The Wheels Didn’t Fall Off
Regardless of when this economic downturn began or any definitive signal that it has ended, most people who are actively engaged in the promotional advertising/specialty industry still are rolling along, but perhaps at a bit slower speed. Both the short- and long-term forecast for the promotional advertising/specialty industry is pretty strong (or can be).
This economic downturn was about money that stopped moving, uncertainty in the marketplace and the resulting drop in revenue and income for businesses and individuals. For promotional/specialty advertising it was not about a loss of confidence, the impact of ads delivered in this way or the high value of specialty advertising measured against every other media. Unlike banking, real estate and stock brokering, promotional advertising/specialty distributors and sales professionals do not have to rebuild consumer confidence in service and the products that carry advertising and marketing messages.
That's the good news. Fortunately, the bad news is also good news if you sell promotional advertising/specialties. Productivity, a word businesses throw around and government attempts to measure, is really nothing more than what a worker can accomplish in a specific period of time. As the economy contracted, employers reduced their staff and needed workers still there to pick up the slack. Some employers found that with a 20 percent reduction in customers' business and a 25 percent or more workforce reduction they still got the job done due to increased productivity from the remaining workers.
Though there have been signs of economic improvement, employers have been reluctant to replace workers. They have considerable uncertainty about the costs of rehiring because of potential healthcare costs, taxes and the anxiety of another possible economic slump. That means workers will need to continue to pick up the pace.
So why is this good news for specialty distributors and sales pros? Because promotional/specialty programs can lessen employee emotional and psychological fatigue, improve attitude, reward productivity, recognize superior accomplishment, increase job satisfaction and help moderate costs.
Gregg Emmer is chief marketing officer and vice president for Kaeser & Blair Inc. (K&B). He has more than 40 years of experience in marketing and the promotional specialty advertising industry. His outside consultancy provides marketing, public relations and business planning consulting to a wide range of other businesses and has been a useful knowledge base for K&B dealers. Contact Emmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.