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 everytime a Distributor does an ASI search or sees a flyer or any info from ASI the results that a Distributors sees have all been paid to be there. Nothing shown to Distributors is a result of a products popularity or uniqueness.
This means that every Distributor using/seeing the ASI search or info is fed the same “Pay for Play” results as every other Distributor.
So, if a Distributors 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 while the average ASI memeber 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 seemingly let in anyone. 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 to what we import from our factory 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 sure tell-tale of a Chinese owner/co. Their email was answered at night (Chinese time) and their toll free # had a Chinese?English 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 dissapear. 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 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, tradeshows 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 4, 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 anyway to blame for the current state of the industry but what I am saying and trying to do is to start an industry dialog that gives you the Distributor, a better view of all of the factors that affect your business.
I feel it is important that for Distributors to exceed 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 Distributors strongest hand to play is to offer their clients/end-users something different than their competitor is doing. Given the information outlined above can you be innovative and competitive in 2018 using only ASI as your source for promotional products?
Let’s talk. Call us at 1-888-908-1481 or email John@PromoCrunch.com