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Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer

Filed under: Members, News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

I love learning about new crazes. It gives me something to talk about at a party or while stuck in line at the DMV. Recently, Joe “The Joe Show” Haley turned me on to disc golf, which is a game played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc. The object is to complete each hole in the fewest number of throws, instead of strokes.

Joe discovered this newest sports fad sweeping college campuses and the burbs while researching products for our annual list of sizzling summer products. Par One (asi/75912) makes the discs, which come with a great grip and a large imprint area to promote everything from beach resorts and golf outings to company picnics and swim clubs.  

Since there are just 92 days in summer, I’m sure you’re working hard to take advantage of every one. If you have any products you think we should feature, send on a sample to Joe here at ASI. You never know when it’ll hit a list like the one below.

The Top 10 List of Sizzling Summer Products:

  • Sunblock Hat, from Whispering Pines Sportswear (asi/97027). Make like a true Aussie and beat the sun with a UPF 45+ cap, perfect for golf outings and beach resort companies.
  • Quick ’n Slick Sauce Brushes, from Bay State (asi/38980). The silicone brush spreads sauces smooth and easy without dripping. Great food industry giveaway.
  • Big Beach Towel, from Professional Towel Line (asi/79750). Super-size messages from real estate companies serving beach areas and resorts with a 35″ x 60″ cotton terry beach towel.
  • Fiji Thong Flip-Flops, from Neet Feet (asi/73525). Ideal for spas or the discerning traveler. Leaves imprinted logo or company name in the sand as you walk.
  • Golf Dotz, from Pure Brands Management Inc. (asi/80083). Make like a pro and transfer logo directly onto any golf ball. Super for corporate promotions, tournaments and giveaways.
  • BrandRims Sunglasses, from BrandRims (asi/41541). Provides complete coverage of logo and designs across the entire sunglass frame, for any sporting event or company picnic.
  • The Art Kite, from The Art Kite (asi/37118). Poster art that flies. Fly it, then hang it on the wall to show off logo or color photo for years to come.
  • Grill Mitt, from The ETC Line (asi/36558).  A 16″ super mitt that will protect users from fingertip to elbow. Fire companies can give it away to promote fire safety.
  • Bucket Cooler, from The Bag Factory (asi/68507). Lays flat for easy storage, then pops open for tailgating, trips to the beach or backyard grilling. Ideal for “cool” promotions.
  • Disc Golf, from Par One (asi/75912).

Click here to watch a Joe Show demo of the products. Click here for more photos and complete product descriptions.

And if you have any super summer promotions planned, post a comment or email me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

That Championship Season

Filed under: News About ASI

I always wonder how champions feel right after a major win. Do they immediately start thinking of the next year, the next game, the next big trophy? I’m betting ASI’s latest winners – our editorial team – are already planning their next triumph.

But first they’ll certainly celebrate winning a total of 18 awards for writing, editing, research, design and photography from the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

I’m half expecting them to come to my office and pour gatorade over my head during a victory lap!

All told, ASI publications have won an incredible 57 editorial awards in recent years, including three Jesse H. Neal Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prize of the business press. I give a lot of credit to Melinda Ligos, ASI’s editor in chief and senior vice president of professional development, and to Rich Fairfield, our executive vice president and publisher, for guiding editorial to so many championship seasons.

ASBPE is the professional association for full-time and freelance editors and writers employed in the business, trade and specialty press. The organization is widely known for its annual Awards of Excellence competition, which recognizes the best in editorial, design and online achievement.

Every year, ASI’s five magazines are up against heavy hitters like BusinessWeek – and usually end up mopping the floor with the competition.

For their efforts, the national Azbee Award winners will be honored at a banquet in Chicago August 4. Northeastern regional winners will be feted at a banquet in New York City on July 27.

I’m sure you’ll recognize a lot of the award-winning stories, photos and designs, so here’s a list of the national awards:

  • Best Original Research: Stitches, “State of the Industry Issue”
  • Best Regular Department: Stitches, “Look Book”
  • Best Opening Page Design: Supplier Global Resource, “The Devil’s in the Details”
  • Best Opening Page Design: Wearables, “Style & the City”
  • Best Regular Department: Wearables, “Wearables University”

 And here’s a list of regional awards:

  • Best Front Cover Photo: Advantages, “Wacky Promotions”
  • Best How-To Article: Advantages, “Sales Bloggers Share Their Strategies”
  • Best Regular Department: Advantages, “Advantages University”
  • Best Front Cover: Counselor, “Power 50”
  • Best Regular Department: Counselor, “Blueprint”
  • Best Feature Article: Stitches, “On the Road Again”
  • Best Front Cover Illustration: Supplier Global Resource, “Spy Games”
  • Best Regular Department: Supplier Global Resource, “On My Desk”
  • Best Regular Department: Supplier Global Resource, “SGR Case Study”
  • Best Feature Article: Wearables, “From Seed to Shirt”
  • Best Front Cover Photo: Wearables, “Roll Up Your Sleeves” (pictured)

Please join me in congratulating everyone involved. I’m sure they’re already hard at work on the next big batch of award winners.

If your organization has been recognized recently, let me know by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Time to Read, Write and Sell

Filed under: News About ASI

Kids across the nation are singing “No more pencils/No more books/No more teacher’s dirty looks” as they exit school for summer. While I wish I could join them at the mall or in the pool, instead I’m thinking about upcoming fall promotions while flipping through our 2011 schools edition of the Idea Showcase catalog.

 We’ve already sold 200,000 copies of the pocket-size catalog, which comes with a money-saving coupon section and slides perfectly into a No. 10 envelope. Whether you’re looking for a reliable standard like a pen or stress ball or something far out like rally hair or glowing ice cubes, Idea Showcase offers plenty of campaign ideas.

Features include:

  • 390+ products between $1-$40
  • 50+ suppliers
  • Products perfect for elementary and high schools, colleges and universities, after-school programs, youth clubs and sports teams
  • Two covers to choose from: standard and schools

In addition, each copy of Idea Showcase can be imprinted with a distributor’s full-color logo and contact information on the cover any time throughout the year.

To order Idea Showcase online or to see sample pages, click here.  For more information, contact Dan Brown, executive director of distributor services, at dbrown@asicentral.com or at 800-546-1350.  Distributors receive free shipping on orders placed by July 15.

Now if I can just get Alice Cooper’s classic June anthem “School’s Out for Summer” out of my head, I’ll head back to work.

 Let me know what you’re planning for summer by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Keys to a Virtual Kingdom

Filed under: ASI Shows, Community, News About ASI

When I was a kid we loved nothing better than watching the Ed Sullivan Show. When he promised “a really big show,” Ed delivered.

I like to think ASI delivers every time we host a show, whether it’s bricks and mortar or virtual. This week, we earned a terrific confirmation from a participant at our latest virtual show, who commented: “My fingers are cramped from so much typing because we’ve been busy.”

Whenever we can cramp some fingers, I know we’ve done good!

In addition to great education and lots of show traffic, we gave away an Apple iPad and more than $17,000 in prizes. Throughout the all-day event, participants were treated to top suppliers, multimedia demos, digital catalogs and online sample requests.

Altogether, more than 1,500 visited the show, which generated 1,037 one-to-one chats. In addition, visitors viewed a total of 1,858 documents and 757 webcasts, staying at the show an average of  78.5 minutes – not bad for a free day with no expensive travel.

The best part is no matter where you are – or how you’re dressed – you can log on and learn, network and sell. And if you missed this week’s virtual event, you can access it on-demand here.

Stay tuned for our next show, scheduled for September 14.

We know the all-day, online events are effective because exhibiting suppliers experience an average 24% increase in ESP searches the day after each show.

And, don’t forget – you can attend education classes that are applied to your BASI or MASI certificates right from the virtual show floor.

While virtual events won’t replace in-person shows (Chicago is July 19-21), you can’t beat the ease and value.

If you were at the show, let me know what you thought by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Play a Winning Sales Game

Filed under: ASI Shows, News About ASI

As the NFL players’ lockout drags on amid wrangling over $9 billion in annual revenue, I got to thinking about some of the greatest moments in football history. The once-in-a-lifetime gridiron dramas, like Franco Harris’ game-winning “Immaculate Reception” and Tom Dempsey’s 63-yard field goal, help me recall the glory in a truly glorious game.

Another ace moment: Iron Mike Ditka’s final touchdown in the Dallas Cowboys’ 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI. Lucky for us, Ditka – one of the only people ever to have won a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach – will be our keynote speaker at the ASI Chicago show Thursday, July 21.

While I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about the lockout, I’m also anxious to get his views on a cause dear to his heart: aiding retired players suffering physical and financial problems. 

As he pointed out during a recent talk in Michigan, a lot of players left the game hurting in more ways than one. In Ditka’s first year with the Chicago Bears, when he was named Rookie of the Year, he made only $12,000. Compare that to what players take home today and you can see why some of the old-timers need help with their end game.

In his speech at the Chicago show, Ditka will highlight the key characteristics people need to fully achieve their personal and business goals. Early admission tickets are still available, but the meet and greet is sold out. Click here for more info and to register for early admission. The keynote itself, as always, is free.

Ditka’s talk, touted as one of the best in all of the NFL, is sure to be inspirational, funny and chock-full of great football moments. Even if you’re not a football fan, the lessons you’ll learn from one of the greatest American success stories – and son of a steel-mine worker – will certainly help you improve your sales game.

So please join us for what’s certain to be a highlight of show season.

And let me know how you think the lockout will end by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Congrats to ASI’s Super Sales Team

Filed under: Community, News About ASI

A great sales rep knows there’s more to making a sale than offering a good product at a fair price. Sales is an art, and true practitioners are experts in their chosen field.

We’ve got a staff chock-full of those experts here at ASI. And like most of us, they usually toil day to day, sale to sale, largely unrecognized for the efforts they make on behalf of their clients and this company. But this week, 18 of our super sales reps were recognized as the Magazine Sales Team of the Year during a big, splashy ceremony in New York City.

Min’s, the most trusted publishing source in the consumer and B2B magazine business, selected ASI’s team in the industry’s premier sales awards competition, which honors the most successful and innovative sales professionals in magazine media.

The competition was stiff, to say the least. ASI’s supplier sales team was up against sales teams from big shots like People – and they still walked away winners, scoring along with teams from NextStepU magazine and The Parents Network.   

How’d they win it? By combining financial motivation and friendly competition, listening to clients and delivering incomparable products without discounts. The team – headed by ASI publisher Rich Fairfield – sweetened each deal with unsurpassed personal service that included one-to-one sales consultations and marketing support.

So please join me in congratulating everyone on the team (pictured above) and sharing in their victory.

Winning team members are:  Dan Dienna, Jeannine Garrison, Ed Koehler, Chris Lovell, Barry Melito, Phyllis Mutnick, Jim Padilla, Suzanne Rozick, Mary Sells, Christopher Glowacki, Sean McGuigan, Suzanne Izzo, Krista Taylor, Jason Krenzel, Matt Canamucio, Pamela Vicik-Smith, Gene Rahill, Rich Fairfield, Cindi Mann, Vince Deissroth and Brian White.

That’s not all. At the same time, I’d like to congratulate our marketing team for recently winning a 2011 Communicator Award from the International Academy of Visual Arts for ESP’s “Meet Your Rep” campaign.

And! ASI’s press kit just won a Gold Hermes Award and our Promo Man publicity campaign won a Platinum Hermes Award during a competition hosted by the International Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

You can bet we’ll be drinking lots of Champagne this week here at the office.

Let me know what you think makes the difference between good and great by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Keep in Constant Contact

Filed under: Member Benefits, News About ASI

ASI is always on the lookout for new ways to help members become more effective marketing machines. This week, we announced a new benefit that will help companies do just that.

Constant Contact Inc., a trusted marketing adviser to more than 450,000 small organizations, will supply even more ammunition to companies looking for the best ways to get out their message.

The company, launched in 1998, supplies leading email marketing, online survey and event marketing tools – supported by expert personal coaching and support – to help all types of small businesses and organizations create professional-looking email newsletters and insightful online surveys. The goal is to connect and establish meaningful dialogue with customers.

With Constant Contact, even small companies have access to the latest industry information and education to help them learn email marketing and online survey best practices. Plus, they benefit from Constant Contact’s high email deliverability rates.

The company’s online marketing tools include:

  • Email Marketing for quickly creating professional-looking emails, managing contact lists, measuring campaign results and reviewing new list members.
  • Social Media Marketing for turning fans, friends and followers into customers. Harnessing digital word of mouth from Facebook, retweeting offers on Twitter or posting a review on Yelp keeps the conversation going and generates a powerful buzz for small business.
  • Event Marketing for efficiently promoting and managing registrations and RSVPs for meetings, functions, seminars and events.
  • Online Survey for gathering feedback that helps meet customer needs, generate new ideas and help grow a business or organization.

ASI distributor members can learn more about Constant Contact and sign up for a free 60-day trial by clicking here. Members can get a special 20% discount when prepaying for six months and 25% off for 12 months. In addition, Constant Contact offers free personalized coaching/support and an impressive online Learning Center to help members build successful marketing campaigns.

If you need any more info contact Karyn Coates, ASI’s director of member benefits, at kcoates@asicentral.com or 215-953-3312.

Let me know what you think of our latest benefit by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.