An Open Letter to Promotional Product Buyers

Why you should work with a consultant.

8/29/2019 | Joel Schaffer, MAS, The Take Away – Originally published on Promocorner.comhttps://www.promocorner.com/promojournal?i=3695

Dear Promotional Products buyer:

I am sorry for calling you a buyer. After 52 years in promotional marketing, I recognize that you are not a buyer but you may be tasked with building your business image or branding, or employee performance, motivation, safety, fundraising, membership development, etc. You may be a parent working to build pride or raise funds for a school. Perhaps 99% of the “buyers” I meet with your responsibilities did this as a small part of their job, not full time. I have learned they didn’t study creative and strategic brand marketing, etc. but were given the job. Even when it comes to motivating or recognizing employee or sales performance, most had little education because they just don’t teach it in college. 

I am called a 5 Star Certified Supplier. That means I manufacture quality promotional products backed with award-winning service and, most importantly, my company, people and products are certified to be compliant with product safety laws, product liability, environmental regulations, state regulations and more. To purchase my products, you will need to work with one of my exclusive agencies nationwide and you won’t find me on Amazon or through big E-marketers offering little more than price. 

I sell that way because, through my marketers, you not only get products at a competitive price, but you can also get peace of mind that you won’t risk your company being sued for purchasing inferior products, or for violating a law. If a child dies because the cheaper internet source didn’t know about child safety, it is you, personally, and your company who may be liable. How many times have you seen a kid sucking on the collar of their tee-shirts? Is that a risk to you? Yes, there are things you need to know and my people, my promotional agencies, and consultants bring that knowledge to you and more. 

I have to say, my people are some of the most creative marketers, branders, and sourcing experts on Earth and, incredibly enough, they give all this expertise to you free. There is always a cheaper price. So, the next time you want to make a decision based upon saving a few percentage points, think twice or even more than twice. However, if price is your sole criteria for purchasing, don’t call my people. They are way more than vendors, they are partners in every way. They are no doubt busy creatively serving clients who understand and respect their value add. 

Consider the future of you and your company. You don’t need the risk and exposure when you can get so much value-added for even the simplest of products or programs from the promotional marketing agency that forwarded you this.

I appreciate your reading this. My name and company really don’t matter. Your promo partner knows me and my company should you ever need us in a campaign or want to disagree with me that price is “everything”…

Joel D. Schaffer, MAS is CEO and Founder of Soundline, LLC, the pioneering supplier to the promotional products industry of audio products. Joel has 48 years of promotional product industry experience and proudly heralds “I was a distributor.” He has been on the advisory panel of the business and marketing department of St. John’s University in New York and is a frequent speaker at Rutgers Graduate School of Business. He is an industry Advocate and has appeared before the American Bankers Association, American Marketing Association, National Premium Sales Executives, American Booksellers Association and several other major groups. He has been a management consultant to organizations such as The College Board and helped many suppliers enter this industry. He is a frequent contributor to PPB and Counselor magazines. He has facilitated over 200 classes sharing his industry knowledge nationwide. He is known for his cutting humor and enthusiasm in presenting provocative and motivating programs. He is the only person to have received both the Marvin Spike Industry Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) and PPAI’s Distinguished Service Award (2011). He is a past director of PPAI and has chaired several PPAI committees and task forces. He is a past Chair of the SAAGNY Foundation, Past President of SAAGNY and a SAAGNY Hall of Fame member. He was cited by ASI as one of the 50 most influential people in the industry.