How to Have a Merry Fourth Quarter
When you think about the holidays, two things might come to mind: toys and food. Whether you want to thank your clients for all the business they did with you in 2016 or your clients are looking for a special holiday promotion that will remain at top of mind in the new year, we have you covered. We spoke to Jeff DePalma, vice president of sales for Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant, Hicksville, N.Y., and Jim Socci, president of Artistic Toy Manufacturing, Allentown, Pa., to find out how those two categories can bring good cheer.
1. Order Early
The holiday season always sneaks up on people. It might be September, but before you know it, we’ll be wrapping gifts and stringing lights. Despite busy schedules, it’s important that you and your clients stay ahead of the curve and plan for the holidays early, or you might not get the products you want.
“I see people coming off vacation and getting in the back-to-school mode,” Socci said. “Most buyers will wait until the last minute. Some will get lucky, and others will settle for what’s left.”
2. Sell Food
It’s safe to say that most people will appreciate food as a gift. DePalma explained how that can help your sales.
“If a distributor isn’t selling food gifts over the holiday, this should be their No. 1 growth strategy for the remainder of 2016,” he said. “It is statistically very likely that their customer is, in fact, purchasing these items. However, they might not know their distributor offers [them] or the quality of the items their distributor can get. I’ve been very successful at developing campaigns and business development strategies for distributors who face these issues.”
3. Be Inspired by Retail
Just like other promotional product categories, end-users and end-buyers enjoy holiday promotions that are retail-inspired.
“We are seeing several very interesting trends in the holiday food gifts category,” DePalma said. “Most notably, packaging and fulfillment comes to mind. End-users are looking for retail-inspired packaging that offers full-color capabilities. Taking this packaging and fulfilling the item with both a hard good item and a consumable item is something we are doing a lot over the holidays with food gifts. Our Godiva Tumbler set was created [specifically] to address both of these trends. End-users want that ‘keepsake’ drinkware item, however they want the ability to make it more premium by offering the instant gratification of a consumable item. Other examples of this would be packaging Fandango tickets with popcorn buckets or ornaments in one of our full-color tubes.”
4. Go Big
If you want to make a lasting impression with a client, maybe you should think about oversized items.
“Last year, I had a customer call me looking for giant [and] oversized items to be drop-shipped to retail locations throughout the country,” DePalma said. “We ended up manufacturing a 5 lb. Custom Chocolate Bar, which we sent along with a 2 lb. Giant Rice Krispy Treat. The feedback from the distributor was so positive, as their client really made an impact through these concepts.”
5. Think About Collectibles
A holiday collectible promotion can help build your client’s brand and have end-users thinking about the company for years to come.
“I hear a lot of stories about organizations that love to donate stuffed toys to organizations around the holidays,” Socci said. “Not everyone is into stuffed toys, [but] what’s neat is when you [look at] Wells Fargo, for example. They have created a collectible horse that is given to parents who open accounts for children around the holidays. It’s brilliant in so many ways because it captures a business purpose, there are cool stories and names for some of the iconic stage, coach horses that helped build the brand, and if you don’t want a take a toy that is OK, too. We will donate it to the local charity.”
6. Do Your Research
If you’re sending your clients food gifts, the last thing you want is for them to receive stale or bland food.
“The most critical aspect I would suggest is understanding truly who your supplier is,” DePalma said. “Most of the suppliers in this industry offering consumable items as holiday gifts aren’t actually manufacturing these items. They [could be] sourcing these items locally, domestically or even overseas. Understanding specifically who is making the food items, when they were made and how long they have been sitting in a warehouse is critical. Beyond that, understanding the safety qualifications of not only who is manufacturing the item, but who is handling it after, is also critical.”