What Some Buyers Really Want...Cheap Crap Online!
We've talked about evolving business models that have created uproar in recent commentaries. First we addressed this in Here We Go Again. Then, we offered a fun, tongue-in-cheek story about FreePromoTips.com launching Snoopes Promo in Discover the Truth About Bad Companies. This was followed up with our commentary, A Condemned Supplier Tells the Truth, featuring ADG Promotional Products president Bill Mahre sharing the truth about how his company operates.
The discussion on how businesses operate continues online in various forums. I believe these types of conversations should be handled carefully.
In today's changing marketplace, a few people have taken the initiative to be the judge and jury on suppliers' business models. It's a big job to attempt to police our industry and I commend them for their efforts. I'm concerned, however, about the destructive nature of calling out companies without knowing all the facts. My hope would be that a professional demeanor would prevail in addressing these situations.
Moving on, I'm now going to go deep and cover what is really important to our end-user buyers. Take note here, as there is a growing trend for a specific business model that has not been addressed. That is... some buyers want cheap stuff. And they like buying online.
It's no secret that in today's marketplace price is important. Do buyers care about quality? If it's cheap enough, they may overlook that they are buying crappy products that may or may not comply with important product safety standards.
Many buyers prefer to simply buy cheap products online without having a clue who they are doing business with. It is up to us to effectively convey the benefits of working with a quality, educated distributor.
One of the downsides of a challenging economy is the near explosion of scams, trunkslammers, downright thieves or just uncaring business entrepreneurs who want to make a quick buck. The promotional product industry has never been immune. With a low barrier of entry almost anyone can enter our industry.
Without understanding the need for guidance of a knowledgeable promotional consultant, buyers should just buy cheap crap online! And they can. Check out www.cheapcraponline.com.
The brilliant website www.cheapcraponline.com is the brainchild of Rick Ornberg from Eagle Mountain Promotions. This has been a great business-building tool for his company. In some situations, Rick would note that Eagle Mountain Promotions is "a trusted alternative to dubya, dubya, dubya cheap-crap-online dot com." Rick explains that this usually was received with a laugh, but also a few knowing nods from some who have actually had some bad experiences.
This simple site, which was created a few years ago, is still relevant today and offers a few client horror stories as part of its content. Of course the site directs visitors to his "real" website: http://www.eaglemountainpromotions.com/.
Rick takes care to not vilify all online providers. We all know there are many good online businesses that do a good job. The site is not meant to condemn all online businesses. What it does do is open the conversation and allows Rick to show what his personal involvement can provide. This begins with in-depth product research, help with artwork issues, along with accurate and timely communication. It also allows him to provide a "Shop Local" opportunity to those who are so inclined.
Our industry is filled with all kinds of business models. Ultimately those who are able to effectively meet the needs of their clients with integrity, creativity and quality service, while providing good products will succeed.
To share the many benefits of using promotional products, PPAI created Promotional Products Work Week. This has been a resounding success. Distributors, suppliers and regional associations speak at schools and volunteer in the community showcasing the power of our advertising medium. Working together, our industry shared the benefits of working with promotional product professionals.
This year, Kirby Hasseman was very active representing his company Hasseman Marketing and Communications in Coshocton, Ohio. Kirby took full advantage of this business building opportunity. "I think it's really important for us to take this week and all work together to advocate for the industry. We have a powerful story to tell, and in my experience, the audience enjoys hearing it. Participating in Promotional Products Work Week, positions you and your company as thought leaders in your industry. Having clients think of you as a leader is never a bad thing! I spoke to our local Rotary, Kiwanis groups and produced video blogs. We also did contests through Social Media and hosted an Open House. Promotional Products Work Week was great for our business," Kirby explained.
Kirby has published a book titled "Delivering Marketing Joy." Completed just in time for Promotional Products Work Week, the book talks about how organizations can grow "the right way" by using promotional products. Kirby notes, "It was written with the end user in mind (so it's not a commercial for my business). It includes case conclusions from supplier AND distributors from all around the country!" A direct link to the book on Amazon is here.
You can see some of the activities that went on around the country by searching the hashtag #PPWWeek on Twitter and Facebook. If you weren't involved this year, don't miss the opportunity next year!
We are in a great industry! What makes it great are the relationships that are built through being active in your community, attending industry events and involvement with your regional association. If you are able to attend, Expo East is coming up in Atlantic City, May 19-21. I look forward to connecting with many of my colleagues there.
One fun event at Expo East is the Howard Alan Blum 5K Fun Run/Walk held on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. This event benefits the good work of the SAAGNY Foundation. If you can't attend in the actual event, you can participate in the "VIRTUAL" 5K. Registration is just $25.00. Information on this unique event with a humorous video description can be found here!
Jeff Solomon, MAS is a distributor affiliated with a Top 10 distributor company. The FreePromoTips.com website and twice a month e-newsletters he publishes are packed with beneficial information. On the website, you can opt in to receive these informative twice a month e-newsletters! Check out what's new in the GP2: Good Products-Good Prices section of the site. Take advantage of FREE end user safe product videos you can share from their YourPromotionSolution.com website. LIKE their page on Facebook follow them on Twitter and connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.