Image credit:

We’ve been hearing about how the promotional products industry has been changing for quite some time now, but these two articles, published in the past week,  caught my attention because they present different perspectives on the subject. One is about a highly successful distributor who has become well known as a branding creative agency; the other, about the challenges suppliers are facing in the new marketplace, something distributors are not that familiar with.

Distributor Inspiration

Many distributors are having a very hard time changing the way they go to market (let’s face it, it can be confusing), and are coming against online competitors more and more often, getting discouraged about their future in the industry.  And that’s what the first article addresses. Published by the American Marketing Association, it’s about a presentation on “How to Compete in an Amazon World” at the association’s High Five Conference, delivered by none other than Danny Rosin from Brand Fuel.

This is especially inspiring to me, because as a small distributor business owner, there is no reason why you can’t also have a highly successful business outside the e-commerce commodity-based model, and also become an authority in the market. Rosen is living proof that it can be done in a big way. You can read the article here. His presentation addressed the importance of branding and differentiation. Nothing new, I know, but if you are not differentiating your business, you need a reminder.

Suppliers New Challenges

The other was about how suppliers are affected and what their challenges are in the new marketplace.  Published by ASI, it generated quite the stir on social media, with interesting comments from both suppliers and distributors. Here it is in case you missed it. It’s good for us distributors to be aware of what suppliers are having to contend with as a result of the changes in the marketplace, so we adjust accordingly. After all, we are in this together…

The Point

The fact is that the industry remains as strong as ever. There are plenty of buyers looking for the personalized services small distributors can offer, but business is not done in the same way as it was 5 years ago. It all boils down to understanding the new client’s demands, selecting your suppliers carefully, and taking your marketing very seriously.