June 14, 2013
One thing I’ve learned from 30 years in business is that the bigger the world gets, the more we need to work together. Today, even the most successful businesses are networking and forming strategic alliances while learning together at conferences like the ASI Power Summit.
ASI designs each Power Summit agenda around breaking business trends impacting the advertising specialty marketplace. But along with new ideas and strategies, the most valuable takeaways are often the bonds participants build with each other.
At our first-ever Canadian Power Summit, which just ended, we opted for an interactive format and more round-table discussions. I don’t know if it was the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies, the late-night cocktails or the potent combination of both, but from the feedback I’ve gotten so far, the construct worked.
In my iPhone pics, you can see the view from my room, me and AIA president and CEO David Woods in one of the gorgeous meeting rooms and a group at wine tasting. To see more (really good!) photos, click here.
Not surprisingly, we spent a lot of time at the summit discussing the Canadian economy and learning new ways to encourage more business between companies on both sides of the border. As close as we are, there are interesting differences between the two countries, some of which were revealed at the summit in a special sneak peek at Counselor® magazine’s upcoming “State of the Industry” report.
Canadian highlights include:
Also at the summit, we celebrated Canada’s fastest-growing ad specialty companies, while learning a few of the secrets behind their success during one of our final panel sessions. Our top 10 list was determined by the percentage each company grew between 2010 and 2012. The top companies are:
10. Akran Marketing, 15%
If you missed this year’s Canadian summit, you can sign up for next year’s, taking place June 11-13 in Ontario, at Queen’s Landing, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Don’t forget: Anyone who attended the 2013 summit received a coupon for $300 off the regular rate for the 2014 event.
In addition, registration’s now open for the U.S. conference, ASI Power Summit 2013, Sunday, September 15 through Tuesday, September 17 at the Montage Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.
April 10, 2013
ASI® recently welcomed about 35 members of the Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association to our headquarters in Pennsylvania for a social media seminar.
PAPPA members (who used to be called Specialty Advertising Counselors of the Delaware Valley) got an eyeful from Jake Krolick, ASI’s rock star creative director, in a fast-moving presentation offering practical, tactical tips for businesses to “go social.” He was joined by special speakers (and former ASI-ers) Jay Ostrow and Dale Denham.
During the seminar, everyone was encouraged to branch out. Share product info with clients through the information corkboard site Pinterest and add more video to your marketing mix. It’s also quick and easy to liven up your company’s YouTube site with something fresh, like a behind-the-scenes tour of your company. Remember to make it fun – and keep it short.
So next time you’re pitching a potential new client, send an infographic on the ROI or CPI of promotional products along with your presentation. Spread the news about a new product by uploading a captioned pic through Quickmeme. And don’t forget about good old blogs, which can help bump up your company’s search engine results while allowing you to better engage with customers and potential customers.
I hope PAPPA members enjoyed their morning at ASI. Several members later told me how much they enjoyed it and thanked ASI for hosting. In return, I’d like to sincerely thank PAPPA for the recent award the organization presented to ESP®, the PAPPA 2013 Liberty Award in the technology category.
The tech award recognized, among other things, proclivity, user friendliness and mobile marketing efforts. ESP, of course, uses world-class search technology to give members and their customers a superior searching experience, and we are delighted to see that recognized. In the photo at left, Heather DiPrato, ASI’s senior VP of distributor services, proudly displays our award.
Let me know what new technology or social media site has made a difference at your company lately by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube – and exploring new possibilities like blogging site Medium (founded by ASI keynoter Biz Stone and his partner Ev Williams), the new iPhone app Whisper (which is taking off like gangbusters on college campuses) and Sina Weibo, billed as China’s Twitter – with twice the number of users.
March 15, 2013
ASI had good reason to cheer this week when Counselor® magazine was honored with its fourth Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for its 2012 “State of the Industry” issue.
This award is a really big deal. Considered “the Pulitzer Prize of business media,” the Neal Awards recognize the best in business-to-business editorial achievement and are B-to-B’s most prestigious and sought-after editorial honors. The judging panel, chaired by Diana Henriques of The New York Times, selected a mere 46 Neal Award winners out of 138 finalists from an original 640 entries.
Winning entries were selected for exhibiting journalistic enterprise, service to the field and editorial craftsmanship. As you know, Counselor’s annual State of the Industry issue is packed with statistics, largely compiled and analyzed by our executive research director Larry Basinait. Editor Andy Cohen steers this massive ship from concept to press, which requires the hard work of every Counselor staffer.
It was previously announced that ASI’s Wearables®, Stitches® and Counselor magazines were named finalists for five Neal awards. ASI magazines were recognized among several legacy publications, including Broadcasting and Cable, Architectural Record and The American Lawyer.
Tuesday, a big group of us went to New York City for the awards announcement. In the photo above, editorial staffers Joe Haley, Andy Cohen, C.J. Mittica, Christopher Ruvo, Dave Vagnoni and Larry Basinait celebrate with Melinda Ligos and Rich Fairfield.
When the big moment came and they announced Counselor as a winner, we cheered so loud we couldn’t even hear what the judge’s had to say about our entry. Later, we learned one judge said of Counselor’s SOI package: “The value of the story lies in the data-based reporting.” Judges also praised the story for being comprehensive and well-paced.
In less than 10 years, ASI magazines have been honored with nearly 100 journalism awards and remain the only industry publications to ever win the prestigious Neal Award. What that means is our entire editorial department is world-class – and I couldn’t be more proud.
For members, it means consistently providing top-notch education and educational resources to improve your business and further the professionalism of this entire industry.
Below are the details on our award winner and finalists. If you haven’t already, these stories are well worth the read. The SOI issue in particular contains a ton of practical advice and business strategies you can turn to all year long.
Neal Award winner is:
Neal Award finalists are:
February 4, 2013
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.
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.
November 14, 2012
This week, ASI® released the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study V.3, which contains the most powerful data available to convince clients of the cost-effectiveness of promotional products.
Unveiled at the 2012 ASI Power Summit in Naples, Florida, this definitive research study shows customers, prospects and end-buyers how promotional products can increase sales and brand exposure.
I encourage you to circulate this study as widely as possible, and to visit a specially-designed Web page on asicentral.com for a downloadable PDF, convincing graphics specific to each and every highlight, and a video. Each chart can be seen in full-screen format – and comes with a “recommend” button to share via social networks. Just click here to access these valuable tools. And to Tweet about the results, use this link: http://bit.ly/SHWqEQ.
For the study, conducted from July through September of 2012, ASI’s ace research team hit the streets and interviewed consumers in 12 North American and European cities. The results show promotional products are consistently popular and persistent, with most people owning about 10 items they generally keep for nearly six months, a far longer time period than any other form of advertising.
In addition, the study shows promotional products give consumers a more favorable impression of advertisers in every international city surveyed and deliver commanding advertiser recall among 87% of all recipients – up four percentage points over 2010.
The study – ASI’s third since 2008 – clearly shows that with a cost per impression at about half a penny, promo products offer the best value when compared to local TV or radio, at a fraction of the production cost.
The V.3 study includes demographic information broken down by political affiliation, ethnicity, gender, age and income, since knowing the likely recipient of products is paramount for an advertiser. This year, the comprehensive report includes even more global markets and additional products, such as USBs.
Armed with all of this data, distributors can target an audience and confidently recommend the best, most effective products and ideas to clients.
Other highlights from the study include:
It’s now up to you to read the study in its entirety, download the graphics that will help you on your sales calls, and spread the word about the power of promotional products every chance you get.
November 6, 2012
With the presidential race in a virtual dead heat and voting in many places along the East Coast still a struggle because of the storm, who knows how long it will be before we have a final decision? No matter who finally wins, I just hope everyone exercised their hard-fought right to vote. If our members are any indication, however, it’ll be President Romney come January.
We polled members on ASICentral.com in September, October and November. Results from the November poll were compared with those from the Gallup Poll conducted November 1-5 among likely voters.
Here’s what we found:
Let me know if you voted yet and, if you’re in an area hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, if you had any trouble getting to the polls, by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
October 15, 2012
Honestly, I haven’t even told my closest friends how I plan to vote because I haven’t decided. I plan to watch all of the debates and continue reading everything I can until the morning of the election or I make my final call. Lots can happen between now and election day.
As a rule, I don’t take sides – and neither does ASI®. As you may recall, we’ve brought in a pretty broad slate of keynote speakers to our shows, including everyone from President Bill Clinton and Democratic commentator James Carville to Gen. Colin Powell and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
Our balance sheet extends to legislation as well, so if we do come out for any one side, it’s usually on the side of efforts to protect family and small businesses and U.S. manufacturing.
Since we always want to know what our members think, we’re conducting a series of industry polls on presidential preferences leading up to next month’s election. In our first one, taken in September, we found that among ASI members, Mitt Romney held a commanding 18-point lead over President Barack Obama, 57% to 39%. In the latest Gallup Poll of likely voters, Romney leads 49%-47%. Among registered voters, Obama leads 48%-46%.
Like many of our members, expert economist Steve Forbes thinks American voters will “fire” President Obama and elect Romney because he and his running mate put forth positive, sustentative proposals. Forbes – an upcoming ASI Show™ keynoter – offered his take on the race among a number of other topics during a recent interview on ASI Radio.
“The economy resembles a car on the open highway that should be going 70 mph, but instead is puttering along at 20-25 mph and shows signs of going at an even slower pace,” Forbes told our ASI Radio hosts and listening audience. “People don’t want more of the same. People want change.”
Forbes’ interview advances a keynote on leadership lessons he’s giving January 7 at ASI Orlando. In his radio interview, he gave us a taste of what’s to come, sharing his outlook for the economy, as well as his tips for small-business success. If you missed it, click here to listen. (And click here to register for the Florida show and Forbes’ free keynote.)
As many of you know, Forbes has some experience with presidential politics – a Republican, he ran twice for president. In his interview with ASI, Forbes said Romney’s first debate performance, in which he emphasized his pro-growth program and planned across-the-board cuts in income tax rates along with his pledge to clean up the tax codes, will give him the needed edge over President Obama.
“Romney understands – and people grasp this more than ever before – that small and medium-sized businesses are fonts of innovation in this economy and also in job creation,” Forbes told ASI radio’s hosts and listeners.
Forbes’ flagship publication, Forbes, is the nation’s leading business magazine, with a circulation of more than 900,000. The father of five is also co-author of several books, including “How Capitalism Will Save Us.”
With a net worth estimated at $430 million, Forbes’ small-business tips are worth considering, starting with urging companies to become an even stronger part of the interactive Web community. Forbes entered the new media arena in 1996 with the launch of Forbes.com, which now averages 18 million unique monthly visitors.
Interestingly, he predicts more companies will become content creators akin to the model presided over by companies like Procter & Gamble during the “soap opera” era of the 1950s, when companies sponsored TV shows in order to better showcase their products.
“Now we’re all content creators,” said Forbes. “Businesses can no longer just put out the message – they need to interact with customers and potential customers.”
In the radio interview, Forbes also said he expects that within the next generation the U.S. will become a font for manufacturing again, thanks in part to the country’s “brainpower.”
“More and more manufacturing is impacted by high technology in terms of material and robotics,” he said. “It depends not just on labor costs, but on brainpower, and we’re very good on the brainpower part. Manufacturing’s changing and we’re leading it.”
Be prepared for curveballs and remember your company’s purpose, he advised. “If you go forward with that mindset, you will have surprises, but if you remember what your purpose is, you’re more likely to get over these storms, which will be constant,” Forbes said. “What they say is true: You can eat well or sleep well, but you can’t do both.”
P.S. ASI is conducting another industry presidential poll now, click here to cast your online ballot. And let me know what you think of Forbes’ predictions: Is he on target – or off base?