If you have clients that regularly ask for promotional products like stress balls, mugs or bags, you should consider becoming an ASI Distributor. ASI stands for the Advertising Specialty Institute. Membership information is available at ASI Central. There are some requirements, but if they are having a membership drive, these requirements can be lowered. An ASI Distributor receives great discounts off a supplier’s list price (ex. 35% off!), as well as a discount on set-ups and run-charges. By charging a client at list or near list, you would be making a very nice profit!
More importantly, you will have complete control over the selection of products and suppliers. Selecting the right promotional product is an art. The more creative the promotion, the more memorable! Also, there are many supplier in the industry that charge a very low price for a very poorly made product. Unless you ask for samples ahead of time, it is tough to make the right call. Both ASI and another group called Sage have active communities which rate suppliers and their performance. Another reason why there is NO EXCUSE for a distributor to use a supplier with a bad rating.
Of course, there are always new suppliers. An established “good” supplier can try to expand into a new product line. And, every company runs specials! All of these situations can become welcome surprises, but you should warn the client just in case.
Any agency or an established group that uses promotional products should consider ASI membership. Many suppliers even run “super-specials” called “self-promos” which an ASI member can use to promote themselves.
Some of my favorite ASI suppliers:
- Ariel Premiums: the leader in stress relievers
- BagMakers: the leader in tote, paper and plastic bags
- Glass America: the widest selection of glassware and ceramics
- Perfectline: quality products at a low cost
- Bic Graphic: leader in pens and pads
- Snugz USA: leader in quality lanyards
Remember — these companies ONLY deal direct with ASI Distributors!