a process to meet your needs?  
 
Most of our discussion has been centered on the ability to customize and automate some aspect of the process. At Allied, we work hard with our customers to eliminate human intervention in the transfer of data. We have been able to provide a seamless transfer of data from their ERP system to ours thus providing them the ability to enter orders into their system and allow us to fulfill them for them.

This process eliminates guess work and limits human error - whatever order you place is the order that should be fulfilled. You should feel comfortable that your 3PL providers will meet your ever changing needs.

Up next: PARTNERSHIP...
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