Category Archives: How to Reach a Target Audience

Pens for Lefties

If you’re left-handed, like I am, this is probably all too familiar:

Lefty Perk

[image source]

I have pretty terrible handwriting to begin with, add the lefty smudging, and it doesn’t make for a pretty thank you note. (Sorry to those of you who have actually received a thank you note from me!) So, with around 50 promotional pens on my desk, I set out on a mission. Find the pen the has the least amount of smudging when used by a left-handed person.

Custom Pens

So, I didn’t test all 50 of them, but I grabbed a sample and honestly had no clue which would come out on top.  The winner:

Eco-Green Paper Barrel Pen

The Eco-Green Paper Barrel Pen had the least amount of smudging out of all the pens that I tested out!  And just in time for Earth Day too, right?  It’s a sign!

Are you a lefty? Do you have a favorite pen that doesn’t smudge?

Marketing Coordinator

Newsjacking the Oscars

Have you ever heard of the term “newsjacking?”. Before I started here at Pinnacle I was aware of the concept of newsjacking, even if I didn’t have the term for it. If you’ve never heard of this pop-culture second style of marketing, let’s pause while I send you over the ever -helpful folks over at Hubspot who have written a definitive essay-length post about it here. For those who subscribe to the tl;dr style of reading  (meaning: too long; didn’t read) newsjacking is exactly what it sounds: hijacking the news.

Now before you start comparing newsjacking to the bus scenes from Speed, it isn’t as life-or-death as it sounds. In fact, if you happen to follow any brands on Twitter or Facebook you will have seen it at work with last night’s Oscars. It’s the practice of capitalizing (aka, jumping on the bandwagon) on a popular, cultural moment. It can be anything from a newstory or Jennifer Lawrence’s rather charming face plant from last night. Brand ambassadors will take to the internet linking their product, service, etc. in relation to this story. For example, a shoe company could have taken to twitter to tweet a Jennifer offering her their shoe insoles offering stability and comfort after her fall last night, and by not only tweeting it to her account but adding an Oscar related hashtag it’s easily viewed by millions. Just take a look at the general Oscar’s hashtag on Twitter: you’ll notice companies have used it even more so than regular users! My person favorite newsjackers have to be the people behind Oreo’s social media presence. For my SuperBowl post, I made a brief mention about how quickly the got their “you can still dunk the dark” image up on the web minutes after the lights had gone out at the stadium. It was the perfect example of what newsjacking should be: relevant and witty.

I could also give you dozens of examples of what newsjacking shouldn’t be, but you’ve probably heard about these massive fails before: like the Onion taking their trademark parody and snark too far last night with a tasteless remark about one of the youngest nominated atendees of the night and then their subsequent apologizing this morning (read more here). Maybe you can recall the all apologizing Kenneth Cole is still doing about their own remark about the Arab Spring? These are the cautionary tales and are all companies that can take a lesson from Oreo. Newsjacking should put you in the news as well, unless the world of marketing is praising your flawless execution of a news jack.

Newsjacks are easily translatable into promotional products. Say a celebrity has been sighted littering by throwing away a single use plastic bottle, wouldn’t it be a great time to send you customers (if you happen to know they are into celebrity news that is) a reusable water bottle with a little note and send out a well placed tweet, or remind people to vote with a Facebook post and a custom pen? Opportunities are limitless and the best think about newsjacking is that if at first you don’t suceed: there will always be new news tomorrow to try again.

The image I added at the top of this post is just a little newsjacking flowchart I messily made as I was thinking how to structure this post (as you can tell, I’m more than a little fond of the Paul Frank monkey and colored pens), you could take the same style and approach for the next big pop culture event and just jot down moments that you can quickly transition over to you social media. Have you ever tried out a newsjack? How did it go, let me know the comments!

Merchandising Assistant

Trending Now: Trend #3 Urban Gear

If you frequent your local coffee shop or take a look around when you are waiting for the train, you’ll see the next big trend that we’re seeing… “Urban Gear”.  With our dependence on a life in motion, we now have access to apparel and products that keep our gear (smartphone, tablet, mp3, headphones, etc) safe and stylish.

It seems I can’t sit through a stop light without checking my phone or fiddling with my music selection.  I guess you could say I’m pretty connected at all times!  I love finding products with practical, smart design that support my tech habits.  If your target audience is anything like me, you’ll need to check out some of my favorite Urban Gear products:


The Men’s Sherpa Fleece Lined Seam-Sealed Jacket is waterproof and features a audio port and convenient breast pocket for your phone or mp3. Available in a female companion as well.


The Impact Vertical Computer Messenger Bag comes in gray or black and features a padded exterior pocket that fits up to a 15.4″ laptop. Mesh side pocket holds your drink.


The RoxBox Bluetooth Speaker turns any mobile device into a sound machine. The built in mic comes in handy for a conference call on the go. Love this edgy speaker!


The Techie Headphones feature a sleek design and a fold up feature which makes it easy to travel with. With Beats by Dr. Dre being a hot item this holiday, we’re seeing lots of headphones in 2013.


For more Urban Gear products and apparel ideas visit or our Urban Gear pinboard on Pinterest


Merchandising Manager

Nationwide Promotional Items, Part 4: Southeast

Welcome to the fourth and final edition in our blog series featuring promotional product ideas for each of the regions of the United States. The previous three weeks have focused on West Coast promotional productsMidwestern promotional products, and Northeast promotional products and this week let’s turn our attention to Southeast promotional items.

Peach stress ball
For insightful information about which promotional products have been proven most effective in all of the major regions of the U.S., wander over to “Coast to Coast: Hot Promotional Products for Every Region.”

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Nationwide Promotional Items, Part 3: Northeast

Welcome to the third edition in my blog series featuring promotional product ideas for each of the distinctive regions of the United States. The previous two weeks have focused on West Coast promotional products and Midwestern promotional products, and this week’s theme is promo items for the Northeast.

Take a look at “Coast to Coast: Hot Promotional Products for Every Region” for useful information pertaining to practical promotional product categories for all of the major parts of the country.

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Nationwide Promotional Items, Part 2: Midwest

Welcome to the second edition in my blog series featuring promotional product ideas for each of the distinctive regions of the United States. Last week’s post focused on West Coast promotional products and this week’s theme is promo items for the Midwestern states.

If you don’t want to wait another minute to learn about top promo picks for your region, take a look at “Coast to Coast: Hot Promotional Products for Every Region” for useful information pertaining to practical promotional product categories for all of the major parts of the country.

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Nationwide Promotional Items, Part 1: West Coast

Smart promotional product companies know that one size doesn’t fit all. As with any marketing campaign, the 4Ps (price, place, product, promotion) play an integral role in determining what strategy should be employed to achieve optimal results. This series of blog posts focuses on the “place” component of this popular framework and each entry will include promo product ideas for cities within distinct regions of the United States.

If you simply can’t wait to see the suggestions for your region in an upcoming post, check out “Coast to Coast: Hot Promotional Products for Every Region” for insightful information about promotional product preferences in all of the major parts of the country.

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The Low-Down on Loyalty Programs

“Loyalty” is one of these buzz words that marketers cannot escape.

In the most literal sense of the word, “loyalty” implies that a person or group of people is faithful to another person, country, group, or cause. For the business world, “loyalty” alludes to the fact that a brand’s customers will choose its offerings, despite being faced with a slew of competing choices. Whether customers remain loyal because of low prices, convenience, superior service, and/or exceptional products or services, some element that they weight heavily in the purchasing process stands out in their minds and warrants a commitment.

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The Only Foolproof Way to Prevent Losing Your Favorite Promotional Pen…

Okay, folks. Show of hands: have you ever found yourself frustrated, annoyed, or even angry because your favorite writing utensil has mysteriously “disappeared?” I know I have experienced all of the above emotions throughout my time in the workforce, and according to a recent survey conducted by Paper Mate, 100 percent of respondents actually ‘fessed up to having swiped a pen from a coworker. Even Czech president Vaclac Klaus was caught “stealing” a promotional pen from a news conference in Chile last year (see our post from April 2011 for more information)!

Additional shocking results from Paper Mate’s study: out of the 1,000 Americans interviewed as part of the phone survey, 22% admitted to stealing pens deliberately!

So, why, with the extreme number of pen thefts, are writing instruments consistently ranked as the second largest category in the promotional product world?

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