Monthly Archives: December 2016

Paper Calendars Endure Despite the Digital Age | Guest Post by NYT Reporter, Christopher Mele

Today I am pleased to share with you this feature on printed calendars published by The New York Times. I would like to express my gratitude to the reporter Christopher Mele and to PPAI members Jerome Hoxton, president of Tru Art Advertising Calendars, and Melissa Ralston, marketing director for BIC Graphic, for their contributions.

Paul

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By Christopher Mele, Reporter, The New York Times

Digitally published in The New York Times on December 29, 2016 and in print on December 30, 2016, on Page B2 of the New York edition.

With the year’s end comes the ritual of many households and offices: getting new appointment books, planners or calendars to hang on walls or put on desks.

In an age of smartphones and the internet, you might think the days of paper calendars are numbered, but data suggest otherwise. Not only have they survived the digital revolution, but sales of some kinds of print calendars have increased.

The sales of appointment books and planners grew 10 percent from 2014-15 to 2015-16 to $342.7 million, and decorative and other calendars increased by 8 percent to $65 million in that time, according to figures from the NPD Group, a consumer research firm.

Personalization has helped make planners and appointment books popular, Leen Nsouli, an analyst of the office supplies industry at NPD, said in an email.

“The consumer can customize a planner to fit his or her style with accessories, colors and even color code events and activities,” she wrote. “That’s not something you can do on the standard phone calendar.”

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Promotional calendars are a way for businesses to advertise and to connect with customers. | Credit: MedForce

Jerome Hoxton, president of Tru Art Advertising Calendars in Iowa City, Iowa, said traditional calendars remain popular because they combine aesthetics with utility. Paper and digital calendars can readily coexist.

“What we found is it’s a question of and,” he said. “It’s not a question of or.”

Bertel King Jr., in a blog post last year for Make Use Of, a technology and productivity site, made the case for paper calendars, noting that he was “inundated with notifications, beeps, alerts and messages.”

“Having to open another tab, fire up another piece of software, or launch another app to access my calendar amounts to one more onscreen thing vying for my attention,” he wrote. “Suddenly a paper planner starts to make sense.”

It may seem counterintuitive that a print product can thrive in the digital age. But the continued success of some paper calendars mirrors that of printed books, an industry that several years ago was confronting what seemed like the very real possibility that e-books would outsell the printed variety. Instead, a Pew survey this fall found that most readers still preferred their reading material printed on paper.

Still, the popularity of some calendars — desk pads and the ones that hang on your wall — has waned.

The average number of printed calendars in households was 3.12 in 2011 compared with 3.98 in 1981, according to the most recent study sponsored by the Promotional Products Association International and the Calendar Advertising Council. The kitchen remained the prime display location, with 75 percent of respondents saying they had a calendar there. The average number of printed calendars per business was 2.10, down from 2.56 in 1981, according to the study.

A 2008 paper from Virginia Tech, called “An Exploratory Study of Personal Calendar Use,” predicted the march of electronic calendars would be swift and inevitable. “With the increased use of mobile devices, more and more calendaring tasks are performed off the desktop computer,” it said.

A bright spot in the industry remains promotional calendars, like those distributed by real estate agents, medical professionals, car repair shops and other businesses. As a percentage of sales of promotional products, those calendars have held steady or increased slightly from 2012 to 2015, according to industry figures.

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Paper calendars are an effective advertising vehicle with a mass market appeal. | Credit: Wright County Parks & Recreation

Melissa Ralston, marketing director for BIC Graphic, said in an email that companies have found paper calendars to be an effective advertising vehicle with a mass market appeal.

She said studies have found that 82 percent of recipients enjoy getting a calendar as a complimentary gift and 70 percent plan to do business with the company that provided the calendar.

As for Ms. Ralston, she practices what she preaches. She said she has three calendars: a planner, a wall calendar and one on her refrigerator.

Are you In Touch?

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DOWNLOAD | Get In Touch! Toolkit

We are nearly three months into the launch of Get In Touch!, the first-of-its-kind industry branding campaign, and I am pleased with the positive response from so many industry professionals supporting the initiative and equally appreciative of the worthwhile feedback and suggestions from those who would manage the program differently.

To grow your business and raise awareness download the Get In Touch! toolkit today. The toolkit includes collateral and materials to which you can add your logo and website such as digital ads, social media graphics, infographics, print ads, research videos and more. For questions or assistance with Get In Touch! campaign contact Kim R. Todora at KimT@ppai.org.

This multimillion-dollar long-term strategy extends over the next five years, and I look forward to updating you on the campaign’s progress and highlights. In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts and ideas along the way.

That said, I thought it worthwhile to share a very thoughtful blog post written by Robert Fiveash, PromoKitchen Chef and current board president.

Enjoy!

Paul

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Should you get on board with PPAI’s Get In Touch! Campaign?

Originally published September 19, 2016 via PromoKitchen

You’re a physician. You went to med school. You are trained well to take care of your patients and sworn to uphold the ethical standards of the Hippocratic Oath. Your compensation is determined by your production, peer reviews, and patient feedback. Despite your busy schedule, you’ve found the time to teach and perform research at the local university. Years ago, you and some of the brightest young minds in medicine developed a novel new treatment for childhood asthma. It’s as effective as any prescription treatment on the market, doesn’t use steroids, and costs about half as much as the market leader for an annual regimen.

But the competing products and procedures are entrenched – their powerful lobbying efforts have kept your product, SWaG (Stop Wheezing and Gasping), off the shelves and out of the hands of other physicians. SWaG isn’t even listed as an approved treatment available to physicians, depriving millions of children of an effective, low-cost treatment for asthma.

The analogy to our industry might be a stretch, but when Marketing Managers report ad spend, promotional advertising is not listed as a separate medium, alongside its entrenched brethren: TV, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, and a handful of others. We’re a $20.8 billion ad segment, and “cinema” gets the nod ahead of our medium.

Cinema!

How do we get included in the marketing mix, so that we’re invited to the crucial budget meetings and strategy sessions, just like our more entrenched brethren?

Since PPAI hired the Saxum nearly a year ago to help promote the industry to a wide range of advertisers (corporate departments, HR departments, ad agencies, etc.), those of us waiting to see how the effort would play out now have a few answers. In conjunction with Advertising Week New York, the industry branding initiative will officially launch September 26th.

The primary messaging for the Get In Touch! Campaign speaks to the power and value of promotional products. Exposure in national publications such as AdAge will attempt to show advertising buyers the ROI of promotional products vis-à-vis the other media competing for those dollars, such as TV, digital, radio, etc., and gain a larger share of advertising spend. Importantly, the elements of this campaign will be available to distributors to support the campaign in their local markets.

A secondary message, important but not to be overstated, is promoting and encouraging the use of promotional product consultants.

So, how does the PromoKitchen community, and beyond, Get In Touch?

  1. Engage with the information PPAI is sharing to help us (individually and collectively) promote the industry.
  2. Emphasize to clients and prospects that promotional products are a high-ROI medium.
  3. Embrace the critical role we (you!) play in helping make the initiative a success.
  4. Envision the new you: the promotional consultant capable of making any campaign come alive.

Nuts and Bolts

  • 16-week roll-out designed to create momentum and continue the conversation
  • Every other week (or so) new branding elements will be presented to PPAI members
  • Members will receive digital “toolkits” with Power Tips that describe how to use and when to use the elements of the campaign
  • The toolkits will include print (“click to act”) and social (“click to act”) graphics – professional, high-quality artwork, advertisements, icons, and (eventually) multi-media video that can be used for individual campaigns to a distributor’s clients and prospects
  • Social elements (including graphical statistics and talking points) will be pre-sized for Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram

Several evergreen webinars will be available to train those interested in the campaign on how best to utilize the tools

This five-year, fully-funded (a huge difference from past awareness campaigns), multi-million dollar initiative is an unprecedented investment in the industry’s future.

Thank you, PPAI, for recognizing the need to promote the industry’s ROI as an advertising medium, and our collective ability to touch the end-user recipient in a way that’s clearly different. Promotional products are a slam dunk (when well-executed), as other media simply do not have the staying power and ability to create an emotional connection through physical touch. It truly is “Advertising that lives on”. Consumers are bombarded literally every few seconds with ephemeral media messages and digital distractions, and there has never been a better time to espouse the benefits of promotional products. Seize your opportunity now!

Read Robert’s full article here.