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Something’s Changing, and It’s Unavoidable…

Take a look at our industry. What do you notice? Lots of logo’ed products yes, but there’s something else that’s changing, and changing fast.

I’m talking about the people in our industry. Now I’m one of the younger people in this industry, so don’t take this the wrong way, but they’re getting old. Look around at a trade show in our industry you can start to notice that many supplier reps are getting older, almost to that retirement age. On the flip side, more and more millennials are starting to join the Promotional Products Industry. Fresh out of college and maybe an internship or two of experience, these fresh bodies are primed to take over the industry from those who’ve been in the industry for 20 plus years.

What do you think of when you see a millennial in a trade show booth? Do you feel less compelled to go and talk to that particular rep simply because they’re younger and may not have the 20, 30, even 40 years of experience of some of the other supplier reps? Some of you may not even realize you’re doing this, but it’s something I notice all too often when I attendĀ a show.

One thing to considerĀ is that these millennials may not have as much experience as some of the industry veterans do, but they have a fresh and creative outlook on the industry. What this means is new ideas for your customers that you may never have considered before. Maybe even some new ways to use existing products. And you may have just walked by that booth because they looked “too young” or “too inexperienced.”

Next time you’re at a trade show, be it a stop on one of the ASI Roadshows, a regional association show, or PPAI Expo in a few months, I challenge you to go and talk to a few of the younger supplier reps and see what ideas they have to offer you. What are your thoughts or experiences on this topic? Be sure to voice them in the comments!

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