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What Did You Miss in January?

It’s was a crazy January for me, starting off with a red-eye trip from LA to Orlando January 1st, for The ASI Show Education Day on the 2nd. The LAX terminal was packed with Georgia Bulldog fans super excited about their amazing Rose Bowl win. It was nice to see the impact of promotional apparel as many were wearing all things Bulldog. Licensed apparel is BIG business!

The ASI Show Orlando was great. I was able to meet with many of my distributor colleagues and supplier partners. Being a fan of Shark Tank, attending the Kevin O’Leary keynote was treat. The show is easy to manage, and those I spoke to loved it. My time there was very productive.

The PPAI Expo is, well, the PPAI Expo. There is nothing like it. My Expo Week started with attending skucon hosted by commonsku. This year’s theme was Innovators, Explorers and Dreamers. Mark and Catherine Graham along with their team, produced another inspirational day of education while building community with forward thinking distributors and suppliers. Here’s the annual short wrap up interview I did with Mark Graham.

Monday morning started off with our 4th Annual SuccessFit4Life! FUN Run/Walk. We had a good turnout and the weather was awesome. The Starting Line Sponsor was Imagen Brands, led by Dana Zezzo. The Finish Line Sponsor was DistributorCentral, the technology partner for SuccessFit4Life! led by David Shultz. Here’s a video with me and these two passionate guys.

This is not a race, but runners, RUN it! Here’s a short video clip of the first people who came in. We also raised money for the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) You can still donate to this worthy cause here.

Education Day at the Expo as usual, was awesome. Here Santa and Elf talk a bit about why everyone should attend. Yeah…Santa and Elf. Yah, gotta watch this one.

Everyone is getting settled in to having the Expo on one floor. A single floor makes it much easier to work than the two levels we had before the convention center expansion. Nice new additions were water stations and quality Wi-Fi. Both were a huge blessing.

At the Expo, I did the traditional FreePromoTips State of the Industry with PPAI President and CEO, Paul Bellantone. Paul is great to interview. We cover things from the Expo, PPAI's Strategic Plan, Strong Leadership, SuccessFit4Life! and running goals. Here is a link to this informative video.

At both these shows I was able do some great videos with suppliers for our new “Character Counts” FreePromoTips feature. In an industry which can be driven by product and price, a company’s culture and values that leads to a positive buying experience is important in who you choose to do business with. This applies to Suppliers and Distributors.

We asked a group of Suppliers to share briefly about their company values, NOT their product. I was stunned at how good these were, and they are around a minute or less. You will learn something about companies you may not have heard of and things you didn’t know about suppliers you use. Most of the Character Counts videos are here. I encourage you to check them out.

I’m a lover of trade shows. There is no better way to make personal connections and build stronger business relationships. I’m looking forward to next January when the largest shows are live. In the meantime, check out what’s happening with your Regional Association, or traveling road shows. Those are beneficial as well.

© 2018 Jeff Solomon, MAS


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