What I learned about UBER and More from the ASI Show…


Change is good, even for an old guy like me. At the ASI Show in Chicago, I had an eye opening experience regarding UBER. It was another real world experience where the lesson made me think about our industry.  

Not being a seasoned traveler, I had never used UBER, but I know it’s all the rage with my friends who do travel. As I looked ahead to my trip to The ASI Show, my plan was to use UBER. I knew I needed to get back and forth between the Virgin Hotel where commosku’s skucon event was being held and the McCormick Place Convention Center. Plus, I needed to get from O’Hare Airport to my hotel.  While I know some take a train, a cab, or the shuttle, I figured it made sense to try UBER for these trips.

My UBER experience was simple and I can see why it’s a hit. The drivers were courteous and prompt. Going back to O’Hare, the driver and car were great.  He offered me water and a charging cord. Being very thorough and caring his car had both android and iPhone cords available. Amazing!

The UBER technology driven program is stunning the tried and true taxi and shuttle business. And they are not happy about it. But UBER is a new and very effective business model that works. It has changed the game in the transportation industry.

Another game changer is Airbnb that is taking on the traditional hotel industry. While I stayed in a hotel, I talked to a few people in Chicago that stayed in Airbnb properties.

What can the promotional products industry learn from new, game changing business models like UBER and Airbnb? Plenty! We need to be realistic that the way people do business is changing. If you don’t see that the traditional supplier/distributor/end-user model is crumbling, you need new glasses.

What does this mean for the promotional products industry…and all industries? I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do believe that in this new marketplace, any business needs to move beyond selling “stuff”. This topic has been covered many times by others and me for a while. And I’ll continue to cover it as long as there is something relevant to say.

How do we do build business in this marketplace? I believe education is a key. The commonsku skucon event covered a variety of topics relevant to the new marketplace. From Creativity and the Big Idea, to Quiet Design. The day featured much thought provoking content. Members of the commonsku community should have access to these sessions, which will be worth watching. Here’s my video wrap up on the day with Mark Graham.

Showdown Displays did an informative workshop on not missing the signs. Those who attended learned about new sales opportunities that many are missing. Here’s a short video on what people took away from the session. If this business is of interest to you, contact Showdown for more information.

It was nice that ASI acknowledged the people who have achieved certifications through their education certification program. They hosted a breakfast and recognized new MASI and BASI recipients prior to their keynote session.

Relationships are a key to success in any marketplace. While the traditional trade show model seems to be challenged, the relationships that are nurtured at trade shows like The ASI Show continue to be relevant.

A key to success in any business is to offer something of value. That’s what we are doing with our new SuccessFit4Life! health and wellness program. Wellness is important in our personal and business lives. SuccessFit4Life! is moving in some very exciting directions and in ways I never imagined.  

We are raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital through SuccessFit4Life! EVENTS. If you have a moment, check out the St. Jude page on our website and Mason’s story. St. Jude, as you may know is a well-respected institution that does amazing things and we are excited to support them. We hope you are too.

SuccessFit4Life! EVENTS nurture quality relationships while showcasing the branding impact our marketing medium has. EVENTS open the door to SuccessFit4Life! Wellness Programs. SuccessFit4Life! EVENTS are easy to do, generate sales and offer great PR. These EVENTS are simply another form of a “mixer” that people are familiar with, combined with a low-key activity, and fund raising component. The fund raising is driven by branded product goodie bags from sponsors.

Cause marketing is nothing new and it’s used by most large, successful businesses. Focusing on the hot health and wellness market while supporting worthy causes enables us to be relevant in today’s marketplace. Contact us if you would like to learn more about how you will benefit from SuccessFit4Life!

Recently, I visited one of my clients. We have a great relationship. This is a successful tech company run by Millennial’s. This company uses us for some things, but I was told there are branded products they buy directly from China. Welcome to the new marketplace.

Consider game changing new business models like UBER that replaces taxis and Airbnb that replaces hotels. These businesses did not exist a few years ago. What’s worth noting is that these new models are most attractive to younger people. Many in my generation are not comfortable with the new way they operate. But a new generation of buyers is here. How will you reach them?

Our industry is not comfortable with the way the NEW distribution channel operates, but it’s reality. It will be those who are able to adapt and be relevant in today’s marketplace that will survive.

© 2016 Jeff Solomon, MAS



Excellent Article

You hit some great points here. The industry is being changed by new technology and buying trends. I'm not sure our industry seeing how these changes affect them...yet.

Yeah, it's scary

We all see that things are not the same...and they are not going back to the "good old days". As you note, we need to change to be relevant. I love what you are doing with the fitness program.

change and VALUE-ADDED

With better technology, more supplier options exist including those who sell direct to our clientele. Our challenge is to continue to offer more than just the product - the knowledge, expertise, customer service and support that is value-added.

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