Bruce Fox Blog

Dave Miller

Recent Posts

They’re Looking For You, Are You There?

Posted by Dave Miller on Mar 1, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Read Time - 7 minutes


The promotional products industry is many things—it’s creative, it’s rewarding, it’s maddening, it’s filled with all kinds of interesting characters.  And it’s quite busy.

In fact, if you take the numbers from Counselor magazine’s 2016 “State of the Industry” issue, dividing the $22 billion in annual revenue by the $1,043 average order size, that means, as an industry, we are handling over 21 million orders per year.  21 million—that’s more than the poulation of the state of New York.  It’s a sh— I mean, uh…a lot.

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Tags: Challenges faced by distributors

The Entirely True Tale Of Bruce The Fox And The Seven Awards

Posted by Dave Miller on Feb 15, 2017 1:00:00 PM

 Read Time - 4 minutes


…in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a fair prince named Bruce.  Bruce was a fox who lived in a castle with a real moat and everything.  As foxes go, Bruce was the clever variety, not the smarmy and sly type so common to this particular genre of literature.  That sort of stereotype is not what Bruce The Fox is all about.  Like I said, Bruce was a fair prince.  Let’s just leave it at that.

 

As the CEO of all the land, it was Bruce The Fox’s job to present the annual award to the best storyteller in the kingdom.  And tonight was the big night, as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were slated to receive this year’s award.  Right after Dan Marino’s keynote address.  It was a big night indeed!

 

But, alas, Bruce The Fox was flummoxed.  In a way that foxes rarely are.  Having contemplated his bemusement with the word flummox, he turned to his mirror and said, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what shall I present at this night’s ball?”   The mirror said nothing.  It’s a mirror, after all, and mirrors don’t talk, even if foxes do.

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Tags: Benefits for the end clients

A Shortcut To 27 Years Of Acquired Knowledge

Posted by Dave Miller on Feb 1, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Read Time -  5 minutes


I don’t really feel like writing an introduction, and I’ve exceeded my threshold of word count according to the little word-county-thingie at the bottom of the page.  And I didn’t really feel like finding a suitable image for this post either—I’m writing this in the morning, and I guess I’m hungry.  So let’s shortcut to my shortcut of knowledge gleaned from nearly 27 years on the job. 

Cutting through the jargon, I have learned there are a number of things that mean something much different than what you might think:

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Tags: Objections posed by distributors

Stop, Collaborate And Listen

Posted by Dave Miller on Jan 25, 2017 1:05:00 PM

Read Time - 6 Minutes



I was stopped at a red light near our office and factory, pointed south at the intersection of Grant Line Road and Mt. Tabor Road, a moderately busy intersection in New Albany, Indiana.  I happened to be first in line in the left lane, so I had a clear view of the woman in the car across from me, heading the opposite direction.

She was busy texting.

The light turned green for us both, and I proceded through the intersection while she sat at her green light.  She was still busy texting. 

As I made my way through the intersection, an oncoming car was moving along at a pretty good clip.  I could see, as he passed, that he was busy texting.

The screeching of tires cued me to check the sideview mirror just in time to see the ensuing collision, accompanied by the unmistakable sound of metal and plastic ramming into metal and plastic.  Like a garbage can full of Legos being dropped from 10 feet onto concrete.

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Tags: Objections posed by distributors

Conversation Piece: How Custom Awards Can Resolve Common Conflicts

Posted by Dave Miller on Dec 7, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Read Time - 6  Minutes



In the history of modern satirical magazines, it can be said that Alfred E. Neuman, Mad Magazine’s ridiculous cover boy, was the genre’s Founding Father.

First published in 1952, Mad’s lineage includes National Lampoon (1969) and The Onion (1988.)   Growing up (using the term quite loosely) in the 70’s, the shag-carpeted floors of our house were littered with various Lego, Matchbox cars, Wacky Packages…and Mad Magazines.  The Fold-In was an ingenious regular feature.  Don Martin—with due respect to the likes of Tex Avery and Chuck Jones—was the preeminent cartoonist of the time.

And, of course, Mad Magazine gave us Spy vs. Spy.

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Tags: Challenges faced by distributors

5 Ways Plymouth Rock Rocks (And 22 “Rock” Songs)

Posted by Dave Miller on Nov 23, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Read Time - 6 Minutes


You should be thankful.

Yes, for family...for friends…for health…blah, blah, blah.  What I really mean is you should be thankful this blog contains not one but TWO lists!  Lucky you!

Dialing back to when I was creating the schedule for these blog articles, I got to this spot on the calendar, and I was trying to find a way to tie in recognition awards to something related to Thanksgiving.  So I hashed through some obvious symbols.  Pilgrims?  Nah.  The first feast?  Yawn.  Cornucopia?  Hmmm…maybe.  How cranberries were originally known as crane berries?  Pretty obscure—not bad, but not sure what the connection might be.

So, much like the Mayflower Pilgrims, I settled on Plymouth Rock.  Which I’ll get into in a bit.

But FIRST, a bit of self-indulgence!  (It can’t really be self-indulgent if it’s not first.)  Since it was April at the time I came up with that, I can’t really say I had my turkey on.  So I didn’t really embrace the seasonal aspect of Thanksgiving as it pertains to Plymouth Rock.  Instead, I kept circling back to the word “rock”.  Which naturally (at least in my mind) led me to think of songs with the word rock in the title.  Which led me to creating a list of them.  Which will lead to the voice in your head singing these songs for the rest of the day.  Sorry, not sorry!

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Tags: Benefits for the end clients

7 Product Enhancements Your Awards Customers May Not Know They Want (Originally posted July 13th)

Posted by Dave Miller on Nov 16, 2016 12:00:00 PM



Hey, let’s go to the beach!

Sure, lemme just grab a few things.  Can’t just go to the beach unprepared.  Let’s see…towels, sunglasses, lotion, something to read, phone (can’t escape entirely), iPod and headphones.  Chairs and umbrella.  Football and paddle game.  Boogie board.  What else?  Cooler!  Beverages, ice…we’ll need to stop off to get some.  Snacks, of course.  Wallet, hat…and a wheel barrow to haul it all out there.

We all have “The Beach List”—essentials that enhance our seaside experience.  But, as a promotional products pro, do you have the same kind of list when it comes to providing awards to your customers?  Are you making the best of the opportunity?  Do you know how you can make the experience better for your client and the award recipients?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know the answers—your customer probably doesn’t know either.  But here’s a cheat sheet to help you along.  When you share these ideas, you might get a “I didn’t think of that” or two:

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Tags: Sales tools for distributors, Benefits for the end clients

Custom Awards: Make It Special…Make It A Pay Day

Posted by Dave Miller on Oct 26, 2016 1:30:00 PM

Read Time - 4 Minutes


If you happened to have just awakened from a coma and you don’t know what day it is, there are two places you can go to know it’s nearly Halloween.

One is Home Depot.  If your home center is trading its patio furniture for a forest of artificial Christmas trees, you can be assured that trick or treaters are preparing for their assault on our neighborhoods.

The other place is your grocery store of choice.  In October, candy corn—seemingly unavailable any other time of year—is quite abundant.  In fact, I’m certain 99% of candy corn sales happen in the month of October.  (I’m equally certain 99% of candy corn is discarded in the month of November.)  So if it’s in the stores, it’s definitely closing in on Halloween.

Ahhh, candy corn…the ubiquitous and polarizing Halloween staple.  When it comes to candy corn—like cilantro or presidential candidates—either you “is” or you “isn’t” in terms of your preference.  Not much gray area in between.  But what can’t be debated is the fact candy corn is… well, no offense to the “is” faction… rather …uh… ordinary… unexciting… mundane.  Okay, it’s damn boring!

But wait!  There is hope for our Cinderella of candies before midnight strikes and the pumpkin (not coincidentally) takes her away for another year.  The answer?  Salted peanuts.  The formula is simple: 

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Selling Recognition Awards: Stop Pitching

Posted by Dave Miller on Oct 19, 2016 11:23:57 AM

Read Time - 7 Minutes


The World Series starts next week, and even though my team was out of it before May 1st, I’ll still be watching in earnest.  Why?  Because I’m a baseball geek. 

I’m one of those that knows why the Dodgers are called the Dodgers.  I know there is only one player to play for (and have a hit for) two different teams in two different cities on the same day—and both hits were off of future Hall of Fame pitchers.  And I know the oddity that is the player’s uniform depicted above.  Why?  Because I am a baseball geek. 

So much so, in fact, that I’ve coupled our “20 Questions” recognition sales tool to the game and its history—associating the list of 20 pointers to corresponding uniform numbers of players in Major League Baseball history.  Why?  Because I’m a baseball geek.

If you’ve ever played 20 Questions, you know you can identify nearly anything if you ask the right questions. 

Creating an effective recognition program begins with the initial dialog with your client.  This phase of the sales process not only initiates a proper course of action for the project, but positions you as a subject matter expert for custom recognition awards.  Most importantly, perhaps, is that it creates a forum for the client’s voice.  

Center the discussion on the client’s needs, and keep the conversation going.  And, like this season’s Cincinnati Reds bullpen, stop pitching!

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Tags: Sales tools for distributors

Funnel Vision: Changing The Buying Process

Posted by Dave Miller on Oct 12, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Read Time - 3 Minutes



The last thing my 11-year old daughter needs is a megaphone.  Pretty much the entire western hemisphere is within earshot if she chooses to be heard.  And without the aid of any amplifying device.

So it’s not unusual for me to intervene in an attempt to turn down her volume, as was the case the other evening.  For whatever reason—I gave up asking why a long time ago—she was outside, “singing” into the narrow end of a funnel normally reserved for bird feeder fill-ups, directing her boosted voice at no one in particular.  Except perhaps anyone within a three-mile radius.

“Have mercy, child!” I managed over the din.  “Can you maybe dial it down?  Try more James Taylor and less Ozzy Ozbourne.”  But, alas, her crazy train could not be derailed.

So I exercised the only remaining option:  I went back inside.  And thought about funnels, of course.  And how they can be used.  Or used differently.  Which made me think about Devo.  (It’s how my mind works, don’t judge!)

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Tags: Sales tools for distributors