Saturday, January 18, 2014

What Did We Learn At PPAI Las Vegas about Who Is Buying What?

There is no shortage of products in Advertising Specialty.  

In fact there is no shortage of sales people or promo product distributors, either.

There are plenty of approaches, methods, books, and tutorials on how to sell swag. 

But there are limited numbers of customers and projects.

But after 20 years of making stuff for the Promo Products Industry, we already knew all of those things.

Here are some things we did learn.

We talked to over 500 people salespeople and owners, some old hands, and some first timers, at the PPAI show in Las Vegas.  In every single case, we told them that Bike Month (as in bicycles) was coming.  We were startled that only about 3% had any idea what month is Bike Month.  Do you know?

We were also surprised to see that most local distributors had no relationship with the local police department.  Did you know that there is almost always a PR person, and sometimes even a PR department at every police department.  Many of these have full time or part time staff that go to schools, hospitals, service clubs, chamber meetings, youth sports teams, and local community events to promote safety, community policing efforts, and general goodwill.

Many of these projects involve promo items.  Moreover, the PR department or officer will also commonly know where the other supporting efforts are going on.  So, for instance, let's take a look at Bike Month.

Bike Month is in May.  There are 3 major components. Bike to Work Week.  Bike to School Week.  And Bike Safety Month.  All of these are commonly supported in your community by companies (bike to work), schools (bike to school and bike safety), and hospitals and police departments (bike safety.)  It is possible that bike safety may also be a function of parks and recreation.

In addition to all of this, there is the national, statewide, and regional efforts around the Share the Road idea.  Share the Road is year round, but gets special bicycle emphasis in May.

Based on our survey at the show, we believe that many of these groups do not have a serious promo products rep calling on them.  Yet we see the orders coming to us from these organizations that are hundreds of units, and often thousands of units.

Our most popular item for bike month activities is our bike safety light.  We will almost certainly run out.  Every year we order way more than the previous year, and still we run out.  You would be wise to place your order by April 1 to insure delivery in April or May.  

That's what we learned at the show.  What did you learn?  Help others with your comments below.

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