Promotional products technology helps make promotional products work.
You remember the old BASF commercials.
"We don’t make the products you buy. We make the products you buy better.”
While the promotional products industry celebrates Promotional Products Work Week and the value the promotional products creates, it can also be a time to acknowledge the technology that powers the industry to keep promotional products among the top advertising mediums with some of the best ROI.
The old BASF slogan isn’t a perfect fit. While some technology like the latest in manufacturing and decoration machinery is in fact literally making the products we buy better, we’re talking about the technology that makes the industry run efficiently.
CRM software, Order Management software, trading partner integration, ecommerce websites – the types of technology that make it possible to communicate automatically and with minimal manual effort. It makes it possible to compete when it seems like every buyer expects an "Amazon-like” experience.
It’s the technology that helps logistics and operations meet ever increasing buyer expectations. While it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it:
"We don’t make the promotional products experience. We make the promotional products buying experience better.”
It’s worth repeating: Promotional products work.
The data that illustrate the effectiveness of promotional products work is overwhelming:
Today, promotional products and the way they go to market are more sophisticated. And it takes sophisticated technology to go to market.
Promotional products have worked for a long time.
The industry, however, works in a different way than it used to. Manually processing and managing orders used to be not just what was available at the time, but also effective considering the relative simplicity of the majority of products and the lead times.
For example, one supplier can provide a single writing instrument that’s available in 1,000 different possible configurations, even aside from its other products that can be customized in a similar number of ways. It’s not an uncommon scenario in today’s industry.
Meanwhile, the lead times are shorter than ever before. The online marketplace, specifically Amazon, has created the expectation that anything can arrive the next day, if not sooner.
We’re in an environment where the products are increasingly complex, which makes the order management and logistics increasingly labor intensive. And yet the industry at the same time is expected to process all that complexity and make the products arrive faster than ever before.
Promotional products work, yes. But in order to put them in position to work – to get them into the marketplace and into end users’ hands – it takes an increasing level of technological sophistication that makes the industry work.
Consumers want promotional products because they work. And they also want a marketplace infused with the technology to work at the level of their expectations.
People constantly refer to the Amazon-like experience and how it has changed the experience for everyone else. But what does it mean?
For one thing, it means expectations. All of the potential buying options are expected to be available online with their prices, descriptions, availability and more. And the products are expected to arrive immediately.
But the Amazon-like experience also ultimately means technology that that enables a market place that meets expectations. Integration between CRM, Order Management, and Fulfillment. Integration between the back office and the ecommerce storefront. Integration between suppliers, distributors, and end buyers.
Operations would slow to a painful manual crawl without the technology in place to automatically communicate the data for order placement and processing. It’s hard to deliver a product in a matter of hours or days, after all, when it takes hours or days just to get the order straight.
Technology doesn’t make promotional products work. It makes the marketplace that allows promotional products to work.
Promotional products work. They’re making positive impressions on the people who receive them and generating strong ROI for the companies who deploy them in their promotional arsenal.
When a person receives a promotional product, the person almost always receives it positively. And it’s generating positive outcomes for the company, as well.
But a whole lot happens before the person receives that imprinted shirt at the fundraising event or that high-end plaque at the awards ceremony.
There’s an entire industry that works to move promotional products into the right hands as efficiently as possible. And technology works to drive that efficiency in a world of ever increasing expectations.
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Essent is the leading provider of fully-integrated business management software solutions and services for process-intensive industries and the largest trading network for the promotional products industry. The Essent family of fully-integrated products and services combines best practices, business processes, software automation, and network communications to deliver unparalleled, unified business management solutions. Since 1980, Essent has offered the systems, service, software, and support critical to success in today's highly-competitive marketplace.