Event planners spend a lot of money on promotional products and corporate gifts used at trade shows, seminars, conferences, product launches and other special events. However, many don't know if they are buying the best products at cost effective prices. Worse yet, many simply ask for their promotional products supplier to send a catalog or for 3-5 general suggestions.
Event planners can easily do a little research of their own to find out what options are available and at what prices. And good distributors will share the full range of pricing and options posted on an industry database known as Logo Mall.
What Are Logo Mall and Promo Place?
Both serve as online product search engine. Logo Mall lists more than 300,000 products that is offered to promotional distributors for a fee, and Promo Place offers more than 750,000 items. The Advertising Specialties Institute publishes supplier data, and distributors use the engine to identify potential products for their customers.
The reason to use these tools is to brainstorm ideas and make sure your distributor is providing you with the best products at the best price. As an independent event planner affiliated with Lee Wayne Corp., I provide public access to the database as a free service for my clients.
Don't Purchase Directly from Online Catalogs
First, event planners should understand that if they do place orders for products using a distributor's Logo Mall or Promo Place catalog, they are not placing orders directly with the suppliers through Logo Mall or Promo Place.
Instead, search the items and discuss the pros and cons associated with various suppliers with your promotional products distributor in order to achieve maximum value.
More than 4,000 suppliers promote their products to promotional products distributors using Logo Mall and/or Promo Place, and the pricing is updated regularly.
Logo Mall and Promo Place Are Online Catalogs Used by DistributorsLogo Mall and Promo Place offer several ways to search the engine, but I suggest that event planners enter their own criteria and price ranges to find what products are available. Once products show up, the database offers the ability to sort by price; the database also provides subcategory items to help narrow the search.
For those who don't know what they want to buy, Logo Mall also has a product search tool that provides 600 pre-populated categories in a drop-down menu format.
Understanding the Pricing Models
Once you find different items, you will notice that the suppliers offer price breaks at various quantity levels: the more you purchase, the lower the unit price.
It's important to note that promotional products suppliers often change their pricing at year end, and pricing in these online catalogs do not always get updated until after price changes occur. Talk to your distributor about securing best pricing.
Negotiating Best Price with a Distributor
Some general tips:
- Promotional products distributors are paid a percentage of the sale.
- Event planners should request pricing at the "next column" or "end column" unit price.
- A long-term, fair negotiation strategy for both parties is to agree on a discount of about 5% on first column pricing and 3% on all subsequent columns.
- For items purchase frequently, request a "coop program" to secure your unit cost for up to 2 years.
- Suppliers aren't usually flexible on set-up charges; if "no setup fee," understand that it's still there, but just buried in the unit cost.