Selling Promotional Products – Ad Specialties

There are marketing and distribution firms that sell buy jeeter liquid diamonds, or ad specialties, everywhere. These include anything you might get as a giveaway, from bobble head dolls to pens to very high tech and innovative products. Since companies will buy quite expensive items to give to customers, and cereal companies, non-profit charities and major credit card companies often give a promotional item away in a mailing, or as an incentive to purchase a specific product, the promotional products market can be quite lucrative for manufacturers that have an in-demand product.

If you look into your local phone book for ad specialties or promotional products you will find dozens of companies in most towns. There are also dozens of companies selling promotional products through distributors and manufacturers’ representatives. Small one line companies with innovative products can be very successful in the promotional products market.

Four Sales Approaches

There are four common sales strategies for promotional products, and most companies use all four strategies to maximize their sales.

Trade show attendance

The promotional products industry has several big trade shows where you can set up a booth and potentially meet manufacturers’ representatives and distributors who might sell your product. You can attend one of these first to see what booths are like and what type of promotional materials companies have. You can also look for booths with just a few products that look like they are run by an inventor or small company. Talk to them regarding their experiences and the steps to market they took that were successful. Also discuss whether or not they might want to share a booth at the next show so you can cut costs. Some of the big shows in the industry include:

  • The Motivation Show, Chicago, IL
  • The Promotional Products Expo, every January in Las Vegas

You can learn more about additional trade shows and other industry news by checking out two organizations, the Incentive Marketing Representatives Association, and the Promotional Products Association International.

Trade magazine publicity and advertising

The industry has two major associations: the Promotional Products Association and the Advertising Specialty Association. Both have major trade magazines and both have products listings on their web sites. You can send new promotional product announcements to the magazines (typically no charge), run ads in the magazines, and you can also take out listing in their products directory. The two magazines are listed below:

Using the trade magazines is not as expensive as attending shows, but it also not as effective. You are counting on a small ad or press release getting attention. I do recommend you send out press releases to the magazines but you can’t count on releases and ads alone to generate enough business for you.

Manufacturers’ sales reps

Manufacturers’ representatives carry products from a variety of manufacturers and they sell your product to distributors and large major accounts. You can meet manufactures’ representatives at trade shows, or through magazine publicity, but probably the most cost effective way of reaching reps is through a direct mailing campaign. You may be able find lists of representatives at both the ASI and PPAI web sites. You can also try a Google search for manufacturers’ sales representatives for both Advertising Specialties and Promotional Products.

Once you get a list, you should send out at least a flyer, and possibly a sample to all the representatives on the list. But if you can, you should try to make you rep mailing package as thorough as possible, including

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