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Sneak-Peek Video of ESP Web and ESP Orders

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

For my final blog post of 2009, I’d like to offer my best wishes for a very happy New Year – and share with you a cool video we just posted (final edits to come) with a sneak-peek of the new ESP Web and ESP Orders – click here to watch.  

In the fall, many of you replied to my email requesting feedback on ESP Online and we took literally hundreds of your comments and incorporated them into the new version of ESP and our all-new ESP Orders product.

This revolutionary new ESP Web is available across standard Internet browsers — including Explorer, Firefox and Apple’s Safari — for instant access anytime and anywhere to products, supplier data, orders and customer information.

The intelligent search engine allows users to find just the right product for clients, and it uses the same technology on sites like Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart. 

ESP Orders is a total order management system available with ESP Web that allows distributors to create sales orders, purchase orders and invoices without rekeying any information.

The video covers the highlights, but if you or a colleague want to find out more, and you’re at ASI Orlando, Sunday, January 3, through Tuesday, January 5, attend one of the quick free demos of ESP Web and ESP Orders in the training room at the ASI booth (you can’t miss it!) and in “Power Session” rooms.

Please let me know any questions you have (or any reactions) by posting a comment or emailing me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Vote Now For New Advisory Board Members

Filed under: Community, Industry Initiatives, News About ASI

Voting is now open to select members of ASI’s four new ASI advisory boards.  To vote, simply click here by Thursday, December 31, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Final board members will be announced in January.

The four new boards are:

ASI Advisory Board

*  Technology and Operations Advisory Board

*  Marketing, Public Relations and Industry Research Advisory Board

*  Safety and Legislative Advisory Board

So make it an early New Year’s resolution to vote today.

And let me know what you think of the candidates by posting a comment or emailing me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


New Sprint Wireless Savings for ASI Members

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

I hate to admit it, but I came of age when the very idea of cell phones was strictly sci-fi.  Today, wireless devices of all kinds are so popular – and absolutely integral to any business – that a wireless discount makes absolute sense for our members.

Our latest member benefit features savings on wireless services and equipment from Sprint are:

  • 13% off on select wireless service plans for company accounts and 8% off for individual and employee accounts.
  • Significantly discounted prices on phones and devices, with no mail-in rebate requirement for company-liable accounts.   
  • Savings on wireless accessories. 

To sign-up for the program for free, click here

According to Dale Denham, ASI senior VP, we chose Sprint for very specific reasons: call quality, service coverage and commitment to emerging technologies.  ASI is now the only industry organization delivering real wireless savings.

Sprint will also exhibit at The ASI Show Orlando on Sunday, January 3, through Tuesday, January 5, when company reps will be happy to help you sign up for the program so you can start reducing your wireless expenses.

I’d love to hear how member benefits have saved your company money, so please post a comment or email me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Educating Buyers in Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer

Filed under: Industry Initiatives, Media Coverage, News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

Monday’s Philadelphia Inquirer featured a story about the growth of hand sanitizers in our industry – educating end-buyers about the value of providing useful advertising specialties to their clients and prospects. 

To watch the video, “Philadelphia Business Today” (starts automatically), click here.

To read the article online, click here.

The story centers on how hand sanitizers now rival pens as one of the most popular logoed items. As we reported last week, searches of the key words “hand sanitizers” by promotional products distributors via ESP Online jumped 439% for the period between October 2009 and October 2008. 

Only searches for pens – which for years have been the best-selling logoed product in the promotional products industry – were higher that period.  In addition, searches for sanitizer products of all kinds jumped by triple digits this year. 

Send the link to my blog (http://www.timandrewsblog.com/) to all your clients and prospects, as an idea for a product they might be interested in for their customers.

What’s your hottest product for 2009?  Please post a comment or email me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


ASI Publications Win Three More National Awards

Filed under: News About ASI

One of the best parts of any job is handing out compliments to a deserving staff. So it is with great pride that I congratulate the editorial teams from Counselor, Advantages and Wearables magazines for once again proving they truly are among the best-of-the-best.

Recently, those three publications were cited for editorial excellence by FOLIO: magazine. 

  • Counselor magazine’s “Ad Specialties Across America” piece (May 2009) won a Gold Eddie Award for “Best Single Article”
  • Advantages magazine’s “Tips from Sales Superstars” article (April 2009) won a Bronze Eddie for “Best Single Article”
  • Wearables magazine won a Bronze Eddie for “Best Issue” for October 2008

To read the award-winning articles, click here. 

I’d like to applaud our entire editorial team for the outstanding work they do day in and day out, and single out Counselor editor Andy Cohen, Advantages editor Kathy Huston and Wearables editor C.J. Mittica. 

So far, ASI publications have won 11 national editorial awards, thanks in large part to the guidance of Senior VP Melinda Ligos, editor in chief of ASI’s six magazines, and Rich Fairfield, executive VP and publisher.


Hand Sanitizers Rival Pens in Popularity

Filed under: News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

Here’s an astonishing statistic to consider during cold, cough and sneeze season: searches for “hand sanitizers” by distributors via ASI’s products database jumped 439% for the period between October 2009 and October 2008. 

That means hand sanitizers now rival pens as one of the most popular promo items – thanks in part to the swine flu (H1N1).

Only searches for pens – which for years have been the best-selling ad specialty – were higher that period.  In addition, searches for sanitizer products of all kinds jumped by triple digits this year. 

For more details, check the press release here.

We spoke to Larry Wilhelm, chief executive officer of Custom HBC (asi/47934), about this phenomenon and he told us sales have jumped. “Certainly, there’s been a dramatic increase in sales of sanitizer sprays, gels and other anti-bacterial products,” he said of the company that introduced a “Pocket SprayerTM” to the industry in 2005.  The $1 item is now a best-seller, increasing since May from about 400,000 to 750,000 units a month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that when soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used to help prevent the spread of germs.

Further, Wilhelm says sanitizing products aren’t just used as promotional giveaways.  Increasingly, more distributors are wisely approaching company human resources departments, which buy sanitizers for employees to reduce absenteeism caused by illness. 

I’d love to hear about your best-selling item, and why you think it’s taking off. Post a comment or email me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


ASI Radiothon: Help ASI Raise Money for The G.I. Go Fund

Filed under: Community, Guest Blog, Industry Initiatives, News About ASI

The hosts of ASI Internet Radio’s Tuesday Morning Show are getting their charitable vibe on this week. Just launched this week, we’re introducing the first-ever ASI Radiothon. The live event will take place next Tuesday, December 15, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, when we’ll dedicate our regular radio show to a charity drive to benefit The G.I. Go Fund, a great organization that assists veterans when they return to the United States.

In conjunction with the live Radiothon, there’s a silent auction taking place this week. Go to www.gigofund.org/asiradio now to check out the items up for bid (high-end promotional products all donated by industry suppliers). There are watches, sleek pens, gift sets, sunglasses, digital photo frames, and more. In this silent auction, items will go to the highest bidder and the top bid each day will be updated on the Web site. Check back often. It’s a great way to donate to charity and do your holiday shopping at the same time.

The G.I. Go Fund is definitely a worthy cause to donate to this holiday season. The organization helps veterans with financial and medical assistance upon their return from overseas. And it even sets up job fairs exclusively for returning veterans so they can find work and acclimate quicker into everyday life. Jack Fanous, the executive director of The G.I. Go Fund, will join ASI Radio on the phone next Tuesday to share stories of veterans he’s encountered and tell our audience exactly how his organization helps these people. It’s sure to be a revealing phone call to start off our Radiothon show.

So, join in on the charity drive and help us raise money for this valuable cause. Go to www.gigofund.org/asiradio now to bid on items in the auction or to make a donation. And make sure to log-on to www.asicentral.com/radio on Tuesday, December 15 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time to take part in the live Radiothon.  Call the show at (215) 953-4979 or e-mail us at radio@asicentral.com to pledge your donation – and help us make the lives of returning veterans that much better.

To read a press release about the fundraiser, click here.  And please help us get the word out by posting the auction link to your own Facebook page and social media sites, and Twitter about it too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bid on some auction items – I have my eye on a sweet watch.

-Andy

Andy Cohen is editor of Counselor magazine and he can be reached here.


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