Promotional Products — Broadening Portfolios
It’s not just the large graphic arts companies that are reaping the rewards of jumping into this arena. Many small- and mid-sized commercial printers are looking at advertising specialties as a new opportunity to increase revenues.
“We’ve been selling promotional products for 10 years,” says Greg Meeker of Jefferson City, MO-based Brown Printing. “Until recently we had two people dedicated to sales with annual (promotional product) sales of $440,000.”
Meeker explains he looked at this business segment as a natural extension of Brown’s ink-on-paper sales efforts, as well as a way to provide additional services that would strengthen relationships.
“Many times, the buyer for both was the same individual,” he adds. “Since we already had their electronic artwork, it seemed to be a pretty easy sale.”
Brown Printing offers wearables, premium products and employee reward items, but Meeker says that if his clients want a particular item, he can find it.
In recent months the company has begun to pare down the department. According to Meeker, Brown encouraged one of its salespersons to start her own promotional business, from which she will be servicing Brown Printing’s existing promotional products accounts. The other salesperson is transitioning into print sales, but will handle promotional products sales to about 15 existing accounts.
“Under this structure, I anticipate our net income from ad specialty sales to actually increase,” he reveals.
Meeker admits it can be difficult to balance pricing and quality. Yet it makes sense when his company prints a job for a marketing campaign or trade show, that it handle the promotional products, as well.
Brown Printing mostly targets its existing client base, with its sales staff working together to refer business back and forth from the print side to the promotional products side.
“We have current print customers that started out as promotional products customers,” Meeker points out.