Archive for March, 2012
You might’ve heard about the man who was pulled over last week in Silver Spring, MD because of a problem with his license plates. No, he wasn’t driving a stolen vehicle. Where there should have been numbers and letters on his driver’s plates, there was just the Batman symbol.
You’re probably wondering why on Earth an average man would put Batman plates on his vehicle. But the driver, Lenny B. Robinson, is no ordinary man. According to the Washington Post, “The Caped Crusader is a businessman from Baltimore County who visits sick children in hospitals, handing out Batman paraphernalia to up-and-coming superheros who first need to beat cancer and other wretched diseases.” Robinson pulls all the stops in order to brighten a child’s day.
His car — a black Lamborghini — is completely decked out in the Batman logo. His outfit was put together by a profesional costume maker to look like the real thing. And, most importantly, he carries two large bags filled with Batman-themed promotional items like books, wristbands, and toys.
And the sick kids and their families certainly appreciate it. One mom, Stephanie Broadhead, thanked Robinson for the gift he gave her daughter. “This makes a very hard thing to deal with a little easier,” Broadhead said.
It’s a well-known fact that companies throughout the U.S. have both outsourced and offshored their manufacturing jobs overseas over the past four decades. Businesses have found it more cost-effective to produce their products abroad everywhere from India to China.
But a recent trend is bringing business back home. According to Inc. magazine, recently, manufacturing has begun to return home.
Offsite Networks is one such company. Its CEO, Anton Bakker, told Inc. that manufacturing locally has become more affordable. According to Inc., “…labor costs, which had initially driven Bakker to find cheap work overseas, were a smaller percentage of total costs. Meanwhile, an increase in other costs—like shipping, for instance—had increased. In other words, it was cheaper to manufacture locally.”
As more and more companies follow suit and begin to “reshore,” it’s becoming obvious that the whole cost of sending business abroad was not worth it. Obviously a big part of bringing business back home is a business’ bottom line.
But there’s another factor, too: Some people refuse to buy anything foreign-made. CEO Chuck Buck of Buck Knives cites that as a major reason for reshoring. “Hunters are rednecks, and they don’t like anything with that C word on it,” Buck told The Idaho Statesman.
Promotional items companies are not exceptions to these developments. Distributors like 4imprint, Branders, and Motivators all offer USA-made promotional products that can be purchased online or over the phone.
A Top 40 distributor, American Solutions for Business (ASB), recently announced that it has acquired yet another small business. The sales group, comprising six salespeople and three support staffers, was originally part of American Eagle Graphics.
But the acquisition is just one of many for ASB. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), “…this deal completes a 12-month period in which [ASB] has grown its sales force significantly through acquisitions. In fact, the distributor firm now has more than 500 salespeople, an increase of 11% over the past year.”
Larry Zavadil, founder and CEO of ASB, told ASI that the growth is sustainable due to the company’s large investment in technology.
Product safety rules and regulations are seemingly ever-changing. And while this is certainly nothing bad (we do want to keep our customers and clients safe!), it can be hard to keep up with.
Thankfully, though, Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) has created an online roadmap meant to help you determine which rules, regulations and tests apply to your handouts. Check out PPAI’s new video regarding its new system:
If you’re a PPAI member, you can use the online service, dubbed PPAI Turbo Test, so you can “source and offer products with confidence.” You want to make sure you’re sourcing smart and sourcing safe, so utilize PPAI’s new Turbo Test today!
An important part of business in any industry is being able to hold onto clients. For those of us within the promotional items industry, retaining clients is especially key; it’s imperative that your customers remember your name and continue to work with you in the future.
But, as with most things, that’s easier said than done. Thankfully the experts at the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) were kind enough to share some tips on the subject:
To summarize, here’s some advice on retaining clients:
- Meet with clients every three months to ensure you’re meeting/exceeding expectations
- Agree to follow up on specific dates
- Be proactive; reach out in unique ways to remind your clients why they love you
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll see an improvement in how well you hold onto your important clients and customers. Good luck!
Did you know that Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) staff members and more than 50 other promotional products workers are meeting in Washington D.C. next week? You might be wondering what could be so important that it’s bringing together so many advertising specialty professionals at our nation’s capital.
On March 7 and 8, 2012, dozens of influential individuals within the promotional items industry are coming together for PPAI’s Legislative, Education & Action Day (L.E.A.D.). What’s the purpose of the two-day event? According to Motivators Inc., a promotional products distributor, “The goal is to educate members of Congress about the promotional items industry … so that they can consider its needs when passing new laws.”
Representatives from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives unfortunately do not always realize what a big role the advertising specialty industry plays in America’s economy. Let’s go over the facts:
- In total, there are over 30,000 promo items businesses in America
- Over $16 billion in revenue is produced each year by the industry
- Almost half a million Americans work for a promotional products company
You can help drive these points home to your representatives by contacting them. Remember, it’s your responsibility to voice your opinion. Otherwise, it will never be heard!