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Q1 Revenues Jump

Filed under: Community, News About ASI

As we steam toward the second half of the year, it’s a great time to give a shout-out to the positive results touted in ASI®’s most recent quarterly sales report, showing distributors increased their revenues in Q1 2012 by 6.7% over Q1 2011.

Click here to read the full report.

And if you need even more evidence the economy has finally turned a corner, check out a CNBC report that says the European debt crisis could actually provide a much-needed lift for American manufacturers.

The report goes on to say earnings for large companies like 3M and United Technologies shone in Q1, thanks in good part to bustling domestic business and some shield from the foreign turmoil. Friday, the U.S. government releases its initial GDP estimate for Q1, with economists expecting a gain of about 2.6%.

As they say, a rising tide lifts all ships.

ASI’s own Quarterly Sales Report measured sales results of industry distributors from January 1 through March 31. The good news for this industry is that distributors in the ad specialty market increased their overall revenues by $247 million in Q1, marking the ninth straight quarterly increase.

Hard to believe, but the last time the industry’s distributors faced decreasing sales was in the fourth quarter of 2009. The dark days of 2008 recede farther and farther away with every quarter.

Further, the distributors surveyed – representing a cross section of companies of all sizes – also have positive outlooks for full-year 2012. More than three-quarters (78%) of all distributors feel sales for 2012 will be higher than sales in 2011, with even more large companies expecting gains – in fact, 83% of distributors with more than $1 million in sales say they’re forecasting revenue growth for the remainder of 2012, when compared to full-year 2011.

In contrast to previous quarters, though, small distributors (annual revenue less than $250,000) showed impressive gains in the first quarter of 2012. These firms increased their sales by 6.8% in Q1, after gains of less than 3.5% for each of the previous four quarters. Mid-size distributors (revenues between $250,000 and $1 million) increased their revenues by 6.2% in Q1 2012, and large distributors (sales more than $1 million) grew by 7.1%.

Tweet that!

Let me know how your sales are coming along this year by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Get Your Free, Extra ESP License

Filed under: Industry Initiatives, News About ASI

In 1964, the great R&B singer Sam Cooke sang “The Best Things in Life are Free,” live at the Copa. The moon, the stars, flowers in spring – all free. To that list, I’m happy to add a free, extra ESP® license for members subscribed to the ad specialty industry’s largest and most accurate product sourcing tool.

The additional license gives subscribers access to the entire ESP platform – Web, Online and Mobile – allowing users to take advantage of all ESP benefits, including:

  • The most up-to-date information
  • The highest-quality images
  • Over 38,000 up-to-date supplier ratings
  • Industry-exclusive ordering system

A free, extra license can go a long way toward helping satisfy your sales needs while providing direct access to every product in the ESP platform.

Current ESP customers can get their extra, free license by visiting www.asicentral.com/plusone (excluding those with program pricing). New customers are eligible to buy ESP and get their additional license by visiting www.asicentral.com/espweb or by contacting their ASI account executive at 1(800) 546-1350.

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to download ESP Mobile™  for the iPhone and iPad devices from the Apple App Store. For all you Droidsters, ESP Mobile for Android users will soon be available in the Android Play Store.

Finally, if Sam Cooke put you in the mood for some more good music, check out R. Kelly’s version of the Cooke classic here. It’s free too!

Let me know what the best thing you got for free recently was by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Earth First

Filed under: Community, Industry Initiatives, Members, Using Ad Specialties

I still have the $10 Earth Day T-shirt (my first ad specialty tee!) I helped sell in the quad in 1982 during my first fundraiser as secretary of the Society of Professional Journalists at Ball State University.

I’m still involved in ad specialties and still concerned about doing all I can to help protect the Earth. Earth Day is celebrated worldwide on April 22, and more companies than ever before are using “green” giveaways to promote their commitment to the environment while advertising their brand, product or event.

This year, in what’s become an annual Top 10 list of eco-friendly freebies from ASI®, the theme is products made from renewable resources like bamboo and using manufacturing processes that don’t harm the environment. It’s clear there’s no better way for a company to advertise its brand and its conscience all year long than with logoed giveaways that are biodegradable, all-natural or mercury-free.

To see a Joe Show, photos and descriptions featured on this year’s Top 10 list, click here.

ASI’s Top 10 Eco-Friendly Freebies:

1. Stone paper journal, from Yanlee Trading Co. (asi/98766). An eco-friendly alternative made from actual stone via a bleach-free process, making it recyclable, compostable, smudge-resistant, water-resistant and tear-proof.

2. Eco golf balls, from MVP Gift Bag (asi/68322). Made from recycled golf balls and packaged in boxes made from recycled paper. Comes with pre-addressed pouch so damaged balls can be returned, recycled and replaced by manufacturer.

3. Seeded paper, from Symphony Seed Paper (asi/74930). Honor Earth Day by planting flowers from seeds embedded in paper branded with company logo.

4. Wooden bead Karma bracelets (asi/78140) from Pinnacle Designs. Made from all-natural wood, easy to imprint.

5. Water bottle with carbon filter, from Ad-N-Art (asi/31518). BPA-free, squeezable water bottle with a carbon filter keeps 200 fewer water bottles from the landfill. Filter allows for turning public fountain or spigot water into clean drinking water.

6. Eco-tee, from Royal Apparel (asi/83731). Tee consists of 50% organic cotton and 50% polyester made from recycled water bottles. Imprinted with water-safe inks and made in the USA.

7. Bamboo serving utensils, from Bay State Specialty Co. (asi/38980). Bamboo grows upwards of 6 feet a day without fertilizers or pesticides.

8. Billboard bags, from Landes Inc. (asi/66230). Worried about your used vinyl billboards and banners clogging up landfills? Landes recycles them into attention-grabbing bags.

9. Dog training treats and pad balm, from Solar Advertising (asi/88148). Made from all-natural, organic materials. Tube is biodegradable.

10. Coco-Eco flip-flops, from Neet Feet (asi/73525). Made from recycled rubber and recycled coconut fibers, they’re great for promoting any company associated with the great outdoors.

Let me know what Earth Day product is your current favorite or what your company is doing to promote Earth Day values by posting a comment or e-mailing me. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Media File: Big, Bigger, Best

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

Sometimes, bigger is definitely better. Roller coasters, sales commissions, even juicy hamburgers – they’re all better bigger. To that list you can add 2012 Media File, the world’s largest promotional products catalog.

This hardcover catalog is such an essential sales tool that we’ve already pre-sold 65% of all available copies. This year’s edition – incredibly, our 57th – contains thousands of products from hundreds of suppliers (including 49 new suppliers) in all price ranges, along with promotional planning guides and end-buyer case studies perfect to take along to your next sales call.

Price and product indexes make it easy to choose products to suit any client’s budget. In addition, the 2012 Media File comes packed with ASI’s End Buyer Catalog Study facts to help prove the enduring ROI of ad specialties.

But what really sets Media File apart are the products – everything from customized playing cards, colorful drinkware and cool USB flash drives to unique athletic souvenirs, awesome executive gifts, go-green items and even prize wheels, along with favorite campaign standards.

It’s big, it’s undeniably beautiful and it’s selling fast. You can order yours online by clicking here. If you have any questions or want to discuss special offers, contact Dan Brown, ASI’s executive director of distributor services, at dbrown@asicentral.com or at 800-546-1365.

And remember, selling through catalogs continues to be an effective marketing medium for distributors and suppliers. ASI studies show over 86% of active distributors declare catalogs to be important or even essential for generating sales.

As we prepare to head to the Big Apple for our New York show, I want to share one last Tim’s Take video from San Diego. We shot this right after the Michael J. Fox keynote, which inspired an audience of about 500.

I was particularly moved by his message of hope in the face of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, as my mom lived with the disease for over 35 years. If you haven’t already, please check out his foundation’s website and see the incredible things they’ve accomplished in their search for a cure. April, by the way, is Parkinson’s Awareness month.

In California, I also checked out some fun products like a spinning dragonfly (at right) from Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125), colorful stress relievers from Target Line (asi/90640) and Rubik’s cubes from Prime Line (asi/79530). Click here to watch.

And let me know what fun, funky ad specialty is your current favorite by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Lights, Camera, Ad Specialties

Filed under: ASI Shows, Media Coverage, Members, News About ASI

Scores of reporters were drawn to ASI’s recent San Diego show, resulting in a ton of great press for the industry. One TV reporter called the show “the coolest convention of the year” thanks to the creativity and ingenuity on display.

The TV reports and newspaper stories provided a strong showcase for the power of promotional products, along with terrific exposure for a number of companies, including BamBams (asi/38228), All-In-One (asi/34256), Pingline (asi/78137), Alight Promotional Products (asi/34194), Panther Vision (asi/75825), Outdoor Cap Co. (asi/75420), Yanlee Trading Co. (asi/98766), CleggPromo (asi/45450), PopOut Products (asi/68650) and A Plus Wine Designs (asi/30223).

Reporters interviewed numerous people at the show, including Brett Gent of Openers Plus (asi/63073), Jeff Grippando of WorkflowOne (asi/333647) and Carl VanderSchuit of LiteFx (asi/67740). I hope they enjoyed their time in the media spotlight!

ASI’s Dave Vagnoni was on hand to expertly guide the news crews through the trade show maze, show off products to the viewing audience and discuss the amazing ROI of our $18.5 billion industry – a number that really impressed the media.

If you haven’t already, check out the coverage:

  • KUSI-TV aired a total of six morning show segments from the convention center. Click here and here to watch.

  • KFMB, the CBS affiliate, aired a segment on its evening newscast. Click here to watch.

  • The San Diego Union-Tribune published a detailed story. Click here for the coverage.
  • The San Diego Daily Transcript posted a multimedia package, including a video report. Click here to watch.

For all of ASI’s press coverage, visit our press page here.

FYI, we hate the use of the word “swag” too but we can’t control what the press says – as hard as we try.

Let me know what you think of the coverage by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Long Beach, Here We Come

Filed under: ASI Shows, Members, News About ASI

We’re ending the ASI Show in San Diego after three strong days with a major announcement: We’re moving our West Coast show to Long Beach next year.

The move was instigated in large part by ASI suppliers and distributors who wanted a more convenient and cost-effective venue. Of the 4,313 distributors we serve on the West Coast, 61% are located in the greater Los Angeles area.

Central to three airports, the Long Beach Convention Center is easily accessible from all major thoroughfares. Lorenz Hassenstein, the new vice president and general manager of The ASI Show, did his due diligence and found attendees will be able to save $500 per person in Long Beach. Hotel rooms on average cost $50 less per night, and flights into Long Beach are 50% cheaper as compared to San Diego.

The 2013 Long Beach show will feature the same great education and exhibits you expect from an ASI show, along with a full roster of networking and special events. The show opens Saturday, March 23, 2013 – so mark your calendars.

Karen DiTomasso, vice president of sales for The ASI Show, says she expects the timing of the show – months away from other industry events taking place in the greater LA area – will result in a sellout. For more exhibition information on ASI Long Beach, visit www.asishow.com. Attendee registration will open this summer.

The San Diego show ended on a high note with a keynote speech by actor and Parkinson’s activist Michael J. Fox. The standing-room-only event drew nearly 500 people who were really inspired by the remarkable personal lessons Fox shared about life with Parkinson’s disease.

Calling on the old acting adage of “Don’t play the result,” the Family Ties and Back to the Future star urged people to live in the moment. “It’s about possibilities, and making sure you don’t shut those possibilities out because you’re blinded by what you think the future may hold. Life changes and you have to change with it,” he said.

All told, the San Diego show attracted over 2,000 distributor attendees and 335 suppliers. The show earned great feedback from ASI members.

Rick Greene from HALO Branded Solutions, asi/356000: “This is just a great show. In the first four rows I walked, I found two important apparel resources that I need for a huge project. Having access to the show floor is amazing.”

Glenn Hersh from Admints and Zagabor, asi/31516: “We always look forward to the ASI shows because they give us a chance to interact with distributors and discuss specific projects.”

There’s still more to come! The remaining two 2012 ASI shows are ASI New York (May 8-10) and ASI Chicago (July 17-19). ASI distributor and decorator members can register for free at www.asishow.com. To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, contact Karen at kditomasso@asicentral.com.

And please let me know what you think of the move to Long Beach by e-mailing me or leaving a comment.

ASI’s Latest App is a Tap Away

Filed under: News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

ASI has exciting news: ESP Mobile™ HD for the iPad is now available free in the Apple App Store to more than 46,000 ESP users.

ESP Mobile HD features the same business-friendly features as the iPhone app, allowing users to view the latest pricing, see razor-sharp images, check out supplier ratings, request a quote and e-mail clients products on the go.

With its larger display screen, ESP Mobile HD has been optimized to showcase more product information to make finding product details easier than ever, and includes featured product videos. 

This is yet another key technological leap forward for the industry, and we’re happy to share it with you today. And for all you Android users out there, don’t worry – the Android app is on its way.

To download ESP Mobile HD:
1. Visit the Apple App Store from your device.
2. Search for ESP Mobile HD and click to download for free.
3. Tap the app to launch and enter your user name and password for ESP Web.

ESP Mobile HD is integrated with ASI’s ESP Web, where distributors can source and order every promotional product in the industry from more than 3,500 suppliers.

ESP Mobile is already breaking records and gathering superior reviews. For instance,  more than half of ESP Mobile users have logged in between 2-5 times/day since downloading the app. Together, ESP Mobile, ESP Web and ESP Online perform over 100,000 searches daily.

Remember: Licenses to access ESP Mobile HD are only available to authorized distributors of promotional products. To get a license to ESP Mobile HD, call ASI at 1-800-546-1350. If you have questions, contact Liz Kennedy, ASI’s director of product and technical support, at support@asicentral.com.

And please let me know what you think of the new app by posting a comment or e-mailing me.

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