The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 5

Target A Specific Audience. With An Idea For Airbnb.

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All event attendees are not created equal. Some are ideal buyers for what you offer, and others aren’t. That’s why targeting a specific audience is so critical for event success.

Targeting Your Audience: What It Really Means

Who are you targeting? Mid-size firms in your geographic region? Tech savvy corporations? Anyone interested in your products or services?

Mandy Porta, owner of Success Designs, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana- based website design and marketing firm, says these kinds of targets are way too general.

“Targeting a specific market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria,” she explains in the Inc. article How To Define Your Target Market. “Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets. This is a much more affordable, efficient and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.”

Whether you exhibit at events hosted by other organizations or you produce your own events, determining your audience is one of the most important functions within the event planning process. Without defining your audience, you can’t possibly know where they hang out and where to reach them with your marketing messages says Mark Walker in the Eventbrite UK article How To Avoid The Number One Mistake Of Failed Events.

“Without having a defined audience, you can’t understand why they would want to attend and what your messaging should be,” he says. “Nor can you speak to them in their language, create a realistic budget, pick an appropriate venue or develop a compelling Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your event.”

Event Swag Needs A Target Audience, Too

Just like your overall event presence should be targeted to your specific audience, the swag you choose should be designed with your perfect customer in mind. Yet all too often, promotional products selection to support your event presence are put off until right before the event, leaving no time to design something cool and meaningful that aligns with your brand DNA and truly speaks to your audience.

Additionally, most event swag is chosen out of a generic catalog—meaning, the items may or may not tie in to your overall marketing strategy and the brand story you want to tell.

So what would happen if you included your target audience criteria within the event swag design process? Identify demographics (gender, age, education, income, occupation, etc.) as well as psychographics (lifestyle, hobbies, values, personality, etc.). Then design branded merchandise your audience wants to receive so badly that they’ll stand in line to get it and then photograph it for social media to tell all their friends about it.

Is this possible?

To find out, we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event, be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage (because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!).

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Airbnb Superhost Mini Chalkboard

The Brand: Airbnb
The Event: Airbnb Open LA
The Audience: Hosts from 100 countries
The Marketing Goal: Build brand awareness via repeat product exposure and use after the event

airbnb-chalkboard

Memories are only as good as the people you share them with. And the right event swag can help cement those memories and enhance an amazing experience. The Airbnb Open LA is a festival that brings together hosts from 100 countries to inspire one another and explore Los Angeles in ways that only locals know about.

To keep that “local’s only” vibe going after the event, designer Anna Corpron created a framed mini chalkboard that can be hung in the host residence. Each chalkboard would be imprinted with the Airbnb logo and a phrase—such as “Don’t Miss These” or “Our Top Recommendations” or ”Top Spots”—with space for the host to write in their favorites.

“Airbnb allows travelers to live like locals,” says Corpron. “With this mini chalkboard, hosts can easily provide visitors with some of their top local recommendations. This sharing of insider tips creates a positive connection between the traveler and the host.”

The chalkboard’s smaller size makes it easy for hosts to pack it in their suitcases for the return trip home, and it will fit into any size residence from a resort-style villa to a studio apartment.

Why does this idea work so well? Having a place to share simple details such as a wifi password or leave a personal welcome note goes a long way toward improving the guest experience and bringing life to new ways of hosting. And that’s what Airbnb is all about.

Defining A Target Audience Gives Your Event Presence Clarity

According to Mark Walker in the Eventbrite article, there are three key steps to developing your audience understanding: Creating a persona, research and market sizing.

“Bringing this all together should leave you feeling confident that you have a real audience for you event, you know what they care about, how to speak to them and where to market your event,” he says. “Without a defined audience, your event is really just blowing in the wind, hoping to catch someone’s attention without a strategic plan or any direction. With it, and you’re one giant step closer to a successful event!”

So what do you think? Will targeting a specific audience change how you design event swag for event marketers? And how does this approach improve the promotional products designed for events?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Don’t think than any promotional product can successfully build your brand. This is one of the biggest reasons why event swag fails. Only when you design to a specific target audience will you find swag success.

 

This is the fifth in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

 

Understanding the Difference Between Engraving, Etching and Marking

Laser cutting

Engraving, etching and marking are often used interchangeably when it comes to laser cutting. But did you know there’s actually a difference between these three terms? Don’t worry, if you use one term to refer to another, we won’t take it against you. Not many know the difference. All three refer to permanent marking on a material.

Here’s how to tell which one best describes the right laser cutting technique:

  • Laser Marking – This is done with a low-powered beam by discoloring the material to create a high-contrast without actually disrupting the material’s surface. The marking is done via oxidation under the surface causing it to tun black. It is sometimes called laser coloration or laser dark marking. It is most commonly used on metals but the charring effect can also be done on plastic materials. It is typically used for serial numbers or model codes with great application in the medical or automotive fields. Laser marking can be used on flat, curved or round surfaces.
  • Laser Engraving – This, on the otherhand, cuts a cavity through the material’s surface leaving a cavity that reveals an image or writing at eye level that is noticeable to the touch as well. This is done with high heat laser causing the material surface to vaporize. It is very precise and is often a good option for people who want to personalize or customize something. Engrving depth can vary between 0.02″ in metals to 0.125 in harder materials. You can engrave almost any type of material but are most commonly used for metal, plastics, wood, leather, glass and acrylic.
  • Laser Etching – This is really a subset of engraving, with the main difference being the depth of the cut. This is usually no more than 0.001 inch — which makes it the most viable option for thin materials and small projects such as jewelry.

Those are the basic definitions and differences between the three terms often used for laser cutting. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

 

New Materials: Ultrasuede is here!

One of our most requested materials is now available in the US

Ultrasuede for laser cutting

Invented in Japan in the 1970’s, this popular material is known for having a luxurious feel, being extremely durable and a breeze to clean. The fabric is65% non-woven ultra-microfiber polyester and 35%  non-fibrous polyurethane  binder. It feels like natural suede but is resistant to stains and discoloration. With the woven fabric surface, it resists pilling and fraying. These are perfect for your a wide range of laser cut products — from small device covers to fashion items like shoes or home items such as furniture pieces.

Ultrasuede – Camel

Looking for a nice new material to work with for your accessories? The camel version of ultra suede has a tactile appeal and is a darker neutral color that would go well with any clothing choice, making it the perfect material for your laser-cut accessories.

ultrasuede - camel

   See How Ultrasuede Camel Reacts to Laser Cutting >  

 

Ultrasuede – Coffee Bean

Did you know that this material is also washable and is resistant to shrinking? Sounds like its a great match for fashion items, too. Our ultrasuede is available in this lovely dark coffee bean color.

ultrasuede coffee bean for laser cutting

  See How Ultrasuede Coffee Bean Reacts to Laser Cutting >  

 

Ultrasuede – Executive Gray

This material is a great alternative to leather. It has the look of natural suede but the durability and flexibility of synthetic fabric. If you’re not too fond of the brown version, we have it available in grey. This can look great for your brand items or products that you make for executive giveaways.

executive grey ultrasuede

  See How Ultrasuede Executive Gray Reacts to Laser Cutting >  

 

Are you excited about these materials? Give us a shout in the comment box about what you plan to do with these additions to our material lineup.

 

Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #45

In The Right Frame Of Mind – Using Customized Picture Frames as a Marketing Toolcustom-laser-cut-frames-collage9

People love to have their favorite pictures on display, and laser cutting offers a fantastic potential for creative customized picture frame solutions. By incorporating laser cutting into your design process, custom picture frames can be a valuable marketing tool for your brand.

How to use laser cutting for picture frames

There are a number of different approaches you can take, from material selection to cut path complexity and adding laser etched details. The example above from Picture It Creations shows one way to use laser cut text, this time cut from colored matte board.

Let’s take a look at a few more approaches to laser cut customized picture frames.

Incorporating silhouettes

The perimeter of the photograph can be manipulated to fit within a chosen graphic theme, creating dynamic points of interest for the eye to follow. This can be seen with the banyan trees and the Seattle skyline frames from Elise Koncsek.
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Familiar laser cut and etched details

Building a box frame using the iconic laser cut tabbed construction as demonstrated here by Lasercutouts (below, left) can be a neat way to enhance the physical presence of the frame. Another familiar visual element is the use of laser etched details, as shown in the soccer team frame by R Keepsakes.

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Stylized objects and forms

Laser cutting enables a playful creativity that can open up new directions to explore, as with the nostalgic tv frame design (below, left) from Phings and the specially designed Ultrasound Frame (below, right) from Gravi Art.

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Ornate borders

Replicating traditional carved frames from different historic periods and artistic genres, The Wood Shape Store has some interesting approaches to using laser cutting for custom picture frames. Included in the mix below are two baroque/gothic style frames, as well as a deco geometric example (below, left) that consists of discrete elements to be mounted or installed onto an additional support structure.

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Delicate details

Laser cutting can be quite delicate, as we can see in the repetitive pattern design from Swirlydoos (below, left). Merging the traditional with contemporary techniques and materials, acrylic brooch frames from Emi Ko Supplies (below, right) look light-hearted and fun, thanks to the juxtaposition of playful materials and the ornate design.

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Both laser cutting and laser etching feature in the numerous frame designs from HMCrafters (below). By choosing to use laser etched details, the tone, grain and surface singed wood becomes a distinctive feature that is iconic and readily identifiable to laser cutting.

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With the custom wedding invitations from The Redd Press Shop (below) the use of laser etched details is further enhanced by layering materials to add contrast and impact to the laser cutting.

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While many of the laser cut frames featured in this post are specifically targeted to the consumer, it is not too much of a leap to see how a similar approach can be applied to promotional products for an event, conference or particular marketing theme. Let us know if you’ve seen other great ideas for laser cut customized picture frames in the comments below; and for more ideas for Agencies and Brands, see the other posts in the series.

 

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 4

Have A Purpose. With An Idea For Microsoft.

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Tony Robbins said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” And so it is with events, where the blandest ballroom or common convention center can be revived and brought to life with your vision.

It’s no surprise that the most successful events—and the ones that sell the most tickets—are very clear on their goals and objectives.

“Good event planning means you know up front what you’re trying to accomplish,” says Jen Jamar in The Events Calendar article Event Planning: Defining Event Goals and Objectives. “Otherwise, why have the event in the first place?”

Defining Your Purpose

Jamar says to think of your goals as your event’s purpose. “Your purpose is the big picture reason your event exists – where you want to be vs. where you are now,” she explains. “Event goals are the reason your event exists – to inform, to include, to celebrate, to persuade, etc. Your objectives are the roadmap to achieving those goal(s). Objectives should be written in detail, defining the narrow, measurable and tangible results your event will produce.”

Outlining an event’s goals and purpose helps everyone on your team understand what needs to be accomplished. “It also means understanding that the audience will have different purposes at the beginning, middle, and end of your event,” says Scott Schenker, Microsoft’s general manager of worldwide events, during a webinar hosted by BizBash and Eventbrite. “Changing the environment and messaging to reflect that stage of their purpose makes people feel you really are connected to what matters to them. You are being relevant to their place and their purpose, and you are being relevant to things that matter to them, and that furthers the sense this was a valuable thing for them to do.”

Applying Purpose To Promotional Products

What if you extrapolate this concept of purpose for the overall event and apply it to the promotional products used to support the event? Event swag should have a specific purpose, right? Giving away products for the sake of simply having something to give away doesn’t make any sense. Yet it happens at every event.

Oftentimes, promotional products aren’t included in the strategic marketing discussions. Swag purchases are put off until right before the event, leaving no time to design something cool and meaningful that aligns with your brand DNA.

So what would happen if you could create truly custom promotional products that fit the your brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event? And what if the products designed achieve a measureable marketing goal, are different from every other promotional product at the event and are different from every other promotional product your brand has used at events before? Sounds like a challenge.

Good thing we love a challenge.

To find out if this kind of event swag could be done, we designed actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Microsoft Binoculars + Gift Box

The Brand: Microsoft
The Event: Strata + Hadroop World
The Audience: CTOs
The Marketing Goal: VIP Customer Gift

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Strata + Hadoop World is where cutting-edge science and new business fundamentals intersect—and merge. It’s a deep dive into emerging techniques and technologies where attendees dissect case studies, develop new skills through in-depth tutorials, share emerging best practices in data science and imagine the future.

As an elite sponsor of the event, Microsoft is sure to have a significant presence and a number of goals they want to achieve. Our designer Philip Yip saw a great opportunity to incorporate some swag with a tagline the company is currently using—“Get A Better Picture Of Your Data”—for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

This software allows users to find and combine data from internal and external sources with familiar tools to help grow their businesses. They can gain customer insights and deepen relationships by better connecting individually with customers as well as by tracking, monitoring and prioritizing opportunities.

To tie into the visionary nature of the software, Yip thought it would be cool to use binoculars packaged in a laser-cut gift box as a special gift for Microsoft VIPs.

“Microsoft is the world leader in software for data management, and the benefit of using data management software is to get more from your data,” Yip says. “The binoculars—like the data—allow users to see what’s coming a mile away. This kind of vision helps you unlock insights and tell the story in your data.”

This swag idea works because it directly ties into Microsoft’s current messaging: “Get A Better Picture Of Your Data.” Also, data can be confusing. So “being able to see things more clearly” aligns with the purpose of binoculars—and the software.

Having A Purpose Simplifies & Streamlines The Process

With purpose, events and the swag that supports them are capable of making true connections with their audience. With purpose, the entire planning process has focus.

“When you have well-defined goals and objectives for your event, planning, promoting and sticking to your budget all become much easier,” says The Event Calendar’s Jamar. “Messaging aligned with those goals comes through loud and clear, increasing attendee interest, RSVPs and ticket sales.”

So what do you think? Can having a specific purpose improve the process by which you as a designer work with event marketers? And how does this approach improve the promotional products designed for events?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Having purpose—whether in events, promotional products or life in general—helps cultivate success, fulfillment and ultimately (hopefully!) happiness. Having a little more happiness and joy in what you do sounds good to us.

 

This is the fourth in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

Customized Laser Cutting for Tech Geeks

Designing Your Own Enclosures for Electronics Projects

adafruit laser cut enclosure

Laser cutting has long been the chosen solution for many DIY electronics project enclosures, and with good reason. By building a custom case using laser cutting, you are able to protect components, give precise access to interface elements, and also add laser etched details that communicate function and branding.

We’ve previously taken a look at how to make a laser cut enclosure using Box Maker and similar plugins for laser cutter-friendly software programs. Another neat browser-based option is MakerCase (screenshot below) where it is easier than ever to enter design constraints, interact with a 3D model of the enclosure and then save a file that is ready for laser cutting.

makercase

These fantastic tools and software solutions go a long way in making laser cut enclosure design accessible for projects large and small. While a laser cut enclosure can be quite simple, the thorough breakdown by Phillip Burgess on Adafruit covers a number of key considerations and comes strongly recommended indeed. The eye-catching rainbow Raspberry Pi case pictured at the top of this post is a prime example of the way that the strengths of laser cutting can be leveraged to produce unique, desirable outcomes.

Personal projects get a serious boost from laser cut enclosures, and the next step is often to produce and sell products that look both professional and highly resolved. A notable example of how custom laser cut enclosures have helped turn personal projects into Kickstarter success stories is the Game Frame (pictured below) from Jeremy Williams.

gameframe

So whether you’ve baked yourself a techno treat with the Raspberry Pi, or created new possibilities using the latest boards from Arduino; those electronic projects can get such a boost when a custom laser cut enclosure is added to the mix.

In short, laser cutting enables customization and full control over the following design and interface elements:

Protect components: Boards, screens and connectors can all be housed securely.
Location of openings: Plugs, connectors, lights and vents can all be positioned in exactly the right spot.
Communication: Adding custom branding, labels to ports, and a bit of personal flair.

Be sure to read through the Adafruit Laser Cut Enclosure Design Overview and fire up your Ponoko Personal Factory to get the prototyping process started right away. Let us know in the comments below if you know of any other handy tips and resources for making laser cut electronics enclosures.

 

Cashing In on the Wedding Industry: Laser Cut Centerpieces

How Others are Finding Success Making and Selling Table Numbers and Centerpieces

laser cut wedding table personalisedfavours

Wedding guests have their first taste of things to come with custom laser cut invitations, and we’ve seen how fun and playful laser cut photo booth props entertain and delight. The all-important wedding cake has also had a romantic laser cut makeover, and today we are turning our attention to laser cut solutions for tables and guest seating.

With over 2.5 million weddings in the US annually, clever Etsy sellers are tapping into a niche market that has an eye for custom centerpiece design. From table numbers to decorative center features, laser cutting enables designers to explore creative themes that enhance the magic of the wedding day.

Pictured above is a three-panel centerpiece from Personalised Favours. Across the different panels there are laser etched details featuring the table number and also the menu, putting all the important table information into one neat package. Other popular Etsy offerings are freestanding table numbers such as the neat script from Foote and Flame (below, left) and a romance-themed numbered heart from PinkSwann (below, right).

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Also from Personalised Favours, the ornate script of these staked numbers (below) make great use of the complex contours that are enabled by laser cutting. Rather than have an attached base for the numbers to stand on their own, these can be inserted into an existing centerpiece for more height and greater presence on the table.

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Acrylic, another favorite material for laser cutters, also lends itself well to the wedding table. Pictured below is a bold laser cut table number set with integrated heat-formed base from ZCreateDesign. Options for these table numbers include black, transparent, silver or gold mirror acrylic.

laser cut wedding table zcratedesign

Further creative outcomes can be achieved when combining laser cut table numbers with other functional table elements. We saw the laser etched menu earlier, and the following examples from Foote and Flame also demonstrate ways to merge concepts together. The laser cut text becomes a romantic illuminated feature when a tealight candle is inserted into the assembly, and a laser etched coaster identifies seating arrangements and also becomes a personalised keepsake for the lucky guest to take home.

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Wedding decorations are an opportunity to express personality and explore the inspired creativity that fits so naturally when love is in the air. Through clever use of laser cutting, centerpieces and table numbers can easily become a part of the happy couple’s unique expression on the big day. Let us know in the comments below how you would use Ponoko’s Personal Factory to create some truly inspirational laser cut table features.

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 3

Be Strategic. With An Idea For Pinterest.

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When it comes to business strategy, there’s a lot of talk about design thinking.

Forbes espouses the benefits in “Why Design Thinking Should Be At The Core Of Your Business Strategy Development.” The Harvard Business Review discusses how “Design Thinking Comes Of Age.” And rightfully so. Tackling issues from a true design perspective makes strategic sense, especially when you see the outcomes.

Creativity At Work reported: “Design-led companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years by an extraordinary 219%, according to a 2014 assessment by the Design Management Institute.”

That kind of success is undeniable.

So what exactly is design thinking? Creativity At Work offers this definition:

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design thinking seeks to build ideas up, unlike critical thinking which breaks them down. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer).

For Lee Coomber, a creative director at Lippincott, this means strategically looking at the problem in two ways:

“The first is in applying a design mind-set to reconfigure and simplify complex business problems; the second is in activating design’s ability to build strong emotional connections,” he explains in this DigitalArts article. “From this perspective, it’s little wonder that design has become the tool of choice for leading companies.”

But he does have a criticism of how many implement design thinking. “For a number of years now, ‘design thinking’ has been a reference point for anyone wanting to jump out of past paradigms,” he says. “Yet many have failed to pick up the other half of the design tool kit and commit to the craft of design – ‘the design doing.’ In other words, the seduction and the sense of a design approach.”

Strategically Using Design Thinking For Event Swag

Design thinking can obviously be implemented company-wide. But what if we drill it down to events, and even more specifically event swag.

For some reason, selecting event swag is often put off (or flat forgotten) until the last minute. If you’ve ever had an event marketer come to you with the panicked request that “I must have some kind of giveaway!” you’re not alone.

But this late in the process, strategy is forgone and you must settle for what’s available in a rush. And this typically means a generic product picked out of a catalog. No design. No alignment with brand DNA. So boring!

But what would happen if swag was built into the beginning of the event planning process?

To find out, we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event, be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage (because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!).

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Pinterest Push Pins

The Brand: Pinterest
The Event: O’Reilly Design Conference
The Audience: UX and UI designers
The Marketing Goal: Build brand awareness via repeat product exposure and use after the event

pinterest-push-pins-1

 

Designers are constantly asked to design for the future—a future that by its nature is a moving target. The O’Reilly Design Conference provides designers with the skills, connections and inspiration they need to shape the products and services of today and tomorrow.

Pinterest, the world’s catalog of ideas, is a great place for designers to go before and after the conference for inspiration as well as organizing thoughts when working on a project. But sometimes you find ideas IRL. What then? Designer Annie Rawle had a great idea: Push Pins shaped as the Pinterest logo on the top of the pin.

“Pinterest is the virtual bulletin board, so bringing the logo mark into the real world to function as the site does makes for an ideal event giveaway,” she says. “The logo is super recognizable. So even pinning paper to a bulletin board in your office can be part of the Pinterest brand after the conference. It’s meta.”

This idea works because it ties into the DNA of what Pinterest is all about: Collecting important information in a visual way so it can easily be referenced over and over again. An actual push pin gives tactile meaning to pinning while literally putting the Pinterest logo in the hands of the user. And any time you can have repeat logo exposure and brand awareness, that’s strategically smart.

Being Strategic With Design And Event Swag Creates Stronger Connections

When swag is built into the beginning of the event planning process, so much can happen. You can strategically tie swag into the event theme, a current ad campaign or targeted marketing program to elicit a specific response. You can also make sure the products really speak to your audience so you can create a stronger, more meaningful connection with them.

Lippincott’s Coomber says that design is to business what evolution is to nature: It enables brands to change and survive. “It is becoming less a visual strategy than a means of facilitating continuous dialogue and building emotional connections in a complex world. And with it, opening up infinite opportunities for businesses,” he writes in the DigitalArts article. “The best design today embraces this new reality. It creates experiences steeped in the business strategy. It celebrates the new and the unexpected. And it adapts to maintain relevance and vitality in a time where change is the only constant.”

So what do you think? Can design thinking improve the process by which you work with event marketers? And how does approach improve the promotional products designed for events? Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism (no haters!) in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Every business does something special, or else it wouldn’t exist. By bringing your brand’s unique DNA into the marketing campaign design, you can create an experience that’s as individual as you are.

Having a strategic approach to event marketing swag makes the products you choose so much more meaningful and can deepen the connections you have with customers and prospects. This immediately gives you better ROI. And who doesn’t want a better bottom line?

 

This is the third in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

Shopify vs Etsy: Where Should You Sell Your Laser Cut Products?

Etsy vs Shopify

If you’re planning to selling your laser cut products online online, one of the bigger decisions you would need to make is the channel. Should you sell in your own website under the banner of your own brand or on a known marketplace? Both platforms essentially deliver on the same objective – to get your product out in the market and to get you started on earning sales revenues.

How each one performs really depends on a number of factors. In this blog, we’ve covered how to enhance photos of your laser cut products and how to write engaging product descriptions. These may be factors to help your product sell better in both platforms.

What’s more important to ask is how each platform aligns with your business goals. Are you trying to test the waters with your products to see how the market will react to it? Then Etsy would be a good option for this. Are you trying to make a name for yourself and grown your own brand? Then Shopify is the best venue for such.

Let’s dig a little deeper with three points comparison that most online sellers are concerned with: exposure, customization and price.

Comparing Etsy and Shopify:

  • Exposure – Etsy is already a massive brand with its own following. According to Etsy, the creative marketplace has 24 million buyers around the world is shopping for unique items from them. Shopify, on the other hand, is a platform that lets you set up your own ecommerce store. Meaning, you are starting as a new brand that may not have the same recognition as other big brand names. This also means you need to exert extra effort on your part to deliver traffic to your own website. In this regard, Etsy is the clear winner.
  • Customization – Etsy doesn’t give you much control over how your product will be displayed – except of course for the photos and the descriptions of the products. If you’re pretty savvy with web design and have preferences over the way your products are displayed, then Shopify may be the better option for you.
  • Pricing – Now this is the crux in the decision making for most online sellers in either platforms. The difference in pricing depends on how much you will be selling. There is no membership fee in Etsy but it does cost $0.20 to list an item for 4 months or until it sells. However, there is a 3.5% fee on the sales price. Shopify has a three-tiered pricing option: Basic is at $29 with a 2% transaction fee, Shopify is at $79 with a 1% transaction fee and Advanced Shopify is priced at $299 with a 0.5% transaction fee. So at the on-set, you already see that the basic difference is in your upfront cost. Etsy charges very little to get your products listed while you need to spend more on Shopify. Calculating overall cots will depend on how much is sold. Low volume businesses actually save more on Etsy but when the orders start coming in, expect to spend more with the high transaction cost. We found this article comparing fees for Etsy vs Shopify Fees based on volume and item price: Shopify vs Etsy Fees

Etsy and Shopify each have strong offerings to laser cut makers who want to start selling their products online. If you want to start building a following or trial your business idea, we suggest going for Etsy. If you’re already confident about your sales and think it’s time to level up on building your own brand, then make a move towards Shopify. There is no right or wrong answer when asking which is the better platform for selling your laser cut items, it’s really just a matter of strategy.

How to Successfully Sell Laser Cut Products Online

selling laser cut products online

Custom laser cut products can be a huge hit if you find the right market for it. While many brick-and-mortar stores and even big box retailers might love to put your products on their stands, the cost of selling through these channels are not always the most profitable. Your margin may shrink depending on what these merchants charge per sale — these may be based on a commission or a consignment fee. Starting your physical store for selling is even more costly. There is one channel where you can find success without a lot of fees or overhead costs eating into your profits: online selling.

Benefits of Online Selling: 

Aside from the revenue factor, other benefits of selling online include:

  1. Accessibility – Essentially, an online store is open 24/7 and anyone, anywhere in the world can access it to buy from you. On the flip side, you as a seller, can operate the business anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access and a reliable fulfilment partner like Ponoko.
  2. Measurability – There are many web analytics and ecommerce tracking systems now available to give you access to information you need to make smart decisions on the fly. Find out everything you need to know about your user demographics, website sessions, conversions, cart abandonment, time on site and more — data which is actionable and can help you achieve even more sales.
  3. Scalablity – When you know which products sell best, you can easily increase stock levels, direct marketing efforts towards specific products, diversify your product range or cross-sell and upsell as necessary.
  4. Flexibility – Making changes to your online store is usually very easy. This may mean adding deals of the day, putting products up for sale or on clearance, adding new products, changing prices and more. Unlike physical retail stores, there is no need to print expensive display materials to show your potential buyers these changes.
  5. Visibility – Online marketing and search engine optimization can give your marketing budget more mileage. You can do very specific targeting of your market — from geo-location to interest. With your store already being accessible from anywhere in the world, the right marketing investment can give you even more visibility to an audience that can actually convert into sales.

There you have it, five amazing benefits you can get from selling online. We’d love to hear from successful online sellers about their experience. Please share your experience in the comment below.