Senior Editor

Mike's Blog

By Michael Cornnell

About Michael

Michael Cornnell is the senior editor for Promo Marketing magazine and Print + Promo magazine. He is the best writer in the world (maybe), and also the least modest (probably). His blog is about things you find endlessly interesting, especially if you work in the promotional product industry. Read it forever.


Ask the Accountant

Harriet Gatter
Do I Have to Collect Sales Tax for Out-of-state Sales?
Oct 2, 2015

Question: Do I have to collect sales tax for out-of-state sales? It depends, and it's complicated. State governments would like...

Kiwi's Coaching Corner

Paul  Kiewiet
The Only Marketing You Need
Oct 8, 2015

Astound me! That’s right, knock my socks off! Make me notice that you’re different. Make me talk about you—positively. Make...

Be Bold, Be Different, Be Memorable

Rick Greene, MAS
Being Bob Hope: Becoming an Iconic Brand Superstar
Oct 7, 2015

Those of you who know me personally know that I am a film buff, and classic comedy historian and collector....

Not So Technically Speaking

Dale Denham
7 Pieces of Advice Before Upgrading
Oct 6, 2015

Most everyone wants the latest and greatest upgrade to technology, especially when it’s a free update, like Windows 10 or...

Million Dollar Mindset with Greg Muzzillo

Greg Muzzillo
'Can't' Is a Four-letter Word
Oct 5, 2015

Most of us learned the four-letter words we shouldn’t say when we were in school. We heard the words in...

Jeff's Rant

Jeff Solomon, MAS
What Can We Learn from The Artist Formerly Known as Prince?
Oct 1, 2015

Since I recently wrote a commentary titled 'Are You Too Old To Rock,' I thought I would share another thought from the...

Lights, Camera, Promotion!

Brittany Hahn
The Mayor of Funkytown
Sep 23, 2015

Each Power Box has its own personality. Power Box 1 is really into dubstep music. He raves hard all weekend long. On...

Guest Blogs

Guest Contributor
How Can a 3D Printer Make You Money?
Oct 24, 2014

One of the most difficult parts of getting the sale is showing the customer exactly what they want when they...

Selling Smarter

Rosalie Marcus
Gotta Love These Supplier Best Practices
Sep 1, 2015

I’ve been in the promotional products industry for more than 25 years, both selling products and programs, and coaching and...

Beyond Words

Rebecca Kollmann, MAS+
Swing All the Way Through
Apr 20, 2015

From time to time, I’ve written about a situation involving one of my kids, and after observing something recently, it’s...

Compliance Chat

Jeff Jacobs
The Exact Cause Was Never Determined
Apr 3, 2015

If you read what normally is in this space, you've seen a lot about the protocol it takes to manufacture...

Quick Thoughts by Cliff Quicksell, MAS

Cliff Quicksell, MAS
Measure the ROI at Trade Shows (Using the Right Mix of Creative and Promotional Products)
Dec 30, 2014

Every year more and more products are being introduced into the market, and after a while it all looks the...

Editor's Notes

Nichole Stella
The Perfect Match
Mar 5, 2013

The Super Bowl has also become the Ad Bowl, where brands duke it out to see who has the funniest,...


Kyle Richardson
The Best Laid Plans
Jul 11, 2014

Why it's always smart to keep a planner with your schedule and important documents, and why it's never smart to...

Promotional Fashionista

Colleen McKenna
5 Soccer Promotions for After the World Cup
Jul 1, 2014

Studies show that Americans prefer soccer to NASCAR. Here are five items to sell to soccer fans....

The Hot Button

Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS
"How It's Made" Can Make You More
Jun 11, 2014

The show "How Its Made" is celebrating its 22nd season on television. How can we be a hit, season after season,...

Be Dazzled

Elise Hacking Carr
Got Control Issues?
May 14, 2014

Does chaos define you? How you respond to certain situations says a lot about your character. Here are five quotes...

Big Picture Promo

Matt Kaspari, CAS
Meeting Clients Where They Are
Oct 24, 2013

Promotional marketing is at its best when it empowers a client’s brand, meets his or her objectives and fits within...

My Two Cents

Rick Brenner
For Promotional Product Sales, Protect Your Client's Brand
Jun 3, 2013

Whether you are selling to a global brand like Nike or to your local YMCA, no single asset is more...

Friday Sales-thought of the Week!

Dale Limes, MAS
Reverse Engineer Your Sales Success
Mar 18, 2013

Steven Covey reminds us that when setting goals ... "Start with the end in mind." That is to visualize the...

The Sales Challenge

Bill Farquharson
Think and Succeed
May 29, 2012

What would happen if you woke up in the morning and your first thought was, "I am never going to...

Creating More Purposeful Sales Conversations

Lisa Leitch, CSP, MAS
Under 100 Days to Achieve 2011 Goals
Oct 20, 2011

It's hard to believe, but there are fewer than 100 days left to achieve 2011 goals! Are you on track...

Interview with Jason Black, CEO of Top Distributor Boundless Network

Ranking #19 on the Top 50 List, Black shares his thoughts on the future of the industry and what has made Boundless so successful.  Read More >>

In Tight Negotiations, Aim for Empathy—Not Agreement

Why understanding the opposing party's motivations is better than simply working toward a common ground.

Ads on NBA Jerseys: An Inevitability?

The NBA may be stating that they're no closer to on-uniform ads than they were in 2011, but that doesn't mean they won't show up eventually.  Read More >>

How to Overcome Cultural Misconceptions Through Branding

From The Washington Post, a Sikh man writes about building cultural trust and understanding through branding.  Read More >>

3 Valentine's Day Promotions Perfect for Bars and Restaurants

Valentine's Day. Due to humanity's fundamental desire to be loved, and equally fundamental desire to not be that person watching CSI reruns with 19 adopted cats, it's a big holiday for places that serve alcohol or otherwise do their best to slay the great and terrible specter of human loneliness. Know a few bars or restaurants that might be throwing some date-night events to defeat one of life's great existential challenges? Maybe they'd be interested in a few of the items...  Read More >>

Tell Jokes to Get More Done

Want to get more done during the day? Try telling jokes.

What's Your New Year's Resolution?

Don't have one yet? has some interesting ideas on how to trick your brain to come up with one.  Read More >>

Promotional Products On Jeopardy

Answer: "They've become a favorite of fans at sporting events."  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Market Centers:

My 10 Most Popular Blogs for 2013

From the best in comic-con giveaways to making fun of the government, here are the 10 most popular blog posts I wrote in 2013.

6 Inspirational Quotes Perfect for Helping you Survive the Fourth Quarter

Looking for a little extra motivation to get you through the rough months? Check out these six stress-killing, perfect-for-the-holiday-crunch quotes.  Read More >>

Apparel with Live Moving Animation is Here, and It's Pretty Cool

Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported on a new apparel company animating T-shirts by cutting holes in the artwork, then placing smartphones or tablets behind the opening and configuring them so an animation would play. Is this a technology you could apply to your apparel marketing?

The Toronto Star's "I Got Hired at a Bangladesh Sweatshop. Meet My 9-year-old Boss"

Last Friday the Toronto Star published an article about one of its writers going undercover in a Bangladesh sweatshop. It's an incredible piece, and one I think everyone in our industry should read.

6 Unexpected Upsides of the Government Shutdown

There's plenty bad about the government shutdown. Social service closures, work furloughs, dead air on C-SPAN—You name it, we're suffering through it. But there are a couple silver linings too, especially for the promotional industry. Check out these surprise upsides of total governmental collapse that are really helping our industry.  Read More >>

Market Centers:

Volunteerism, Work and Mixing the Two: A Distributor Shares Her Story

Jane Nelson-Halverson, owner of Dakota Promotions & Printing, describes her experiences volunteering for an abused adult resource center, which she also does some promotional work for. She details the services the center provides, as well as how she handles selling promotional products to an organization she also volunteers at.  Read More >>

Market Centers:

Jay Deutsch and Secret Millionaire

Last week I interviewed Jay Deutsch, CEO and co-founder of top-50 distributor BDA Inc., about his recent appearance on ABC's Secret Millionaire. If you're not familiar, the show takes various philanthropic millionaires, gives them a fake identity, and places them with a handful of charities where the millionaire does hands-on volunteer work under said fake identity for about a week's time.  Read More >>

Comic Con 2013: The Promos

Wondering what the world's biggest entertainment companies are giving away to please their most hardcore fans? Click through to see!  Read More >>

Offensive Tee Shutters Screenprinter

Last week I wrote an article about a screenprinter that had to close down after printing an incredibly offensive shirt. It's already become one of the most popular articles I've ever written for Promo Marketing. Click through here to give it a read!

2013 NBA Finals Apparel

The finals are over, the champions have been crowned, and all the commemorative gear has been handed out. Click through to see some of the best apparel promotions from the series.  Read More >>

Market Centers:

Promotional Giveaways for "Man of Steel" Absolutely Bonkers

From charging pillows to a Fortress-of-Solitude USB drive, the new Superman movie is being hyped with some of the most elaborate and fascinating promotional items I've ever seen. Click through to see some of the stunning, and occasionally ridiculous, examples.

Market Mastery: Turning Your Market Expertise Into a Sales Advantage

Some marketing companies are turning their demographic expertise into a sales advantage: Can you follow suit?  Read More >>

Sales Channel Conflict: How a Furniture Wholesaler Resolved the Issue of Selling Direct

An importer in an industry similar to ours comes to a decision on this risky, make-or-break-your-business issue.  Read More >>

Entertainment Meets Marketing: Amazing Gatsby, Pop Art and Rock Music Promos

Entertainment and promotional marketing: A pairing that normally reminds us of being forced to eat Hulk-colored Taco Bell at gunpoint while Rihanna sings something about love and Go-Bots in the background will, on occasion, produce something worth looking at. Call it a miracle or call it people actually putting more than two-seconds effort into their jobs, but sometimes, entertainment marketing can produce some beautiful and engaging pieces.  Read More >>

Market Centers:

Last Week for Top Distributors List!

Anyone who's part of a 10-million-per-year-or-more distributorship, if you or your CFO/marketing person hasn't gotten me your form yet, you need to get on that! This week is it! After that we're off to the printers and your chance for glory and fame will be gone, like low gas prices or a functioning federal government. (That's right, political humor on a Monday! This week I'm taking no prisoners!)  Read More >>

3 Great Promotional Products for Mother's Day

Mother's Day will be here before you know it. In case you're stuck on ideas for products, here are three mighty and mom-worthy product suggestions, pulled from the all-knowing and endless brunch buffet that is Promo Marketing search.  Read More >>

Market Centers:

Harvard Business Review's "7 Rules for Managing Creative People" - A Rebuttal

The Harvard Business review recently published a blog titled "7 Rules for Managing Creative People." Sound interesting? Well too bad, because the article's actually terrible, and here's why!  Read More >>