A mug is a mug is a mug. That’s why Quality Logo Products  spends so much time on marketing and customer service.
The company has 80 employees at its Aurora, Ill. headquarters. Forty percent of them, with the exception of the accounting department, are in IT, content and media marketing.
They are in charge of what sets Quality Logo Products apart from others that do what they do: the company’s website.
It includes a peppy and entertaining blog  and equally conversational and entertaining product descriptions. (Take this one for the Bic Clic Stic Pen, which declares  “You haven’t truly written something until you have written it using a Bic Clic Stic Pen.” Wow!)
Another feature allows you to actually get a 360 degree view of many products (see above), giving an even better sense of what customers will get when ordering. Mandy Kilinskis, content and social team manager said, “We kind of have this fun, quirky feel to our websites.”
This emphasis on marketing as a differentiator isn’t anything new for the 11-year-old company, Kilinskis adds. It was stamped on the business’s DNA from the day Co-Owners and Co-Founders Bret Bonnet and Michael Wenger started it back in college.
You see, Quality Logo Products is a commercial products distributor. That means it doesn’t make the products it sells. It also means there’s no graphics department. (They don’t create your logo or even place your logo on merchandise.)
What the company does do is arranges a comprehensive list of available products on its website. (There are about 25,000 items in all, 4,000 pens alone!) They then source products from the factory, negotiate for the best prices, have supplied artwork added and ship directly to the customer.
All of this happens behind the scenes, however. Quality Logo Products competes head to head with lots of other companies that also supply promotional products.
This competition can range from much larger companies like Staples and OfficeMax to much smaller businesses run by a single person with a website. There’s even disruption from print on demand companies like CafePress.com, admits Kilinskis. But since these kinds of businesses make and ship only one product at a time as orders come in, they are generally not competitive on price.
With so many companies offering potentially similar products and services, getting customers’ attention remains an important strategy.
That also goes for the company’s offbeat YouTube channel too. It features fake action movie promos to sell  tote bags. There’s also an over-the-top hillbilly advertising lip balm. Then there’s a guy who eats dirt promoting  a hand sanitizer. This is just a sampling of the entertaining videos visitors may come across.
Heck, the company even maintains its own video production studio right on premises for its shoots.
Of course, the rest of the company must focus on helping customers and potential customers the online marketing efforts have brought in and processing their orders.
The other 60 percent of Quality Logo Products’ staff work on either the sales team or in the orders department.
The company’s sales team makes no cold calls, Kilinskis says, since attention-grabbing online marketing brings in all the interest. Instead, they provide assistance to customers via email, phone and live chat from 7 AM to 6 PM Central Time.
There is an online order form, but customers often need help navigating the thousands of products available to find one that works well for them. Kilinskis explains:
“We try to be available to people.”
If there’s a place the company is aggressively working to improve, it’s in the realm of social media. (Marketing and/or customer service again!)
Of course, Quality Logo Products has active Facebook and Twitter accounts. But a website redesign planned for the near future will integrate the company’s website and social media channels even further, Kilinskis says it’s another way the company hopes to distinguish itself.
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iCIMS , a leading provider of talent acquisition solutions for growing businesses, is proud to be the official sponsor of Small Business Trends’ “Small Biz Spotlight” of Quality Logo Products. Like iCIMS, Quality Logo Products has succeeded in differentiating itself among a wide range of competition. iCIMS is delighted to have the opportunity to support the innovative spirit of companies like Quality Logo Products through the sponsorship of the ‘Small Biz Spotlight .” (Visit the “Small Biz Spotlight” series archives  and stay tuned for more small business stories there.)
Images: Quality Logo Products