Tariffs Are Here. What Does That Mean to YOU?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

how tariffs will affect promotional products

One of the most talked about topics in the last few months in the promotional products world has been Tariffs.  It’s been talked about because it can and WILL affect your marketing.

Our goal at Hasseman Marketing is to keep you up to date with what you need to know…so let’s dig into what this means for you and your marketing budget moving forward.

Previously, I wrote a blog post about how tariffs will affect your marketing. You can find that post Here. 

Just as a reminder, at my most recent visit to the PPAI Expo in January, tariffs were the talk of the show. When it comes to branded merchandise, a huge percentage of the items that are sold in the industry are imported from China. I mentioned in the previous blog post that the “pricing could change.”

And that price IS changing.

David Nicholson from PCNA (one of the largest suppliers in the Promo industry) released a statement on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Currently, this is what we know.

  • Tariffs on the existing $200 Billion of Chinese imports will increase from 10% to 25% effective June 1st (for shipments made prior to May 10th).
  • The 25% tariff impacts the product categories originally included in the 10% tariff regulations that were enacted last September. The major categories relevant to our industry are: Bags and Stationery products, and portions of Drinkware, Technology and other Accessory categories.
  • The US Trade Representative announced Monday that the US has begun the formal process to expand the 25% tariff to all other imports from China (i.e. those currently not subject to tariffs).
  • This represents an additional $300+ billion of imports from China and would cover a large majority of product categories sold in our industry. The public hearing and comment period end June 24th – so the expanded range of tariff categories would not be imposed until after that date.

As I said, we at Hasseman Marketing want to be a great source of information for you and your team.  Whether it be a great idea for posting on social media, tips on video or the trends and news of the day, we want to be a resource.

So what does this mean to you?

It means, quite likely, the price of promotional merchandise that you purchase will be rising. Now is a good time to start thinking about the items you are using to promote your brand.  Here are a couple of questions to consider.

  1. Are you completely happy with the items you have been using?  If the answer is yes, then the price increase might be acceptable.
  2. Can we look at new options that could better fit into the budget moving forward?
  3. Are there domestically made products that might fit our needs?  We are going to be creating a list of some cool products that are made in the U.S. for you and your organization to consider.  Be on the look out soon!

If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we can discuss it! Make sure you never miss an update!  Sign up to become a VIP here.

How To Start A Podcast

Reading Time: 4 minutes

how to start a podcast

Podcasting has become an amazing and popular way to communicate your message and build your brand.  It’s easy to get started.  And, when done right, it is an extremely personal way to communicate to your audience.  They really get to know you and your point of view.  So how do you get started podcasting?  Today we will cover some basics…and what has worked for me.

I started podcasting nearly 3 years ago.  Though I have done podcasts on my own, I have found the most success with other people.  I enjoy the interaction and it helps to keep me accountable to be consistent.

unScripted Podcast

I record the unScripted podcast with my buddy Bill Petrie every week.  We talk about topics in the marketing and branding world and release the podcast every Friday.  The unScripted podcast is designed to give our honest, unedited opinion on the topics that are relevant at the moment.  What I love about this podcast is that it truly is off the cuff.  I don’t know what Bill is going to bring up and he is in the dark about my topics. It’s fun.  And the audience seems to respond to this authenticity as well.  We have won a few awards for the podcast, and that is rewarding.  But it’s a fun and fairly easy way to create conversation and to build our brand.  You can find the unScripted Podcast at PromoCorner every week.  We have also added it to our website on the blog page as well.

He Said She Said Podcast

More recently, my wife Amy and I have started a weekly podcast called He Said She Said.  Because of our diverse interests, people are often curious about what we are doing.  We thought this might be a way to give people a “behind the scenes” look.  Amy and I talk about a “trending topic” each week and give people insight into what we are working on.  We also try to provide a lesson of some kind and we give a weekly “shout out” to someone we are inspired by.  It’s a fun new podcast and you can find it on our Soundcloud channel or just simply come to our blog each and every week.

So those are our current podcasts…so how do you get started?  Let’s dig into that.


One thing that hangs people up on podcasting is the idea that you need a ton of equipment to get started.  You don’t.  Sure, the better the equipment, the better the sound.  The better the sound, the better it is for your listener.  That is true.  But don’t let that stop you from just getting started.  Your laptop has a microphone built in.  That’s not the best, but it records!  If you want a better microphone but do not want to break the bank, the one I recommend is the Blue Snowball USB microphone.  It plugs right into your computer and gives really good sound.  There are always ways to upgrade.  Now that I have been at it a bit longer, I use this Yeti Blue Snowball and I love it.  But to get you off the ground, this is a great start!


The other concern I hear from people who are interested in starting a podcast is, “will I need new software to get started?”  The answer is “yes” and “no.”  You will (most likely) need something to edit your audio file.  But the level of editing will vary greatly depending on the kind of podcast.  If you are doing something like our unScripted podcast, we pride ourselves on the fact that editing is minimal.  If you do a quick google search you can find all kinds of audio editing software.  But I like to keep it simple.  We have Final Cut X, so that is what we use.  I have talked to many people who can get started by using iMovie or Moviemaker to get their podcasts off the ground.  Again…keep it simple.  Get started and you will learn what works and where you need to upgrade.


Once you have recorded your podcast, and then edited it into a finished product, you will need to host it somewhere.  In other words, where will you upload it so someone can find it and listen.  Again, there are lots of options. The one I use the most is Soundcloud.  We upload most of our content there and then we have set up rss feeds to send the podcast to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and other places where most people listen.  The other app that I kind of like is Anchor.  What I like about that format is, they make it easy to record directly to your phone and upload directly from there.  Although that won’t create podcasts that are nearly as produced, it does get rid of some of the production hurdles that stop so many people.

Point of View

Beyond the equipment, I think it’s even more important to establish what you are going to talk about.  Do you have a topic where you are a true expert?  Are you in an industry where you can help people?  Do you want to highlight your community?  Whatever your topic is going to be, I think it’s important to have a clear direction.  No one wants to listen to someone drone on with no coherent thought.  Think out what you want to cover.  In addition, have an opinion.   You don’t need to be a “shock jock.”  But so many people are afraid to say anything that might be perceived as controversial.  So…they say nothing at all.


There is no set answer to how long a podcast should be.  That’s the beauty of podcasting.  People listen to it as they have time.  Think about how you listen to them.  You might be in the office, or in the car, or you might be working out.  I generally am a fan of brevity…especially when starting out.  You don’t want to make something longer just for the sake of it.  Say what you need to say…then stop talking.

Getting Started

The biggest lesson I would like to share with you is, you need to get started.  So many of us wait until the mythical time when everything is perfect.  We don’t want to start until we have everything figured out.  That time will never come.  In addition, the way you “figure it out” is by starting.  You create a podcast.  You listen (and you might even cringe a bit).  Then you adjust and get better.  Rinse and repeat.

If I can help you or answer any questions on how to get started, please email me here.  I am happy to help.  I can’t wait to hear about your podcast…and your journey along the way.

P.S.  As a cool side note, I was invited to be a part of the 100th Episode of the Your Living Brand podcast.  You can listen to that here.

Make sure you never miss an update.  Sign up for our VIP list here.

Justin Mullens Joins Hasseman Marketing

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mullens Takes On New Digital Brand Manager Position

(Coshocton, OH)—Coshocton based marketing firm and promotional products distributor Hasseman Marketing & Communications is growing again.  Hasseman Marketing is excited to welcome Justin Mullens to their team.  Mullens joins Hasseman Marketing after working for the last ten years at Spectrum Cable and will take over a new position called Digital Brand Manager.

“We are so excited to welcome Justin to the team,” says owner Kirby Hasseman.  “He has a great personality and I am excited to have him start working with our clients to help them grow their brand.

The Digital Brand manager is a new position for Hasseman Marketing.  In his duties here, Mullens will work with clients that utilize marketing services and social media management from Hasseman Marketing.  He will manage social media accounts, create video content and work to “story tell” online.

Justin has been a resident of Coshocton County his entire life.  Justin Mullens has completed his third studying Digital Marketing and is starting his senior year at Full Sail University. Fueled by his outstanding work ethic and desire to learn more, he enrolled into an accelerated bachelor’s degree program.  Throughout his high school learning, Justin worked at the local bowling center developing the communication and personable skills required to work with the public. From there, he became a technician with Spectrum Cable and has obtained superior communications, leadership and problem-solving skills in high pressure situations.

“It is an honor to be joining Hasseman Marketing, and I am excited to work with such a wonderful team. The “Marketing Joy” Kirby and team delivers is second to none, and I am excited to surround myself with that energy. As a team, great things happen, and great things are ahead at Hasseman Marketing!”

Hasseman Marketing headquarters is located at 432 Main Street in Coshocton, Ohio.  They can be found online at www.HassemanMarketing.com.  In addition, you can follow them on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/hassemanmarketing.  

For more updates from Hasseman Marketing, sign up for their VIP newsletter.  You can sign up here.

Giving First with Promotional Products!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

“For it is in giving that we receive.” ―St. Francis of Assisi

We are in a “Give First Economy.” 

I believe this in my bones.  We even talk about this here…and some ways to succeed in this space.  But how can we talk about Succeeding in the Gift First Economy without talking about creating “marketing joy” with Promotional Products?  You can’t.  So let’s dig into how to “give first” with Promo.

Created in back in the late 1800’s, Promotional Products are often an overlooked part of the marketing tool box.  There are even some college professors that refuse to talk about Promo when it comes to marketing classes.  This is short sighted, small-minded and frankly irresponsible.

Why?  Because Promotional Products Work…and it’s not just my opinion.  Study after study is proving it to be true.  So much so, that I wrote an entire book (Delivering Marketing Joy) on the subject.  I don’t want to “re-litigate” the entire argument here.  But I will include this one sections from the book here.

I am sure every form of advertising is accused of “not working.”  As I heard once, “Just because you can’t put the ball in the basket, doesn’t mean there’s a problem with basketball.  Maybe you’re just not good at it.”

Promotional Products do work. 

Many of us have known this for years.  But more studies are coming out all of the time that proves it.  That’s the best thing about marketers getting more interested in measuring ROI.  We are getting facts to back up the theory.  Here are just a few from a study released in 2010:

*Of 1000 people surveyed that had received a promotional product, 89% could recall the advertiser.  Say that out loud people.  The name of the game in advertising is to create customer recall.  Nearly 90% is a number that you might want to know when you are figuring your budget.

*14.7% of participants reported contacting the advertiser after receiving the promotional product.  That is nearly 3 times greater than other media.

When done right, promotional products are incredibly effective.  The more the facts stack up, it’s just hard to argue.

Work Too Well?

The great irony is the other side of the coin is it can be argued these products work too well.  Don’t believe me?  Well look no further than the laws written to limit the amount of promotional materials that can be given in the healthcare industry to Doctors.  These laws were put in place because Big Pharmaceutical companies were creating “undue influence” over these Physicians.  Now some will argue that these laws were put in place because of free trips, game tickets, and extravagant dinners.

Maybe so.

But then why legislate the kinds of products that can be given to doctors’ offices?  To put it simply, these laws were created because promotional products were having a huge influence on healthcare decisions.

The goal of any marketing campaign is to affect behavior change.  When you can implement a campaign so effective that it needs to be legislated…you may want to consider that strategy to promote your organization!

Promotional products have been around since the late 1800’s and I think sometimes this is part of the reason the results are discounted.  Everyone wants to know the newest, hottest ways to reach customers.  You should!

But don’t sleep on the power of promotional products.  Now more than ever, you need to include them in your marketing mix.

If Promotional Products work so well…how can you use them to help you grow in the Give First Economy?  Let’s dig into that.

Marketing They Say “Thank You” For

As we like to say in the promotional world, when you create a Promotional campaign that works, your customers and prospects will thank you for your advertising!  No disrespect to radio, or TV, or newspaper, or social media…but no one thanks you for advertising there!

So how do you create a Promo Campaign that works and resonates in the Give First Economy?  Here are just four things to consider to make sure you hit the mark.

Don’t Just Go Cheap

Probably the biggest mistake I see businesses of all shapes and sizes making is considering your promo ONLY on price.  Of course, your budget has to be a part of the discussion!  It should be.  But just like in EVERY other area of your life, price should not be the only piece of information you consider.

If you are shopping for a car, most people do not just look at price. You consider the features you are interested in.  You think about the reputation of the dealership.  You consider whether you want to drive lots of miles (so gas mileage might factor in) or if you will be going off road or driving in the snow.  If you only consider price, you will likely get a vehicle you are unhappy with.  You want a vehicle that is a good value.  It should meet your needs AND fit in your budget.

When you are considering a promotional piece, think about that item being a very real and tangible representative of your brand…because it is.

Consider Where It Will Be Used

Now that you have decided to create a promotional piece that is not just a cheap piece of junk (we all thank you), you should consider how and where the item will be used.  Do you want your prospects or customers to have your branding around their office?  Is that where these decisions are made?  What about the kitchen?  You would be surprised how many decisions are made there.  Regardless, you need to consider your customer and where you can bring them value.  When you spend just a little time to do that, you can come up with a promotional piece that is used, appreciated and valued for years to come!

Consider Advertising Versus Branding

Next, consider what you are trying to accomplish with the promotional piece.  Sometimes, you want to provide your customers and prospects information where they can reach you.  Maybe (and I am just spit-balling here) you are a pizza place and you create a dry erase board for your best clients.  You want them to place this on the fridge and have your phone number, website, etc. in front of them all the time.  Great.  This is more of an advertising or direct marketing approach.

But sometimes you just want to create more brand affinity…and there is a ton of power in that.  You might want to create a super soft, comfy and cool t-shirt.  This warm piece reminds your customers of their feelings for your brand every time they put it on.  You aren’t going to plaster your phone number all over the t-shirt (seriously, please don’t).  With a piece like this, you create more brand recognition.  Done right, they will remember you.

By the way, neither of these is wrong.  But it’s important to understand what you are trying to accomplish when you begin.

Make It A Thank You Gift

One of my rules in sales is to (occasionally) go to your clients and prospects when you are NOT asking them for money!  As entrepreneurs, salespeople and marketers, we are often guilty of following the rule of Glengarry Glen Ross.  Remember that scene from the movie when Alec Baldwin declares “Coffee is for Closers!”

Baldwin stands at the chalkboard and yells at his underperforming sales team and shows them the ABC’s of Selling.

A:  Always

B:  Be

C:  Closing.

I disagree.

Promotional Products can be the perfect way to go to a client with a marketing gift just to say “thank you.”  Going to your client, on a regular basis, with a simple “thank you” and a small token of your appreciation for their support, will go a long way toward creating a long and profitable relationship.

Simply put, giving first is all about creating value for your customers and prospects.  The best promotional campaigns are designed to do just that.

As always, we want to help you.  If you want to join our VIP newsletter so you can have access to all of the content on a weekly basis, you can sign up here.  Oh…and it might make sense to bookmark our blog page where all of our content comes out!

The New Website Is Here

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We are so excited to welcome you to our new and improved website!  At Hasseman Marketing, we work hard to provide our customers and prospects value, and we hope our new site is better designed to do just that.  On the other hand, we wanted to keep some of the personality that made our old site fun!  So let’s talk a bit about what you are going to find today…and moving forward!

We Are A Media Company:  I talk all of the time with our clients that “everyone is a media company” today.  I wrote this post last year and talked about my commitment to that.  But the fact is, though we create more content than most companies, we had it all over the place on the web.  This new and improved site has nearly all of our content in one place.  We have our blog on the site, which we have always had.  But you can also find Delivering Marketing Joy, my Day in the Life VLOG, and several podcasts…all right here!  My goal is to have a new piece of content on this page nearly every day!

Showcasing Our Services: Believe it or not, our old site did not have all of the things that we offered on it!  We want to fix that.  Now each of the areas where we can serve your business, has a dedicated page on the site.  Want to learn about our in house print offerings?  You can learn about that here.  Want to know how we can help you with video?  You can find that here.  And new to our services, we are now offering Web Development Services too!  We are excited to have Eric Dingler help us with this new service.  If you want to learn about this, you can find more information here.

As a side note, each of these services needs more detail…but that will be coming soon!

Contacting Our Team:  We always have fun with our About Us page, and this one is no different.  We included some testimonials from some great clients AND we have information about each of our great team members…and how to contact them!  You can find that page here.

So that’s what I think!  What do YOU think?  Let me know.  We are excited to continue to evolve and grow to serve you better!

Make sure you never miss an update!  Each week we send ONE email to catch you up on all of the content of the week.  You can get on our VIP list by signing up here.

How Tariffs Will Affect Your Marketing

Reading Time: 2 minutes

hasseman marketing tariffs

One of my goals with this blog is to provide value to those that read it…and make sure we, as a company, help to keep you informed.  Whether we show the latest promotional merchandise, or keep you up to date on trends, we want to help you in your marketing and branded merchandise efforts.

That’s why I want to talk about Tariff’s today.  Wait!  Don’t click away or fall asleep!  I will keep it brief!

As I mentioned in this recent blog, at the PPAI Expo (the largest promotional trade show in our industry) Tariffs were the talk of the show.  Everyone is talking about them, worrying about them, and asking questions about them.  Why?  Because when it comes to branded merchandise, a huge percentage of the items that are sold in the industry are imported from China.   This is such a concern that there are suppliers in our industry that have printed their entire catalog without putting in pricing!  Why?  Even those that have included pricing have included less information or large disclaimers saying that “pricing could change.”

So what does that mean to you?

It means, quite simply, if you use branded merchandise, your budget very likely could be affected.   This is not a threat or a political statement.  It’s just a fact.  If the tariffs continue, the price of your promotional material will go up.

So what can you do?

There are a couple of things I am recommending.

1.  Begin to adjust expectations.  As you move into 2019, just understand that the pricing for promotional items are in flux.  If there are items that you order regularly, you might want to stock up a bit or check in on pricing.

2.  Consider domestic options.  Though I do not expect to see American manufacturers of promotional items start popping up everywhere, I do expect an uptick for those that already are here.  When you are creating a marketing plan, make sure to include something made in North America. This is not the end of the world and the sky is not falling.  I just wanted to spend a few moments to put this trend on your radar.

If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we can discuss it!   Make sure you never miss an update!  Sign up to become a VIP here.