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Tip of the Day – Add Promotional Products to Your Shop

Filed under: Research

T-shirtsHot off the press! The Stitches State of the Industry 2012 is now live, and in it you’ll find tons of info and success strategies to keep your business profitable.

Today’s tip of the day comes from the Marketing Tactics section:

If you’re considering adding hard-goods advertising specialties to you shop, there are three areas you should look at, according to Jimmy Lamb, manager of communications and education for Sawgrass Technologies:

  1. What equipment is required for the products I want to decorate? “Hopefully, you can do multiple products with whatever equipment, say a pad printer for pens and markets, that you’re going to invest in,” Lamb says. “Also, sublimation is an easy, inexpensive way to do desktop digital printing for a wide range of products such as mouse pads, coffee mugs, plaques, signage, flip-flops, soft laptop sleeves and drink koozies.”
  2. What promotional items can I make real money from? “Part of that is quantifying what promotional products have reasonable margins for you,” Lamb says. “Go to an ASI Show (www.asishow.com) to learn more about the promotional products world. Immerse yourself, find out what products suppliers are offering to ASI members, what they’re charging ASI members for the products and what they retail for.”
  3. What will be my ROI? Lamb says decorators can expect to spend between $500 to $2,500 on equipment that allows them to imprint promotional products, so they need to estimate how long it’ll take the machine to pay for itself once they begin to sell and decorate promotional items. You can also survey your current customers to ascertain the demand for advertising specialties. – Shane Dale

Best Places to Work 2011: The Countdown

Filed under: Research

Counselor Best Places to WorkStarting Thursday, Aug. 25 at 10:00 a.m. EST, we will begin counting down the 85 Best Places to Work in the ad specialty industry. Using ASICentral.com’s “Latest News” area on the homepage, each company will be named (in increments of 15 or 10), along with rank, in ascending order starting at No. 85 and working all the way up to No. 1. The first 15 companies (85-71) will be listed on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. with the Top 10 being named on Monday, August 29 at noon. The following is the schedule for the countdown:

  • Companies 85-71: Thursday, Aug. 25, 10 a.m.
  • Companies 70-61: Thursday, Aug. 25, noon
  • Companies 60-51: Thursday, Aug. 25, 2 p.m.
  • Companies 50-41: Thursday, Aug. 25, 4 p.m.
  • Companies 40-31 Friday, Aug. 26, 10 a.m.
  • Companies 30-21 Friday, Aug. 26, noon
  • Companies 20-11 Friday, Aug. 26, 2 p.m.
  • Companies 10-1 Monday, Aug. 29, noon

As the companies are named, a running list will be kept for reference.

Good luck on making this year’s Counselor Best Places to Work list!

Top 300 US Cities for Promotional Product Sales

Filed under: Research, site updates

Top Promo Product CitiesDid you know? The best large, mid-size and small cities markets for promotional product sales right now are:

  • Large: Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, CT
  • Mid-size: Waco, TX
  • Small: Wichita Falls, TX

If you did, then you must already be familiar with Counselor’s May issue, which includes a feature about the top 30 cities for promotional product sales. (Top 10 for each size market.)

For the online version, however, we wanted to do something a little different. Since Counselor Editor Andy Cohen had enough data to fill up three magazines, we decided to do an online resource tool that feautured not just the 30 cities in the magazines, but 300 cities – extending each size market from Top 10 to Top 100!

Introducing the 2011 Top Cities for Promo Product Sales Interactive Resource!

With this resource, not only can you toggle between the market sizes (Small = less than 200,000 people; Mid-size = 200-500,000 people; Large = more than 500,000 people) for all the cities, but you can sort by various fields, including 2010 Sales, Percentage of Market, Population, and even Grade!

Yes, we’ve even taken the liberty of grading the city market based on its performance against the rest of the field. The top 20 receive an A; the next 20 a B; the next 20 a C … and so on.

So, what are you waiting for?! Check it out now! And please let us know what you think by emailing us at feedback@asicentral.com.

–Team ASICentral

Power Summit 2010 Wrap

Filed under: General, Research

Power Summit 2010If you were unable to attend this week’s ASI Power Summit 2010 from Aventura, Fl., don’t worry … ASI Team Blog has you covered! Here’s a recap of everything that went on at the Power Summit, along with news stories, videos, photos and much more. Enjoy!

Sunday, Nov. 7

After registration, a commemorative photo, which will appear in Counselor magazine, was shot from the grounds of the beautiful Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club. See the pic here.

After the photo, ASI ran a speed networking event that allowed all the guests to interact with each other in three-minute increments. See photos of the speedworking event here, and watch a video of the event with Counselor Editor Andy Cohen here.

Finally, dinner and a keynote speech from Sean Snaith, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness, College of Business Administration, University of Central Florida. Watch Counselor Editor Andy Cohen interview Snaith following his keynote speech here.

Monday, Nov. 8

Monday began with the unveiling of the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, which proves that promotional products beat all other forms of advertising mediums in cost-effectiveness. This study, which follows 2008’s landmark study, covers a broader audience as it spans cities such as London, Toronto, Montreal and Sydney. Read all about this study here. And for a quick video summary of the study, don’t miss this video!

After the Impressions Study, guests engaged in lively panel sessions including product safety, supplier and distributor roundtable, and more. Watch a Counselor Editor Andy Cohen interview some of the panelists here. And for images from the panel sessions, click here.

The afternoon ended with guests having the opportunity to relax and either play golf or tennis. See pics of the the activities here.

And the day culminated in the announcement of the vaunted Power 50 list for 2010. See the list here. And watch a video interview with some of the Power 50 here.

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Panel sessions continued on Tuesday, with guests engaging in sessions about building buzz. Watch as Counselor Editor Andy Cohen interviews panelists after the sessions here.

For complete coverage of the ASI Power Summit 2010, click on the link below:

And if you’re interested in registering for next year’s Power Summit, click here.

2nd Quarter Sales Verdict? Industry’s Looking Good

Filed under: Research

On the heels of last week’s announcement that industry Distributors’ sales for the 2nd quarter were up 8% when compared with the same quarter in 2009, we’re now getting a steady stream of reports from both distributors and suppliers that back up the data. In fact, some of the reports we’re receiving are quite impressive! For instance:

  • Counselor Top 40 supplier Broder Bros. posted a nearly 20% sales increase. Read the report.
  • 4Imprint Group, parent company of Counselor Top 40 distributor 4imprint, posted an 18% increase. Read the report.
  • Counselor Top 40 distributor InnerWorkings posted an over 20% sales increase. Read the report.

This is great news for the industry and we’re hoping the trend continues through 2010!

Also, we’re curious what you’re 3rd quarter 2010 stats will be when compared with 3rd quarter 2009. Please take the poll below.

Counselor State of the Industry 2010

Filed under: Research, site updates, Uncategorized

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again! Time to get a raw data look into the overall health of the promotional products industry, as well as gain some insight on how to move your business in the coming years. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Counselor’s State of the Industry 2010 Business Planning Guide!

From the exclusive Distributor and Supplier Top 40 list to the strategies on how to improve your business, the Counselor 2010 State of the Industry is chock full of stats, facts, how-to manuals and much more!

Plus, as an added online bonus, we’ve created a video with tons of charts, graphs, quotes and “Did You Knows” regarding the industry in 2009.

So what are you waiting for?! Check out www.stateoftheindustry.com now!

Top 100 Markets For Ad Specialty Sales

Filed under: Markets, Research

A recent exclusive Counselor study unveiled the best cities for ad specialty distributors to do business in right now. The list revealed the Top 25 metropolitan statistical areas — or MSAs — that have the most potential for promotional product distributors to find business.

For the online version of this feature, we decided to extend the list to the largest 100 markets and give them not only a rank, but a grade too, with the thinking that just because a city made the list doesn’t mean it’s ideal for ad specialty sales. So, the top 20 cities in the list are all considered Grade “A”; the next 20, Grade “B”; etc … all the way to City #100, which, for the sake of this list, received a grade of “F”.

And since it’s an online feature, of course we decided to make it interactive and fun! All 100 city/markets are listed alphabetically in a right-hand scrolling area. Click on a city and a full-color image representing that city will pop up, along with a rank and grade as well as pertinent statistical info for that city, including annual ad specialty sales, population, number of small businesses, etc …

So without further ado, we present Counselormag.com’s 100 Largest Markets for Ad Specialty Sales! Click here and enjoy!

Win Cash and Prizes Just for Taking Our Surveys

Filed under: Research, Uncategorized

Each year, Counselor magazine goes to great lengths to research and report on the health of the advertising specialty industry. Through its annual State of the Industry issue, Counselor reports on everything from profits and sales volumes to top markets and products.

But this research would not be possible without the data, which is why it’s so important that any and all ad specialty professionals should be taking the time to fill out our surveys — we want as many submissions as possible so that we know the research is accurate.

Of course, filling out surveys can be time consuming and we know time is money. That’s why Counselor is offering an added incentive to both distributors and suppliers to take the surveys. Here are the details.

  • Distributors: Click here and fill out this survey and you will automatically be entered to win $1,000 cash or one of two $250 American Express Gift Cards.
  • Suppliers: Click here and fill out this survey and your name will be entered in a drawing to win one of three thank-you gifts: A free one-page ad in Advantages, Counselor, Successful Promotions, Wearables or Stitches.

Please take the survey that applies to you today and help Counselor produce the most important research report done in the ad specialty industry each year.


ASICentral Goes Green

Filed under: Markets, Research

That’s right, ASICentral now has a home for all things Green!

With the eco-friendly market skyrocketing and industry experts proclaiming it’s no longer a fad but a trend, we here at ASICentral decided it was about time to create a home on our web site dedicated exclusively for the Green market. Click here to find information regarding the eco-friendly trend, including:

  • Latest news
  • Catalogs
  • Videos
  • Timely tips and articles
  • Case studies
  • Eco-friendly terminology
  • Sales tips
  • New items

And much more!

— meanVINgreen

Apparel: The Survey Says!

Filed under: Research, Survey

My sixth-grade teacher once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and, without hesitation, I blurted out “Game Show Host!” Of course, this admission became increasingly odder and more uncomfortable as each male student after me proclaimed aspirations of a more manly nature … you know, like cop, fireman or breakdancer (did I mention these were the 80s?). My shortsightedness to feign an interest in what was cool or acceptable at the time resulted in a good, old-fashioned playground pummeling, and I never again spoke about an interest in game shows … until now!

Plunked in front of a TV set like Martin Tupper, I was raised on a healthy diet of “Press Your Luck”, “$50,000 Pyramid”, “Card Sharks”, “Jokers Wild”, and … my all-time favorite … “Family Feud”! Richard Dawson was the host with the most, the epitome of smooth, a suave and sophisticated gentleman with a wry wit and intense charm who knew how to schmooze the ladies and steal kisses from the mouths of wives whose husbands clapped and watched. A genius! And I wanted to be him.

And today I get that chance … well, minus the kissing.


With this month’s release of its annual Apparel Sales Survey, Counselor magazine has given me the opportunity I have waited a lifetime for … to take the big stage and ask you, the family audience, questions about a topic that we have surveyed — in this case, distributor apparel sales.

DIRECTIONS: I’ll provide you with the question posed to industry distributors along with their top answers in random order, and you try to guess which one is the most popular. The winner gets, well, not much, maybe a mention in the blog and a Coke or something, but it’s the best we can do with the economy and all. So be sure to send your answers to feedback@asicentral.com with a listing of all your answers. Got it? Then let’s play the feud!

QUESTION 1: In 2008, what percentage of total annual distributor sales from promotional products does apparel represent? Top 6 answers are on the board:

  1. 51-75%
  2. 11-25%
  3. no apparel sales
  4. 26-50%
  5. 1-10%
  6. more than 75%

QUESTION 2: In 2008, which category specified had the highest percent of distributor apparel sales? Top 4 answers are on the board:

  1. women
  2. children
  3. men
  4. unisex

QUESTION 3: Relative to all distributor promotional products sales, how would you say sales of apparel have changed over the past year? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. decreased
  2. increased
  3. stayed the same

QUESTION 4: How did distributor sales volume in uniforms change within the past year? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. decreased
  2. increased
  3. stayed the same

QUESTION 5: What are the top three purposes for the promotional apparel distributors sell? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. company uniforms
  2. spiritwear/athletics (cheerleading, booster clubs, etc …)
  3. employee/consumer incentives

QUESTION 6: What are the top markets of apparel purchases? Top 8 answers are on the board:

  1. non-profit
  2. financial
  3. manufacturing
  4. education/schools/universities
  5. health/medical/hospitals
  6. restaurants/travel/lodging
  7. associations/clubs/civic groups
  8. professional services (real estate, lawyers, etc …)

QUESTION 7: Which category specified represents the highest percentage of overall distributor apparel sales? Top 5 answers are on the board:

  1. bags/totes
  2. golf shirts
  3. t-shirts
  4. sweatshirts
  5. caps/headwear

QUESTION 8: How important do distributors believe brand names are to promotional apparel sales? Top 5 answers are on the board:

  1. somewhat important
  2. neither important or unimportant
  3. very important
  4. not at all important
  5. somewhat unimportant

QUESTION 9: What percentage of distributor wearables purchases are manufactured outside the U.S.? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. 16%
  2. 64%
  3. 8%

QUESTION 10: Compared to 2007, has the amount of product distributors decorated in-house changed? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. decreased
  2. increased
  3. remained the same

QUESTION 11: What percent of all distributor apparel purchases are blanks? Top 5 answers are on the board:

  1. none
  2. 91% or more
  3. 11-50%
  4. less than 10%
  5. 51-90%

Don’t forget to send answers now and check the blog often for results. Of course, if you want to see how you did, just check out the updated Apparel Research section of ASICentral for the Counselor Apparel Sales Survey … but not before you send your answers!

“Love ya, will see ya here on the feud” (I just had to sign off like Richard — he’d be proud.)


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