Choosing the Right Promotional Product

Posted July 19th, 2010 by in Marketing

When choosing promotional items, you want to make sure that you’ve chosen the right product for your business’ needs. There are several factors you should consider when doing so.

We recommend taking the following items into consideration:

Cost: Make a budget and stick to it. Promotional products can be as inexpensive or expensive as you want them to be. When you have a budget, you can make better buying decisions. Keep in mind some logowear brands, like a Nike Golf polo, for example, might be more expensive than an alternative brand. We will work with you to make sure you get the most for your money.

Quantity: On some promotional items, there can be quantity restrictions. In most instances, when you order more, you can typically save more money. However, if you aren’t going to use 10,000 hats, there is no use in ordering 10,000 hats. You might be better off ordering 5,000 t-shirts that you know people will wear, especially if you have had luck with certain items in the past. A good way to test quantity is to order a small amount first. If USB flash drives go over well with your target audience, you might want to stay with USB flash drives as a promotional giveaway in the future.

Convenience: When you choose an item, you want it to be convenient. If people are attending trade shows, no one wants to carry around bulky, awkward items. Opt for something that is convenient for the location and event. Your customers will thank you when they don’t have to make a special trip to Fed-Ex something home.

Use: If you are giving away travel coffee mugs, do you know if your customer is a coffee drinker? If they are at a computer all day, will a mousepad come more in handy? Knowing your customers will help you choose the right product. You want them to receive a useful item so you can help keep your business top of mind when they go to use it. If you aren’t sure about what product would work best for you, we can help.

Advantages of Using a Print Broker

Posted July 8th, 2010 by in News

In addition to the promotional products we sell, printing is another segment of our business that many of our customers can benefit in more ways than one. As a print broker, The Cerium Group offers a variety of print materials for all of your business needs, that sometimes, other printing companies can’t offer.

The printing industry has changed over the last decade. There is more of a presence with larger printing companies that are well-capitalized and have good equipment, and can produce high-volume print jobs. It’s a benefit for the consumer because now you have more options, more competition which makes price more competitive and as a result, over time because of this phenomenon, print jobs have reduced significantly in cost.

As a print broker, we have increased access to the best pricing for printed items. When using a traditional printer, sometimes they can’t offer specific products or services, or they have to outsource them which increases the cost for you, the customer. The Cerium Group can get you the best price on envelopes with one company, but that company might not have the best pricing in business cards. We will look to find another company that offers the best pricing for business cards. Our ability to use multiple printers saves you money because we do the comparison shopping. Our overhead is low, so we keep staffing costs down, which helps make prices lower. With a broker, we also cut out the work for businesses by eliminating the need to request dozens of price quotes for an item that needs printed. At the click of a button or through a simple phone call, we take care of this for you. As the customer, you save time and money because we will work to make sure you get the best price with the least amount of hassle.

When using a broker the turnaround time, or the time in which is needed to produce a printed item from start to finish, isn’t that of a “quick print” place.  Normally, there needs to be some lead time to plan, especially when a printed proof, or example of the printed copy, needs approved. Planning for lead time is important when using a broker. However, some print jobs can be rushed, but that can drive up the cost for the customer. By giving the broker lead time, you help keep your costs down. As with most printers or brokers, if you want paper samples, specific inks or other specified items and want samples, there can be a time constraint as well.

Go Green When You Print

Posted June 28th, 2010 by in News

Environmental concern and impact on business is on the forefront of many business owners’ minds. When it comes to implementing “green” practices in an organization, one of the easiest ways to get started is by using eco-friendly printing options for everyday business needs.

Eco-friendly printing involves the use of alternative inks, including soy-based inks in lieu of petroleum-based inks, and replacing traditional chlorine-bleached paper with recycled paper. Many recycled papers are now available in similar varieties to their chlorine-bleached counterpart.

Printing on recycled paper and using alternative inks reduces the overall impact on the environment. It reduces the impact on our nation’s forestry resources, and reduces air and water pollution.  According to the United Nations, industrialized nations, including the U.S., make up roughly 20 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 87 percent of the world’s printing and writing papers.

Moving your business in a “greener” printing direction doesn’t have to be expensive. Many business owners avoid eco-friendly printing options because they think it can be more expensive than traditional print methods. Depending on a variety of factors, like the type of print project and quantity, it can be cheaper in some instances.

When looking for ways to “green” your next print job, consider the following:

1) Paper: Ask about post-consumer recycled paper or tree-free alternatives. Look for bleach-free or chlorine-free paper.
2) Inks: Ask about soy-based inks or vegetable inks. These are easier to remove when recycling paper. They also use less energy to produce.
3) Design: Maximize the use of space on your print job design. You don’t want it to be cluttered, but you also want to get the most information on the least amount of paper and ink as possible.

To learn more about eco-friendly print practices, contact The Cerium Group.

Springfield in Full Bloom

Posted June 23rd, 2010 by in News

The Cerium Group teamed up with the Springfield in Full Bloom initiative by creating and donating a custom Kiosk system for the committee’s logowear needs. “Springfield in Full Bloom” is the local branded name for the nationwide 2010 America in Bloom competition program in which Springfield, Ohio is participating.

Springfield in Full Bloom’s goal is to build and foster community pride, as the area in which people live reflects upon the individuals, businesses and organizations of that community. America in Bloom is a nationwide competition that concentrates on community efforts toward tidiness, environment, heritage preservation and community involvement. The program promotes nationwide beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements in cities across the U.S.

As a business, The Cerium Group is committed to its ongoing efforts in supporting local initiatives that help make Springfield a great place to live, work, play and visit. Helping Springfield move forward is important to The Cerium Group, because it’s not only where we do business, but it’s where our families and many customers live. There are many anticipated developments occurring in the Greater Springfield area over the next five years, and the Springfield in Full Bloom initiative is one of the first opportunities in a series of many that will are going to be occurring in the area. The completion of Greater Springfield Regional Medical Center, groundbreaking of the Hollenbeck-Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center at the Clark State Performing Arts Center,  and the development of greenspace areas in the downtown area are creating exciting changes in Springfield, and as a local business, we’re excited to be a part of the changes.

Taking The Weight Off of Your Shoulders: A User-Friendly Guide to Paper Weights

Posted June 22nd, 2010 by in News

Paper weights tend to be a confusing topic for people who are not in the printing business. Paper weight is not how much the piece of paper actually weighs, but rather the thickness or sturdiness of the paper. The weight is measured in U.S. pounds, often abbreviates as lb. or lbs. 500 sheets of a given type of paper determines the number in weight.  The basic size of the paper determines its category type.

The different types are classified in multiple ways:

  • Bond paper = 20 lb.  bond (ex. office copy paper)
  • Translucent bond paper = 29 lb. bond (ex. basic envelopes)
  • Writing paper = 24 lb. bond (ex. stationery)
  • Text paper = 50 -120 lb. text (ex. brochure or flyer)
  • Cover paper = 50 – 130 lb. cover (ex. business or greeting card)

When choosing the weight of paper necessary for a specific product, the amount of ink that will be used is something to keep in mind. The paper weight has virtually little to no effect on the quality of the image, but a project with a heavier amount of ink would require a heavier type of paper. Different projects require different weights. It’s best to consult with a professional, like a Cerium Group staff member, to see what would be the most economical, efficient and quality paper solution dependent upon your needs.

It’s Not Always Black and White: An Explanation of 4-Color Printing

Posted June 15th, 2010 by in Marketing

The 4-color print process is exactly what its name entails: there are four colors used in the process. More commonly referred to as CMYK-printing, this type of printing uses colors including cyan, magenta, yellow and key black. The process involves the initial separation of four colors and the eventual combination of the four different colored images on a printing press.

You may find that the 4-color printing process is significantly more beneficial for your product if you are interested in having access to a vast color spectrum. Since this particular process offers four colors, the different types of color combinations are endless.  With the 2-color process, your color choices remain minimal due to the fact that typically only black and one other color can be used.

Accuracy is another benefit that comes with the 4-color print process. If the press is used correctly and print files are accurate, this almost guarantees that your finished product will be exactly like the initial drafted concept. Graphics are necessary for a printed product instead of just words. The 4-color printing process makes the use of graphics more flexible and gives you better detail on the final product than other processes

In the past, photographers had to separate colors with colored filters for their pictures when printing. Now, there are desktop publishing systems that offer the capability to separate colors like Adobe Creative Suite. It’s easier now more than ever with today’s technology to create great looking, quality printed pieces for a fraction of the cost compared to the past.

For more information on the print process, visit www.theceriumgroup.com.

“Kids helping Kids” Haiti Benefit Concert

Posted February 10th, 2010 by in News

Due to weather ….. we did not participate Sat. Feb 6th but look forward to Sat Feb 13  working with Fellowship Christian Church leader, Karen Flaugher @ the Upper Valley Mall providing free T-shirts for every $20 donated to rebuild the “House of Hope Orphanage” in Haiti. We believe the T-Shirts, “Kids helping Kids” sends a valuable message of “thanks” to the young people in our community – reaching out to the young people in Haiti. They will have a Free Concert performed by kids 6 – 17 years old …. Thanks for letting us be a part of this community concert.  Tracy and Lynette will be volunteering … come by to see them !

Haiti Benefit Concert “kids helping kids”

Posted February 5th, 2010 by in News

The Cerium Group is looking forward to working with Karen Flaugher Sat Feb 6 @ the Upper Valley Mall providing a free T-shirt for every $20 donated to rebuild the “House of Hope Orphanage” in Haiti. We believe the T-Shirts, “Kids helping Kids” sends a valuable message of “thanks” to the young people in our community – reaching out to the young people in Haiti. Thanks for letting us be a part of this free community concert to watch local children perform.  Tracy Dunsdon and Lynette Amato will be volunteering … come by to see them !

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year 2010

Posted February 5th, 2010 by in News

This has been a really cool year for us, in addition to being nominated for the Wittenberg Entrepeneurial Business Award we have also been nominated for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year for 2010!

We have some awesome competition, including Littleton & Rue Funeral Home, Springboard Group and Gillam Lawncare & Landscaping.

The Small Business of the Year award will be presented at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on February 25th, along with awards for Business of the Year and Minority Owned Business of the Year.

Thanks again to all of our customers and vendors as this recognition would not be possible without all of you!

How We Use Social Media…

Posted January 27th, 2010 by in Marketing

I am often asked, because I have gotten to a little over 1200 followers on Twitter (@ceriumgroup if interested), how we use Twitter…and social media in general.

First, I have to give credit to David Zak, Vice President of Economic Development at the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, for much of what drives our philosophy on using social media for our business.  He has been and remains a bit of a pioneer in our community on using these types of communication mediums.

We seek to accomplish a few primary things through social media:

1.  Be generous – promote things our customers want people to be aware of or significant development or happenings with them.

2.  Deliver value – provide useful content about the use of promotional products, printing and apparel or marketing in general.

3.  Keep people up to date – distribute the blog or links to our Elements email about new developments, Kiosk updates, award nominations, staff happenings or anything else happening at Cerium.

4.  Get personal – mix in who we are as people to allow you to get to know us on a deeper level.

Using these 4 main objectives, we have developed an editorial calendar that dictates we will distribute “Elements from The Cerium Group” monthly to deliver offers to our customers as well as a weekly blog entry and ongoing updates based on what’s going on to our accounts on Twitter, Facebook etc.

Our market is changing, getting younger every day and it will continue to change from here to eternity.  Most folks are transitioning from getting their news, content on topics that interest them etc. from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and the like.  As a result of this, when you develop content, you need to distribute it into those places because there are groups of people that prefer one over the other.  You need to be sure you have the content where people are looking.

While our plan on the use of these communication platforms will continue to evolve, it will always be derived out of our foundational desire to deliver value to our customers.