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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.


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…).

Selling Pens - 4 Tips for Winning Against the Web

Filed under: Education, Tip of the Day

Sell More PensAccording to the 2013 Counselor Sate of the Industry, the top competitor threat to distributors are websites that sell promotional products, and that includes pens.

Good thing for you, though, there’s Counselor magazine!

In the September 2013 issue — the one devoted entirely to the writing instrument — there are some great articles about promotional pens and how to get the most out them. In the article “Black and Blue Battle,” writer Betsy Cummings goes in search of ways to combat the those Internet companies that sell so low. Check out that article now for some great advice, and in the meantime here are 4 great quick tips you can use to win vs. the web:

  • Tout Service Offerings: Online vendors may promise every service distributors offer, but it’s unlikely they offer the personal, individual attention to detail that marketing execs have come to expect from their distributors, not to mention insight into promotional product strategies. It’s important to remind clients about the limitations of online sellers.
  • Push Unique Products: Yes, many distributors sell the same products, but by working with preferred suppliers, they can partner to offer exclusive product offerings and decorating techniques, shutting out encroaching online firms.
  • Call Out the Competition: It may seem like the pen selling online for 10 cents less is an amazing bargain, but buyers be warned: Web-based companies offer low pricing one day and jacked up pricing the next. Or, they might have hidden charges such as multiple set up fees.
  • Don’t Cave: It may be easier said than done, but sometimes the best way to handle a client who keeps demanding cutthroat pricing, a la the Web, is to cut them loose. Match Internet pricing and you may be committed to those margins forever. Often clients who opt for companies they’ve found online come crawling back to distributors admitting the service and products were inferior.

Favorite Pen Ink Color? Black Rules

Filed under: Poll Results

This is the promotional product industry, and any veteran knows that pens are a staple product. So popular are writing instruments that, according to the 2012 Global Advertising Specialty Impressions Study, they are the most popular product in not only the USA, but Great Britain, Canada and France!

This industry sure does love its pens, but I got to wonderin’: what pen ink color is the most popular?

Of course, I knew the only contest would be between the colors black and blue, but I threw in a few fun colors to make things interesting, like green (y’know, for the eco-conscious), purple (’tweens anyone?) and red (a fave among school teachers).

Surprisingly, this wasn’t much of a contest at all. Black beat blue, and quite easily. The biggest surprise, however, is how many votes purple received!

The following is the breakdown for the question: Which pen ink color is your preference? (487 total votes)

  • Black, 239 votes (49%)
  • Blue, 189 votes (39%)
  • Red, 13 votes (3%)
  • Green, 12 votes (2%)
  • Purple, 34 votes (7%)

T-Shirt Donations Needed For Charity Event

Filed under: Wearables

C.J. MitticaFrom guest blogger C.J. Mittica, editor of Wearables magazine.

Wearables has an upcoming cover story for October about apparel that helps charities and saves lives. In the process of gathering stories, one of its readers reached out for help with his charitable event. Neil Jorge of A Better Copy is hosting an event on September 14th called Comics 4 A Cure. The event uses artwork from professional comic book artists to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Throughout the year the group uses comic book art therapy for sick and dying children in Florida hospitals. Neil is looking for a supplier to donate 70 black T-shirts for the event.

If you are interested in donating, contact Wearables editor C.J. Mittica at cmittica@asicentral.com.

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.

Promotional Products at ASI - An Intern Investigates

Filed under: Fun, General

Sam PhillipsFrom guest blogger and intern Samantha Phillips  …

The things that decorate my tiny cubicle include a few framed photographs, two plastic orchid plants (I would love real flowers but I struggle to keep even myself healthy and thriving), a gnome figurine and a fake autographed photo of Christopher Walken: a gag Christmas gift from a close friend. I questioned every item I brought in to adorn my work space, convinced that they would define me as a person. All it would take was a single troll doll with dirty neon hair and a gem belly button and I’d be haunted by it forever.

Fortunately, my desk accessories (deskessories? Genius!) are mild, even amateur, in comparison to the oddities that dress the desks of some of my co-workers. As MVP’s of an industry that thrives on wacky products, ASI employees often receive free promotional items that are … shall we say … unique? Do you need a Gangnam Style figurine that doubles as a flash drive? No. But it makes one hell of a conversation starter. I decided to conduct an in-depth investigation, and expose the dirty truth about ASI’s desk decorations. Thus, here they are!: a few of my favorite ASI deskessories in no particular order:


Online editor Vinny Driscoll works tirelessly to upkeep our social media presence while his Mr. T bobblehead watches from atop the cubicle wall, nodding eternally in agreement. “#pitythefool!” cries the tiny intimidating figurine.

Mr. T.


Copy writer Chuck Zak is pictured here with his McDonald’s French fry golf club head cover. Does Chuck Zak play golf? No. Why does Chuck Zak have a fast food inspired golf club head cover? It is one of the many mysteries that lie within those cubicle walls. Legend has it the fries are a device he uses to communicate with the editorial gods. Of course, no one can ever know for sure. You see that perfectly trimmed beard? It’s full of secrets.



While Patty Cangelosi slaves over the pages of copy she edits daily, she is surrounded by an array of odd items including giant highlighters and magnets shaped like slices of pizza. But perhaps the strangest of all her deskessories is the photo drink coaster pictured here, a sample gift from one of ASI’s suppliers. Why is this the top of the wacky food chain, you ask? Because Patty has no idea who those people are.

Drink Coaster


Managing editor Joe Haley’s office is a mecca of promotional oddities. It’s got everything you can dream up…a plastic pig that shoots pong balls out of its mouth, a trail hitch ball cover shaped like Barak Obama’s head, a plastic shot glass that includes a turning mechanism which allows for no-mess jello shots, an electric guitar branded with the “Joe Show” logo … I could go on. Joe is pictured here with one of his most precious office accessories: a caped monkey that doubles as a slingshot. Don’t make him angry; his office is an arsenal of weaponry that might not injure, but has the power to severely annoy.



C.J. Mittica, editor of Wearables magazine, proudly shows off the miniature bale of cotton that he acquired while conducting story research in Texas. A normal bale of cotton weighs approximately 500 pounds and holds enough cotton to make 325 pairs of denim jeans. After completing a few Good-Will-Hunting-esque mathematical equations (who am I kidding, I majored in English), I concluded that this bale holds enough cotton to make at least three denim bowties for Canadian tuxedoes.



Michele Bell is the editor of Supplier Global Resource magazine and people cannot keep their hands off of her deskessories. This silver twisty-thingy (excuse my use of industry jargon) is a favorite among her visitors. It reminds me of a hitchhiker outside of a Phish concert: it could possibly strangle you, and it is always picked up.



And ah, of course, the infamous bowling pin water bottle: the wild card that blew this investigation wide open. It requires no lavish witticisms to introduce it. It is the answer to possibly the most important scientific question of all time: how do you combine America’s favorite sport (besides competitive chess of course) and hydration? It is the product of years of struggle for researchers who were hungry to create something incredibly subtle and yet still so majestic. Its owner requested to remain anonymous in this investigation report, as to avoid torment from the paparazzi and constant media attention. “Yes I have a bowling pin water bottle,” she says, “But I just want to live a normal life!”

Bowling Pin

Well, that concludes this episode of “An Intern Rants about Nothing of Importance.” Tune in next week, when I will rate the office toilets in descending order based on comfort level, timing of the automatic flush, and amount of creativity used in stall door graffiti.

…That’s a joke people. C’mon, did you really think I have the seniority and power to make those kinds of judgments? I’m just an intern for Crissakes.

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