Blast from the Past

A lighthearted look at our industry’s storied history

Hatred of Premiums

For years, for its September issue, Counselor magazine ran a Premium Show directory. It included exhibitor information for the annual show held in Chicago. And a lot of distributors in the industry hated it.

You see, evil premium reps wanted to partner with distributors, but because they were evil, they worked at smaller margins. And because of that evilness, they were considered a scourge, a nuisance and a potential client pilferer. If they were willing to sell at such a low end, surely they’d steal your best clients. So for many, it was not business worth getting into.

The problem, though, was it didn’t make sense. Consider that the traditional premium order was for hundreds of thousands of pieces, often at a higher cost than ad specialty items. And consider that the distributor had to do little more than provide the contacts and act as a partner with the premium rep. And granted the margin wasn’t the 35%-45% distributors wanted, but a 5% take of a $250,000 order for little work was nothing to sniff at. But for some it was.

The smart ones, though, accepted the idea of working together and made out handsomely while the naysayers stuck to their guns and continued to say no to a nice payday. If the premium rep comes knocking today, where will you stand? As you ponder that, enjoy this offering from September Counselors.