Toy Around with Gadgets & Gifts
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
And, may your Irish crystal recognition award be shipped directly from County Tyrone, Ireland.
Not exactly how this Irish phrase goes, but it could very well be the dictum from Incentive Concepts, the Maryland Heights, Missouri-based supplier that knows the importance of adding value to distinguish its offerings from the slew of brand-name choices available in the ad-specialty industry.
“Buyers are looking for the perfect product that will motivate, excite and create the desired response, yet buyers will do their homework and research to find the best value—not just price—for their customers,” said Marsha Brooks, director of sales and
Which is why, when it comes to premium products, Incentive Concepts partners with brands that sell on quality and perceived value, not price points. One of those partnerships is with Tyrone Crystal, which, Brooks pointed out, is the only Irish crystal manufacturer that still produces all of its 32 percent pure-lead Irish crystal on the Emerald Isle. “We ship directly from Tyrone County, Ireland, to the award winner,” she noted. “That makes a statement when it reaches the recipient.”
Oreck is another brand carried by Incentive Concepts that adds value to its upright vacuums by bundling them with other products, such as irons. “The perceived value of the upright is enhanced because of the value of the bonus products that are included in the packaging,” said Brooks.
For years, Selco Custom Time has been searching for a line to augment and complement its successful 70-year product history. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based supplier also recognized a need in the premiums and incentives market for high-end, high-tech items that are not only presentation-ready, but will also earn a higher gross profit for distributors. As a result, the AbelleTech line was born.
“With our experience in providing unique packaging solutions, plus the opportunity to partner as a master distributor with Oregon Scientific, the decision to create the AbelleTech line was very easy,” said Mark Abels, president of Selco Custom Time.
The AbelleTech line features trendy electronic gadgets, such as a wireless mouse, MP3 players and digital cameras. Customers can create a gift set by choosing items and packaging that capture the promotion.
“End-users like these solutions because they are different and are created especially for their events,” said Abels. “Distributors like them because they can make higher margins and limit competition with custom-made products.”
While all industries, from education to construction, have a reason to use premium awards and incentives, Selco Custom Time has noticed this product category is most prevalent in transportation and manufacturing. “Both industries tend to leverage awards for safety, years of service and volume in sales,” added Abels.
Case in point: Metro Trucking’s incentive promotion for its safe driving program. The trucking company uses one of Selco Custom Time’s Medallion watches to recognize employees who make an effort to maintain exemplary driving records. “The drivers wear their watches to show the standards of excellence within the company,” said Abels.
RETAIL IS ALL THE RAGE
Incentive Concepts represents some of the most popular brand names in the retail market, including Bose, XM, Apple iPod and LG. And, as Brooks noted, “If it’s hot in retail, it will be hot in the premiums and incentives market.”
Incentive Concepts witnessed this trend first hand at the Promotions East trade show in Atlantic City this past June with the TomTom GO 700—a portable GPS navigation system that generated quite a buzz from attendees.
“TomTom has begun to do a lot of advertising to drive their retail sales, which drives sales in the promotional premium market,” said Brooks. “Plus, the TomTom line of GPS products fall into that magic price level for electronics: under $1,000.”
Brooks cautioned distributors to look for premium products that hold their value in retail stores. “Distributors don’t want customers finding the products they just quoted in the next advertising circular 10 percent less than their quote,” she said. “Always stay on top of the hottest products and know what is selling in retail.”
“If distributors sell a product that everyone else sells, then they stand the risk of selling against everyone,” added Abels. “If distributors sell a product that is unique to each client, they can make more money, keep their competitors at bay and become the expert rather than the typical order taker.”