Initiative Streamlines Ordering of Promotional Products

Promotional products provider is expected today to announce a business-to-business program that would give companies the ability to buy customized promotional products online and create Web catalogs of their merchandise.

Branders, Foster City, CA, touts its new Premier Program as an effective tool for marketers and event planners, among others, to use at trade shows and for product launches. The company also said the program would enable marketing managers to better organize separate orders from different divisions.

“[Companies] are always worried about what promotional products to use at trade shows and for launches,” said Keith Voigt, vice president of marketing at Branders. “And while the logos on those products are one of the last things they get around to, they're usually some of the most visible things.”

Branders uses a patent-pending photo technology that allows a customer to upload brand images and logos and place them on a product before making the purchase.

The new program aims to help marketing professionals save time when ordering promotional products, Voigt said. Instead of scouring the Web or product catalogs, buyers would be able to order promotional products from a preselected Web catalog, he said.

“We've taken what used to be a seven-day process into three clicks and then you're done,” Voigt added.

Premier Program allows companies to select from about 2,000 products, Voigt said. After selecting, marketing managers can create a Web catalog of their own, allowing different departments within the company to select from a preapproved list, he said.

Marketing managers also would be able to better organize the influx of promotional products because they would have selected and approved the products themselves, Voigt said. They would also receive e-mail tracking reports and order confirmations in real time, he said.

BrassRing Systems, a provider of Web-based hiring management solutions and a division of BrassRing Inc., Santa Clara, CA, is one of about 10 companies that have signed up for Premier Program. The company, which uses promotional products for trade shows, customer training sessions, advisory board meetings and other events, is ordering promotional products in preparation for a show in June, when it plans to launch a new system.

BrassRing Systems, which has 15 products in its Premier Program Web catalog, is using the program to save time and facilitate the ordering process throughout the company, said Anne Culiner, senior marketing manager at BrassRing Systems.

“Not only do we hope the Premier page will unify the many offices of our company to ensure that we all have the same look and feel,” she said, “it will also relieve the workload off the marketing professionals, allowing the individual departments to easily access and buy the already approved products.

“And I won't have to worry about marketing messages being inconsistent, since I will have approved the products already,” she added.

Culiner also said the program not only helps her manage the process but also lets her know which products are most effective.

“I can track who is ordering what and figure out which promotional products are more popular,” she said. “It will help with future buying decisions.”

Branders sends e-mail updates to notify customers when a purchase has been made. In addition to tracking the process, the e-mails allow a company to verify that Branders is managing the process well, Culiner said.

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