Business students at The College of New Jersey got a lesson in the power of promotional products recently when two representatives from the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) addressed a seminar to discuss the $20.5 billion ad specialty industry.
Nicole Rollender, ASI’s executive director of professional development, and Dave Vagnoni, senior editor of Counselor® magazine, spoke to 50 students as part of the School of Business’s Sophomore Colloquium spring seminars, which teach students about different industries to broaden their knowledge about potential internships, future careers and smart business ideas.
“There’s no substitute for students hearing directly from industry experts and realizing the many facets of a business they only knew a fraction about,” said Tammy Dietrich, assistant dean of The College of New Jersey’s School of Business. “The school is so grateful to ASI for participating in our spring 2014 series and providing students with global insight into the ad specialties world. Students love getting freebies as well as creating them for their clubs and organizations, but had no idea of the magnitude of this business.”
Rollender and Vagnoni presented key findings from ASI’s Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, surprising students who were unaware how much bang for the buck businesses can get from promo products like imprinted T-shirts, caps and pens, which businesses and organizations often give away to advertise their company, brand or event. The students learned that 86% of recipients of promo products remember the advertiser on the item and that the cost-per-impression is only about half a cent per item, cheaper and more effective that primetime TV ads, print ads and billboards.
Anthony Paun, a finance major who attended the session, said, “Today I learned that people keep a large quantity of the promotional products that they get, and the return on investment is way better in comparison to TV advertising.” Tom Athan, a student who produces and sells a clothing line called Dudz from his dorm room, said after the session he plans to invest in a small run of screen-printed T-shirts, bumper stickers and magnets to spread the word about his quirky brand.
“ASI would love for future business leaders to consider joining our industry when embarking on their careers,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Outreach like the presentation at TCNJ is a great way to connect with business, marketing, advertising and new media students and to share what those of us in this industry already know – that there’s no better way to be creative and make money than through ad specialties.”
During the interactive presentation, Rollender and Vagnoni also gave away candy and logoed products to students who shouted out correct answers to pop quiz questions.
As part of its ongoing outreach program, ASI also launched an education initiative with the Boston-area Babson College to help budding businesspeople learn how to run a successful promotional products distributorship. Under Babson’s Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship course (FME), a seven-credit immersion into the world of business, instructor-led groups of students each received approximately $3,000 in seed money, which some groups used to buy, imprint and sell promotional products.
ASI, the largest media, marketing and education organization in the promotional products industry, complemented Babson’s top-flight business education coursework with real-world applications by granting participating students access to ASI’s ESP®, an online shopping mall where they could source and order every product in the industry from 3,200 suppliers. This year, ASI and Babson expanded the program to allow nearly 40 student businesses to show and sell their products through an ESP Websites™ e-commerce company store.
Published in Advantage Magazine April 2015