The SAAC Expo was a tremendous success. The engagement from suppliers, distributors and end buyers was outstanding. We had over a hundred end buyers participate on Day 2. PPAI President & CEO Dale Denham was the keynote speaker, and his talk about maximizing merch in promotional budgets was beneficial for all who attended. Thank you to the distributors who took advantage of this opportunity to highlight our industry’s offerings.
The happy hour overlooking San Diego Bay was well attended and another chance to mingle with industry friends. Those who participated in the Game On event enjoyed a great meal, networking and some fun competition. It was a sellout event with 150 competitors. Thank you to the sponsors who contributed to the awesome goodie bags all participants received.
Seeing 40 SAAC members playing cornhole at once was quite a sight! Mixing up the teams each round was a little stressful, but thank you to Heather Laird for keeping the event moving. It was fun to see the competitive nature of my different teammates, as well as the other participants. I am not going to name names, but a few of you might consider anger management programs.
Congratulations to the 2023 SAAC Cornhole Tournament Winners:
View More SAAC Expo 2023 Photos
I must say, I am humbled and genuinely appreciative of the individuals who supported me, the Expo and the experience. I also want to personally thank the SAAC Board and PPAI/Christina Sanders for all their efforts to make the Expo such a success.
The SAAC holiday party will be the first week of December. We are changing the party this year and adding the installation of new officers to give the 2024 Board a running start before the busy month of January. We are looking at venues in Orange County and will release that date and location soon. Make sure to reserve your seat, as the last event was a sellout.
The SAAC Foundation Golf Tournament will be at the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena on Wednesday, October 18. A great day filled with activities from golf to wine tastings, a silent auction and dinner with friends and family is the perfect way to entertain everyone and support SAAC, the foundation and industry family members seeking higher education. Be sure to extend the invitation to your industry friends.
Not a golfer? No problem. Please join us for the October SAAC Dinner in Pasadena on Wednesday, October 18 – right after the golf tournament. I look forward to seeing you at Brookside Golf Course on the 18th on the golf course, at the wine tasting, at dinner – or at all three!
Meet AJ Kind, contract key account executive for 3M Promotional Markets. I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his time in the industry, why he volunteers and some compelling reasons why 3M was exhibiting at the SAAC Expo 2023.
What is your favorite thing about our industry?
As cliche as it sounds, I would say it is the people. I have worked in many different industries. The atmosphere and community we create in the promotional products industry is very unique. Suppliers are the people that get asked to perform miracles by trying to track down some of the most unique things, always in a rush, but somehow this industry is still relaxed and a lot of fun.
What do you love about the SAAC Expo?
This August was my first time attending the SAAC, and as a Minnesota boy I sunburn easily, so I only make it out into the sun every once in a while! I’ve always loved regional shows, especially during my time when on the distributor side. Industry trade shows really show the dedication of suppliers in their support of distributors by coming to you on your own turf, not just on the national show circuit. To put the time and effort into showing up locally and get to experience what can make each region unique is and can be very rewarding.
I really enjoyed the Game On event held on Wednesday night at the SAAC Expo. I’m not sure if you know this, but I’m pretty sure it’s only the state of Minnesota that calls what you refer to as corn hole a “bean bag toss.” I’ve got a set of my own, and I’ve been practicing. I might even land a bag on the board this year!
But on a serious note, I look forward to making connections with the distributors and being able to help them with their projects. At 3M, 99% of what we do are Post-its. My greatest satisfaction is showing people what a Post-it can do for them and their book of business.
Learn more about 3M Promotional Markets.
Heidi Selleck ~ The Vernon Company
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to approve a mandatory standard to reduce button cell and coin battery ingestion hazards to children six years and under.
Both suppliers and distributors in the promotional products industry should be aware that these batteries are used in many types of products, such as a variety of toys, wireless video game controllers, musical greeting cards and keyless entry remotes.
“Now that CPSC has finalized Reese’s Law, and has adopted ANSI/UL4200A-2023 as the mandatory standard for consumer products powered by button cell batteries and not covered by the ASTM F963- The Toy Safety Standard, it is urgent that all members of the promotional products industry comply,” says Rick Brenner, MAS+, president and CEO of Product Safety Advisors and long-time co-chair to PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit.
Enacted August 16, 2022, Reese's Law mandates that the CPSC implements federal safety requirements for button cell or coin batteries, as well as consumer products containing such batteries.
Consistent with Reese’s Law, the mandatory standard – ANSI/UL 4200A-2023 – requires either the use of a tool, such as a screwdriver or coin to open the battery compartment, or the application of at least two independent and simultaneous movements to open by hand.
Additionally, such consumer products must pass a series of performance tests simulating reasonably foreseeable use or misuse. The standard also includes labeling requirements for consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries, and labeling requirements for consumer product packaging.
According to the CPSC, the consequences of a child swallowing a button cell or coin battery can be immediate and deadly. The tiny batteries can burn through a child’s throat or esophagus in as little as two hours if swallowed.
The movement to promote child safety regarding button cell and coin battery ingestion was spearheaded by Trista Hamsmith, whose 18-month-old daughter Reese Hamsmith died from injuries sustained when she swallowed a coin cell battery in December 2020. Since that time, Hamsmith has worked tirelessly to protect other children from similar hazards.
“I thank Trista Hamsmith and the congressional champions of this legislation for all of their work to provide the commission with expedited authority to address this safety hazard,” wrote CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric. “I also want to thank the CPSC staff for providing the necessary support and analysis to bring us to this important moment. With these changes, we’ll help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from these consumer products.”
Promo’s Next Steps
The new law will take effect 180 days from the date that it is published in the Federal Register, which has not happened yet. Promo industry suppliers have an opportunity to evaluate their product line and determine if their non-toy button cell powered products already meet the standard or will have to be redesigned.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is presenting at this year’s Summit on Reese’s Law. The event will be held October 8-10 in Alexandria, Virginia. Click here for more information and to register.
Published with Permission from PPAI Media
As the holiday season approaches, “best gifts” lists start popping up all over the place. Probably the most famous and followed of these is Oprah’s Favorite Things, which drops in early November. Last year, four products from four different PPAI member suppliers made the cut with Ms. Winfrey.
But promo companies are already in the thick of holiday order season, and as anyone in this industry can tell you, November is way too late to start planning promo for delivery in December. So, while we wait for Oprah’s 2023 picks, here are a baker’s dozen of promo alternatives to items on Esquire’s Best Gifts Under $50 list. (Note: Not all items listed below are priced under $50.)
ICYMI: The Best Promo Alternatives To Oprah’s Favorite Things
BEST COFFEE GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Soma Double-Wall Glass Cold Brew Bottle
This 18-oz., all-in-one Cold Brew Coffee/Tea Maker Glass Bottle brews your fresh coffee or tea on the go using any temperature water. With a brew time under five minutes, this travel-sized piece gives you the freedom to brew your favorite beverage anytime, anywhere.
UPromo / PPAI 818503, S3
BEST MUSIC GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Belkin Wireless Earbuds
The water-resistant Skullcandy Jib 2 True Wireless Earbuds provide up to 33 hours of playback, and each earbud contains Tile finding technology, so if you ever misplace one, you can just ping it from the Tile app. Built-in microphones and music controls.
PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15
BEST FOOD GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Brightland The Pair (Fancy Vinegar)
This elegant Custom Etched Romeo & Giulietta Gift Set includes an olive oil and balsamic vinegar nesting bottle pair inside a slide-top wood box. Both the bottle and the box can be laser-engraved with your client’s message or company logo.
A+ Wine Designs / PPAI 173549, S4
BEST SEASONAL GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Free People Sweet Valley Scarf
Stay warm with this 12-by-70-inch Alpaca Winter Scarf, a stylish and practical accessory for anyone. Available in five solid colors and two plaids (blue plaid shown), with decoration by embroidery, embroidered patches or woven labels.
Wolfmark / PPAI 114140, S3
BEST MANUAL GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
Perfect for the coffee connoisseur, this portable Manual Coffee Grinder is easy to use and clean, plus has an adjustable grind selector, making it ideal for home, travel or camping. Choice of sage or teal (shown) in giftable tube.
The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5
BEST FITNESS GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Resistance Bands
Get a great workout with these stretchy Yoga Resistance Bands, made of a durable thermoplastic elastomer to provide different levels of resistance based on their varying thicknesses. Each band is 12 inches long when laid flat and can be easily stored in the included brandable pouch.
High Caliber Line / PPAI 205801, S10
BEST SPEAKER GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: JBL Clip 3
In this case, the brand-name gift on the list is also available as a customizable promo product. The JBL Clip 3 is an ultra-portable, ultra-rugged and waterproof Bluetooth speaker that is small in size but delivers surprisingly big sound. The carabiner clips to clothes, belt loop or backpack for easy carrying.
Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10
BEST GIFT FOR THE HOST – Esquire’s Pick: Williams Sonoma Monogram Board
This elegant white marble Marco Marble Cutting Board with tone-on-tone laser engraving provides a beautiful way to serve guests or to protect countertops during meal prep. The roughly 8-inch circular board comes packaged in a gift box.
Hit Promotional Products / PPAI 113910, S14
BEST TOTE GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Street Level Reversible Faux Leather Tote
It’s not faux leather, but this Reversible Cotton Tote with 26-inch handles features a full-color sublimated liner, making it two bags in one for double the branding opportunity. Cotton available in 16 colors (natural shown), with the polyester liner printed and sewn in the USA.
LimeLight USA / PPAI 223938, S3
MOST PRACTICAL GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag Large
Designed for maximum portability, this Everywhere Belt Bag / Fanny Pack has room for your phone, keys and all the essentials. Made of water-resistant nylon, the bag features an adjustable 43-inch strap and comes in dozens of stock colors, as well as PMS matching.
Tekweld / PPAI 266346, S4
BEST GIFT FOR THE BAR CART – Esquire’s Pick: Mark & Graham Wooden Bottle Opener
Pair a custom-labeled bottle of wine with this Mahogany Style Wooden Corkscrew Wine Bottle Opener for a branded gift to enjoy both now and in the future. The multi-tool features an ergonomic grip, stainless steel foil cutter blade, spiral wine corkscrew and bottle opener, plus your client’s logo or message on the handle.
STOPNGO Line / PPAI 112044, S6
BEST HOME GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Upwest Fringe Throw Blanket
The classic subtle woven herringbone pattern of this Everlasting Throw Blanket with fringe adds style and warmth to any space. Highlight your client’s brand with laser etching on the faux leather patch. This 50-by-60-inch throw is perfect for travel and folds neatly into the included kraft box.
Gemline / PPAI 113948, S11
BEST GOLF GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Callaway Golf Chrome Soft Balls
This is another brand-name gift on the list that’s also available as a promo product. Put your client’s logo on a custom-embroidered Callaway Six Ball Pouch, which includes six brandable Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls, six tees, two ball markers and one divot repair tool. Made in the USA, it’s a gift sure to delight serious golfers.
Ball Pro / PPAI 112763, S8
Sales is a field that’s built on relationships. Not only can your existing clients continue to bring in revenue, but they can lead to referrals and continued growth for your promo business. If you and your sales team aren’t focused on strengthening your customer relationships, another company could swoop in and win the business.
Anthony Iannarino, a bestselling author and world-renowned sales expert, says a part of what you sell should be the relationship. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we outline his thoughts on how you can establish stronger connections with your clients.
Take a long-term view. Many sales professionals get caught up in the short-term pursuit. They chase the first meeting and overlook the big picture. Remember that the first meeting is an audition, Iannarino says. You’re trying out to join your prospect’s team. You should approach it with the intent to work with the client for the rest of your sales career.
Give them time. Don’t hurry your prospects along or put pressure on them to make a decision. When you try to shorten the client’s decision-making process, you make it harder for them and increase your odds of losing the deal, Iannarino says. Keep in mind that the more time they spend with you, the better your chances of landing the deal.
Focus on value. How does the client benefit from the sales discussion? Iannarino says it’s critical to create value so the prospect will prefer entering a sales relationship with you over another company.
Deliver results. When you say you’re going to do something, follow through. Your clients need to know they can count on you. Even if you connect immediately with clients, if you don’t provide what they need, you’ll lose them. Iannarino recommends engaging with the people who are responsible for delivering the results you sold the client. When possible, bring them into the sales conversation.
Communicate often. Don’t be the kind of sales rep who closes the deal and then disappears. You need constant communication to maintain the relationship. Work with your clients on a schedule that makes sense for them.
Bring new value. If you’re committed to selling the relationship, you can’t just call it in. You must be willing to do the work others will not, Iannarino says. He recommends reading, researching and providing your client with advice and recommendations that will ensure they succeed now and in the future.
Take some time today to review your client relationships. Whether you send your customers a thoughtful promo or a quick email to check in, always look for ways to invest in these relationships.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, entrepreneur and sales leader specializing in B2B sales.
Published with permission from PPAI Media
Most people who buy promo trust you – the promo expert. They turn to you for guidance on everything from which products to use to how to use them. They value your expertise in all things promo and rely on you to help them achieve their goals.
Sometimes, though, clients aren’t quite as trusting. They may have a different idea or want to see alternative solutions. Or maybe they just want to do things their way.
It's important to approach these situations tactfully. You want to steer your client in the right direction without losing your cool. Tom Ewer, the founder of WordCandy, has a few suggestions that we outline in this issue of PromoPro Daily.
Look at it from your client’s perspective. If your client wants to make changes, maybe they suddenly realized something vital is missing. Or maybe they thought they liked a particular logo placement but now want to change it. Ewer says if you can make their adjustment relatively easily, go ahead and do it. This can build goodwill. But if you’re looking at scrapping everything and starting over, it’s time to get to the heart of the situation and make sure you’re on the same page.
Stand your ground. Some clients seem to enjoy making changes. They liked the promo in blue, but now they want it in green. Or they liked the logo on the front center, but now they want it smaller and also on the back. This is a power play you don’t want to get into, Ewer says. The only way to get around this is to have firm guidelines about when you will and won’t engage with clients, and what you regard as reasonable input.
Have a clear agreement. Whether you’re the one making changes or you have an art team, constant changes can take a toll. If you or your team have provided something incorrectly, that’s one thing. But if you’ve provided what the client has asked for and they’re still not happy, this is where you can refer back to the agreement. A good agreement should define the end result and explain how things should progress.
Bargain. If a client wants a big something extra, Ewer recommends bringing your powers of persuasion into play. If it’s something that isn’t integral to the current project, you could also suggest that this might be an ideal start to a new phase of the project or product.
Educate your client. It’s important that your client understands that your time isn’t free, and it’s up to you to ensure they recognize this, Ewer says. Try explaining your time and cost estimates. Break these down in detail, so your client can see the amount of work involved. They might now know all the steps involved.
Show your expertise. If your client wants to do something you know is ineffective or won’t lead to the results they want, assert yourself and use PPAI research to back up your point. Say something like, “I can see why you might want to use Product A, but I want you see why Product B is a much better choice.”
It can be challenging to work with clients who keep changing their minds, can’t make any decisions or simply don’t know what they want. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, refer back to the points above to get to the bottom of the issue.
Source: Tom Ewer is the founder of WordCandy, a full-service content provider.
Published With Permission from PPAI Media
Meet Steve Parker, an industry veteran & the Western Regional Sales Manager for The Magnet Group. I had the pleasure of speaking with Steve about his time in the industry, why he volunteers, and some compelling reasons why he plans on exhibiting at the SAAC Expo 2023 in August.
What is your favorite thing about this industry? First and foremost, it's the people. The supplier and distributor relationships I have built over the years have been an important part of my success. Unlike other industries, I have found people in the promo industry to be kind and generous with what they have. They will not only go out of their way to help you; but they ultimately want you to succeed. In this day and age, I have found this to be unique to our industry.
Why did you join SAAC? And why do you continue to support SAAC? I have a unique connection with SAAC. I am proud to say, I am a 2nd generation promotional products enthusiast. My dad started in the early 60's. Between the two of us we have 60 years of experience together.
My first experience with SAAC was going to the show in college. I really got to see SAAC bringing the community and people together by educating them formerly and informally on the promotional products industry.
What are you looking forward to at the SAAC Expo 2023? I really look forward to seeing my friends, sharing ideas with each other, and projects collectively. I am also representing a new supplier this year, The Magnet Group and look forward to presenting distributors with new products and services that will make them stand out.
Learn more about The Magnet Group and stop by their booth at the SAAC Expo 2023 in August.
Heidi Selleck ~ The Vernon Company
Well summer is officially here and it’s heating up. That means one thing . . . the SAAC Expo is right around the corner.
The SAAC Board has been working hard to create the “SAAC Experience” for 2023 in San Diego. Our featured event is “GAME ON” for Wednesday night. It will begin after the Networking Event at the close of the show on Wednesday, August 16th. We will again be enjoying the outdoor balcony setting overlooking the San Diego Bay. Your ticket comes with a buffet dinner, DJ, outdoor games, and a random draw cornhole tournament. This will be a fun event to network and develop deeper and more intimate connections with your business partners. The SAAC Foundation will also be having silent auctions and raffles for the specific purpose of granting scholarships for families of SAAC members. Purchase tickets during registration at: SAAC Expo 2023. Looking for additional information on the Expo, please go to www.saac.net/SAACEXPO
Speaking of Membership . . .
We had some great bowling events throughout Southern California in June. Between the three locations, we had over 65 members and guests participate. We have also added a new bi-weekly event called “SAAC Supplier Series”. This series gives member suppliers the opportunity to show new items, discuss selling tips and review tools to assist distributors to sell more efficiently. Information for this series as well as Factory Tours can also be found at www.saac.net. Any questions on becoming a member can be answered by our Executive Director, Christina Sanders (email@example.com), myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or any SAAC board member.
If you have not signed up for the SAAC Show, please do so asap. We will need to give final counts to the convention center for food, beverage and meeting rooms by July 30th!!!
Look forward to seeing you in San Diego, August 16-17.
p.s. I am not that competitive, but plan on winning the cornhole tournament!!!
We all have individual goals, but what about team goals? When teams share common goals, staffers can grow from individual workers into a cohesive and unified team. Setting team goals can give everyone a sense of purpose and foster a culture of hard work. These kinds of goals can also bring people together and encourage a spirit of communication and collaboration.
Not sure how to set team goals? We’ve got you covered. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we’re highlighting a post from the Range blog that explains some best practices and tips for establishing effective team goals.
1. Look at the big picture. Whether you work in sales, marketing, human resources or another area, you should always consider your company’s overall direction and objections. Sit down with leaders in other departments to ensure everyone is on the same page. The Range post says once you have a feel for how your team can work toward the company’s goals, you’ll know how to better move forward.
2. Make your goals SMART. Just like establishing individual goals, it’s important to set SMART goals for your team. Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely.
3. Let team members set their individual goals. Once you’ve set your team goals, the Range post advises letting individuals set their own goals. Most people appreciate working toward organizational goals while improving themselves in the process.
4. Build a realistic timeline and set deadlines. Find out from your team members what’s currently on their plate and any constraints they may be facing. According to the Range post, once you define a target deadline, you can create timelines with smaller, individual goals and milestones.
5. Keep your team accountable. One way to do this is by setting regular progress meetings. The Range post recommends sitting down with your team members and discussing everyone’s progress and where they may need help. This keeps the team updated and helps improve individual accountability.
6. Strive for improvement. Check in as your team progresses toward its goal. Reflect on what went well and where your team may need to improve. The Range post says this will empower employees to learn from mistakes and be more successful next time.
Setting team goals doesn’t mean employees won’t be working toward their individual goals – the two are interrelated. Individual and team goals both serve different purposes and provide direction, motivation and focus. If you want to set or revisit your team’s goals, follow the guide above.
Source: The Range blog. Range is a team communication tool for check-ins and meeting management.
Your clients just received their promo order from you. What do they do now? With some client education, you can show them the ins and outs of their new products and help them achieve the results they desired when they first bought from you.
Taking time to provide customer education is one of the most important actions you can take. Molly Hocutt, a content manager at Livestorm, says if you want your clients to stick around for any length of time, you need a solid customer education process in place.
What exactly is client education? According to Hocutt, it’s simply providing your clients with the knowledge to help them use and understand your products better. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we outline Hocutt’s thoughts on the many advantages of customer education.
Faster, more efficient onboarding. A strong customer education process creates a faster, more efficient customer onboarding process, Hocutt says. Teach your clients about the promos they’ve just received and the best ways to use them. Doing so helps provide value early in the onboarding process.
Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. Another reason to prioritize client education? You’ll be helping your clients have a better experience and get better results with their promo. Plus, Hocutt says clients who experience the value of your product are also more likely to keep using it and exploring additional ways that it can help them. A repeat, satisfied customer is much harder to lose than a new one who is frustrated.
Increased engagement. Whether they’re using logoed writing instruments, branded apparel or custom tech gifts, when buyers know how best to use promo, they’re more likely to explore all the way to use the items. And the more they engage with the product, Hocutt says, the likelier they are to use it for the long haul.
Reduced churn rate. Customer education is important for reducing churn rates, according to Hocutt. This is because churn is almost always the result of a customer not getting sufficient value from a product compared to what it costs. She says a well-developed customer education strategy helps clients overcome challenges they encounter and allows them to experience the value of your product.
Positions you as an industry leader. Investing in client education helps show your promo industry expertise. As you provide trainings and information for your customers, you’ll be building a loyal fanbase who will tell others about it. As your loyal user base grows, Hocutt says so will the word-of-mouth marketing done by them.
There are several ways to educate your clients, from creating short education videos to sharing e-books or documents. When you prioritize customer education, you set yourself up to enjoy the benefits above.
Source: Molly Hocutt is a content manager at Livestorm. She oversees written content production and focuses on lead generation and organic website traffic.
Published with Permission for PPAI Media
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