Is ASI Bad for Your Business?
In my opinion, I believe in the year 2018 (and going forward), sole reliance on ASI by both Suppliers and Distributors is likely bad for your business. Here are my reasons and opinions.
First, a little background info.
We are a Supplier and over the past 25 years I have been in this business on both sides, first in the 90’s as a Distributor and in the last 15 years as a Supplier. Here is my informed opinion.
Everything in ASI’s marketing offers for Suppliers is “Pay for Play”. This means that every time a Distributor does an ASI search or sees a flyer or any info from ASI, the results that a Distributor sees have all been paid to be there.
Nothing shown to Distributors is a result of a product’s popularity or uniqueness.
This means that every Distributor using or seeing the ASI search or info is fed the same “Pay for Play” results as every other Distributor.
So, if a Distributor thinks they have seen a “special” or a “unique product” that no one else has seen and forwarded that “special” to their end-user, you can be sure that your competitor Distributor may very well be sending the exact same “special” to their end-users as well.
Distributors, ask yourself this: “What distinct advantage am I offering my client/prospect if all I use is the same info as my competitor uses?”
My Opinion: The future of our business is in your ability to break the ASI-only habit and think differently.
FACT: Today’s end user has an average age of 35 years while the average ASI member is 57, this means that the end user was raised on GOOGLE search as their go-to solution while the ASI member is more steeped in the old school ASI paradigm of catalogs and supplier/distributor sanctity. If this is true, you need to think more like the end user.
Look outside of ASI as well as inside.
ASI is for profit and will let seemingly anyone in. As a Promotional Products Supplier, I opted out of ASI specifically because I was seeing Chinese factories getting ASI numbers as Suppliers and even more outrageously as Distributors!
In fact, not 1 month ago I had a conversation with ASI membership on this very matter.
As you can imagine, I get solicited by ASI to join and about a month ago I found a “Supplier/Distributor” in California selling a similar product as what we import from our factory in China for a price that was so low it had to be a Chinese factory masquerading as a US Supplier/Distributor.
Their website was very poorly done, the site being full of typical language problems that are a tell-tale sign of a Chinese-owned company. Their email was answered at night (Chinese time) and their toll free # had a Chinese accented response. Go figure.
I called ASI and said simply: “If you keep asking me to return as a Supplier member, I need reassurance that this issue will disappear. They listened and as far as I can see, did nothing. They did not call me back, the Chinese site still has an ASI number. I had to ask myself… Why would this behavior happen?
My guess is for profit, pure and simple. In the last few years – when I was an ASI Supplier member – I paid ASI well over $60,000 a year on average.
This was for membership dues, trade shows and ad placement. Ad placement or “Pay for Play”…as an example, we paid $1500 a day for half of the banner ads for a single day. So $6000 a month for 1 days a week banner display on only 50% of each of that days search result.
“So for only 4x 1-day ads a month – with only HALF the Distributor views – the cost was $6000 in total per month.”
Remember – the cost incurred by any business ultimately gets passed along to the consumer. That would be YOU!
I am not saying that you should stop ASI altogether or that ASI is in any way to blame for the current state of the industry, but what I am saying and trying to do is start an industry dialog that gives you (the Distributor) a better insight into all of the factors that affect your business.
I feel it is important that for Distributors to succeed in the online age, they need to get out of their comfort zone and look in places outside of ASI for innovative product options.
I firmly believe that the Distributor’s strongest hand to play is to offer their clients/end-users something different than their competitor is offering. Given the information outlined above, can you be innovative and competitive in 2018 using ASI as your ONLY source for promotional products?
Let’s talk. Call us at 1-888-908-1481 or email John@PromoCrunch.com.