Selling Promotional products in Europe

Let’s imagine this : you are a manufacturer, you have a brilliant new idea for a promotional product, but no idea how to promote this new promotional product in the market as it’s not your original market.

If your company is new in the market of promotional products you have several options to get your product and company known by potential clients.

The product
Of course you have presented your product to some promotional products industry professionals and they confirmed that this new product suits the promotional products market.

The potential users
It’s very important to try to identify which type of clients may use this product for their promotion, how they’ll use it and where.

Selling directly to end users or using a distributor network?
Here we have one of the main questions. Selling directly to the end users means more margin per order as there is no distributor in between who needs 30 / 40 or more % of margin.
Selling through the network of promotional product distributors will mean less margin but will also mean more orders and less work.

Let’s put it this way : If you want to sell your new promotional product directly to end users all over the European market you’ll need sales persons speaking all these languages. The distributor network wipes this problem away as most of the interesting distributors speak at least English.

You think you can take both options ? Sell direct and also through the distributor network. Indeed it’s an option. And it fits quit well in the actual jungle structure which is the European market of promotional products. I know many people who make good business using both channels.
But even if you’ll establish a price system allowing the distributor to sell the item at the same price you are selling it to the end customer, you won’t be that successful. A distributor will not promote, or even propose your product if he knows that his client can source it from the producer googling the product name or description.
The choice isn’t easy, but what ever option you take, state it clearly in your communication.

The tools
If you took the right decision and you plan to sell through the distributor network I give you some good hints :

  • You may participate to professional trade fairs, if you want to catch the whole European market the best option will be PSI in Düsseldorf in the very beginning of each year. You can also start with a smaller, national, trade fair to get some experience and product feedback.
  • You can add your product to the professional databases in Europe like or I believe that this is a good option.
  • You can place adds in some of the professional magazines like the “PSI nachrichten”. But i do not believe that this option will bring a lot of success.
  • Last but far from least, you can use a professional organisation to send an emailing with your product details to all the European distributors. A company like Salesforce has a database with over 25 000 contacts all over Europe. Cost is very low and results are really interesting.

To get your new promotional product known quickly in the European promotional product industry, I believe that combining the last two options will bring a quick result with low investment.