Convergence Corner: The Other Half
When Scott Thurman, CEO of International Printing Solutions, San Diego, CA, realized that his print customers were also getting promo, he realized he was leaving money on the table. It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the same thing for years on end, especially if it’s working! If it ain’t broke, and all of that. But, removing the blinders, and stepping out of one’s comfort zone can create new opportunities for a whole new area of business, as Thurman saw from venturing into promo.
Print & Promo Marketing: When and how did you first start selling print and promotional products together, and why was this the right move for your business?
Scott Thurman: Back in the 1980s we became aware that the same person that was buying the forms and printing was also buying branded and promotional products. It dovetailed with our mantra of being a single-source supplier. The problem was we knew very little about the industry, and back then, you had to go through the ASI indexes to find suppliers. It was like the Encyclopedia Britannica — volume after volume of suppliers. It was overwhelming. I did not dive right in. More like kicking and scratching. But since the start of this decade, we really have made a concerted effort to put forth storefront and programs that were print and promo, and even promo on its own.
PPM: Can you tell me about a promotional campaign you’ve worked on that blended both print and promotional products?
ST: For a cosmetic company we work with, we created a Lead Generation Box that salespeople would leave with their potential clients or after an initial order. It is a custom-printed corrugated box, a personalized card, a custom tote, and some of the company’s cosmetics.
PPM: How did you choose the particular collection of products for this application?
ST: The box was our design that would be cost effective, have a nice “reveal,” and comfortably hold all the product. The tote was inspired by the type of product our customer sells.
PPM: How did the combination of print and promotional products specifically solve the customer’s needs?
ST: It was a personalized message after an initial call or sale that also included a selection of our customer’s products and a great looking tote to carry them. It was a small investment for our customer, who hopes to sell tens of thousands of dollars of product through each of their clients.
PPM: Did you run into any roadblocks working on this campaign? If so, how did you overcome them?
ST: No roadblocks, just evolutions. It has gone from being an Excel spreadsheet of names and address to an online portal specifically for the salespeople. This is now evolving into marketing materials and other collateral.
PPM: What advice would you give distributors looking to work on a similar project?
ST: Take as much of the work off of your client’s hands as you can afford to. What makes it easier for them helps get them closer to “yes!”
Are you a distributor that blends print and promotional products, and want to be included in an edition of Print & Promo Marketing's "Convergence Corner" series? Email content director Brendan Menapace at firstname.lastname@example.org.