Awards & Engraving

June '18

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42 • A&E JUNE 2018 Sales & Marketing THE TROPHY IS NO LONGER OUR INDUSTRY'S CORE PRODUCT Today, we follow technology to create personalized products, many of which have little resemblance to their predecessors of yesteryear. The variety of product offer- ings today is stunning and follows tech- nological advances in multiple industries. Our industry's primary workhorse is the laser engraver, but it is not uncommon to find advanced sublimation printers and heat presses, direct-to-substrate color and wide-format printing equipment, garment and textile personalization, and banner and other signage equipment in today's awards stores. With all of this equipment avail- able to dealers, the plaque has replaced the trophy as the core product in the industry. It is much easier to produce a plaque than it is a trophy, and it is far less labor intensive. It can be produced in a variety of ways to meet the expectations of today's demanding customers, and trophies them- selves have a social stigma tied to them that renders them undesirable to a large segment of current consumers. People today do not value trophies like they used to, but plaques for the most part still hold their own. Beyond the plaque, there are currently numerous offerings that would have been far too complex in years past that fit the needs of today's savvy customers. The world of personalization compared to what it used to be is virtually limitless. To survive in today's version of the industry means that you must stay current with technology as well as the needs of the buyer to explore those limits. Today's consumer has far more access to information than ever before, and often has a good idea of what he or she wants before coming to the shop. In contrast, our industry used to present its offerings and drive the customers toward them. Today, I argue that it is the other way around. The evolution of product lines is far more customer-driven than ever before, and refusing to address this critical change is detrimental to the long-term health of a business. Staying current with technology, and putting that technology to good use in concert with what consumers want, is the key to remaining relevant for years to come. With a variety of embellishing equipment currently available to retailers, the plaque has replaced the trophy as the core product in the industry. IMAGE COURTESY ERIC PRICEMAN A&E

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