Advertising Specialty Institute – or ASI – is the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry. But what, exactly, does ASI do?
To understand that, as well as ASI's mission, you should know a little bit about promotional products and the major participants involved in the industry.
Promotional products are practical, entertaining, or decorative products imprinted with an advertiser's name, logo, slogan, or message and given away. Think of all those freebies like mugs and T-shirts you get at trade shows. These products are kept by recipients, offering great exposure for the advertiser's message.
The two major players in the advertising specialty industry are suppliers (importers, manufacturers) and distributors (sellers). Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to distributor salespeople, while distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources to locate supplier firms and to market services to end-buyers (promotions and advertising buyers).
ASI's mission, then, is to bring together these participants by providing catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, Web sites and databases, and offering interactive e-commerce, marketing and selling tools.
- Advertising specialties are useful or interesting items or merchandise, usually carrying an imprinted advertising or promotional message, given with no obligation. Also known as giveaways or promotional products
- ASI membership includes over 25,000 distributor and supplier firms of advertising specialties
- Distributor firms use ASI resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry, to locate supplier firms and to market services to end-buyers
- In 2012, sales of advertising specialties were $19.4 billion, up 5.2% from 2011
What is an ASI number?
The ASI number has been the gold standard for both distributors and suppliers in the advertising specialty industry for over 50 years. It remains the only true, consistent industry identifier, recognized by all distributors and suppliers alike. The ASI number brings to the table exclusive benefits that other industry organizations do not provide.
Supplier numbers include five digits, displayed as (asi/12345), and distributor numbers include six digits, displayed as (asi/123456).
With your ASI number, in addition to your access to a wealth of products and services, you gain:
- Credibility – the ASI number is the most respected and reputable industry identifier. All members need to provide solid evidence of their participation in the industry, and that evidence also works as proof positive of their desire to maintain the supplier/distributor/end-buyer sales channel.
- Recognition – the ASI number provides instant recognition to suppliers that a distributor is not an end-buyer, and has a track record of legitimate business dealings. ASI suppliers are subject to regular ratings and reporting, so distributors always know who they are doing business with.
- Exclusivity – Not everyone that applies for an ASI number can have one – not even if they pay more. The criteria applied to ASI membership makes the ASI number something to aspire to and be proud of. It encourages members to conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism, providing excellent service to their customers and colleagues. The ASI number is the mark of pride for the true professional.
Many members use ASI numbers to manage their day-to-day business. Some common uses are:
- Vendor identification
- Customer numbers
- Catalog classification
- Credit references
- Supplier ratings
- Networking events invitation criteria
- Special pricing or discount status
- Preferred provider status
End-buyers who work closely with the industry often buy only from ASI distributors, as they know that generally those holding an ASI number are reputable in their dealings and have access to the most products and suppliers.