Just like in personal relationships, it’s important to keep your business relationships fresh. Customers want to know what’s new – what emerging merchandise and branding concepts will help them stand out and resonate with their audiences in meaningful ways. Pitching the same old things puts you in a precarious position, opening the door for a competitor to approach with novel ideas that unseat you. To stay in pole position with your clients, it’s essential to consistently present new solutions. Here are four tips that will help you generate next-gen ideas.
1. Attend at Least One Industry Trade Show Annually:
A good promotional products trade show is a forum like no other for gathering new ideas. Why? Because it provides the opportunity to meet with an array of suppliers in one space, most of whom will be eager to show you their latest offerings. Go to the shows with the mindset that you’re “shopping” for your top clients, looking to identify items that’ll fuel their upcoming initiatives. Besides collecting promos and arranging to have samples sent to you, use your smartphone, tablet or a good old-fashioned notepad to record promotion ideas that come to you during your show visit.
2. Get Advice From Trusted Suppliers & Decorators:
Establish good working relationships with a number of preferred suppliers whose offerings, collectively, cover a wide range of categories, from apparel to bags to technology items and more. Then, periodically reach out to these suppliers to learn what’s new and trending in their areas of expertise. Similarly, forge firm connections with trusted apparel decorators. These partners can offer advice about trends in embellishment methods, imprinting styles and on-garment logo/graphic placements. Use the insights to consult clients.
3. Look to Retail:
Take time to uncover what’s popular in the retail world. Retail often foreshadows trends that will pop up in the promotional products sector. So, for instance, stay ahead of the curve on apparel by perusing the stores – online or brick-and-mortar – of retailers like Old Navy, Gap, Foot Locker, Under Armour, JCPenney, Cabela’s, Macy’s and more. Also, keep abreast of new tech gadgets and related accessories that are coming out. Clients could soon be asking for similar products and you’ll want to identify suppliers who can deliver them. In particular, follow media coverage of this January’s Consumer Electronics Show, where a bevy of new technology offerings will be displayed.
4. Ask a Friend:
Hopefully, you have a couple trusted sales colleagues. Perhaps you even have a professional mentor. Talk to these dependable sources about cutting-edge solutions they’ve recently come up with for their own clients. In the exchange, you’ll likely discover ideas you can use to build outside-the-box promotional campaigns for your customers.
Check out The Joe Show for tips on cool new products and how to use them in promotions.