ASI vs SAGE vs PPAI from an Industry Suppliers perspective
Richardson Seating is an active member of SAGE, PPAI, and ASI. Those are currently the only organizations that we use to market our line of promotional bar stools. In the past we were also members of SAAC, PPPC, and SAAGNY. We primarily joined SAAGNY and SAAC so we could show at their local trade shows. We were also members of the main Canadian promotional products organization PPPC and we exhibited at the big Toronto promotional products trade show. That was a cold one. I mean it was really cold. I am pretty sure the Toronto show was in February. Although we are not members of PSI, I did take a flight to Dusseldorf and checked out Europe's biggest promotional products show. The shows were fun and pretty large but nothing compared to the big PPAI show in Vegas every year. PPAI's Las Vegas show is now the only trade show that we attend.
We also used to do do ASI's trade shows. We exhibited at Orlando, Chicago, Houston, and Las Vegas. The ASI shows were much smaller than PPAI. ASI priced the shows where it was advantageous to do all of them in many ways. They would give you significant discounts on the price of the booth and they would pay for the transportation of your freight from show to show. They also used to pay for distributors to come to the shows by giving them free hotel rooms and credit towards flights. I found after a few years of doing all the shows that I saw most of my customers at PPAI in Las Vegas. The really big companies all go to PPAI. We have gone to the PPAI show so many times.
Here are the websites of the associations I am referencing.
- PPPC Promotional Products Canada
- ASI Advertising Specialty Institute
- PPAI Promotional Products Association International
- SAAC Specialty Advertising Association of California
- SAGE Quick Technologies
- PSI The European Network of Promotional Products
When we get a quote request from a distributor, the truth is that we are not particularly concerned what affiliation they have. We don't use membership status to decide credit or to give different pricing. We have our dealer pricing and we extend it to any dealer regardless of the affiliation. ASI and SAGE both have good software for searching for products. It is our understanding that SAGE is a lot less expensive than ASI's ESP software. In regards to supplier fees, SAGE is far less expensive for us than ASI. ASI offers more opportunities for us to advertise to distributors than SAGE. We currently digitally advertise with both. We have maxed out all of the ad space for our category which is bar stools or furniture. ASI has a lot of print magazines in addition to special catalogs that you can add your company name to. SAGE also has product catalogs and leaflets to add your company name and pass out as your own. I think it really boils down to this. If you want to go to the best industry show which is PPAI's Las Vegas trade show you probably need to join PPAI or should at least seriously consider it. If you want to have a sourcing tool, you should evaluate both ASI's ESP and SAGE's software to see which you like better. You can't go wrong with either and if you don't like your choice, switch. You can always just use Google, but if you are serious about being a promotional products distributor you should seriously consider using sourcing software. It makes it a lot easier to find suppliers than just using Google.