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ASI Heads Back to Vegas

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

ASI is shaking up Las Vegas this September with a newly-announced Holiday Preview trade show at the Sands Expo Center.  We tweaked a previous show in response to requests from suppliers and distributors who wanted a more intimate format.

The show takes place Monday and Tuesday, September 13-14, and presents a terrific networking forum to learn what’s new for the holiday selling season. In addition, we’ll offer several educational and networking opportunities, including the acclaimed “New Distributor Success Track” for newbies, an “Exhibitor Presents” session for select exhibitors to present their hot new products for 2010, tabletop exhibits and a closing networking reception.

The Vegas show is similar to our very successful Advantages Roadshow — our traveling tabletop show — and the format provides a platform for exhibitors to meet on a personal level with prospects and clients.

Distributors may register now for the ASI Holiday Preview at asishow.com. Suppliers interested in exhibiting at the ASI Holiday Preview should contact Karen DiTomasso, vice president of sales, at 800-546-3300 or at kditomasso@asicentral.com

It’s never too soon to start thinking about the holiday selling season so let me know your thoughts by posting a comment or emailing me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Sign Up Now for the ASI Women’s Summit

Filed under: ASI Shows, Guest Blog, News About ASI

We’ve been busy, with our recent virtual trade show and the launch of the new ESP Web and ESP Orders – hopefully you were “at” the show. 

I want to let you know we’ve got more up our sleeves, including a new event in the works – the ASI Women’s Summit.  It’s happening at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City, on Tuesday, May 4, during the ASI Show New York.

This exclusive action-packed afternoon will provide an environment for women to network and share ideas with women leaders, peers and executives in the advertising specialty industry.  

We’ll have a networking reception with beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and a luncheon keynote by Barbara Corcoran.  Barbara parlayed a $1,000 loan into a $5 billion real estate business, and she now runs one of the most successful real estate firms in New York City. 

The lunch will be followed by coffee and dessert with promotional products industry expert, Rosalie Marcus, The Promo Biz CoachTM.  Rosalie will lead an interactive discussion about how women in our industry can leverage their strengths to build their businesses. 

There’s much more, and you’re sure to leave this Summit with new ideas you can immediately apply at your company in the second half of the year.

Register by this Wednesday, March 31, and the cost of the event is only $149; after that it’s $249.  To register and to learn more, click here.  I look forward to seeing you in New York!


Dana Reaume is education coordinator for ASI – reach her at dreaume@asicentral.com.

Top 10 Giveaways for Earth Day

Filed under: Industry Initiatives, Using Ad Specialties

It’s easy to observe Earth Day, coming up on April 22.  You can use public transportation, car pool, plant trees, participate in community clean-ups and use plenty of eco-friendly promotional products.  

Here at ASI, we’re getting in the spirit with our very first “Top 10 Eco-Friendly Earth Day Giveaways” list – out today.  More companies than ever before are using eco-friendly giveaways to promote their commitment to the environment. 

Editors of Counselor magazine searched for creative giveaways in ESP (our exclusive promo products database) and found marketers snatching up everything from notebooks made of elephant poo to shower timers to paper embedded with wildflower seeds.     

Here’s the list:

1.  Elephant-Poo Notebook The ultimate recycled item, great for colleges and trade shows. 
2.  Bamboo Dinnerware – Perfect for office picnics, outdoor concert venues and fairs.
3.  Seed Paper Postcard – Ideal for environment-themed mailings and print promotions. 
4.  Shower Timer – Municipalities and utilities can promote water conservation.
5.  Recycled Tires Jar Opener Auto dealerships and mechanics can give these to customers. 
6.  Pine Tree Seedling – Employees can participate in a tree-planting day at the office campus.
7.  Organic T-shirt – Give one to each Earth Day event organizer and volunteer. 
8.  Compostable Pens – Hotels, banks and shops can use these biodegradable pens.
9.  Nonwoven Bag Local grocery stores can eliminate plastic and paper.
10.  Hemp-Blend Polo Companies can use this earth-friendly shirt for summer uniforms.

You might think elephant-poo products are just a clever-sounding marketing gimmick. Think again.  Since the paper uses no trees, it’s perfect for eco-conscious buyers.  Such products continue to pick up steam, including dinnerware made from bamboo, which grows up to four feet a day and is 100% biodegradable!

To see photos of the products and purchasing information for each, and to watch a video with the editor of Counselor magazine featuring the items, visit asicentral.com/earth.

What does your company do to help the environment?  Let me know by posting a comment or emailing me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Virtual Trade Show Attracts Nearly 1,500

Filed under: ASI Shows, Education

We just completed our first virtual trade show of 2010 this week, and nearly 1,500 attendees visited, did business, went to education sessions, and learned about the new ESP Web and ESP Orders

ASI is the only company in the industry to offer distributors and suppliers a way to go to a trade show while drinking your coffee in the office.

You can enjoy an archived version of this week’s show through this Friday, at  www.asicentral.com/vts.  Feel free to forward the link to anyone.  It’s free.

Be sure to join us for our next virtual trade show on Wednesday, April 28 – and there are two more after that one yet this year.  They provide a great way to network online, and I strongly encourage you to attend at least one if you can.  You’ll love it.   

Let the Revolution Begin: ESP Web and ESP Orders Debut

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

Tomorrow, one of the most ambitious efforts we’ve ever undertaken becomes reality when we start rolling out the new ESP Web and ESP Orders during our first virtual trade show of 2010.

If you haven’t seen what ESP Web and ESP Orders will do to revolutionize how distributors and suppliers interact, watch the video here

The roll-out is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work on the next generation of ESP and a new product, called ESP Orders.  From the start, we put you – our members – front and center, and we reviewed thousands of your comments to develop revolutionary new services that satisfy your business needs.

We also relied on a number of beta testers, like Bobby Lehew, director of operations for Robyn Promo (asi/309656), who took the new services out for a test drive and provided feedback.  His conclusion?  “ESP Web is simple sophistication at its best.  I submitted a project to a client within minutes of using it for the first time.  I have the freedom to access ESP Web from anywhere and it lets me concentrate on my clients and their needs.”

This next generation of ESP is now browser-based, meaning it will run in Explorer, Firefox, Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome.  ESP Orders, brand-new, will allow distributors to easily transfer information from ESP into a sales order and then into standard purchase orders that can be sent to suppliers with the click of one button.  The data will be easily integrated into ASI Computer’s ProfitMaker, QuickBooks or your own enterprise financial system. No one has to rekey data, and this is a huge time-saver everyone will love.

It sounds simple, but getting this right required an entirely new approach to ESP – figuring out how to provide a true web-based platform, preserve the functionality users depend on every day and reduce inefficiencies between distributors and suppliers.

ESP Web and ESP Orders will start rolling out to segments of ESP users during the virtual trade show taking place live from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EDT tomorrow, Tuesday, March 23.  A graduated rollout will continue throughout the spring.  Training videos covering major new features of the services will be available on the log-in screen of ESP Web.

Demonstrations of ESP Web and ESP Orders will continue in the training room at the ASI booth and in select “power session” rooms at all upcoming super regional ASI Shows, including ASI New York and ASI Chicago

I’d love to know what you think so please, kick the tires and take it for a spin if you can. Then post a comment or email me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

ASI Named a “Best Places to Work”

Filed under: Community, News About ASI

There’s no doubt tough times cause businesses to ask a great deal of employees.  So it was especially gratifying to me that so many of our employees recently voted ASI one of the region’s “Best Places to Work.”

Greater Philadelphia Media sponsored a contest to recognize top employers, based on employee nominations.  Altogether, more than 100 local companies received nominations.  In the end, ASI was nominated in nine categories and won the “Best Places to Work” award among companies with more than 200 employees.

This week, our human resources department (pictured, along with me and ASI vice chairman Matthew Cohn) picked up the award and enjoyed a celebratory luncheon.  We all share this award with Carol Albright, our SVP of HR, her team and everyone who works here.

When employees talk about why they like working at ASI, they usually mention benefits like our on-site day care, training classes and wellness program, which rewards participants for things like going to the gym and stopping smoking.  And four times a year, we recognize individual employees or teams for outstanding efforts and accomplishments.

Not surprisingly, a lot of companies are cutting back on such programs, thinking it’s a way to save some money.  But, as a recent story in ASI’s Successful Promotions magazine shows, companies are wise to continuously reinvigorate their incentive and recognition programs to keep loyal employees.

ASI’s Counselor magazine also has “best places to work” competitions – for the promotional products industry – and you learn what past winners have done correctly in their profiles here.

Let me know what your company does for its employees by posting a comment or emailing me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Register Now for 2010’s First Virtual Trade Show

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

This Tuesday, we launch our first virtual trade show of 2010.  It’s free for distributors – and there’s still time to register by clicking here.

The show, taking place from 10 a.m-3 p.m. EST, features virtual show booths, multimedia demos, digital catalogs, online sample requests, a complete passport program and more than $17,000 in prizes.

The event has already attracted more than 20 top suppliers, including the Magnet Group (asi/68507), PrimeLine (asi/79530) and Snugz USA (asi/88060).  Enjoy online ASI Education sessions while networking and selling in real-time through interactive multimedia booths.

During the show, we’ll also launch the much-anticipated, revolutionary new ESP Web and ESP Orders services.  ESP Web and ESP Orders will start rolling out to segments of ESP users Tuesday and a graduated rollout will continue throughout April. 

We held two virtual trade shows in 2009, and based on feedback, both qualified as successes.  The shows are an ideal way for distributors and suppliers to connect, learn and sell without even leaving the office.  At a time when we all could use innovative methods to be more efficient, these shows are perfect for reaching new prospects, grabbing market share and getting educated.

A virtual show doesn’t replace face-to-face meetings you get at national shows (ASI New York is around the corner in May), but for some sales staff who can’t travel, virtual shows present prime selling opportunities.

Even if you can’t attend Tuesday’s show, you’ll be able to access it on demand once it’s posted online.  In addition, ASI will host three additional virtual trade shows on April 28, June 16 and September 22. 

Let me know your experiences with virtual trade shows by posting a comment or emailing me here.  I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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