Promotional Products: A History of Printing
What are promotional products? Why do people love them so much? More importantly, how can an integration with this industry help your business? To get started, let me take you back to the beginning, a beginning that without the printing industry would not have happened.
It is 1881 in Coshocton, Ohio. Industry pioneer Jasper Freemont Meek wants to find ways to bring new revenue to his printing business and use his printing presses during their downtime. One day when Meek is outside of his office and watching school children as they walk down the muddy streets to the schoolhouse, he notices a schoolboy drop his books into the mud and got an idea.
An idea that would eventually turn into the $23 billion promotional products industry we know today.
Meek went to Cantwell Shoes, a local merchant, who he was already doing printing business with and asked the business to buy advertising that he could print on school bags. The bags would then be given away to local school children. His sell was that, along with Cantwell’s print advertising, the bags would become walking billboards for the company. The gamble paid off and the promotional products industry as we know it was born. “Buy Cantwell Shoes” was displayed across town and not only drove revenue to Cantwell, it created a full-scale printing operation for Meek. Soon, Meek would begin supplementing his printing business with bags, calendars and other promotional items for merchants in the Coshocton area.
The history of promotional products would not have existed without the printing industry. It has been a natural partner to those in print advertising since the industry’s infancy. This partnership and the need for the partnership is even more obvious today. Thousands of print businesses are already involved in the promotional products market in some regard. Now, you can be part of this living history!
Seth Barnett is considered an expert on cooperative marketplace success. He is the Vice President of Operations for the international technology company Altitude Group which serves as the tech provider for Think Promo Now. Seth regularly speaks across the country to professionals in various industries about how to engage with and adapt to changing markets and new consumerism. He has appeared in numerous publications across the US and the UK. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in management, a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in law.