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Behind the Scenes with ASI Show’s Karen DiTomasso

Filed under: Fun, General, Uncategorized

Karen DiTomasso

On February 5th, Karen DiTomasso – vice president of sales for ASI Show – celebrated 26 years with ASI. We recently sat down with Karen to find out what 26 years has meant to her and what the future holds. Find out how she started in a world of Medical Technology specializing in Oncology to working in sales, and what her favorite promotional product is.

Q: What is your title and job description?
KD: I am the vice president of sales for ASI Show. I manage a team of seven account managers with a lot of interaction between myself and the team. I deal directly with the customers, helping our suppliers to get the best ROI from our tradeshows, Roadshows and hosted buyer events.  I attend all the shows, walk the floors, and interact with all the suppliers. My team also sells exciting keynote sponsorships with a recent big highlight this past Dallas show with President Bush where we had four sponsors. My team ultimately is responsible for selling an audience to our suppliers and it is important to our exhibitors who invest in our shows that we have quality attendees.

Q: What was your position when you first started?
KD: I originally started with a company that the Cohn family owned called Medical Data Institute. It was a mirror image of what ASI was doing for the promotional product industry, but for the medical equipment industry. I started there in sales and moved up to president. I transitioned into the ASI Show while I was still running Medical Data Institute. I was asked to spearhead and oversee both the supplier and distributor side. When our shows started to grow it required having the distributor team separated under other direction, so I stayed with the core supplier sales team. I started out as supplier director of sales and worked my way up to vice president.

Q: What do you like about your position?
KD: I enjoy the customer base and love interacting with both the distributors and suppliers. We built some great relationships and I’ve developed some good friendships. I came from a medical industry, so all of this is different for me. I grew into an area of sales which is what I always wanted to do so it gave me an opportunity to grow. I also love the products. There are products for everything in this world that you could possibly want.

Q: What is one promotional product that you must have?
KD: One of our exhibitors had a stretchy band that you put around your waist when you are power walking or at the gym, and you can put your cell phone in it or glasses so you don’t have to hold anything. I just saw it and thought I want one of those!

Q: Which is your favorite ASI Show?
KD: Orlando is the flagship show. It’s the first show of the year in the industry and it’s our largest show.

Q: What has it been like to work here for 26 years?
KD: I can’t believe it’s been 26 years! I’ve had so many opportunities in 26 years that has really kept it creative and different. It’s almost like starting a new job every two weeks – it’s fresh and that’s what I love. Every year brings on new challenges and more opportunities. The Cohn family has been very supportive and a great family to work for.

Q: What does the future hold for you here at ASI?
KD: We have new leadership here at ASI Show and are going to be developing more products. We are looking at different ways to bring suppliers and distributors together, not necessarily trade shows, but more organized power meetings. I am so excited because all of these things are off-shoots from the trade show and this will help our members to make more money. We launched a Hosted Buyer event in October 2012 where we go out with a select group of supplier and distributors and give them 20 minutes of one-on-one, to build programs, relationships and business. We have four of these coming up.

Q: What would you be if you weren’t vice president of sales for ASI Show?
KD: An Interior decorator. I change everything in my house every year; the color, the accessories.

Q: What do you enjoy outside of work?
KD: I have a beach house and we try to use it all the time, even in snowstorms if we can. I prefer to be down by the beach in the winter, when no one is around, where I can put a hoodie on, walk by myself and relax and ride my bike.

Q: If your story here were to be made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
KD:  She is no longer with us, but Natalie Wood. I was so in love with the movie West Side Story. We would just have to bleach her hair blonde.

– Interview by Lauren Medina

Sales Tip of the Week - Engage Clients Through Social Media and E-mail Contests

Filed under: Sales Tip, Uncategorized

According to the sales pros over at Advantages magazine, you can build a relationship with clients through contests.  Check out this new sales tip and let us know what you think - do you agree? Post comments here.

Engage clients through fun social media and e-mail contests. Ask them to name a product or come up with uses for a product and they won’t feel any pressure to buy. But you will be building relationships.

6 Tips for Better E-Mail Marketing

Filed under: Tip of the Day, Uncategorized

E-mail MarketingNot long ago I got an e-mail from my personal e-mail service thanking me for 15 years of dedicated commitment to their product. “Has it been that long?” I thought. Wow, I’m old.

Needless to say that in those 15 years, I’ve seen my share of e-mails, especially the marketing ones that have seemingly been around for as long as the Internet. Each day for the past several years I can count on some kind of offer in my inbox — usually from Old Navy, Barnes & Noble or Men’s Wearhouse — and I’ve become quite adept at separating the wheat from the chaff. Ninety-nine percent of all marketing e-mails I get go right into the trash, so the ones that I do open really have to be good for me to get all the way through to a transaction.

And as more people become e-mail savvy like myself, this behavior is the rule, not the exception.

So how do you succeed with e-mail marketing? This month’s Advantages magazine article titled “Rules of Attraction: Get Them to Commit” is full of great tips and advice on how to not only succeed with e-mail marketing, but with blogs, videos and social media. Read this article now, and in the meantime here are 6 great tips for better e-mail marketing:

  1. Subject line is critical: either pique their interest or get right to the point.
  2. Have a clear call to action: make it obvious what you want them to do.
  3. Drop the jargon and corporate speak; be human.
  4. Never send an e-mail with a “do not reply” address. Make sure you give people a chance to respond.
  5. Include images, but not too many. When e-mails are too visually cluttered, people can’t absorb it all.
  6. Maintain good segmentation of your e-mail list, with different lists set up to meet the needs of different clients.

Product Spotlight - 5 Facts About Outerwear

Filed under: Uncategorized

Facts about promotional outerwearDid you know: Jackets have the best advertiser recall of any promotional product? Amazingly, a whopping 95% of those who own logoed outerwear can recall the advertiser’s name.

Now, that’s some serious brand power! And thanks to ASI’s recently released Global Advertising Specialty Impressions Study, version 4, you now have access to tons and tons of stats and facts about the power of promo products. Don’t miss this study, and in the meantime here are 4 more facts about promotional outerwear:

  • 9% of U.S. consumers own promotional outerwear
  • Those with household incomes over $100,000 are more likely to own promotional outerwear
  • Nearly half (48%) of all outerwear recipients say they were likely to do business with an advertiser after given a logoed jacket
  • Democrats are more likely to own a logoed jacket than members of any other political party

Promotional Product Spotlight - 5 Facts About T-Shirts

Filed under: Uncategorized

T-Shirt FactsWho doesn’t like free stuff, especially when the free stuff is a wearable?! Of all the promotional products in this industry, T-shirts are by far my favorite.

In my latest blog post, my focus is on this staple wearable and some interesting data our Research team at ASI have uncovered about them in their latest Global Advertising Specialty Impressions Study. For instance, did you know?

  • Of the 12 metro U.S. cities polled, Atlantans (46%) owned the most promotional T’s
  • Consumers age 21-34 are most likely to own a promotional T-shirt (48%)
  • Independents (46%) are more likely to own promotional T’s than Democrats and Republicans
  • Latinos (52%) are more likely than any other racial demographic to own a promotional T
  • Men (45%) own more promo shirts than women (40%)

Don’t miss out on more promotional T-shirt facts, as well as the entire Global Advertising Specialty Impressions Study.

Promotional Product Spotlight - 5 Facts About Pens

Filed under: Uncategorized

Promotional Pen FactsThe Global Advertising Specialty Impressions Study, Version 4, is hot off the press and filled with more interesting facts, charts and data about promotional products than ever before!

In this blog post, I focus on writing instruments and some of the interesting data our Research team at ASI discovered. For instance, did you know?

  • 50% of U.S. consumers own a logoed writing instrument
  • More women than men own promo pens (53% - 47%)
  • Writing instruments are more popular in Australia than in the U.S.
  • Cost-per-impression for pens = 1/10th of a cent
  • Caucasians (56%) own the most branded writing instruments of any race

Don’t miss out on more promotional pen facts, as well as the entire Global Advertising Specialty Impressions Study.

6 Cold Calling Tips

Filed under: Uncategorized

Cold Calling TipsCold calling … you hate it, right? Well, who doesn’t!

The good news, though — according to Advantages magazine — is that in this day and age, cold calling doesn’t have to be cold. In fact, if you prepare correctly and do your homework, that first call can be quite warm. In the article titled “No Call’s A Cold Call,” Advantages‘ writer Susan Thomas Springer goes in search of the best strategies to turn up the temperature on those cold calls. Read it now! And in the meantime, here are 6 tips to whet your appetite (courtesy of Brandon Pipkin, author of 21 Questions for 21 Millionaires):

  • Don’t play games: Be upfront about why you are calling.
  • Enlist the help of the assistant. Find out if you are calling the right person, the best time to reach them, and how they like to receive information.
  • Research the company and individual (if possible using LinkedIn, Internet searches, Hoovers, etc.) before calling.
  • State your reason for calling, followed by the benefit of engaging in a conversation with you and then ask for permission to proceed (Hi, Mr. Jones. This is Brandon Pipkin calling from XYZ company. We specialize in helping graphic artists like you connect with individuals and companies seeking graphic artists’ services. Do you have 10 minutes to discuss your business and what we do to see if we might be able to help you?).
  • Stay classy. No matter how they treat you, always act professionally.
  • If you get passed to someone else, let them know that you briefly spoke to someone else who suggested you contact them (Hi, Nancy, this is Brandon with XYZ Company. I just briefly spoke with Tad Wilson in marketing who thought you would be the right person to talk to for what we do. We specialize in…).

Top 5 Competitor Threats to Promotional Product Distributors

Filed under: Uncategorized

E-commerce ThreatsThe 2013 Counselor State of the Industry is hot off the press, and — as usual — it’s filled with tons of useful information including how-to strategies, data analysis, insights, trends and business tactics.

One of the best parts of the report is the imagery — charts and graphs really nail home some of the stats, and each article has them. The most glaring? Under the article titled “The Competitor You Can’t See” Counselor lists the top 11 perceived competitor threats to distributors. Here are the top 5, including percentage:

  1. Websites selling promotional products (41%)
  2. Other local distributors (12.7%)
  3. Crossover distributors (9.1%)
  4. Large distributors selling in your territory (8.7%)
  5. Industry suppliers that sell direct (8.3%)

The dropoff from the top spot is stark, and it’s clear distributors fear websites that sell at the lowest possible margins. Want to know how to combat them, as well as the rest of the threats on the list? Click here now.

Lesson #1: The Face-Plant

Filed under: Uncategorized

Samantha PhillipsFrom guest blogger and intern Samantha Phillips  …

With everyone away at the Chicago tradeshow, the ASI office feels like one of those deserted towns in old western movies. I keep expecting to see a tumbleweed bouncing aimlessly through Supplier Sales, or Clint Eastwood leaning up against the vending machine, a revolver twirling around his index finger.

But, the quiet office has made for a pretty productive week for me. I pumped out my fair share of copy, went on a few internal interviews, and found time to catch a drink with new department friends. There was one terrifying intern moment for me this week, however. I’ve been working with ASI’s public relations team on a few assignments over the course of my time here. One of these assignments was plugging data into the script that was to be read at the Counselor Award show in Chicago, which took place this past Wednesday. The task was simple: plug in the sales figures and rankings of 2013’s top 40 suppliers and distributors. Easy, peasy. Took me about twenty minutes and then I sent it off, thinking how impressed they would be with my speedy assignment delivery. Bad move.

I got a phone call this week from the PR manager saying that the teleprompter caught some mistakes in the script, and could I please review it. This was one day before the awards show was set to occur. Thankfully, the crisis was averted and I caught the mistake I had made: A few numbers were mixed up in the script and certain rankings were out of order. I was horrified. A nightmare kept playing in my imagination: enraged, bloodthirsty supplier reps holding pitchforks and torches, blasting through the doors of ASI, and demanding revenge for being incorrectly represented in front of the entire industry.

“Where’s the intern?!” they’d shout, snarling at the sweet receptionist who guards our humble office.

Thankfully, the mistake was caught, corrected, and I wasn’t even scorned. But internal anguish inevitably followed. How could I have screwed up like that? I thought, my confidence temporarily wounded.

Unfortunately, this is something we are all, at some point or another, forced to face. Whether you’re an intern, a new employee, or someone with years of experience under your belt, we all…to speak crassly for a moment…eff up sometimes. I’ve learned that the only way to face these pitfalls is with grace, elegance and a good perspective. It’s like jogging. You’re in your new stylish workout outfit, your butt looks fantastic, your form is perfection and you’re thinking to yourself: I must look like a freakin’ Olympian, as you prance athletically along the sidewalk. And then you trip over a tree root and all of that glowing confidence dies right there on the concrete. The key is to get up, laugh it off, and be more careful on your next go-around. Tree roots are everywhere, waiting devilishly to shame you. But learning to keep up the pace while also maintaining a sense of careful attention is the only way to get anywhere, in both jogging and business.

Interning is littered with moments like this, where you feel completely inadequate, defeated, and down on yourself. But these are the most important instances to gather whatever confidence you have left and trudge forward, understanding that sometimes in life, lessons have to be learned the hard way: even if it means face-planting in front of your hot neighbor.

ASI Radio’s 5th Anniversary Show!

Filed under: Uncategorized

ASI Radio 5th Anniversary ShowIt seems like only yesterday when the maiden voyage of ASI Radio hit the Internet airwaves back in July 2008. For that show, the five hosts discussed the newly announced pharmaceutical regulations and the hotly contested Barack Obama vs. John McCain race for the White House. (It’s a great little trip down memory lane, complete with a rant or two from Joe  … listen to the archive here.)

Fast-forward to July 2013 and ASI Radio is on the precipice of its 5th anniversary show! To celebrate this milestone, we will have cake and champagne in the studio on July 2, along with some special guests! And for our dedicated and devoted listeners, we will have ASI Radio Trivia! All our users have to do is be prepared to answer the following five questions live on air tomorrow at 10:30 EST:

  • How many ASI radio shows have we done as of this Tuesday’s installment?
  • Name three celebrities who have been guests on the show.
  • Which sardonic host has earned the nickname “Captain Killjoy”?
  • Which industry pro does the weekly “Product Safety Minute” segment?
  • Name three cities, other than our home-base of Trevose, PA, where we’ve broadcast the radio show from live?

To participate, simply call 215-953-4979 during the Tuesday, July 2, 2013 show at 10:30 EST and you could be put through live to answer one of these questions. If you get a question right you can win some great prizes!

Good luck, and keep on listenin’!

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