2020 Top Distributors: BAMKO President Phil Koosed on Technology and Innovation
Each year, Promo Marketing compiles the top promotional products distributors into one comprehensive list. We asked some of the 2020 top distributors for their thoughts on the industry, their plans for the future and more. Here, we talked to Phil Koosed of BAMKO, the No. 15 company on our 2020 Top Distributors list.
BAMKO jumped three spots on this year’s list, moving from No. 18 last year to No. 15 for 2020 after growing promotional products sales from $94.9 million to $115.2 million. Phil Koosed, BAMKO’s president, said that growth was entirely organic, a testament to the company’s sales force and a support structure that allows sales reps to focus on client relationships. “That structure—and the sales reps who have taken advantage of the time and resources we’ve given them—is the biggest reason for our growth in 2019,” Koosed said.
The company was also recognized as a “Best Place to Work” by three different publications in 2019, an accomplishment of which Koosed was especially proud. “To me, that’s the best leading indicator we have of future performance,” he said of the honors. “We recognize that creating a great place to work helps us attract exceptional talent. Exceptional talent allows us to do extraordinary things.”
Outlook: “Adaptability and technology.” That was Koosed’s response to a question about lessons from BAMKO’s success that apply even more now than they did pre-pandemic. “One of the reasons we are thriving is because we put the technological infrastructure in place years ago that has allowed us to easily transition to a new way of work,” he said. “The other piece is adaptability. You need to be quick to accept that circumstances have changed, and then you need to take bold, decisive action to adjust to changing circumstances. Letting go of attachment to the way things were and embracing the opportunity that comes from disruption is key.”
Koosed is optimistic about BAMKO’s future, but he’s wary of the overall state of the industry. He believes many companies are behind in modernization and technology, waiting too long to catch up with the speed of doing business and unable to adapt quickly to market shifts. He believes that could have major repercussions down the line, especially given the current business climate. “Whatever the ‘new normal’ is, it’s not going to look like the old one,” he said. “The need to embrace and invest in technology was always critical to this industry. Now, I think the companies that do survive will be the ones who have figured that out and have made concrete steps to lead the way with technology and innovation.”