This morning I put Harris Cohen, president and CEO of All-In-One (asi/34256), on the Hot Seat to discuss a number of industry trends, including supplier inventory, investing in new products and “The Big Idea.”
To watch a Tim’s Take video filmed after the interview, click here.
Harris agrees with many distributors on the importance of maintaining a deep inventory and says now that the economy’s easing, there’s no excuse for empty shelves. All-In-One, which helped introduce flash drives and USBs to the industry, is now immersed in encrypting and full-color imprinting and personalization.
As Harris says, personalization takes any product to the next level.
I also got a chance today to interview ASI Show’s VP of sales, Karen DiTomasso, after her packed supplier panel, “Quick Strategies to Get Noticed & Generate More Quality Leads.”
Click here to watch.
Karen was joined on the panel by Josh Goodelman, VP of Liqui-Mark Corp. (asi/67675), Jim Moore, senior VP of sales and marketing at Molenaar (asi/71980) and Fran Ford, senior VP of J Charles Crystalworks Inc. (asi/62985).
These industry vets bring a combined 100 years of experience to the table.
The session – new for 2010 – provided suppliers with quick strategies for exhibiting, including these three nuggets:
In addition to an array of educational offerings at every show, don’t forget ASI also offers dozens of online tutorials through ASI Education.
I’m off now to get ready for tonight’s Chicago Gala Celebration, followed by the Counselor HOT Party. Make sure to check back for loads of photos from these events tomorrow.
Any day that starts with cake is a good day. And this morning we celebrated a wonderful milestone – the two-year anniversary of ASI Radio – with cake, balloons and special guests during a live broadcast direct from our show in Chicago.
As any fan of ASI Radio knows, our five regular radio co-hosts consistently deliver the best of industry news in a lively program every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Topics run the gamut, from advice on selling to big companies to building business referrals and using new marketing techniques – you name it, and our radio hosts have covered it. In addition to knowing the industry inside and out, Melinda Ligos, Andy Cohen, Michele Bell, Kathy Huston and Joe Haley are as snappy and engaging as anyone on radio today.
Today’s Radio Show guests included Matt Bertram, president of Fields Manufacturing (asi/54100), which sponsored Tuesday’s full slate of classes, and direct marketing and business expert David Blaise. Both guests stressed the importance of keeping up with new trends and ideas through continual education.
And, in a nod to Counselor magazine’s special State of the Industry issue, the Radio Show featured a game show-style quiz hosted by Senior Writer Dave Vagnoni. See how many answers you know:
1. What’s the top way to find new business in our industry? Online, networking, referrals, or asking your neighbor?
2. In 2009, what was the industry’s top revenue-generator? Bags, USB drives, T-shirts or pens?
3. What was the top market in 2009? Financial, government, health care or education?
4. Which region is most optimistic about the market? Southwest, Southeast, West, Northeast?
5. What percentage of orders from suppliers was delivered on time to distributors in 2009? 88%, 91%, 97% or 92%?
If you caught our rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song, you know our hosts made the right decision when they chose a career in promotional products over an appearance on “American Idol.”
And, anytime you miss a live show, don’t worry: All shows are archived so you can listen to them anytime. Visit the ASI Radio Web page for complete instructions.
Happy birthday, ASI Radio! For more photos, click here.
Quiz answers: 1. referral 2. T-shirts 3. health care 4. Southwest. 5. 92%.
Counselor’s State of the Industry issue – our largest and best-read issue of the year – is about to drop and I’m offering a preview in Tim’s Take, a video shot during the opening day of our Chicago show.
Click here to watch.
In the issue, we report that both distributors and suppliers are abundantly more optimistic about the health of the market in 2010 than they were in 2009. What that tells us is that growth is here, and more is on the way.
Even further, 63% of distributors expect to increase their sales and profitability in 2010, which is a good indication of a solid year ahead for everyone in our industry.
Our data comes from separate surveys returned by distributors and suppliers and analyzed by Larry Basinait, executive director of research services for ASI.
As Counselor reveals, the top three sales categories are health, financial institutions and education. I’m happy to report that doctors and health-care organizations are promoting themselves more, which is helping offset the hit the sector took from legislative restrictions placed on Big Pharma.
The growth of finance and education comes thanks to government education and retraining programs now available to the unemployed. So, if you haven’t started chasing your local educational market, now’s the time.
And, there’s more. The issue also contains a Business Planning Guide, which provides strategies and tactics for distributors to plan for business growth over the immediate and long term. Broken up into four time-based sections (immediate, 2010 fourth quarter, 2011, and a long-term two-to-four-year horizon), the guide offers advice sure to invigorate and energize any organization.