Friday, July 17, 2009

Top 10 Reasons To Work With A Promotional Consultant

As I was looking for some information for a class I'm teaching in a few weeks, I came across this list of reasons to work with a professional promotional products consultant. There is a difference in working with a consultant, rather than just ordering from some cyber-store. Here are some of those reasons.

REASON #1: Consultants are the experts in their field. When you’re sick, you want a doctor who has the specialization and training to help you. PPAI consultants meet the highest qualification standards in the industry and display “The Mark of a Professional.” The MAS (Master Advertising Specialist) or CAS (Certified Advertising Specialist) designation after a consultant’s name means he or she has earned one of the industry’s only official certifications. There’s no need to spend all your time on the Internet or searching through catalogs. Your promotional products consultant will come to you—like a doctor who makes house calls!

Good consultants go beyond just selling products. Successful promotional campaigns don’t happen by chance. To realize goals, promotional products programs must be carefully planned, taking into consideration the audience, budget and, of course, the ultimate result to be gained. While it’s true that you can buy a product anywhere, an experienced consultant can help you solve problems, plan a program and get results.

REASON #3: Professional consultants have access to vast product research resources, including an extensive database which contains more than 500,000 products. Yes, you can find a mug online, but a consultant can find hundreds of mugs, in a multitude of colors, sizes, shapes, materials, designs, etc. Have you saved money if you get the mugs and they are not the right color? Is it worth the extra savings if you get the mugs and they are so breakable due to inferior materials that they are virtually unusable?

REASON #4: Consultants are in tune with the trends, including hot items and the newest products and processes. A qualified consultant can add creativity, innovation and imagination to your overall program to achieve your goals. Many online services show you the products they want to sell; a qualified consultant will listen to what you want and help you find the right product for your needs. And a consultant can provide tangible samples that appeal to your senses: taste, touch and feel!

REASON #5: Your consultant is more than just a salesperson. Chances are you will buy promotional products more than once in your life. Once a company uses a consultant, that relationship often continues for years—and even decades. Your promotional products consultant is someone with whom you have worked, someone you know and someone you trust. In many cases, companies use the consultant as part of the creative team, even including him or her in marketing meetings.

REASON #6: Personalized service is the role of a consultant. When going online, your selection is what the internet company determines to make available. When you work with a consultant, your selection is determined by your needs and goals, enhanced by the experience, creativity and recommendations of that consultant who has your best interests at heart. Online, you’re a faceless, nameless buyer. With a consultant, you’re a client with your own personal shopper, receiving service along with ideas and prices. When you order online, who monitors your order and your deadline? Your consultant has your interests in mind. Seldom do you receive that kind of personalized, “hand-holding” customer service from an unknown online company.

REASON #7: Industry consultants can offer experienced advice on how (and IF) to imprint items. You may have found the perfect key chain, but will your logo imprint on it? Will it be recognizable? Some things don’t work, or there might be something else that will work better. A qualified promotional products consultant can explain to you the best printing process for your program, your imprint and the product you’ve chosen.

REASON #8: Trained consultants can save you money in the long run. Many times, a price you see in a generic catalog or on the internet does not cover many “hidden” costs involved—set up, imprint duplication, shipping, etc. A consultant can help you avoid unexpected and unbudgeted costs by quoting the total price up-front.

REASON #9: Consultants will work with you to get your artwork imprinted properly. Say you want your company’s logo embroidered on a golf shirt. How do you ensure it will be done properly, and with the correct colors? A trained consultant can work with you to insure accurate transfer of your artwork, including correct fonts, size, spacing and many other important factors. And your consultant’s commitment to quality customer service will guarantee your satisfaction with the finished product.

REASON #10: Professional promotional products consultants can assist you in developing a workable distribution plan for your products. Distribution of a promotional product is as important as the item itself. Research shows that a carefully executed distribution plan significantly increases the effectiveness of promotional products. But what if the cost of distributing your product is more than the product and more than your expected ROI (return on investment)? A consultant can help you avoid unexpected problems like this.