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The industry's best case studies and professional development opportunities June 2012
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Table of Contents
CASE STUDIES: More than a Note Holder
Get Students' Attention | Striving for Sustainability
1-Minute Case Study | SOCIAL NETWORKING

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Would you like to know how you can reach your peak both personally and professionally? Do you wonder what it takes to lead effectively? You’ll learn all this and more when you attend ASI’s first-ever full-day sales session lead by Tony Robbins, at the ASI Show Chicago. On Tuesday, July 17, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Robbins – the world-renowned authority on the psychology of leadership, negotiation, organizational turnaround and peak performance – will deliver a program that’s sure to improve your success in the ad specialty industry, and in the rest of your life. To attend this exclusive training event, register for the ASI Show Chicago now.
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Open up a new revenue stream for your business by targeting a niche market: high-tech. In our interactive, self-paced course, "Sell to High-Tech Buyers," you’ll learn eight proven ways to connect with and sell to these profitable clients. Click here to take the course.

Advantages Editor Kathy Huston and Promo Biz Coach Rosalie Marcus discuss some great tips on upselling.
Case Study:
More than a Note Holder
When leaders of Cambria Suites were looking for a note holder to distribute during their sales blitz, they turned to their distributor, Red Ball Promotions (asi/346567). "They wanted something that would ‘rent’ desk space for a while, coupled with being creative and fun," says Nina Shatz, Red Ball’s director of sales.

Shatz found an ASI vendor that was able to custom-design the top of a note holder. She chose the "swirl" design within the client’s logo. The vendor turned around a virtual sample within 24 hours. It was also able to include a one-color imprint on the logo on the base of the holder. The supplier’s factory overseas PMS matched the color of the wire, and its employees hand-shaped each piece.

"They came out so well that people are still talking about them," says Shatz. Red Ball produced 1,500 note holders and had them shipped all over the United States. The order generated about $7,000. And while it wasn’t a huge order, the client response was the best part. "They saw that we always look outside of the box and work as a team for success," she says.

Since then, Cambria Suites has continued to book business with Red Ball Promotions. "We recently did menus for the company’s new in-house restaurants," says Shatz. "Also, for the Annual Owners Meeting, we used the Maui Jim consignment program, and everyone got a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses, encased in a custom Cambria Suites sunglass case."

Biz tip: Surprise your clients
Shatz knew that her buyers were just looking for a desk item. When they asked for a note holder, they were expecting the typical clip top. "They went wild when we showed them this idea. It goes to show, if you look long and hard enough, you can be a hero every day," she says.

All About ESP Websites

We’ve added five technical training courses for ESP Websites users to our Online Learning Center. Earn points toward your BASI or MASI, and learn how to use ESP Websites to build your business and grow your sales. At ASI, we’re committed to promoting your success! Visit to take the classes.

Elective Hands-On Technology Training Courses
ESP Websites Training, Module 1: Getting Started

In this ESP Websites video package, you’ll get an overview of your ESP Website, learn about accessing your ESP Website and the Quick Launch, find out how to build your site in three steps, and learn about the administrative side of your ESP Website.

ESP Websites Training, Module 2: Site Settings
In this ESP Websites package, you’ll learn all the details about your ESP Website, from setting up domain names to using Google Analytics to implementing e-commerce, and a lot more.

ESP Websites Training, Module 3: My Dashboard
In this ESP Websites video package, you’ll learn how "My Dashboard" makes it easy for you and your customers to use and create orders on your ESP Website.

ESP Websites Training, Module 4: Design Studio
In this ESP Websites video package, you’ll learn all about the design of your ESP Website, from the logo and colors to featured products to news and videos, plus a lot more.

ESP Websites Training, Module 5: Features
In this ESP Websites video package, you’ll learn about creating Select-A-Searches, showcasing custom products, managing content and preferred suppliers, and other vital features of your ESP Website.

1-Minute Case Study
In a new video report, Advantages is presenting a 1-Minute Case Study each month that focuses on quick success stories that will boost your creative energy. In this month’s edition, we spotlight a campaign that used a creative snowman kit.
1-Minute Case Study
Advantages Staff Writer Jennifer Vishnevsky discusses a unique campaign that will grab clients’ attention any time of year.
Social Networking

Like Us on Facebook
When you become a member of our ASI Education Facebook fan page, you’ll connect with us and lots of other distributors, suppliers and decorators who are developing innovative approaches to sales and marketing. You’ll get the latest ASI Education news, view our latest webinars and educational videos, read case studies and pick other fans’ brains for their most effective strategies to increase your sales – and your bottom line. Click here to join us now.

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The foundation of a successful career in sales in the advertising specialty industry is a strong client base. Learn how to build and manage your client base to maximize your sales potential by attending "Relationship Strength Training: Manage and Grow Your Client Base" at the ASI Show Chicago, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 19. In this interactive session, Danny Friedman of Added Incentives will teach you the skills and techniques required to gain profitable new clients and keep them for the long term. Click here to register for the ASI Show Chicago now.
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Direct-to-garment printing is one of the most economical imprinting methods available for decorators and distributors. In our new webinar, "Add Direct-to-Garment Printing to Your Business Today," Stitches and Wearables Writer Chris Ruvo leads a panel of experts in a discussion about everything you need to know about direct-to-garment printing, from how to shop for a machine to how to keep it running smoothly to how to profit from day one with your printer.  Click here to take the webinar now.
Case sTudy:
Get Students' Attention
Each year, SandRidge Energy visits college campuses across Oklahoma and neighboring states in search of talent to keep the company competitive. ROBYN Promotions (asi/309656)has been doing business with SandRidge Energy for several years. "They were actually referred to us by one of our local vendors," says Brian Blake, director of marketing for ROBYN.

Each spring and fall, SandRidge recruiters attend career fairs to talk with students majoring in engineering, IT, accounting and other business specialties about internships at SandRidge. In order to stand out amidst a crowded auditorium, SandRidge reps knew that they needed to give something away. "The students swarm to the cool items," says Ashley McDaniel, a recruiter for SandRidge. "We’ve used water bottles the last couple of years, so I wanted to do something different this year ... something we haven’t seen before."

The SandRidge communications department worked with ROBYN Promotions to design a Tervis-inspired, double-walled tumbler that works for either hot or cold beverages. They selected a Triton 16-oz. tumbler. What really sets it apart is the custom woven patch with the SandRidge logo encapsulated inside the tumbler. "We used a woven patch to make a really sharp logo," says Blake. This was the company’s first order of this particular product (over 1,000 units). "They love it though and we expect them to order more in the fall when they start attending career fairs again," says Blake.

Biz tip: Give them what they want
If you're working with a client in the education market, make sure you are pitching useful items to the target demographic. For instance, flash drives and organizers are great items for college students. Trendy apparel and technology accessories are must-haves in the high school market. Make sure you're staying on top of what's hot for this trend-oriented demographic.
ASI Education Is Looking for Dynamic Speakers

Do you have what it takes to be a top-notch industry educator? Do you have a passion for sales, marketing or business management? Are you an industry consultant or skilled ASI distributor? If so, the ASI Education team is looking for you!

We're looking for candidates who can deliver compelling webinars on the most effective tools and techniques used in business today. We want you if you're a thought-provoking sales, marketing or business-building guru who can showcase your talents in ASI's Online Learning Center. This is a priceless opportunity to help brand you as an expert in your field – and also provide amazing networking opportunities to grow your bottom line and your career.

Click here to connect with us.

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What do people who generate a million dollars or more in annual sales of promotional products do better and differently than those who sell less? Find out in our brand-new session that covers the time-tested habits of million-dollar-plus producers. Attend "7 Habits of Million-Dollar Salespeople" at The ASI Show Chicago on Wednesday, July 18, from 2:45-3:45 p.m. to learn the secrets from David Blaise, a popular industry speaker, author and business consultant. To register for the ASI Show Chicago, click here.
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When you’re in the promotional products industry, promoting yourself the right way is of the utmost importance. Take our advanced webinar "Savvy Self-Promotion" to learn proven tips and strategies from industry expert Rosalie Marcus to increase prospects’ and clients’ awareness of your business. Click here to watch the webinar.
Case Study:
Striving for Sustainability
In an industry that often values cost-efficiency over sustainability, Ad Spice Promotional Marketing (asi/105286) stands out as a distributor that’s doing things a little differently.

In January of 2011, co-founders Suzanne Robinson and Lee Coggins began gathering supplies and laying the foundation for their "Seed to Shirt Organic Cotton Project." The project, dedicated to raising awareness about organic, sustainable business practices, involved months of preparation and manual labor. On any given day, Robinson could be found on hands and knees, priming soil and digging in the yard outside the office building, which is located on a busy street in Durham, NC. In April of the same year, they planted the first of the organic cotton seeds they’d acquired from a seed bank in Virginia, effectively turning their lawn into a miniature but fully functional cotton farm.

Using a combination of social media, press releases, highlights in the local paper, and the buzz generated from passersby, company leaders hoped to attract attention to their often-overlooked cause. "It’s easy for people to understand why you’d choose an organic apple over a genetically-modified apple," Coggins says, "but it’s hard for people to see the need for something like organic cotton."

Once the display farm was up and running, Coggins says that interest exceeded their expectations, and all of Ad Spice’s hard work was rewarded with an explosion of curiosity in the company and its commitment to the environment. "People got excited about stopping by and seeing how the crop was coming along," she recalls. "They started to see everything that goes into an organic farm, how hard it can be."

Coggins says the effects of the project spread beyond the company and into their neighborhood. "It was a real community-builder," she says. "We were able to show people around the farm and even send them home with vegetables that we’d planted as trap crops (plants meant to lure harmful insects away from the cotton)."

And while the campaign may have improved the community, it certainly improved business. Year over year, Ad Spice saw its sale of organic cotton products jump 495%. It’s also continued to pick up clients who have heard about the project through word-of-mouth and are curious about the company’s organic products and its commitment to sustainability. The successful run has also prompted Ad Spice to announce the return of the farm, planned for 2013.

Biz tip: Dare to be different
The "Seed to Shirt Organic Cotton Project" was a stretch that paid off handsomely for Ad Spice. While your company might not be ready to start a farm on the side, brainstorm ideas that will get your business noticed by potential clients – the more unique the ideas, the better.


TIME Magazine reports that former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley "is widely viewed as the nation’s top urban executive." During his more than 20 years leading this major metropolis, he has governed proactively and implemented forward-looking policies. His innovative efforts have been emulated globally by government officials and business owners to generate substantial growth in job creation and business development. Don’t miss Daley’s inspiring Keynote at the ASI Show Chicago on Thursday, July 19, from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m, where you’ll receive a hands-on lesson in leadership, crisis management and in preparing for future business challenges. To register for the ASI Show Chicago, click here.

If you earn your BASI or MASI certification before the ASI Show Chicago, you’ll be invited to attend an exclusive BASI/MASI reception at the Show, hosted by ASI President and CEO, Tim Andrews. Join your fellow BASI/MASI recipients on Wednesday, July 18 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for free drinks and snacks, and connect with some of the most dedicated people in the ad specialty industry. To take online classes toward your BASI or MASI right now, click here.

The ASI Power Summit is the premier event dedicated to bringing together the industry’s most knowledgeable, most influential and most thoughtful people to delve into many important topics, issues, and trends that are impacting the advertising specialty marketplace. Join us at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, FL from November 11-13, 2012 to make business and personal connections that will last a lifetime. Click here to register for the 2012 ASI Power Summit.

Look for these new, interactive classes in the ASI Education Online Learning Center:
Sales: Seven Techniques To Ensure Repeat Business
Advanced: New Rules Of Engagement: Negotiate Like The Pros To Close The Sale
Click here to get started.

Distributor Success System
ASI's educational Distributor Success System is the ultimate "crash course" for new distributors entering the industry.

Led by several ASI executives, and supplemented with interviews with successful distributors, top industry experts and end-users from the Fortune 500, the education content provides new distributors with a clear roadmap to jump-start their business.

This self-instruction series for new distributors is available online so it can be accessed 24/7. Each section contains valuable insight and content developed for new distributors.

Click here to try out the system.
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