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ASI Promotes Industry on MSNBC

Filed under: Community, Industry Initiatives, Media Coverage, Members, News About ASI

ASI publisher Rich Fairfield made like a TV star last week during a lively appearance on MSNBC’s “Your Business.”  The hot topic was the proven value of using ad specialties to market your business at trade shows.

As Rich and host J.J. Ramberg told their TV audience of 200,000, trade shows are a great way to get the word out about your business and premium giveaways that “go beyond the pen” are a sure bet for maximum marketing exposure.

Click here to watch the video.

They also advised companies to decide what they want to spend and to choose an item that truly reflects their business.

Here are the products in the segment:

  • Talking T-shirt – heads will turn when this shirt whistles, and emits 19 other stock sounds.  It can also play MP3s.  From Think Geek (asi/91123).
  • Light saber sword – tech and electronics companies will love a light saber sword stamped with their corporate logo.  From AlightPromos.com (asi/34194).
  • Light-up stress balls – a flashy new look to a standard seller ensures this product will be used and discussed.  From Litewaves (asi/67730).
  • Jute bag – stylish, roomy and eco-friendly, this bag can also be used at the beach after the show and is made from jute plant fibers.  From Prime Line (asi/79530).
  • Non-woven bag – eco-friendly, inexpensive and reusable, this bag is ideal for replacing paper and plastic shopping bags.  From Jetline (asi/63344).
  • Slinky notepad – this variation on a business staple adds a touch of fun to any desktop.  From TradeNet Publishing (asi/91760).
  • Hand sanitizer – a smart and appreciated giveaway in light of recent events with the H1N1 flu virus.  From Humphrey Line (asi/62050).
  • Personal sunscreen - a trade show located in a warmer climate is an event that demands a personal sunscreen stick.  From Leashables by Oralabs (asi/66715).

If you’re a distributor, I urge you to email the video link to your clients, so they can get more ideas for products that can help their marketing campaigns.

I’d love to know what must-see products made a difference in your marketing at your last trade show so post a comment now or email me here


Favor – ESP Feedback

Filed under: Members, News About ASI

We are working on the next version of ESP Online, and I’d like to ask your help. 

Post a comment or email me here and tell me, as briefly as possible since I’m reading all replies, what 3-4 things you’d like to make ESP Online better.

If you happen to use another research tool, or have in the past, reply and tell me what you use and what annoys you most about that tool or what you like most.

As thanks for your input, you can choose (a) $100 hotel reimbursement and a free ticket to the Lion King show at ASI Show Las Vegas 2009 or (b) guaranteed seat to see General Colin Powell (Ret.) at ASI Show Orlando 2010.

If you choose the Lion King tickets, you must reply by this Friday, August 28.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


Second virtual trade show a success

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

Our second free online event just ended, and I’m happy to report we drew over 2,000 attendees – during the dog days of summer no less. More than 20 top suppliers exhibited, including Fields Manufacturing Inc. (asi/54100), Tri-Mountain Inc. (asi/92125) and Maple Ridge Farms Inc. (asi/68680). 

Distributors enjoyed online ASI Education sessions while all attendees networked and sold in real-time through interactive multimedia booths. Participants may have looked like avatars online, but the deal-making was as real as it gets.

Our second show followed our first, held in May, and generated an equally enthusiastic response from attendees. Here’s a sampling of some comments from “real-time” chatters who posted their reactions throughout the day:

“Wanted to let you know that I found the ASI virtual show helpful,” said Bob Roof, president of Business Partner of Polaris (asi/152973).   “I look forward to hearing back from vendors that I have an interest in.”

“Thank you for today’s show,” said Linda Richard, owner of K&B/Print City (asi/470621).  “First time trying this.  Found it very interesting and appreciate all the work and effort that went into doing something like this!”

As you can see from the photos, ASI employees manned the computers in “tradeshow central,” solving issues, making suggestions and answering questions, acting pretty much like online tour guides to ensure everyone who attended enjoyed a fantastic virtual experience.

Even if you couldn’t make it today, you can still access the show for a few months more, available on demand at www.asicentral.com/vts, beginning Monday, August 24.

If you attended, I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please post a comment now or email me here





General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) Speaking at Orlando Show

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

We’re all fighting to advance our businesses during tumultuous times, which is why I’m so pleased General Colin Powell – a dedicated soldier and accomplished statesman – is joining us in Orlando for a must-see event certain to propel us stronger and smarter into 2010 and beyond.

General Powell electrified a packed house with an incredibly moving and motivating speech at a 2007 show that pulled the entire crowd to its feet. I can’t wait to see how he inspires us in Orlando during such a critical time in our history.  The former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State will be our keynote speaker Tuesday, January 5, 2010, at The ASI Show.

Throughout his distinguished career, General Powell looked well beyond single battles to strategies that changed the playing field altogether. That’s exactly what we all need to do now: determine where we want to go and then make it happen by changing business models, leading sales and pushing growth.

During his exclusive presentation – “Leadership: Inspiration for Extraordinary Times” – General Powell will discuss how each of us can emulate the leadership skills needed to remain focused, take responsibility, work toward improving processes within our organizations and motivate our employees in challenging times. Strategies for practicing true leadership and taking charge during times of great change will be covered and discussed.

General Powell is, in my mind, one of the most admired leadership experts in America.  He’s been a leader most of his life and has received numerous military, civilian and foreign state awards, including an honorary knighthood bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

He’s also the best-selling author of My American Journey and remains active as founder of the Colin Powell Policy Center at the City College of New York (his alma mater).

Seating for this extraordinary event will be limited and ASI members should register for ASI Orlando at www.asishow.com by September 30 to be guaranteed a seat. 

The ASI Show Orlando is the industry’s first national show of the year and largest event on the East Coast, is taking place on Sunday, January 3, through Tuesday, January 5, 2010.  The schedule will feature a full day of ASI Education (January 3), followed by two exhibit days (January 4-5).  General Powell’s keynote will be on Tuesday morning.

General Powell’s topic will be timely, as distributors, suppliers and decorators aim to kick-off the New Year in a positive way. 

Let me know what you think of this announcement or the upcoming shows.  Post a comment now or email me here


ASI Presents Second Virtual Trade Show

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

Back by popular demand – the ASI Virtual Trade Show.  

We heard your feedback following our inaugural show in May – which many attendees thought was very productive, educational and beneficial – and we’re hosting our second free online virtual trade show this Wednesday, August 19.

The all-day event will feature more than 20 top suppliers, including Fields Manufacturing Inc. (asi/54100), Tri-Mountain Inc. (asi/92125) and Maple Ridge Farms Inc. (asi/68680).  Distributors can participate in ASI Education sessions online, and distributors, suppliers and decorators can network and sell in real-time through interactive multimedia booths.

Our first show in May attracted over 2,000 participants and averaged 1,300 visitors per booth.  Attendees told us that the virtual experience was “awesome,” “easy to navigate” and “outstanding and innovative.” 

Margit Fawbush, marketing manager for Norwood Promotional Products, Inc. (asi/63110), said Norwood saw a big bump in norwood.com web traffic as a result of the links from their booth and described the show as “an excellent experience.”

So we hustled to provide another smart opportunity for distributors, suppliers and decorators to connect, sell and build market share.  This week’s show will have 11 new suppliers that weren’t at the first one.   

More information about the areas of the show are in the press release:  click here.

Registration for distributors for free.  And when distributors register, they receive a free download of ASI’s new Distributor Success System – worth $299 – with tips and proven strategies to spur business.  Attendees also have a chance to win over $17,000 in cash and prizes, just by visiting and interacting with suppliers in the Exhibit Hall.

To register, click here.  For more information, or to become an exhibitor, contact Dan Dienna, advertising director for catalogs and electronics, at ddienna@asicentral.com.   

I’d love to hear about your experiences with the virtual show, so post a comment now or email me here


Who’s HOT and Who’s NOT?

Filed under: Community

Are you on Counselor’s HOT list?  See who is and who isn’t.

Check out ASICentral’s HOT Facebook post, to see readers’ comments, interact and weigh-in.

In addition to the list of hot people, hot business trends and “Objects of Hotness” in the HOT issue, what are you doing this summer that’s HOT in the industry? 

Post a comment now or email me here


SAAC and State of the Industry

Filed under: Community, Education, News About ASI, Research

I participated in an industry event recently – the 2009 SAAC Show in Long Beach, California. 

The Specialty Advertising Association of California invited me to discuss the state of the industry before the APS Group (Advertising Products Suppliers).

I shared results of our second quarter sales survey, conducted by ASI’s Larry Basinait, who takes the pulse of the industry through numerous research studies and surveys.  I thought you might be interested since, not surprisingly, it shows ad specialty sales are off about 14%. 

The report broke down the forecast for the second half of the year by company size and it discovered something worth noting: the bigger the distributor, the more pessimistic.  Of those reporting sales of less than $250,000, 26% expect sales to be higher, and 47% expect sales to be lower. Of those earning $1 million and up, 19% anticipate higher sales while 50% percent expect lower.

As far as trends, the study showed that buyers want more services, like fulfillment.  They also want more access to marketing program information, such as educational videos and materials beyond a product leave-behind.  They want ideas on how to use promotional products, how to track ROI and how to educate their bosses, peers and colleagues.

I also shared with the group recent improvements ASI has made to education – in direct response to what members are requesting. In sum, we took a great education program and made it even better, by merging it with our editorial team.  You can see many of the new offerings by clicking here, including free access to the brand-new, 10-CD Distributor Success System.

Tell me what you think about the current state of the industry by posting a comment now or emailing me here


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