SOI Promotional Products: Running the Good Race
For many, 2010 saw growth when measured against 2009. For others, 2010 saw some forward movement when measured against the average of the past three years. A recent survey by an online business newsletter found that 50 percent of businesses in general experienced a decrease in sales in the last 12 months and 97 percent of the same group expects to see sales increase in the next 12 months. The survey also revealed that nearly 70 percent of sales are still made in person—the perfect environment for adding a promotion component to the process.
With promotional advertising specialties sales declining less than business sales in general and regaining strength at a faster pace, 2011 appears to have some building momentum. It seems order value is increasing faster than the number of orders. This may be that customers who cut back on quantity or ordered lower priced goods are going back to what they did before the downturn. But customers who eliminated using promotional advertising have not yet reached an economic comfort level that allows them to start using promotional goods again.
Many who read this have considered promotional advertising specialties as a secondary profit center to printing, forms or other goods or services being the primary focus. In 2010, Print Professional Magazine noted that promotional advertising specialties accounted for approximately 8 percent of overall sales volume within the printing, forms and label distributing industry. Several indications suggest this will increase in 2011. The higher margins normally maintained for promotional advertising specialty products proved to be important to many distributors during the past three years. As a result, some print brokers are investing more time in building the promotional advertising specialty part of their business.
A reality of the economic downturn is that many businesses that existed three years ago are now gone. This includes not only customers but some competitors, too. So the impact of lost customers is somewhat offset by fewer competitors. Aggressive action this year will result in new customers and potentially more promotional advertising specialty business than in the past. I have noticed a significant increase in the number of businesses that were exclusively printing and related goods prior to 2008 that we have helped add promotional advertising specialties to their current sales offerings. We expect this trend to continue throughout this year.
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 email@example.com.