How Promotional Products Professionals Can Make More Money With Premiums, Incentives and Recognition
Is it easy? No. Is it worth learning new skills and how a new industry segment operates? Yes. Or at least it was for me. By becoming an expert in consumer sales promotion, sales incentive programs, trade incentives, dealer premiums, channel partner programs, employee recognition and engagement, I was able to generate consistent annual sales of over $2 million with major brands and corporations. These programs also resulted in extra promotional products sales to support the efforts, reinforce key messages and in many cases to act as the premium or incentive items in the promotion.
There are some key differences between the premium incentive and the promotional products channels. These differences can cause some friction and misunderstanding, so it is important to know about them and decide if you can accept them or not. Many premium incentive companies are branded product with a strong retail presence and often times direct to consumer advertising and marketing. Their strongest channel loyalty will be to their retail partners just as a promotional products supplier's strongest loyalty will be to their distributor partners.
Promotional products professionals should also be aware that branded product for retail often changes styles, models, colors and may have seasonal availability. This can make planning challenging and should be discussed and planned for up front. The promotional products industry is an event-driven sale with a built-in sense of urgency that a branded retail company may not understand, appreciate or have logistics in place to accommodate. This makes communications critical. Expectations need to be established in the planning stages, reinforced and many times, the delivery or fulfillment issues should be resolved well before the product is needed.
There are other issues one needs to be aware of—to decorate or not, lower margins, selling direct, trust. All of these issues can be bridged through communication and understanding.