Please see below for our COVID-19 communications and updates.
March 31, 2020
Solutions for covid-19 school closures
Hi Promo Friends -
In light of the Covid-19 crisis, most colleges and universities nationwide have moved to remote learning and cancelled all events for the remainder of the academic year.
Think of all of the events that universities nationwide have had to cancel (and the associated budgets for those events that were left gutted):
- Graduation ceremonies (over 5 million students are meant to earn college degrees this year!!)
- Alumni Homecoming
- Senior Week
- Accepted students welcome days (over 20 million students were accepted to universities this fall)
- Springfest events and concerts
- All spring sporting events
- Study Abroad Programs
Hundreds of thousands of students will leave without some of the most meaningful celebrations in their university experience. Let’s work together to make a negative a positive. If you work with clients in the higher education space, let’s present ideas for how to use some of the budget allocated to their events to celebrate and commemorate the hard work of their students remotely!
Over the next few days we will be sharing some marketing content and mailer kits with you that will enable you to do some relevant outreach to your university contacts old and new!
Today, we've created this client friendly flyer you can use when conducting outreach to your university clients.
Later this week, be on the lookout for TWO new direct mail kits to help raise the spirits of students this spring!
We are here to help!
Your promo friends,
Erin & Sterling
March 24, 2020
What we learned from our first encounter with Coronavirus...
As many of you know, all of our manufacturing is done in China. We work with a network of dozens of factories and rely on them to produce custom products in 10 days. On January 24, our world got turned upside down when we learned about this thing called “coronavirus” and that our factories likely were not going to be reopening after Chinese New Year... and that we had no idea how long they were going to stay closed… and that we had over 400 orders that needed to be produced and shipped from China in the next 3 weeks…
While we absolutely acknowledge that our current situation in the United States is different from the situation we faced in China, we wanted to share some of what we learned navigating the situation in China in the event it might help you now!
So… here’s what we did and what we learned:
Our first priority was to ensure that our open orders got produced and delivered in time for important events. Everyone has different ways they keep track of their orders. We established a production taskforce who exported all of our live orders out of our system and worked off of a google doc! Google docs allow multiple people to collaborate and work on the same document at once. By doing this, everyone in the company could clearly see expected ship dates for orders and communicate these clearly to our clients.
Lesson: Establish an internal taskforce to keep track of all of your orders and agree on a consistent place where up-to-the-minute order info is accessible to all key people. Feel free to use our template, found here: our template.
Communicate, Communicate, communicate
Next, we reached out to our customers. Nearly 90% of the PO’s we get say “FIRM IN HANDS DATE” but we know that isn’t usually the case. Armed with good information, our sales team talked with each of our customers asking for latest delivery dates, explained what we knew about the situation and what we were unsure of. We asked for the latest delivery dates and promised to proactively communicate any delays. Using this information we triaged our production schedule and were able to deliver over 95% of orders within these adjusted delivery dates.
Lesson: Talk to your customers with empathy and honesty. Communicate what you do and don’t have control over. Ask for flexibility and then rework your schedules accordingly. Most importantly, communicate with your customers; they are as afraid and confused by the situation as you are!
offer solutions, not cancellations
Despite our best efforts, there were some client orders we simply could not deliver on time. In these cases, we made it our policy to call the customer immediately and share the bad news. On every call we reminded our customers that orders from Pop! Promos come with a promise “We guarantee order will deliver on time and in the right color, or we will refund your order no questions asked” but we also asked if they would accept the order at a discount for a future event or allow us to drop ship the goods to multiple locations since we missed their consolidation schedule. To our surprise and elation, many of our customers were understanding and accepted this solution.
Lesson: If you are direct and honest with your customers, they will be flexible with you but you have to offer a solution like a discount for later delivery.
We are here to help!
Your promo friends,
Erin & Sterling
PS: In light of the current COVID-19 situation in America - we have one other suggestion: we recommend you confirm shipping information with your customers. Is the original address they intended to ship to still accurate? Domestic shipping carriers are encouraging deliveries to residential addresses instead of commercial addresses. Ask your customer if that is an option.
March 19, 2020
A Letter from our founders, introducing pop&co...
To our Promo Friends-
We started this company as two best friends eight years ago. The individuals who comprise this industry have given so much to us over the past eight years - our business would never have made it without you. We are devastated when we think of you facing uncertainty and fear about the future of your businesses.
We understand your fear and concerns - we went through the emotional roller coaster you are going through right now two months ago when the virus hit China… it was terrifying. As of ten days ago, all of our factories in China are fully operational and we are offering normal and rush production times for our entire product line.
In light of the current situation, we are jumping to action and are here to help you! As of today, we are throwing out all of our marketing content for the foreseeable future and we will be exclusively focused on helping you through these unprecedented times.
Next week, we will be sharing the following content:
- On Tuesday, we will share how we handled the coronavirus outbreak in China, how we communicated with our customers, and how we managed to cancel less than 1% of the orders we had in production… you can do the same!
- On Thursday, we will share a sales tactic for how to place creative products in customers' hands now.
- And on Friday, we will host a “town hall” webinar to further discuss our experiences with Covid19 in China. If you would like to sign up for that town hall now, please click here.
We have created a blog where all of our Pop&Co(vid) content will be stored… because let’s face it, you have bigger fish to fry right now than monitoring your inbox for an email from us.
We will be updating our social media channels (Instagram and Facebook) religiously with new content to keep you updated, engaged, and entertained.
We are all in this together.