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Head True North

Filed under: News About ASI

The zeitgeist right now is all things Canada – birthplace of Neil Young and Justin Bieber, home to phenomenal hockey, a gorgeous national anthem, some of the funniest comedians ever (Seth Rogen and Eugene Levy) and, now, ASI’s very first Canadian Power Summit.

Registration for the June 12-14 confab at the legendary Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, aka “the castle in the Rockies,” is officially open. This is a prime opportunity to join the most influential leaders in Canada’s promotional products industry at what promises to be an incredible three days of networking, brainstorming and strategizing at one of the premier destinations in the Great White North.

To register, click here.

At the summit, we’ll cover a full slate of hot topics, including everything you need to know about mobile marketing and lucrative sales markets. We’ll also offer an exclusive look at our first-ever Counselor® Canadian State of the Industry report, providing key strategies to move any business forward.

And, we just secured a great keynoter – Dr. Jack Mintz, world-renowned fiscal and tax policy specialist and chair of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, who will discuss the current climate for small businesses in Canada.

Throughout the summit, we’ll have numerous chances to explore the 125-year-old resort, which is surrounded by pristine wilderness in the heart of Banff National Park, and everything it has to offer, including great golf, terrific dining and an array of recreational activities.

And while I’m on the topic of cool Canada, there’s still time to order your copy of 2013’s The Professional Buyer’s Guide catalog for the Canadian marketplace. It’s the best place to find great products from Canadian and Canadian-friendly suppliers – everything from bags, tools and electronics to sporting goods, office supplies and wearables.

In addition, we added some really fresh features this year – full-page advertorials with everything you need to know about select suppliers and a clever buyer’s “guided tour” of products to fit any campaign.

I can’t say this often enough – catalogs work. The average distributor reports ASI® catalogs produce $19,000 in sales per year. Guaranteed circulation of The Professional Buyer’s Guide is 50,000 so click here to order or e-mail pbg@asicentral.com.

And if you’re a fan of the country that’s produced some of the best-known singers of all time, let me know your favorite – Justin? Joni? – by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Dallas Show Ends on High-Energy Note

Filed under: ASI Shows, Members, News About ASI

The Dallas show that closed Friday attracted over 500 top suppliers and 16 team-building distributor sales meetings, including Counselor® Top 40 distributor American Solutions for Business’ winter conference.

All told, ASI Dallas – the largest industry event in the Southwest – drew 3,645 distributors and 510 suppliers (including 56 exhibiting for the first time in Dallas).

All of us at the show got incredible feedback, which is always great to hear. It’s clear a ton of deals took place on the show floor and during numerous networking opportunities. Here’s a small sampling of reactions:

Barry Lipsett, CEO of Charles River Apparel (asi/44620): “We did so well we are going to double the size of our booth next year!”

Larry Zavadil, CEO of American Solutions for Business (asi/120075): “ASI Education has been great, and we found tons of ideas on the show floor. Every vendor we’ve come across has a unique solution to offer.”

Gabe McGraw, from Gold Bond (asi/57653): “Distributors are coming in with a list, which makes it easy because that translates into orders and everybody benefits. We’ve been so happy with ASI Dallas – in fact, with all of The ASI Shows – because they’re really big producers for us.”

The show was such a hit it even attracted the local news. Fox featured ASI Dallas on its Wednesday broadcast, showing off many of the hottest products at the show (despite the unfortunate use of the word “swag”).

On Friday, we kicked off the final day with a wonderful keynote by three-time Super Bowl champion and 2006 “Dancing with the Stars” winner Emmitt Smith, who advised a packed house on successful small business strategies (see pic).

He was such a nice guy he even posted a photo of the two of us on his Facebook page. It’s amazing to me how many of our keynote speakers turn out to be so gracious. Maybe they know how lucky they are – and how lucky we are to have them share their fascinating experiences and secrets of success!

As we reported in a special show edition of Counselor® Promogram®, Smith’s main message was: “Be bold with your goals.”

“Your attitude determines your altitude,” he told attendees. “You have to believe in yourself and your own abilities to be able to reach new heights. But, the only way to get there is to write those goals down. It’s only a dream until you write it down. That’s when it becomes a real goal.”

Counselor Editor Andy Cohen interviewed Smith after his keynote session to get more motivational advice. Click here to watch the video.

In addition to a lot of work, we had a ton of big Texas fun at the show, too. As you can see from the picture of our happy bull-rider, the industry came together at a boisterous Gala Celebration on Thursday night at the world-famous Gilley’s, the inspiration for the John Travolta/Debra Winger blockbuster “Urban Cowboy.”

I’m always on the lookout for Hoosiers and was thrilled to spot John Burr at the show (pictured in the Indiana tee shirt with me). John’s an account executive with American Solutions for Business. I first met him 6-7 years ago at an ASI show in Philadelphia and he’s now working in Pleasantville, NY. In many ways, that’s the best part of any show: making – and renewing – connections.

Fortunately, many of the people who attended the show are from the Southwest, so they didn’t have any trouble getting home. But many of us who planned to head back to the Philadelphia-NJ area are being delayed by the “Nemo” blizzard. I hope everyone Back East stays warm, dry and safe and that everyone traveling gets home OK. Make sure to check www.asicentral.com for notices of any industry companies affected by the storm.

And if you were at the show, please post a comment or e-mail me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Finally, don’t forget, on August 12, ASI® returns to Dallas for the inaugural Promotions Southwest expo at the state-of-the-art Irving Convention Center. Click here for more info and to


Big News from the Big D

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

ASI® kicked off its latest show in Dallas Wednesday – the same day we announced the availability of thelatest version of our ESP Mobile app.

The Texas show continues through Friday at the Dallas Convention Center, where thousands of distributors and suppliers will conduct business at a faster, more efficient pace than ever before, thanks to tech innovations like the ESP Mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

ESP Mobile downloads have already topped 9,000 since launch – and we’re expecting a new surge now that we’ve unveiled over 40 innovative new features, which we’ll demo in Dallas as well as at upcoming shows in Long Beach (March 22-24), New York (May 8-9) and Chicago (July 16-18).

If you haven’t already, give the new mobile app a test drive. Now users can:

-Tap to create virtual samples and generate dynamic on-site sales demos
-Speak to search for products
-Tap to quickly rate a supplier and read other distributor comments
-Search and filter products easily with the same options as ESP Web
-Instantly provide ASI with feedback to improve the user experience

I’m really looking forward to reactions from users at Dallas, which features some Texas-sized action. Just check out the big way the Omni hotel greeted show participants this week. It’s a great “sign” of the enthusiasm and professionalism we’re encountering everywhere.

In addition to demos, networking and a brand-new Gala Celebration at the world-famous Gilley’s, we’ve got 16 distributor sales meetings taking place here in Dallas.

First thing Wednesday morning I welcomed Counselor Top 40 distributor American Solutions for Business (asi/120075), which brought together upwards of 250 sales reps for their winter conference. As I often do, I asked the audience if anyone was from my home state of Indiana – and found a single Hoosier, as well as someone from N.J., where I now live.

After all-day education (which includes new classes for owners), the show floor is open for business Thursday and Friday. We’ll start off the last day with a free keynote by former Dallas Cowboy and three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith, who might be better known in some circles as the 2006 “Dancing with the Stars” winner.

Keep checking www.asicentral.com and our Twitter feed for the latest show news, blogs and videos. And if you’re with us in Dallas, let me know what you’re looking forward to the most by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

And don’t forget on August 12, ASI returns to Dallas for the inaugural Promotions Southwest show at the state-of-the-art Irving Convention Center. Click here for more info and to register for the new show, timed to help distributors prepare for all-important fourth-quarter sales.


Sustain the Growth

Filed under: News About ASI, Research

ASI’s latest research analysis shows total 2012 distributor sales rose 5.2% to $19.4 billion. To put it into perspective, the promotional products industry grew last year at over twice the rate of the overall U.S. economy.

While that’s certainly good news, it’s tempered by the fact that 2012 was a Presidential election year, a once-every-four-years economic jolt our industry gets from super-sized sales of federal, state and local election-related promo products. We’re estimating that about half of 2012’s growth was due to sales of items like campaign buttons, yard signs, postcards and the like.

If we’re to sustain such growth – which, by our estimate, has now continued through 12 straight quarters – we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us. Luckily, promo products can be an easy sell, owing to their well-documented ROI. Pitched right, new clients and prospects should be suitably dazzled by ASI’s most recent Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, showing promo products consistently rank among the most influential, enduring and cost-effective ad mediums available.

We’ve made it easy to understand and circulate the global study, available on ASI’s website along with colorful, at-a-glance infographics highlighting major products groups and some very impressive stats gathered worldwide by a team of ASI researchers. Click here to access.

In addition, ASI® recently launched a free end-buyer educational website distributors can brand with their own company info and quickly e-mail to prospects and buyers to help excite and educate them about the use and cost-effectiveness of ad specialties.

Click here to take a look at ASI’s End-Buyer Website.

The bottom line is that with a minimum of effort, by arming themselves with this data any distributor member can go on any sales call loaded for bear and ready to sell.

For more on our most recent sales analysis, check out the entire report here and read the press release here. And help spread this positive news about our industry by posting and circulating the ASI report.

And let me know what plans you have to make 2013 your most lucrative year ever by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.