CCG’s 10 Tips for an Outstanding Golf Tournament

              Spring is right around the corner, and that means corporate golf tournaments are on the horizon.  Did you know that in 2021 the number of rounds of golf played were up 16.1% compared to the year prior?  Golf tournaments are an excellent way to showcase your brand, advertise to prospective customers, or fundraise for a great cause.  CCG has a step-by-step guide to plan and host a memorable golf tournament, and we’ve summarized it below in these 10 easy steps.

  1. Give yourself plenty of time to plan.  Start goals and budgeting 9-12 months in advance and follow up with logistics like ordering prizes and booking sponsors a few months prior.  Finalize everything a few weeks beforehand to ensure a stress-free day!
  2. Set up a full team to plan and execute the event and delegate tasks, whether that be marketing, budgeting, sponsorships, etc.  Golf tournaments don’t come together overnight!
  3. Harness the power of sponsors to cover expenses.  Sponsorships are a great way to keep costs down, add fun, and garner participation from the community.  Sponsors can fund everything from small giveaways all the way up to a full cocktail reception.
  4. Include a free giveaway for participants who have registered as a foursome.  Don’t overthink it—branded golf balls or towels are gifts every golfer can use.
  5. Add excitement to the event with contests.  Easy ideas include hole-in-one, long drive, putting and closest to the pin competitions.  The winners receive fun prizes!
  6. Include a pop-up shop to elevate the event and provide players with the opportunity to purchase golf apparel, equipment, and more.  Some companies will even send a golf professional to speak with players and offer guidance.
  7. Host a silent auction or raffle as part of the event to attract participants.  These are a great opportunity to raise funds and often times, sponsors will donate the items—a win for everyone!
  8. Offer free food and beverages to participants.  Golf tournaments can be long, and in the heat, nourishment is a necessity!
  9. Make sure there are plenty of volunteers the day of the tournament to help set up, take down, and keep the event running smoothly in between.  Don’t forget to use wayfinding signage to guide players as well.
  10. Get outside and have fun!

Read the full guide here and contact your CCG rep today to start planning your golf tournament today!


By Marley Niesz

2021 Supply Chain Survival Guide

              With COVID-19 still looming, its repercussions continue to overshadow the US economy affecting businesses and consumers alike.  High gasoline prices, inflated grocery costs, and crazy shipping times are quickly becoming the new normal for the foreseeable future.  In an industry dependent on production materials, it remains difficult to give or receive accurate information on material availability and delivery timelines when they change by the day and in some cases, the hour.  At CCG, we continue to work diligently to offer the best service to our customers while maintaining transparency about ongoing supply chain issues. 

              The major source of this supply chain headache is San Pedro Bay’s Port of Los Angeles.  The port has long been a bustling center of commerce for the United States and the world.  Its proximity to major freight railways, deep waters, and being a stone’s throw from China (as shipping logistics go) have earned it the title of being the busiest port in the United States.  The Port of Los Angeles, combined with the Port of Long Beach, form the San Pedro Bay Port Complex which accounts for 40% of US container imports per year, totaling about 48,000 shipping containers per day.  Last January, the complex had all but stopped functioning as a result of complications from the pandemic—creating a bottleneck the magnitude of which has never before been seen. Over forty ships sat in the San Pedro Bay, some for weeks, waiting to unload goods to be shipped across the country. To compound the issue, there was a massive surge in shipping volume as retailers attempted to catch up with increasing demand as businesses reopened and people resumed their daily lives.  Not to mention the ever-increasing number of people relying solely on e-commerce for the delivery of products.  Additionally, infection rates among port workers continued to increase with almost 12% of the workforce out in one day—an estimated 1,800 employees.  Fast forward to November 2021, there are over 100 cargo ships off the coast of LA waiting to unload.  This is a record-breaking number that has crippled the normal supply chain given that cargo ships normally have no wait at port.  The number of ships will continue to increase until the labor force replenishes and there are workers to unload the cargo at a normal rate.

              So, what does this mean for our economic supply chain and what can businesses do in the meantime?  Right now, this bottleneck is causing uncertainty and confusion about the availability of goods across all industries.  In the printing industry, shortages of paper, toner, and ink are driving up prices and creating frustrating wait times.  In the promotional products industry, just about every product you can think of is out of stock or limited in quantity as companies wait for inventory to arrive from the ports.  Often, products or materials that are in stock one day are out of stock the next with no end in sight.  With the holiday season here, there is even higher demand for these goods.  The best way to deal with this situation is to remain flexible and to plan.  Here are 5 tips for surviving the current supply chain crisis:

  1.  Be flexible with branding.  Branding items increases timelines further with many embroiderers and screen printers operating at full capacity and working overtime.  Consider branded stickers on items or branding one item in a gift box instead of every item.
  2. Order in advance.  If you ordered holiday gifts in September you’d probably have them by now.  Avoid the hassle and stress of OUT OF STOCK by securing materials ahead of time.
  3. Consider lesser-known brands.  Huge name brands like YETI and Under Armour are almost impossible to source right now.  Consider private label brands which offer availability and customization without compromising quality.
  4. Stick to USA-made brands.  Companies that source and produce in the USA have shorter shipping times than those overseas which means less wait time for you.
  5. Remember everyone, up and down the supply chain, is affected by this predicament.  With a little patience and understanding, we will all get through this together!

By Marley Niesz

Logo Limbo

Data Science—Marketing’s Best Kept Secret

              The marketers of today know the importance of engaging consumers through personalized messaging with the right touch points.  Still, it becomes difficult to cut through the noise of instant email and piles of direct mail.  With companies locking in on the necessity of reaching their customers with as much personal detail as possible, how does a brand continue to stand out?  That’s where the secret of data science comes in, and marketers are beginning to use this lucrative resource to restructure entire advertising and marketing campaigns. 

              Data science is a vastly growing field that continues to expand as trillions of bytes of consumer data are collected every day.  At its core, data science takes numbers and gives them meaning.  This meaning can predict buyer behavior, and in turn influence marketing campaigns and major business decisions to maximize return on investment.  Digital Shuffle, CCG’s agency partner, has created a data science platform built on cloud-first native operations utilizing Python and enterprise business intelligence to benefit our CCG customers from the ground up.  The beauty of this proprietary platform is that it uses your existing data.

              Customer Analytics are our passion.  Digital Shuffle uses three distinct behavioral models to help marketers make informed decisions about their marketing campaigns.  These include customer churn, associate rules mining, and customer lifetime value.  Digital Shuffle collects data from our clients existing customer relationship management (CRM) software and analyzes it to create the three behavioral models.  The agency then puts the results into a digestible form for the client, replacing the need for them to have their own analyst. 

              By definition, customer churn is when a business loses a customer for any reason.  Churn can be passive or active.  An example of passive churn would be consumer turnover due to a membership expiring that the consumer never reactivated.  Active churn would be if a consumer left one company for another because they liked a competitor’s product better.  The churn behavioral model assigns a quantitative value to the likelihood of a consumer leaving the company.  The results of this type of assessment allow the client to make big picture decisions based on numbers and facts rather than assumptions. 

              Associate rules mining is a model that predicts consumer behavior as it tracks consumer movements to forecast what a consumer will do next.  The model can track purchasing habits of each individual consumer.  For example, when a retailer collects purchasing data from consumers, the model can surmise that whenever a certain customer buys a shirt, they will also buy matching pants.  With this information, the model establishes association rules which allow the company to tailor a campaign, incentive, or discount to encourage the consumer to continue this purchasing habit. 

              Finally, customer lifetime value assesses a consumers’ value to a company by ranking them based on the revenue a customer will generate for a business throughout the lifespan of their relationship.  With these consumer segments created, a company can modify its marketing campaigns and offers based on a consumer’s ranked value.  For example, a business could offer high value customers incentives such as referral codes and cashback offers.  Or it could use loyalty programs to entice lower value customers, who are more likely to leave, to re-establish allegiance to the company.

              Digital Shuffle recently completed an in-depth data science effort with a customer in the transportation industry. The customer operates in both B2B and B2C markets across the U.S., providing testing and certification that verifies the technical knowledge of service professionals in a variety of disciplines. With more than 50 different certification tests, millions of database records, and over a quarter million active professionals, the customer was keen to have Digital Shuffle dive deep into their customer analytics.

              Although the customer actively communicates with their consumers via omni-channel communications, the concept of using artificial intelligence and proprietary algorithms to identify purchasing patterns and probabilities within their consumer data was very exciting. Digital Shuffle’s data science platform allows customers to identify and slice their consumer population based on location, age, education level, employer types, years of certification, number of certifications, purchase behavior, and more, to allow for ultra-personalized targeting in marketing efforts. 

              Digital Shuffle began by creating a customer churn model, specifically designed to mitigate customer churn occurring from non-recertification (a professional certification is valid for a period of 5 years, then a recertification test must be taken to keep certifications up to date).  Digital Shuffle analyzed a data set comprised of 43,108 unique individuals that had pending certifications expiring in 2021.  The model was able to predict that 12,435 of those individuals were in a “high churn” category, 25,168 were in the “moderate” risk of churn category, and 16,697 were in the “low-risk” category. Accordingly, Digital Shuffle created a series of multi-touch, multi-channel communications with varying incentives (relative to churn probability).  The following explains the paths taken to market to each churn category:

              Low Risk of Churn: Multi-touch email communications deployed over a 45-day period, focused on communicating when it was time for renewal, why renewal is important, and where to renew.

              Moderate Risk of Churn: Multi-touch email and direct mail campaigns deployed over a 45-day period, focused on communicating that it was time for renewal, why renewal was important, a variable incentive to renew, and where to renew.

              High Risk of Churn: Multi-touch email and direct mail campaigns deployed over a 30-day period, focused on communicating it was time for renewal, where to renew, why renewal is important, an increased variable incentive to renew, and why other similar professionals would choose to renew.

              A parallel effort was executed to incorporate an associate rules mining model, also known as “cross-sell/up-sell”.  Data science provides answers to the question, “When a customer previously purchased X, what are they most likely to do next, and when are they likely to do it?”  Armed with this information, Digital Shuffle executed a series of omni-channel print/web/email campaigns to suggest subsequent certifications to take the next step on the professional’s career path. Leveraging the power of data science, Digital Shuffle created completely unique suggestions for over 200,000 individuals, all completely tailored to the unique purchasing habits of each individual.

              Data science has completely changed the way Digital Shuffle’s customers identify, understand, and engage their past, current, and prospective consumers. The ability to leverage extremely complex algorithms and artificial intelligence to visualize and predict consumer behavior is revolutionary. The days of basic demographic, geographic, and psychographic data are truly in the rear-view mirror. Interested in learning more? Visit DigitalShuffle.com, or contact your CCG rep to schedule a discovery call.  

By Marley Niesz

Holiday Gift Giving!

It may only be September, but it’s already time to think about holiday gift giving!  Show your appreciation for a client, team member, or mentor with these excellent corporate gift ideas.  Gift sets are huge again for the holiday season, and with themes such as movie night and gardening, there is a kit for every interest.  Dress up every day use items such as speakers, blankets, or backpacks with full color imprint to keep your brand shining in the cold, winter months.  Be sure to get your orders in now before the next holiday party—items are selling fast!  Contact your CCG representative today for the perfect corporate gift for everyone in your network. 

By Marley Niesz

Branded Cold Weather Apparel is Going Fast!

Don’t be left out in the cold with these apparel options!  Winter is coming and apparel supplies are low—the time to order is now.  CCG has a great range of cold-weather clothing options with full color screen printing.  Great for employee anniversary gifts or new hire onboarding, there is something for everyone.  Apparel continues to have the highest impressions per minute of any promo category so represent your brand well.  Contact your CCG rep ASAP to get samples and pricing on company apparel—inventory will go fast!

By Marley Niesz

Get Back to Business with Outdoor Fun!

Get back to business with these fun, outdoor promo products!  Summertime is here, and it’s the season of outdoor office parties, summer conferences, employee gifts, and more.  CCG offers full color imprinting on a wide range of products designed to wow any recipient.  From tumblers and coolies to durable Adirondack chairs, we have promotional products to fit all your needs.  Reach out to your CCG representative to get your hands on these hot, new summer products!

Sunscreen:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=UBKGT-AYRZV

Block out harmful sun rays with this 2 oz. SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion with Carabiner.

Cornhole:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=NNCCU-UQPQR

Regulation Cornhole Set includes two scoring platforms and 2 sets of 4 throwing bags. The entire 2ft by 4ft landing surface of the scoring platform can be fully imprinted. Available in natural wood, white and black.   

Cooler:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/p/TGFPZ-XPFGP/igloo-akita-collapse-and-cool-cooler—ice-blue

Igloo® collapsible cooler with 24 can capacity, leak-resistant antimicrobial lining, adjustable shoulder strap.

Coolie:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=OSDSC-VJCCP

This Scuba Coolie is perfect for fitting bottles and narrow cans. 1/8″ high density foam will keep any drink cool and is perfect for advertising at any event. Available with a full color imprint.

Pickleball:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=SGJZA-VXWGQ

There’s a reason why Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America! This set has everything you need—2 wooden paddles, 2 high-visibility Pickleballs, all packed in a mesh case.

Adirondak:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=MSKHC-CYNBQ

Chill out in beach style with this folding Adirondack chair. 40″ x 28″ x 35.5″ chairs are crafted from natural fir, with namesake wide armrests, and a tall, slatted backrest.

By Marley Niesz

#GotYourBack: A CCG Story

              What makes a company valuable?  What sets it apart from the competition?  How do we attract and keep loyal and dedicated employees? As a CCG employee myself, with less than a year into my career, I mulled over these questions as I admired CCG’s senior employees who have spent decades with the company.  While I already know the value CCG provides to its customers, I wanted to sit down with our most senior team members and listen to their stories. 

“Our capabilities allow for a lot of flexibility with different jobs.”

-Patrick McInerny

              Patrick McInerny, Bindery Supervisor at CCG, tells the story of getting his first job here. He quickly proved himself as a conscientious employee and soon was afforded opportunities for growth within the company.  Although he started out in shipping, Patrick realized his affinity for working with machines and began putting in overtime working in the bindery.  A fast learner, at the age of 24, he was put into a management position in the bindery.  When CCG acquired another company, it changed the type of work the company was producing and he made the decision to seek a new opportunity elsewhere.  Although he had positive experiences with his new company, when Randy Sparrow, CCG’s Chief of Operations, called on him to come back to CCG, he accepted and is still here today. When asked about his loyalty to CCG, Patrick explained that his reasons range from fairness to flexibility and growth. “CCG treats its employees fairly. There is always work to be done and opportunities to grow.  We have a wide range of machines: 7 to 8 folders, stitchers, and a Hunkler with in line folding just to name a few. Our capabilities allow for a lot of flexibility with different jobs,” said Patrick.

“Our customers become part of our family.” -Patty Bennett

              Patty Bennett, CCG’s Billing Administrator, spoke highly of the support and encouragement she has received over the years from her mentors at CCG.  Patty began her career at CCG in the accounting department, and after six years had acquired the knowledge and skillset to be promoted to Billing Administrator.  The mentorship and support of her supervisors and colleagues fosters a family atmosphere within the company, according to Patty.  As an employee-owned company, CCG has a culture of accountability to its customers and between employees.  The overall desire is to see each other do well while doing what is best for the customers. 

“We haven’t been around this long by accident.” -Bob Bahm

              This June, estimator Bob Bahm, will celebrate 31 years with Corporate Communications Group.  He talked to me about the company’s shared values of mutual respect and loyalty.  Bob recalled a time when he and a coworker got into a disagreement.  Discouraged by the situation, but encouraged to work it out, they composed themselves and resumed the process of listening to each other’s side. Together, they resolved the issue.  This example highlights the idea of mutual respect and trust between coworkers, as well as CCG’s motto “#GotYourBack”.  The #GotYourBack motto transcends the company culture inside our walls out to our customers as well.  As Bob said, “We haven’t been around this long by accident. Printing companies have to change with the times and be forward thinking. It is this mindset, from our leadership and employees, that allows us to serve and meet the needs of our customers.” 

“The level of reliability and service that we bring to our clients would be impossible to match by any other company.” -Kevin Dunn

              In speaking with my coworkers about the company, one of my favorite parts was hearing stories of CCG employees coming together in support of each other and to help our customers.  Senior Account Executive Kevin Dunn, who has been with the company for 39 years, shared a great example of this.  One of Kevin’s customers needed a 24-hour turnaround on a significantly large print job.  He was awarded the project on a Friday and the customer needed delivery the next day!  Management huddled and came out with a request for the needed employees who would be critical to completing and delivering the job within the 24-hour turn time — asking if they would be willing to work the hours and times required to help make this happen. Kevin was touched to see the number of employees who turned out and worked with dedication to get the job done.  This is just one example of CCG employees having each other’s backs and putting the customer first.  As Kevin said, “The level of reliability and service that we bring to our clients would be impossible to match by any other company.”  Patty Bennett reiterated CCG’s dependability and dedication to its customers, saying “CCG has always produced the highest quality work. Servicing the customer needs is a priority and a must and CCG will go the extra mile to meet the customer’s schedule. Our customers become part of our family.” 

“CCG is truly a one-stop shop, with a variety of turnkey solutions for our clients.” -Bill Giles

              One of our most seasoned employees is Bill Giles, who has been with the company since 1982.  Bill has seen the company grow and change over the years, while thriving through several mergers and acquisitions.  Aside from CCG’s ability to change, adapt, and adopt new technology, one of the company’s best features is its wide array of marketing solutions.  As Bill explained to me, CCG is truly a one-stop shop, with a variety of turnkey solutions for our clients.  This intrigued me when I was first introduced to the company, but it has proven true.  I love being able to offer my customers a solution for every one of their marketing issues.  CCG prides itself on being dependable and available for all our customers’ needs.  #GotYourBack is more than just a moto, it becomes part of every interaction with our customers and with each other. 

              By Marley Niesz

Gear Up for the New Trend of Outdoor Tradeshows with These 10 Tips

As warmer weather approaches, outdoor tradeshows are gearing up to be in full swing!  Stay ahead of the curve with CCG’s top 10 tradeshow tips to help your brand take center stage at your next tradeshow appearance:

  1. Invite Attendees—Print and mailSave the Date” communications and post on social media to create awareness of the show and maximize attendance.
  2. Get Noticed with Grand Format—Capture the attention of attendees from the start.  Colorful tents, banners, 3D displays, and feather flags work wonderfully for immediate brand recognition. 
  3. The Swag—People LOVE free stuff!  Organize giveaways and hand out branded goodies to attendees to support brand recognition after the show. 
  4. Registrant Giveaway—Send branded kits to key prospects who have pre-registered to attend the event.  Offer special incentives to visit your exhibit or booth while creating an opportunity to spread brand awareness.
  5. PPE—Make your visitors feel safe!  Offer branded masks, antimicrobial products, and hand sanitizing stations at your booth as well as social distancing signage. 
  6. Staff—Have enough staff to allow for breaks and maintain a rested, engaged crew.
  7. Weather—Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Sunscreen is a great giveaway in the summer.
  8. Hydrate—Make sure you have enough water and snacks for staff to keep up the energy.
  9. Power—Add a charging station to your booth to make it a popular destination.
  10. Have Fun!—Make the day memorable and you’ll be guaranteed to score some new customers! 

By Marley Niesz