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Jeff's Rant

By Jeff Solomon, MAS

About Jeff

Jeff Solomon, MAS is the creator of, the industry's most popular business resource program. Jeff’s Rant will touch on topics with his straightforward approach to life and business.

Selling Smarter

Rosalie Marcus
Speak Now and Sell More!
Apr 15, 2014

How would you like a powerful marketing strategy that can position you as a leader in your field, put you...

Promotional Fashionista

Colleen McKenna
3 Ways to Style an Imprinted Tee
Apr 15, 2014

Imprinted T-shirts are in with the fashion elite. Here's how they are styling the tees....

Beyond Words

Rebecca Kollmann, MAS+
Adapting Your Style
Apr 14, 2014

Many of us have taken a behavioral style inventory at some point in our careers. While the intent of these...

Guest Blogs

Guest Contributor
The Anatomy of Emotional Marketing
Apr 11, 2014

You've probably heard the old adage: "It's the thought that counts." This could not be any truer, especially in business. When...

Kiwi's Coaching Corner

Paul  Kiewiet
Without People, Brands Have No Meaning
Apr 10, 2014

Brands are built over time but can be destroyed in an instant. This is why is it critically important to...

The Hot Button

Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS
Even Retirees Are Doing It
Apr 9, 2014

Even older clients who grew up with the "one-size-fits-all" adult T-shirt as their world are choosing to buy FASHION TEES....

Not So Technically Speaking

Dale Denham
Go Mobile or Go Home
Apr 8, 2014

I am, without a doubt, the most mobile CIO in the USA. Name one other CIO that is so committed...

Million Dollar Mindset with Greg Muzzillo

Greg Muzzillo
"Free Crab Tomorrow"
Apr 7, 2014

Joe's Crab Shack offers free crab tomorrow. That's because it's never tomorrow. All we have is today. I've talked to...

Compliance Chat

Jeff Jacobs
Promotional Products: When Swag Goes Wrong
Apr 4, 2014

We all love swag. From T-shirts to stress balls, free stuff is fun except when it goes awry. Goldman Sachs...

Quick Thoughts by Cliff Quicksell, MAS

Cliff Quicksell, MAS
6 Reasons Why Marketing Fails and How to Prevent It
Mar 31, 2014

When it comes to marketing, there are no guarantees. A great marketing idea that is poorly implemented or incorrectly presented...

Be Dazzled

Elise Hacking Carr
Go Green or Go Home
Mar 26, 2014

Earth Day is right around the corner. Need ideas for upcoming promotions? Here are three products that scream "I <3...

Be Bold, Be Different, Be Memorable

Rick Greene, MAS
5 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Land New Business
Feb 26, 2014

LinkedIn is a happening place. It is the unsung hero of social platforms and it can indeed be used to...

Mike's Blog

Michael Cornnell
Ads on NBA Jerseys: An Inevitability?
Feb 24, 2014

The NBA may be stating that they're no closer to on-uniform ads than they were in 2011, but that doesn't...


Kyle Richardson
New Year, New Site, New Magazine
Jan 31, 2014

This week, we announced the redesign of our home page and magazine. Let us know what you think about the...

Big Picture Promo

Matt Kaspari, CAS
Meeting Clients Where They Are
Oct 24, 2013

Promotional marketing is at its best when it empowers a client’s brand, meets his or her objectives and fits within...

My Two Cents

Rick Brenner
For Promotional Product Sales, Protect Your Client's Brand
Jun 3, 2013

Whether you are selling to a global brand like Nike or to your local YMCA, no single asset is more...

Friday Sales-thought of the Week!

Dale Limes, MAS
Reverse Engineer Your Sales Success
Mar 18, 2013

Steven Covey reminds us that when setting goals ... "Start with the end in mind." That is to visualize the...

Editor's Notes

Nichole Stella
The Perfect Match
Mar 5, 2013

The Super Bowl has also become the Ad Bowl, where brands duke it out to see who has the funniest,...

The Sales Challenge

Bill Farquharson
Think and Succeed
May 29, 2012

What would happen if you woke up in the morning and your first thought was, "I am never going to...

Creating More Purposeful Sales Conversations

Lisa Leitch, CSP, MAS
Under 100 Days to Achieve 2011 Goals
Oct 20, 2011

It's hard to believe, but there are fewer than 100 days left to achieve 2011 goals! Are you on track...

Guest Rant: Is Specialization the Dying Trend?


In an effort to practice what I preach, I've been away from the FreePromoTips World Headquarters spending some quality time with my family. This rant has been put together while we are on The Big Island of Hawaii. If you are interested, I've posted a few images on the FreePromoTips Facebook Page and have tried to stay away from sharing our more typical business oriented content.

Most of you are unaware that there is a brain behind my Rant's. That is my friend and industry colleague Glenda Stormes-Bice, MAS. Glenda cleans up the grammar and structure of what I write. We seem to be on the same page regarding most of topics I cover. She does help guide me should I get too far off track. Glenda is a great writer and with me lounging on amazing beaches and having a great time in Hawaii, it's appropriate to share this piece that she recently wrote for her own company. Enjoy!

Last month a cover for The Economist magazine featured a photo of Rodin's "The Thinker" sitting on a toilet with the caption "Will we ever invent anything this useful again?"

Having spent the past two months surfing through catalogs and going to shows big and small, I am thrilled to report that innovation in the industry is not dead. There are some great new products this year. But the industry has changed. There are not as many new products as there used to be. I don't think its invention fatigue; I think it's a tougher economy. The cost of invention is high and the risk/reward is uncertain. Everyone is more careful now.

The smartest (and my favorite) suppliers make up for this by creating improvements on products that are successful already, and also being more innovative on the most important part of any product...the DECORATION.

But there is a supplier trend out there that doesn't impress me. I call it the "Look-we-now-sell (insert product here)!" trend.

There are some great supplier lines that have a diverse set of products. For the most part, those suppliers have years of experience knowing what imprinting processes they are skilled at and continue to develop/source products that work with those skills. Those suppliers are good at what they do and I turn to them regularly.

I also use a lot of suppliers who are experts in a specific product. For instance, I only sell pens from suppliers who manufacture pens. With them I can have an educated conversation on why their pens are better quality, where the cartridges are sourced, and what the write-out is on the ball points vs. roller balls. This is valuable information that helps me sell their product more effectively and more importantly, gives me the knowledge I need to best meet my customer's needs. But I ask those same questions of a supplier who just happens to have expanded their line by adding pens, and all I get is a blank stare or a fumbling of ums and uhs.

This year the addition seems to be bags. And beyond the "Look-we-now-sell-bags!" sales pitch, you will find a lack of any real knowledge about materials, construction, or detailing—all very important factors to know when trying to meet a client's needs. If you can't tell me WHY your bag (or pen, or whatever) is better or different then someplace else, how can I feel a level of confidence with offering it?

I don't fault suppliers who are looking to increase their revenue stream. My issue is with the "me-too" method. An attempt at grabbing market share by trying to sell everything just dilutes a supplier's worth as specialists in anything. There is no value with suppliers all doing the same thing. Who is an expert in that situation? No one.

In this job, I often need to become knowledgeable on any number of topics in order to be successful. I appreciate being able to turn to the experts in our industry to get the understanding I need. From now on, when I see product and line experts, I am going to stop and thank them for being so good at what they do.

I am also going to tell them I hope they continue to invent cool new things and improve methods to print on them. I just hope none of them try and add toilets to their product line next year.

Glenda Stormes-Bice, MAS is the head zookeeper at Glendandy Marketing, Inc., an Iowa distributorship proudly partnering with Banker Advertising Company. She can be reached at and on twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Jeff Solomon, MAS, MASI is affiliated with a large distributor company. The website and e-newsletters he publishes are packed with beneficial information and exclusive FREE offers from a few forward-thinking supplier companies. Don't miss out on what's happening! Opt in to receive their e-newsletters! LIKE their page on Facebook and follow them on twitter. Jeff can also be found on Linkedin.


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