Wanted: Good News
To get you motivated and in the zone, here’s some information that is expanded upon in the article.
Print+Promo (P+P): What are some of the bright spots in the promotional products industry?
Paul Bellantone (PB): 2012 will mark our industry’s third year of consecutive distributor sales-volume growth. Our own research and independent, third-party studies show us that promotional products continue to grow as a dominant advertising medium. There is compelling evidence that promotional products are among the most cost-effective means of marketing products and services—both as stand-alone vehicles and as part of integrated media campaigns. At a time when most other advertising media are experiencing flat or negative growth year-over-year, we should be pleased. But it is important that we not become complacent. To continue to grow as an industry and against other advertising media, we continually educate our members to compete successfully against all other media and position ourselves as a true advertising medium rather than a ‘product’ or ‘giveaway.’
P+P: How are suppliers/distributors keeping up with marketplace demands?
PB: Every player in the channel is under pressure to add value in order to maintain relevance. If price is the only differentiator, the channel is at risk; but price is never the only differentiator or the only way to add value.
So long as suppliers and distributors continue to eliminate risk and add value through their roles in the channel, I believe they will continue to grow the marketplace and their business. The marketplace is demanding differentiation and I believe it is imperative that companies have unique stories that differentiate them from their competition. Companies need to know what makes them and their services unique and valuable to their customers.
I also see more practitioners valuing their time and creativity and not competing in price wars. Price will always be important, but price should be the driving factor only when risk and creativity are equal to zero. The elimination of risk and the delivery of creativity and solutions-based selling are areas where our members have been elevating the conversation. They are responding to marketplace demands by valuing their time, talents, creativity and the resources and services they provide to their customers.