July 8, 2016

​More Sizzling Business Sectors for 2016

Submitted by Kelly Glass

In business, where too many of us are juggling multiple tasks at the same time, it’s important to stop frequently and look around. Entrepreneurs and those who sell products and services to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are among the most in tune with the idea of taking a pause because they are always looking for the next opportunity to build their success.

Idea Custom Solutions works with thousands of entrepreneurs that help SMBs promote their brands and reach customers with marketing collateral, promotional products and more. Good news for them: the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) pointed out this spring is that, compared to previous years, small businesses are increasing their overall marketing budgets.

That being said we know  one size never fits all. Different sectors have different needs, and target entirely different prospects and customers. When we took a moment to stop and look around at Idea Custom Solutions, we've noticed a couple of different business segments we think promotional products distributors should target. Not only do these segments have high volumes of SMBs, they are high-demand markets.


Often when we hear about the branding of major educational institutions, it's about sports and it is true that sports are big. Often SMBs like to tap into enthusiasm for college sports as they did the spring during March Madness. When Villanova University won the NCAA college basketball tournament on a last-second buzzer beater, fans took to the streets. Likewise businesses celebrated, each by crafting their own timely promo products campaigns. Big firms like TD Bank and Dunkin' Donuts offered up branded signs, gift cards and wearables (for both dogs and humans).

Aligning your business and branding with universities or colleges like they did is one thing. But educational institutions themselves are great prospects too. A number of universities and colleges around the United States have recently re-branded. From the famed Harvard Law School to more regional colleges like the University at Buffalo (formerly known as the State University of New York, Buffalo), schools are reworking their logos, marketing collateral and recruitment brochures, not to mention the promotional products that bear their names and spread their brands.

Keep in mind though that today's education category isn’t limited to bucolic countryside campuses. With the advent of the internet and distance learning, students can learn and develop skills online. Last spring, ASI mentioned online education institutions as one of the fastest-growing sectors of the new economy.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that college students love, use and keep promotional products

Seasonal Businesses

It always makes sense to plan and think ahead, especially for businesses that are busier in some months than others. For example, your local landscaper and other SMBs who care for homes and gardens are the types of businesses that are seasonal.

While the typical lawn care SMB in Arizona and Florida might stick to cutting grass and planting beautiful outdoor landscapes all year long, others like those in the Midwest often provide other services like snow removal as a part of their offering to residents and businesses in off seasons. Talk to lawn and garden firms and you will find out that most are preparing ahead of time for the next season's business.

By showing what you offer in promotional products, you can definitely add to SMBs’ marketing success. Moreover, you will find that just like non-seasonal businesses, firms in the lawn and property care market seek to build their businesses in a sustainable way.

Speaking of "seasonal", don't forget that the end-of-year holidays constitute the biggest season of the year in just about every sector. Over recent years, spending during the yuletide season has increased steadily with few dips.

This makes planning ahead for December sales opportunities not only essential for SMBs but also a worthwhile activity any time of year. Whether your customers are retail stores that sell Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s decorations, or they are services businesses who want to tap into holiday excitement, planning ahead with them is the way to truly guarantee success for truly seasonal businesses.

Technology Firms

You've probably heard a lot over the last two years about all the great ways that technology firms are "swagging it up" at trade shows, interactive conferences and even in the office every day with their employees. Technology firms have become so innovative in their marketing with promotional products that even stock shareholders want to take home free stuff.

But just because your customers' goods or services are high-tech doesn't necessarily mean that their marketing has to be the latest scientific invention. As attendees at Boston's TechJam last month found out, many of the conference's exhibitors opted for low-tech promotional products to grab attention. Among the fun freebies were wearables like t-shirts and caps, not to mention a good old fashioned water pistol offered up by Fitbit. It seems that high-tech or low-tech, some classic promotional products never go out of style.

Regardless of what type of customers or industry sectors you usually serve, keep in mind that there is opportunity in every sector. By offering new ideas and great service, you will build a great reputation as an expert.

You take care of the product recommendations and Idea Custom Solutions will ensure your production-ready vector artwork, embroidery digitizing or graphic design files are delivered fast and with the highest quality. Together, we’ll make your customers' brands shine!


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