Blog Archives

Reach and Recall – The power of Promotional Products!

The results are in and once again, Promotional Products carry more Reach & Recall value than other forms of traditional media. Check out this 2 minute video to see the results of the study. Note: There is background music on video, so adjust your speakers accordingly.

Six Keys To Successful Project Management

Small and large scale projects are happening around us constantly. Whether it’s a new technology that’s being implemented or the execution of a marketing campaign, someone in your organization is running the show. But how do they do it, managing so many personalities (internal and external), deadlines and expectations?

Project management is a complex yet essential role in any business. From my experience, here are a few keys to ensuring that the next project you manage goes smoothly.

1. Understand the scope of the project. As the project manager (PM), be sure that you understand why it is that your company wants to devote their time and resources to this project. They aren’t just trying to keep you busy. They have an end goal in mind, whether it is increased awareness or increased revenue. Be sure you are on the same page as those who originally envisioned the final product.

2. Assemble the right team. Once you know your mission, get the right folks on the bus with you. Start by evaluating your current team. Do you need someone who understands HTML coding or video editing? If someone on your team already knows this or can pick it up quickly, great! If not, make sure you acquire the correct people. Otherwise you’re setting yourself and the rest of the team up for failure.

3. Create a common goal. As the PM you are more than aware of the desired outcome. Share that with your team! Not only is it essential that you know why you’re working on this project but your team needs to know, too. The last thing you want as a PM is to have a bunch of worker mice on your hands. Give their roles meaningful purpose, and show appreciation for it. Genuine appreciation.

4. Develop a schedule with built-in milestones (and buffer time). Yes, you should be working towards milestones! Build a schedule and share it with a few higher-ups as well as your team. Make your expectations for deadlines known and understood by the team. Build individual and team milestones so everyone can stay on track. Ultimately, though, as the PM it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone is keeping up. A little secret is to build buffer time – a day, a week – so that you are always ahead of schedule.

5. Make yourself organized and available. Keep on internal and external communications. If you’re working with an agency be sure to build rapport with a primary contact person. You want to be sure that you have a mutual understanding with each aspect of the project. It’s also essential to have a grasp on where things are currently, where they are going and how you’re going to get there. Keeping organized notes based on your schedule is essential to the success of your project.

6. Evaluate. As the project moves along have your team take notes on what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve. Making notes as you go will ensure that nothing is overlooked. It’s hard to remember how things went at the start of a project six months ago. Reading over detailed notes from six months ago makes the evaluation process much easier.

Originally posted on the Proforma Blog –

Famous Last Words – “Our What?”

Last week, I met with a new sales manager for a medium sized company. As we began talking about his business and the challenges he faces every day, he made a statement that caused me to struggle with keeping my jaw from hitting the floor..

His statement came after I asked him about the number of impressions/touches it takes for his company to convert someone from a lead into a customer, one that actually buys something. The conversation went like this..

Me – How do you obtain leads?

Him – We do about 20 tradeshows per year and gather our leads during those shows.

Me – Wow, that is a lot of work. How do you convert those leads into a sale?

Him – In our follow-up calls, if we can’t sell them or at least get a strong indication that they are interested, we typically move on to the next lead.

Me – (after collecting myself) And how much is your average sale?

Him – Around $3k

Me – And what is your sales conversion rate?

Him – “Our what?”

This is a well paid sales manager (granted, he is new) of a company that has over 300 employees and 30+ sales people. If this were someone I knew well, I would have given him my best dose of brutal honesty, but this was our first interaction so I tried my best to suggest some things for him to consider. Here however is the brutal honesty that I so badly wanted to share and maybe one day will get the chance to do so.

Old school marketing (20-30 years ago) used to separate prospects into two different categories, consumer (buying for themselves) or business (buying as part of their job function). The reality of today is that they are one of the same. Business prospects may be representing a business, but when they are not working they too are consumers and are using their personal buying experiences as part of their business buying functions.

Considering that the average consumer, is subjected to over Six Thousand (6000) marketing messages a day. We are just plain overloaded with content! In addition, many businesses targeting to consumers have used unethical marketing practices which have made consumers far more hesitant to make significant purchase decisions without first getting comfortable with the company they are working with and the product they are buying. They now use the internet to research companies and products, reading reviews and testimonials from others in order to help them get comfortable with each step in the buying process. These habits are now transferring into their job functions because they know they are spending someone else’s money and if they screw up, their job could be on the line.

It is my belief that because of all of this, it now takes 10-12 positive impressions before a buyer will feel comfortable beginning a new relationship with your business. The sales manager I mentioned above, has a team that is wasting a lot of money by giving up on prospects before they have even gotten started. If you add up the hours of manpower, the travel expenses and the money spent to participate in the 20+ tradeshows, I would venture to say that it is quite substantial. To give an analogy of the process, picture a cold, shivering camper trying to start a much needed campfire in 20 MPH winds, with only a few books of matches. How many matches will they go through and toss to the ground before they get lucky and get one that stays lit long enough to light the fire (make the sale)?

I will admit, creating 10-12 positive impressions with a buyer is not easy. It takes effort and planning. One must be prepared to use integrated marketing in order to connect with their prospects in a variety of ways, thus strengthening their relationship and increasing their sales conversion rates. For more on integrated marketing, please watch for next weeks post.

Chris Morrissey is the Owner of Proforma Big Dog Branding, an award winning provider of printing services, promotional products, multimedia production and ecommerce solutions. To reach Chris:;

New Whiteboard Video! Check it out

We just completed our new whiteboard video! Check it out and let us know what you think of it..

Gold Pyramid Award– 1977 – Lincoln Utilities



Gold Pyramid Award–1977–The Pour House Lounge



Silver Pyramid Award–1977–J.M. McDonalds Company



A Promotion To Be Remembered…

New Zealand Alzheimer’s Society hits a nerve with a memorable promotion:


The goal:

Design a memorable piece of communication that raises awareness of the disease’s early warning signs, like memory loss, as well as reminding everyday New Zealanders of the importance of Alzheimers New Zealand.

Concept: Actual working erasers were hollowed out and fitted with USB memory sticks. The message displayed on the top is: ‘Alzheimer’s erasers your memories. Save them’, with the reverse side featuring the Alzheimer’s New Zealand logo and website.

Results: Alzheimer’s New Zealand distributed these eraser/usbs amongst the public, various local organizations, as well as distributed them to local politicians, with a letter, in an attempt to raise awareness of the charity. Feedback has been very positive and they’ll hopefully continue to leave people with some sort of understanding of what people with Alzheimer’s go through everyday, and where they could turn for more information and support.

Recommendation: While I believe this was a very creative promotion, I would have liked to see a call to action with this promotion in order to help the organization achieve their ultimate goal of awareness as well as give them stronger, more measurable results.

Either way, I rate this promotion with an A+ grade because of it’s creativity and unique approach.

This promotion is a great example of how to take the ordinary and turn it into the extraordinary!

Case Study – Direct Mail Success!

Marketing executives know, up to 70% of direct mail messages get thrown away within seconds and many of them don’t even get opened. Higher readership ensures higher response rates. Marketing & sales messages must get immediate attention and create impact when the mail is delivered.

That was the dilemma facing the St.Louis Rams NFL team.

Wanting to create a “buzz” in the corporate community through the executive network, the St. Louis Rams wanted to market their upscale boxes and luxury seats to appropriate corporations.
They saw the Brandelope and immediately sensed this was no ordinary mailing envelope.

The high impact envelope
that gets results!

The St. Louis Rams were concerned that the message they spent many hours designing and printing would take a flap-first dive into the garbage can.

In fact…A recent analysis of response rates validated their belief that the largest percentage of direct mail campaigns remain sealed in a bland, typical bulk mail envelope.

The Brandelope is designed to get the attention that your company deserves which is exactly why companies like the St. Louis Rams are purchasing them!

If your mailing looks like it’s not important, then people don’t think it is important. Brandelope’s get opened which is the first and most crucial step in delivering your message.

Financial planners, Internet businesses, Magazines…Companies both large and small are turning to the Brandelope for their high impact marketing envelopes.

Direct mail is an important part of marketing any company. Can your company afford to develop, print and mail information that will remain unopened and be tossed in the trash?

Chris Morrissey is the Owner of Proforma Big Dog Branding, a premier provider of printing services, promotional products multimedia production and ecommerce solutions. To reach Chris:;

Don’t Market Less, Market Smarter

The economy is rough, we all are feeling it to one level or another. Businesses are becoming more and more cautious with their spending and some are even going to the extreme by cutting their marketing budget all together! Big mistake!

Didn’t American businesses learn from the market turmoil after 9/11, that if we stop marketing our companies, we become stagnant? Marketing is what drives sales; sales mean profits and profits help us pay the bills!

This was nearly the exact word for word conversation that I had with a small business owner a few weeks back. We were at a restaurant, both waiting for our guests to meet up with us, and just struck up conversation. He asked me what I did for a living and when he heard the words “Promotional Marketing” in my reply, he quickly replied “Man, your business must be really tough right now!” “No, it’s actually the opposite” I responded, his puzzled expression said it all, but he went on to explain that he had cut all of his marketing budgets in order to save costs.

I explained to him that tough economic times lead to great opportunities for all business, but especially small businesses, and that by cutting his marketing budget, he was actually putting one foot in the grave.

You see, over the past 20 years, American companies have throwing their marketing budgets at every concept and effort they could find, even without proof that it would work. Now that times are tougher, the first reaction is to cut the marketing budget because for most companies, it’s a fairly large expense!

The reality is that you should never cut marketing completely. Yes, you can trim it down, but your efforts need to become intentional, more focused, more creative!

As an example, let’s take an actual case history example from ABC company (the names have been changed to protect the profitable). They didn’t have much of a budget left for the year, but they want to make an impact on their target audience and create brand awareness.

Their target audience is a large company located within their market area, which happens to be in a cold part of the country where rain and snow fall often during the winter. Their goal is brand awareness. They want to create good will and leave an imprint on the minds of this particular customer. Their budget, $600.00 total.

The Concept… “You can see clearly now…”

Since this is a cold part of the country where rain and snow fall, people tend to come out of work and have to scrape their windshields before being able to go home. Two hundred ice scrapers were sold to the customer with their logo and the tagline “You can see clearly now.”

The customer made arrangements with a local high school football team for a donation to be given to the organization as a fund raiser for the team.

On the next snowy afternoon, the team would send over a representative to pick up the ice scrapers. They would then go to the employee parking lot of the large customer mentioned above and would proceed to scrape every windshield perfectly clean. When done, they would take the scraper and place it under the windshield wiper as a gift for that employee. In return, the team would earn a donation of $1.50 per windshield scraped.

A total of 118 windshields were scraped clean and 118 employees came out that cold day to a pleasant surprise and the gift of a new ice scraper for their future use. The customer reported major approval and positive response from their largest customer and as a result, sales increased with that customer over the next year by 30%.

In addition, the football team earned $177.00 in fundraising for about 45 minutes worth of work and the company that donated that money to them earned publicity in the school newspaper and e-newsletter that goes out to parents, showing their involvement in their community. All on a $600 budget.

This is a prime example of a focused and creative marketing effort on a limited budget. What other marketing avenue could they have used that would have gotten their name in front of their target audience, left a goodwill impression and a token of that memory with the customer that they will use often over the next 6-8 months? All on a $600.00 budget!

My recommendation, don’t make the mistake of cutting your marketing budget! Contact a promotional marketing company that offers creative ideas on how to solve your marketing budget. If they just want to sell you the ice scraper, but can’t tell you a creative way to use it, go somewhere else till you get that level of service! Your business depends on it!

Chris Morrissey is the Owner of Proforma Big Dog Branding, a premier provider of printing services and promotional products and ecommerce solutions. To reach Chris:;