PSI Addresses Member Complaints About End-buyer "Promotional Products Day" at Trade Show
PSI, an international promotional products network based in Dusseldorf, Germany, and the force behind the PSI Trade Show, has responded to member complaints about its recent end-buyer trade show announcement.
The company introduced "Promotional Products Day," an opportunity for industry members to bring end-buyers on the final day for the 2013 trade show, earlier this month. "The aim of this day will be to increase awareness of this excellent advertising medium and to encourage a greater use of promotional products," the article stated. "The fascination for promotional products, which can best be experienced at the PSI, will enthuse new advertisers on this day and thus create new revenues for distributors. That is the sole intention."
European distributors quickly reacted to the announcement. Many criticized PSI for compromising the industry's hierarchy and relationships between suppliers and distributors, while others applauded the company for adapting to a changing marketplace.
"In the distributors' opinion, the structure of the market—suppliers, distributors, end customers—would be in great danger if the PSI Show opens its doors to end customers," said Joachim Schulz, chairman of BWG, the German association of distributors, in speaking to eppi Magazine. Michael Mätzener, board member of the Swiss industry association Promoswiss, added, "we find it a very dangerous move to open up a closed show like the PSI to industry customers."
Not all of the responses to the announcement were negative. "I do appreciate the current discussion and I am not against the PSI's plans of establishing a 'Promotional Products Day,'" said Hans van der Ouw, founder of the international distributor's group IGC Global Promotions. "In doing so, the PSI legalises what is actually happening all the time: Although officially not permitted, a number of end customers are already being granted permission to the PSI fair."
More comments from European promotional product leaders can be found on eppi Magazine's website.
Some of the distributors expressed concern about how an end-buyer open show would impact the "European model." It's an accepted practice that some European suppliers sell directly to buyers as well as through distributor professionals. A show where distributors are allowed to invite their end-buyer customers could create a conflict of interest.
Last week, PSI responded to many of the industry's concerns on its site, detailing the organization's intentions with Promotional Products Day. "We very much regret that this has given rise to some irritations which may also have led to some uncertainty on your part. Our communication in this matter may not have been ideal. This must, however, not lead to a situation where individual members intentionally publicise false information and at the end of the day cause damage to all of us by absurd allegations."
In addition to explaining what this new avenue means and how it could benefit industry members, PSI affirmed that they intended to go forward with Promotional Products Day at next year's PSI show. The 51st PSI show is scheduled for January 9 to 11, 2013, with Promotional Products Day occuring that Friday.