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Poll Results - First Quarter Sales Expectations

Filed under: Poll Results

With the industry’s first quarter wrapping up, it’s now time to present the results of our most recent poll, which asked the question “I expect my first-quarter sales to be:” with the following answer options:

  • More than last year
  • Less than last year
  • About the same

Of the 146 total votes, 98 (67%) said they expect their 2014 1st-quarter sales to be more than 2013, with 25 (17%) saying they think sales will be less. The remaining 23 votes (16%) said they expect sales to be about the same.

Here are the full results in graph form.

1st Quarter 2014 Sales Predictions


ASI at SXSW

Filed under: Fun, General, Profile

Jake KrolickSouth by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film, interactive, music festivals and conferences that happens once a year. This year, ASI is sending Jake Krolick, ASI’s creative director of marketing, to attend the festival to see promotional products in full effect. Find out why events like SXSW are so important to this industry and what you can expect to see from Jake’s journey.

Q: Why did you decide to attend SXSW?
JK: SXSW is the largest event of its kind. It’s all about discovery and what’s new, and a great way for me to showcase the promotional product industry in a real-world situation. I’m really excited about bringing back good content and showing it to this industry.

Q: How are promotional products used at SXSW?
JK: Promotional products are everywhere. We will see them from different bands, at merchandise tables and at parties. A lot of companies sponsor day parties and have items that are branded with their logo. For example, Jack White is having The Third Man Record party where they have items they will be giving out, and for purchase, that you can only get at SXSW. The party also has a gift bag with T-shirts, coffee mugs, stickers - all items to promote themselves. Rachael Ray also has a day party where she has food and music and she hands it all out in Rachel Ray-branded cups.

Q: Why are events like SXSW so important to this industry?
JK: It’s important for the industry to be aware of events like SXSW. This specific venue launches products, ideas and music all in one, but it shows us what will trend for the next year. It’s not just SXSW, it’s other major event like the X Games, New York Fashion Week, the Olympics. It’s important for the industry to see what comes out of these events.

Q: What is one of the top promotional products at SXSW?
JK:  The hottest item right now is a wristband. The reason the wristband is so hot is because there are non-stop parties and only a limited number of people can attend. The people who are lucky enough to attend get a wristband to get into one of these sold-out shows. So these people are getting the hottest item without really knowing they are getting a promotional product.

Q: What are you most excited for outside of promotional products?
JK: Besides for all the content I will bring back, I am excited about the music. Besides working at ASI, I have been working in the music industry for 20 years. I am a huge music snob, so I am excited to see a few bands that I have never seen live before, such as Together Pangea, Gardens & Villa, and Plastic Visions. I do have a Spotify profile, so if anyone is interested they can follow me.

Q: What content will you bring back from SXSW?
JK: Be on the lookout for photos of different promotional products from different bands, merchandise tables, and parties. I will also produce eight videos. For example, I will interview three bands about how they promote themselves, and two publicists on how they find new products to promote the bands and why they pick the things they do.

Make sure to check out our Facebook page to see photos and videos from SXSW.


Distributor Profile - Danette Gossett, Gossett Marketing

Filed under: General, Profile

Dannette GossettGet to know some of your peers! In this month’s Advantages magazine Profile feature, Danette Gossett — President/CEO of Gossett Marketing (asi/212200) — dishes on everything from best advice to childhood ambitions. Enjoy!

  • I went to college at Old Dominion University and got a degree in marketing management with a concentration in market research.
  • My childhood ambition was to be a marine biologist.
  • I got into the promo products industry because I had been in corporate America and was making millions for others and decided I could do that for myself. Then I saw a niche with promotional marketing where I could use my marketing expertise, be creative and make money.
  • You might be surprised to know that I worked in Finland for a multinational corporation developing their brochures for English-speaking countries.
  • The best advice anyone has given me is always be prepared – do your research and anticipate the questions you might be asked.
  • We love doing custom-designed products. Our top supplier partners support us when we’ve got another unique idea. Most recently we designed a very differently shaped USB and beach bag for the introduction of a new cruise ship.
  • My proudest recent achievement is qualifying for the “sales” trip to Napa Valley from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
  • On my days off, you will find me playing golf, doing yoga, going fishing, walking on the beach or just working around the house.
  • My theme song is “Not gonna Change” by Swing out Sister.
  • If I could trade places with someone for a day, it would be Sandra Bullock.
  • My favorite websites are Amazon.com (for the shopping), YouTube.com, upsidethinking.com, sethgodin.typepad.com, bates-communications.com

Random Things
I’m really bad at: crossword puzzles
Favorite color: red
Favorite food: my mom’s lasagna
Astrological sign: Scorpio
Most recent movie I saw: The Blind Side on DVD.

Five Things I’m Loving Now
1 - Weekends away
2 - Reading
3 - Time with my friends/family
4 - Writing
5 - Golf


Sales Tip of the Week - Good, Better, Best

Filed under: Sales Tip

Good, better, best

In a weekly blog post, we’ll be featuring some valuable tips from Advantages magazine on how to improve your selling. This week’s tip: The “Good, Better, Best” approach:

Use the “Good, Better, Best” approach when presenting promotional product solutions. For example, if you’re presenting shirts you might choose a basic version (lighter fabric weight, few style details but very cost conscious); a moderate option (mid-weight with quality perks such as double-needle stitching) and a high-end choice (luxury fabric such as microfiber or heavier cotton, plus fashion details such as trim or special buttons/closures).


Sales Tip of the Week - Succeed With Cold Calling

Filed under: Sales Tip

Cold Calling TipsIn a weekly blog post, we’ll be featuring some valuable tips from Advantages magazine on how to improve your selling. This week’s tip: Succeed with cold calling:

If you want people to take your call, first get the 4-1-1. “We want to be relevant and focused on something that’s going on in this prospect’s world that is important to them right at that very moment so we can generate some interest and set ourselves apart from every other cold caller or salesperson,” says Art Sobczak, author of Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection from Cold Calling. “People buy from people even though you might be selling business to business.” He looks not only for professional but personal information as well. He searches on LinkedIn and Google. He also checks to see if they have a personal Facebook page, a blog or a Twitter account.

For more great content, go to www.advantagesmag.com.


Poll Results: Social Media Is What?

Filed under: Poll Results

Since part of my job requirement is to maintain ASI’s social media, it’s no surprise then how I feel about the Facebooks and Twitters of the virtual world we live in. If you have a business you simply must must have a social media presence, period. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

But my perspective is different than a lot of folks in this industry, so we ran a poll question late last year about what our users thought social media was.

The question: Social media is a … (139 total votes)

With three answer options:

  • Great marketing tool (80 votes, 58%)
  • Necessary evil (34 votes, 24%)
  • Waste of time (25 votes, 18%)

Fortunately, nearly 60% of our users voted that social media is a great marketing tool, which makes me feel a whole lot better about what I do! Here’s the visual pie-chart breakdown.

–Vinnie

Social Media Poll Results


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

How’d They Do That? Filling and Labeling Gel Hand Sanitizers

Filed under: Fun, Tip of the Day

With the change of weather already taking place in the Northeast — last Saturday morning I rode my bike in 40-degree weather! — it’ll soon be cold & flu season. And with that, personal hand sanitizers will be popping up quicker than a Miley Cyrus joke.

This month’s edition of Advantages magazine contains a Strategy feature that explains in visual detail how those little bottles of gel hand sanitizer are filled and labeled. Compliments of Humphrey Line Inc. (asi/62050).

Click here for a larger PDF.


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…).

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