What Do End-Users Really Want?

Wednesday November 9, 2011 | Filed under: Industry Initiatives, News About ASI, Research, Using Ad Specialties

This week, ASI released its latest study, which addresses the key question, “Are you delivering what end-users really want?” The answer may surprise you.

In the first industry study to tell suppliers and distributors if they’re delivering the right products, ASI documents the discrepancies in attitudes and opinions between buyers, sellers and end-users of the products fueling our $17 billion industry.

Defining the Disconnect: An Analysis of Channel Beliefs vs. Customer Needs in the Advertising Specialty Industry” lays out a plain case for paying attention to customers’ wants and needs. At the same time, it points the way to new selling opportunities.

Significant findings of the study show:

  • Three-quarters of distributors and suppliers feel consumer-branded items are important for promo products, but just 32.3% of end-users and 41.3% of end-buyers agree, suggesting a major disconnect between their beliefs and those of industry members.
  • Contrary to what many suppliers and distributors think, end-users would take a survey (82.5%), go to a trade show booth (70.6%), take action on a social networking site (41.8%) or buy a gift with purchase (33.2%) to get freebies.
  • Newer forms of decoration, such as appliqué and garment printing, are much more popular among end-users than distributors think, presenting potential new sales opportunities for distributors and suppliers.
For a downloadable PDF of the study, click here. I suggest reading it in its entirety – and letting its findings help you improve the way you think about your products. It may help you boost your bottom line. To read our press release, click here. I encourage you to share the results any way you can: tweet about it, post the link on Facebook, email it to everyone in your company.

The study -- authored by our executive director of research, Larry Basinait --  compares opinions about ad specialty preferences and usage patterns from suppliers through to end-users. The study also examines overall opinions about ad specialties as well as specific product types: shirts, caps/headwear, bags/totes, writing instruments, mugs/glasses, desk/office/business accessories and calendars.

Some key study takeaways include:

  • Suppliers with consumer brands should emphasize product quality over brand name. For suppliers without consumer brands, messaging to distributors can be more about product parity and lack of end-user and end-buyer interest in many branded items.
  • Distributors should showcase themselves as consultants, leading end-buyers to products preferred by end-users, such as students in the lucrative education market who prefer brighter colors.
  • Mugs and glassware items are used by end-buyers almost as much at home as at work. This means the design needs to withstand long-term use in an environment where decoration and style are key.
Please let me know what you think by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.