SOI Promotional Products: Running the Good Race
If we were running a foot race in a stadium, we could at any point look behind us and then ahead to determine exactly where we were in the race. Since all runners are visible at the same time, we could even get a good fix on the competition. But when the race is cross-country, the only thing we know is the ground we have already covered and how the few other runners nearby are faring. The rest of the race is a mystery. Will we have a lot of uphill ground to cover? Will we have soft, smooth paths to run or many obstacles to navigate around? Even if we think we are ahead, will we have the stamina to win or will someone pass us along the way?
In politics, guessing at the future is called prognostication. In financial circles, they ask for forecasts. Soothsayers and fortune tellers predict, with dubious results, our personal futures. And, religion has relied on prophecy throughout recorded history. Today, I have the task to give some account of where the promotional advertising specialty industry is in this race.
So for the record—the race isn't over. In business, we have the great benefit and burden of never finishing the race. We get to restart every day. We can decide to take a different path than the other runners. We can hire others to help us. We can even change the direction the race takes if we get out in the lead.
The past three years have been challenging. Promotional products distributors saw fewer orders and less profit in the orders that did sell. But, overall, the downturn was modest for the promotional advertising specialty industry. In fact, it was even a significant bright spot for a lot of distributors who saw other product areas decline more dramatically.
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.