Wanted: Good News
A recent trip to the doctor’s office reminded me why I don’t regularly tune into the local news.
As we sat in the waiting room together, the other patients and I started typing away on our iPhones to pass time. Morning cartoons served as background noise. The observant receptionist decided to change the channel to something a bit more “adult.” She naturally stopped on a local CBS affiliate news program—it only took a minute to be jolted out of my phone-induced stupor. The specifics of the report escape me (I think I blocked them out), but it was the type of heinous crime that we now come to expect.
Honestly, I’m burned out on bad news. I constantly plead with friends, family members and associates to tell me something good. Guess what? Many of them can’t do it. Unfortunately, this is life and it doesn’t always play out the way we would hope. I know this.
Similarly, your customers want to hear good news. After all, though true, how many times can we read headlines about the turbulent economy, layoffs and bankruptcies? To quote YouTube sensation Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” So where is the good news? It’s in the new sale you just made. It’s in the new employee you just hired. It’s in the fact that you’re alive and able to read this post.
It’s in our industry if you look for it. I recently wrote a State of the Industry report for Print+Promo, the sister publication of Promo Marketing. In the promotional products section of the article, I talked to Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO of Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), located in Iriving, Texas. While there are challenges to address, creativity, drive and optimism carry a lot of influence. Perspective and attitude are everything.
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.
(For more information, visit www.goprintandpromo.com.)