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Time to Get Focused on the Recovery

Filed under: Using Ad Specialties

I’m getting tired of the doom and gloom about the economy in the news media, which was originally quick to call the beginning of this recession and is happy to continue providing the play-by-play on an hourly basis.

While certainly many of us have been affected by the economic environment, there are many things we can do to help us improve sales – like marketing smarter, networking more, being better informed and asking clients how business has changed so you can understand how to help. 

I also think we need to get out of negative thinking as a group and be responsible for improving our own psychological outlook. 

So for a few hours this weekend, I’m hosting a gathering of friends to celebrate my own personal declaration of the end of the recession.  Here’s part of my invitation:  “So, rather than wait for the economists and their cloudy crystal balls, several of us looked into our glass half-full and saw in tiny print:  Recession calls it quits.”

Maybe you could host a networking or business social for your clients and friends in your area?  You might get some new prospects, learn how you can help your customers be more successful, and maybe get a new order? 

I’m having snacks and beverages at mine and ordering several promotional products with the logo you see in this post to drive my message home with attendees and to remind them that we need to remain focused. 

What are you doing to find ways to win in this economy? Tell me what you think anytime – post a comment now or email me at tim.andrews@asicentral.com

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Ideas for the Auto Body Market

Filed under: Education, Members, Using Ad Specialties

When I was a teen, I got around my hometown of St. Louis Crossing, Indiana, in a beat-up 1968 Rambler Ambassador like the one to the right. 

I’m sure some nearby auto shops could have used a magazine like FenderBender to help me with my car.  FenderBender – a trade publication mailed to 55,000 collision repair and auto body shop owners around the U.S. – recently asked me to share the value of promotional advertising with their readers.

Click here to check out the article.  

The new publication, which hits a whopping 85% of the collision repair market, helps shop operators “think outside the blocks” with their marketing, which we all need to do these days.  I shared some results from ASI’s latest end-user study, which indicates that over 80% of recipients who receive a promotional product remember the brand on the item.

You know those car air fresheners everyone seems to have?  I suggested that shops could give one away stamped with a special Website customers can visit for a monthly prize drawing.  Business owners get proof of traffic because that item is the only marketing vehicle carrying that Website.  Another thought:  include a clickable link online so customers can send the contest Website to friends and expand the shop’s referral base.

Creativity is the limit and being practical is key.  According to the ASI study, about 81% of recipients keep an item because it’s useful.  For shop owners, that means anything from imprinted collectible toy cars and travel mugs to portable CD carriers and iPod cases. 

To find products, shop owners can search their local area for qualified ASI distributors at successfulpromotions.com, hosted by ASI. 

If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Post a comment on the blog or email me at tim.andrews@asicentral.com.

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Hot Product Videos and Record Dallas Attendance

Filed under: ASI Shows, Education, Member Benefits, Members, News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

The ASI Show in Dallas wrapped up today with record attendance of 3,900 distributors, up 10% versus last year and representing 1,425 firms.  With strong attendance at ASI Orlando in January, and the new Dallas record, we’ve delivered the most successful first-quarter industry shows in 2009. 

Read the press release here.

I enjoyed checking out “must have” products for this year, meeting with distributors and suppliers, and of course sampling Texas barbeque at Eddie’s Deen’s Ranch.

Also, watch my products video from the ASI booth featuring these cool items for 2009, like:

  • Zip ‘n Clip Speaker Case from Ariel Premium Supply, asi/36730
  • Rubik’s Cube puzzle and USB drive from Prime Line, asi/79530
  • Solis Pen from BIC Graphic USA, asi/40480
  • V-Neck Vine Leaf Sweater from Edwards Garment, asi/51752
  • Lighted St. Patty’s Day Hat from Brighter Promotions Line (formerly Chemical Light), asi/44888
  • The Longhorns Salsa and Chili Mix Tailgate Kit, from Hot Sauce Harry’s Inc., asi/61826

Next I headed to a booth that looked like a sports stadium – complete with scoreboard – with foam hands, pom-poms and digitally-printed seat pads from Spirit Hand Line, asi/88740. Watch the video here.

There’s also my video on closing day, featuring the new stainless steel drinkware with digital wrap-around printing and a double-wall acrylic travel cup with leak-proof seal. 

They’re all great products that will brighten your day and interest clients, no matter what the economic challenges are.  Now, more than ever, marketers need the impact and high ROI that advertising specialties provide.

Everyone’s been really excited after attending Don Hutson’s keynote and we’re ready to put into action the sales tools and strategies he’s devised to get any business cracking.  Everyone who attended his session also received a copy of his book, The One-Minute Entrepreneur: How to Prosper Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Along with all the great distributors and suppliers I met and friends I reconnected with, I’m returning to ASI more energized for the year and with a really interesting piece of Texas trivia:  In the Lone Star State, it’s illegal to put graffiti on someone else’s cow.

What products have you seen that caught your eye in Dallas or elsewhere?

Post a comment on the blog now or email me anytime at tim.andrews@asicentral.com.

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$1 Million in Data Protection and Texas Trivia at ASI Dallas

Filed under: ASI Shows, Industry Initiatives, Member Benefits, News About ASI

I’m excited to post from the Lone Star State and ASI Show Dallas, the largest ad specialty industry event in the Southwest.  More than 550 leading suppliers are here and thousands of hot products.

Did you know the name “Texas” actually comes from an Indian word meaning friends?  So, it’s no surprise how much networking there is at the show and especially during today’s 70 free education sessions.

Here in longhorn country, everything is big, which makes it the perfect place to announce ASI’s investment of over $1 million to protect industry data – information you rely on every day to run your business.  

Check out the full details in the press release here.

What it comes down to is this:  If there’s a natural disaster or other emergency, ASI has acted to help ensure that our products — including ESP Online and over 10,000 LogoMall Websites — will be operating.  We’re providing the most up-time to give you more time for selling, especially in this challenging economic environment.

This major investment, which supplements our already extensive system, includes upgrades to disaster prevention and recovery systems at our headquarters (including valves in the room that automatically distribute extinguishing gases if a fire is detected) and has established a remote information backup facility 800 miles away. 

The remote location depends on a different portion of the nation’s power grid and source, and is located alongside backup systems for Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s largest financial services firms.  Even if a regional power grid crashes, we can respond quickly by activating this facility.

How’s that for peace of mind?  Read the full press release here

If you have any other Texas-sized ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Post a comment on the blog now or email me anytime at tim.andrews@asicentral.com.

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