The future of promotional products

the future of promotional products

The future of promotional products is now!

In the spring of 2020 we all find ourselves in the midst of a sea-change of many things in our lives that we once considered to be intransigent.

The Covid-19 corona virus has forced us to quickly adopt many changes in how we now “do business”. From the explosion in telecommuting to the shuttering of businesses we once relied upon, the corona virus has caused massive shifts to our economy.

In the world of promotional products many things have also now changed.

In the spring of 2020 with the worldwide shutdown and now with the re-kickstart of businesses there has been a refocusing of our attention onto PPE and away from traditional promotional products all of which has also caused a massive change in how “we do” business.

American businesses are now sourcing promotional products to help defeat the corona virus. These products include such things as hand sanitizer, masks and “covid return to work kits!” Almost overnight, these PPE’s replaced the more traditional “coffee mugs and crappy pens” that for so long dominated much of the promotional swag market.

To the traditional promotional product supplier (crappy, leaky pens and oh-so-boring coffee mug suppliers) this head spinning change in Americas’ business needs and how to meet those needs caught most of them “flat-footed”. Simply put, the more traditional promotional product suppliers were unable to meet these new demands brought on by the corona virus.

For Promotional Product Direct. It is just another day at the office.

For PPD these new challenges to supply America’s businesses with PPE was just another day at the office. A challenging one for sure, but not anything we haven’t done before.

We Do It Differently: Promotional Product Direct is a reactive sourcing agency. What does this mean? Simply put, this means that we do a few specialized things very well and very efficiently.

We source everything factory direct: We travel extensively and have done so over the decades. In our travels, we have built tremendous relationships with factories in Europe, Asia and domestically here in the USA.

These factory relationships are wide ranging and diverse. Quite simply, we have worked with every type of factory that produces just about anything that can have your logo on it. From bike parts to breweries, from clothing to curling irons, over the years, we have worked with companies looking to extend their brand by marketing with promotional products sourced direct from the factory.

We deliver direct from the factory floor to your door: We do not warehouse, handle more than we have to, any promotional product. We deliver exactly what you need and want, direct to the front door of your business direct from the factory floor.

What’s in it for us?

I always think that when I am reading some of Americas’ businesses offerings that I come across, I want to hurl.

Just about every business offering I have ever read speaks glowingly on how they can help their clients. We can and will help your business succeed, but first here is how we like to work.

Low overhead: We do not inventory products at a 3rd party warehouse in the USA, instead we opt to import and generally airfreight in every order to meet the exact needs of our clients.

The advantage to us, in using this process, is that it eliminates all the costs of warehousing, extra handling costs, extra staff, heat and light. This allows our head office operations in the USA to be very lean. We keep costs down.

Fast but not next day fast: We deliver factory direct faster than anyone else we know. Usually 2 weeks. However if you want it next day, best to look elsewhere. If your approach to business marketing is to simply slap your logo on the fastest available swag, then we are probably not your supplier.

What’s in it for you?

The advantage to our customers is that we can source a product with your logo on it that is exactly what you want! : Instead of us trying to “sell you” something we have in stock, as we need to get “rid of it” we work as your consultant. We can be best described as your own personal sourcing agency.

We are an extension of your business dedicated to getting you exactly what you want at a price and delivery that saves you money.

In 2020 your business marketing should be a direct reflection of who you are.

When my ancestors started this business way back in the dark ages of the early 1990’s the promotional product industry was very primitive.

I would say that 99% of all promotional product purchases were made from just a handful of suppliers. Giant mega corps like Leeds were selling every promotional product distributor the same stuff. Coffee mugs, journals, pens and basic office swag with a customers logo on it was the norm. In the 1990’s and the early 2000’s it was simply put “good enough” just to get your logo on a stapler, notebook or mug and let that be your marketing campaign. Boring!

The problem with the above is that the average clients business marketing initiatives became pretty “vanilla”. In fact, in my opinion it became downright embarrassing. In the early part of this century it was not uncommon to have 2 competing businesses at the same trade show with their logo on the same thing. How can that possibly differentiate one business from another?

Big surprise. The internet changed everything.

In the early 2000’s the internet changed and continues to change everything. In the beginning the internet for promotional products was basically just a way to show an electronic version of the old paper catalog. Promotional product suppliers simply put their coffee mugs and pens online as a digital catalog.

Somewhere around 2010, the ability to easily have an online transaction took place. With this happening, business marketers were now able to buy the same old boring mugs and pens ONLINE!

Fast forward to 2020 and the internet’s impact on business marketing and your businesses ability to source unique promotional products has been earth-shattering. The days of boring coffee mugs and leaky pens days were coming to an end.

Custom choice for everything is everywhere!

With the advent of sites like Pinterest, Houzz, Wish and a whole host of other shopping sites the consumer has now become much more attuned to the desire for “total product personalization”. What does this mean?

Total Product Personalization (TPP) Puts Your Brand In the Drivers Seat!

TPP gives the ability to the business marketer to get their logo on just about any product that best represents their position in the market. What does this mean?

Let’s look at a fictitious example. If your business is a roller skate repair shop and you want to do a business marketing initiative to celebrate the opening of your 50th location does it make any sense to get your logo on a coffee mug? In our opinion, probably not!

We feel that your brand is best promoted when your logo is on something that best reflects the nature of your brand.

Simply put, getting your logo on a coffee mug is great if you are a coffee producer but is less poignant if you are a roller skate repair shop.

If you are a roller skate repair shop celebrating the opening of your 50th store and you want to do a promotional product marketing campaign wouldn’t it be more “on brand” to do one of the following?

1.Old school chrome skate key with your logo.

2.Custom skate wheel key chain with your logo on it.

3. A custom shaped USB drive in the shape of a roller skate.

The answer to the above question is simple. YES! This is also a perfect example of Total Product Personalization.

Is TPP available to any size of comapny?

Yes, but a quick review of some of the history of the promotional products business first, to help us explain this better.

In the “old days” of factory direct it was true that pretty much all factory direct orders of promotional products were slow, taking as much as 120 days and the minimum order size was very large. That is no longer the case.

In the past 10 years, we have worked very hard with over 100 different factories in 12 different countries to get them to quickly produce much smaller promotional product order sizes of as little as 100 pieces and to produce them and ship them in as little as 10 days.

Variety is the spice of marketing life!

With the advent of smaller minimum orders and the fact that we have been doing this for over 20 years with nearly 2000 different orders completed in that time, we can simply say there is not anything we cannot find, source, logo and deliver.

The advantage to you, the business marketer, is that you are now able to get your logo on a business marketing giveaway, swag, that is definitely more in line with your brands position in the marketplace.

Does this sound expensive? It’s not!

All of this may sound expensive but it is not. In our business process we eliminate a lot of ‘fat” in the product delivery paradigm. We do not have the costs associated with warehousing, warehouse staff, extraneous office staff etc. We also do not have to “write-off’ the costs of dead stock and outdated ideas.

The fidget spinner. Lessons learned.

A lot can be learned by the lessons learned from the experiences with the humble Fidget Spinner.

In the spring of 2017 the Fidget Spinner was hot, hot, hot! Everyone wanted their logo on the fidget spinner and we were able to deliver.

In that short 4 month period between March and July of 2017 some of the best business marketers on the planet caught the attention of their target clients, employees and prospects with their logo on a fidget spinner. We were uniquely able to provide a nimble product response in meeting our clients “in the moment marketing demands”!

During the same time period, more traditional promotional product suppliers took a much longer look at the fidget spinner, weighing their options and approach, cautiously ordering their first 200,000 of them to be delivered in the late summer of 2017.

By the time those traditional promotional product suppliers actually received their fidget spinners the trend was dead. Those “old school” suppliers cautiousness and their outdated business model was actually a liability, both to themselves and to their clients.

In the spring of 2020, I will occasionally still see these suppliers try to flog fidget spinners. When I see them advertising fidget spinners I wonder what the real cost was to warehouse, move, count, account for and write down the cost of those fidget spinners really was over the past 3 years?

Ultimately, I will not know what that cost was but I do know this. Whatever the financial loss was on those now outdated fidget spinners it was definitely passed onto you.

We are known by the company we keep!

“A man is known by the company he keeps.” wrote Aesop, Greek philospher, in about 600 BC. This adage is more important now than ever.

In the digital age it is very easy and commonplace for businesses to say we “know this famous person or work with this great company” without really backing up that claim, however, 9 out of 10 times it is straight B.S. or in wikipedia-world terms, Puffery.

In the past 5 years PPD has done work for the following well-known companies. Tiffany and Co., Xfinity Mobile, The Oscars, Generac, Facebook, Google and hundreds of other marquis companies.

We have also done even more work for local and regional brands that if you lived where they live you would know them. These include such marketing luminaries as, Pig Ate My Pizza Kitchen + Brewery in Minneapolis and criminal defense attorneys Dewey, Cheatham and Howe in NY (yes, it is real law firm).

Where to start?

Where to start? How can you and your business explore this creative idea in promotional product sourcing for your brand?

We always suggest that beginning is the best place to start! The beginning with PPD is to ask yourself these 2 questions first.

  • Do we have a couple of weeks before your event? This is mission-critical. If you have an event on Friday the 5th and it’s Tuesday the 2nd we can’t help you. Simply stated , if you want something unique and cool and wish to save money on your swag we need at least 2 weeks.
  • Do you have a “rough idea” of what you are looking for? It is always a good idea to have a general target idea. Your target idea is simply a place to start a conversation from. As often as not,your target idea ends up in the “trashbin” as we find that during our consultative process we often jointly end up with an even better idea! It’s just the way it goes sometimes.

What to expect?

We like to keep it simple. The first step is to have a conversation or email exchange about your project and ideas. Then give us 24-48 hours to speak with our many factories .

Once we have spoken with the factory about timelines, customization, possible detail and such we will get back to you with an all-inclusive price for the project delivered to your doorstep.

Sounds good? Call us at 1-888-908-6932 or email [email protected] to get the ball rolling!