Marketing Lessons from Disney


Anyone whose known me for more than 2 minutes knows that I am an avid Disney fan. Not only do I enjoy just about everything Disney on a personal level, but I find many things about their business model that are worth emulating in my professional life.

Of course, their attention to detail in the realm of customer service is phenomenal. Coming from a background in hotel management, I certainly understand the importance of superior customer service. In fact, I often start a marketing presentation saying that customer service is any business’ #1 marketing tool. Without customer service that is rated at least good by the customers (not management), any other time, effort and resources spent on marketing is wasted.

In my current profession as a marketing consultant and promotional products consultant, I have to respect the way that Disney has made their promotional products into coveted items that we (often) overpay for. While other businesses give away their promotional products, Disney has built a whole retail empire based on the premise that people want/need/covet items with just about anything Disney-related imprinted on them. These items are a reminder to people of a wonderful day or complete vacation spent with family and friends at a Disney theme park, resort or cruise ship. Perhaps they are a memento of a wonderful afternoon playing hooky at a movie theater with the kids watching the latest Disney movie. Or, maybe it’s a purchase made because it brings back wonderful memories of childhood spent with people who are no longer with us.

Whatever the reason, a Disney-related item is purchased because it has some meaning to the buyer. Wouldn’t we all love to be in that position? Make your business as integral to your customer as Disney makes itself to the lives of its fans and you can achieve that type of loyalty to the degree appropriate to what you do.

Oh, and yes, I am wearing my Tinkerbell t-shirt as I type this! A little faith, trust and pixie dust goes a long way in giving me the creativity I need to get the job done for my clients!

Image-Changing Mugs: A Great Way to Promote A Change in Your Business


Does your business have a change coming up that you’d like to publicize? Promotional products that have a changing image component to them are the perfect item to get people excited about the coming changes!

What kind of changes? A move to a new location… Redesign of a product… New logo… New name… and  more.

To see one example of an image-changing product, go to

3 Reasons to Order Your Holiday Business Gifts Before October 15th


Yes, folks, it’s August and you know what that means! It’s time to start thinking about your holiday business gifts.

I hear you out there – “But it’s still summertime,” or “I haven’t even thought about Halloween yet. It can’t be time to think about holiday gifts,” or how about just plain, “Seriously?”

Well, yes, seriously. If you want to get the most out of your budget for holiday gifts (an advertising item expense, by the way) and you want to have the best selection, then you need to start the planning process now and get your orders in by the beginning of October.

“Why?” you ask. Here’s just 3 reasons:

  1.  For the past five years or so, suppliers are not keeping their inventory levels high. That means that an item that you absolutely must have when you see it in November or December may be on backorder and not due to arrive until January (when, by the way, the price will also be higher). That may mean settling for something else.
  2. Avoid rush fees. As the holiday season progresses, factory production line schedules fill up. That means that a normal production time of 5 – 10 business days will now be closer to the 10 day mark and possibly more. That may necessitate your paying rush production fees in order to get the order in time to deliver to your recipients before the holidays.
  3. Avoid expedited shipping fees. The only thing worse than rush production fees are expedited shipping fees (and the only thing worse than that is having to pay both). Maybe the factory can get the item and rush production, but normal ground delivery is five days and you need it sooner than ground delivery can make it. Just as an example, a client waited too long to order a promotional product for their trade show booth handout. Instead of paying $60.46 for five day ground delivery, they had to have their order overnighted to them at a cost of $297.83. And that was just for a 40 pound shipment. Wouldn’t you rather spend the $237.37 on something better than shipping costs?

There are other reasons – certainly my philosophy of business gifts being more effective at Thanksgiving is one, but that’s the subject of another entry!

Happy holidays!

Practicing What I Preach


Last week’s post was about how invaluable attending trade shows can be to the growth of your business.

This week, I am practicing what I preached – I am at my annual regional  SAAC trade show. Although my largest industry trade show is in Vegas in January, this regional show in Long Beach allows me the opportunity to get geared up for our busiest quarter of the year, recharge my batteries, and learn about the new products and styles that have come out in the first half of the year.

So, since I am currently sitting in my hotel room taking a break from the show floor, I will keep this short and wish you all a wonderful and successful work week.

Walk the Floor – Trade Shows are Your Friends!


It’s not unusual to find me at a trade show – usually as an exhibitor or working with in a client’s booth. Next week, however, I’m off to one of the two industry trade shows that I attend each year for my own professional development and the opportunity to make valuable connections for Lev Promotions’ growth.

What have I learned after ten years of operating Lev Promotions?

  1. The number of people employeed in any given industry who come to their industry trade shows as registered attendees (I call them “walkers”) is a small percentage.
  2. The people who attend these trade shows usually either brand new to the industry or are the cream of the crop and value the opportunities presented for professional growth.
  3. Valuable connections can be made not only with vendors who are exhibiting, but with “competitors” who are attending. I know how much I appreciate the opportunities I have at my trade shows to meet in person with the MasterMind group that I participate in via e-mail all year long. Their insights, tips and tricks have been invaluable to me over the years, as I hope mine have been to them.
  4. The education opportunities that exist at most trade shows is a great way to gain knowledge in all aspects of running your business at little to no additional cost. Sometimes, these sessions are where we remember what we already knew, but forgot to implement.

I don’t know any industry that doesn’t have trade shows of some sort – from local to regional to national to international. If you are interested in learning what is new or coming for your trade, making connections with vendors, and networking with the movers and shakers in your industry, a trade show is the place to be.