June 28, 2018 – Last week, Promo Marketing released their annual Top 50 Distributors list for 2018. The Vernon Company held its spot from last year at #19 and is the only promotional products distributor in the state of Iowa to make the list.

“All of us at Vernon are very pleased to see increased sales for the 8th straight year,” said Dave Regan, Vernon’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Our salesperson and client satisfaction scores are at an all-time high where we see unprecedented retention in the sales team and our customer base. The fact that we have made significant investments in the areas of technology and marketing tools are paying huge dividends allowing us to attract top salespeople to align with The Vernon Company. This is also true where customers are being drawn to our tech capabilities as well. We are on the right track to keep the success train rolling!”

For more than a decade, Promo Marketing has compiled an annual list of the largest promotional products distributors in the business, ranked by yearly sales volume. For this year’s Top 50 Distributors list, Promo Marketing received submissions from more than 120 companies totaling more than $5.2 billion in promotional product sales. The top 50 totaled $5.033 billion in promotional products sales in 2017, up by more than $500 million from last year’s list total of $4.476 billion. All four major regions of the U.S. had at least one distributor on the list. The Midwest accounted for 42 percent of all top 50 distributors, with 21 distributors in seven states.

The 5 R’s of Promotional Products

Promotional products are a mainstream form of advertising that can be used alone or as part of an integrated marketing campaign.

Viral, mobile, highly targeted and budget-friendly, promotional products are the only advertising medium capable of engaging all five senses. Adding a message to a tangible product turns an ordinary message into a marketing experience your audience can see, touch, hear, smell and even taste.

Promotional products educate, recruit, highlight safety awareness, support worthy causes and encourage healthy living and lifestyle choices. They recognize and reward employee achievements and inspire action, as well as celebrate milestones, support legislation and reinforce critical messages.

They are proven to be one of the most effective media available. Just read about the 5 Rs of Promotional Products below:


  • 89% of consumers have received a promotional product in the last six months


  • 9 in 10 consumers recall the branding (company name & logo)
  • 8 in 10 recall the messaging (company slogan & tagline)
  • 7 in 10 recall the call to action (company website, social media, contact, directional, hashtag information)


  • 82% of consumers keep promotional products for more than a year
  • 41% keep promotional products 1-5 years
  • 22% keep promotional products 6-10 years
  • 18% keep promotional products 11+ years


  • 8 in 10 consumers researched the brand
  • 83% of consumers were more likely to do business with the brand


  • promotional products are ranked the #1 most effective form of advertising to prompt action across all generations

Thinking about buying promotional products, but not quite sure what to get?

Browse by category (apparel, bags, calendars, drinkware, office, outdoor, promo, tech, writing) or use the search option on our website,

Four Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is the result of consistent positive experiences and satisfaction. Greater customer loyalty leads to increased sales. In addition, studies have even shown that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than keep an old one.

Here are four ways to increase customer loyalty:

1. Say thank you, and mean it. It takes effort to make sure that each “thank you” sounds genuine and heartfelt, but it’s worth it. Your employees should be mindful of what these words should sound like every time they are said.

2. Do what you say you’re going to do. If you make a promise, keep it. If you can’t keep it, don’t make the promise. This can be on social media, in advertising and in what you say to a customer face-to-face.

3. Make sure that your customers can communicate with you. You want your customers to easily reach you when they have a question or concern. If you make it easy, you and your team can be more responsive to their issues, and you can avoid things escalating out of your control. This means making sure you are monitoring phones, email and social networks.

4. Acknowledge customer milestones. Do you have a customer that has been with you since you started your business? Or a customer that has used your product or service in a unique way? Acknowledge them! Whether a social media post, a blog feature or a thoughtful gift, such as a gift box of goodies or a special something of their choosing, the act of acknowledgement will stand out and make a difference to your customer.

Thank Your Customers for a Great Year

A simple Thank You can go a long way. Research shows that customers spend more, employees accomplish more and vendors are more likely to pay on time, if they receive regular gratitude. The approaching holiday season makes for a great time to say thank you for business over the past year while encouraging customers to continue to work with you in the future.

When considering how you’d like to express your appreciation, consider these four options:

1. Send a Thoughtful Gift
A meaningful gift can make a significant impactful, so if your goal is a once-a-year expression of appreciation, make it count. It could be as simple as a box of special treats – everyone loves food – or something as useful as a tumbler, travel bag or apparel. Apparel is a great idea because everyone needs it. A useful item is also a winner. Branded (and even personalized) gifts are a great way to show your gratitude while keeping your business top-of-mind.

2. Include a Handwritten Note with your Gift
While communication has gone through much evolution, it’s hard to beat a handwritten note. There is something enduring and memorable about receiving a handwritten letter. Not only are handwritten notes becoming rarer, but they also show a sense of caring that is impossible to fully convey digitally.

3. Follow up your Gift with a Phone Call
After sending a gift, making a phone call to your customer is a great way to add an extra personal touch. It not only allows you to confirm that your customer received the gift, but then gives you the opportunity to briefly catch up with them and have a short conversation to see how they are doing. Do not underestimate the power of hearing another person’s voice, especially in a time where emails in business are arguably the norm.

4. Personally Drop Off a Gift & Say Thank You
While gifts and cards are a fun way to express gratitude, nothing is more meaningful than saying it in person. A personal touch in delivering the gift shows that you went out of your way to make the recipient feel even more special. Taking time out of your day for someone else does not go unnoticed, especially during a busy time of year.

Saying thank you is an excellent way to not only express your appreciation, but also keep the line of communication open between you and your customers while keeping your name and your company top-of-mind. Remember, most customer gifts are given between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the earlier you can give yours, the better. That’ll help your gift stand out before people become preoccupied with the holidays and gifts from others.

Get to Know Your Customers

How much do you really know about your customers…where they work, their job title, their past orders–the basics? Knowing their basics keeps your potential basic. Sustaining a strong relationship with your customers can often lead to greater things.

Obviously, not everyone is comfortable in sharing about themselves. Some people like to keep their professional lives professional and their personal lives personal. It’s easy to respect that, but a customer who openly shares information about their life outside of their job doesn’t mind sharing with you. These are the people who make it easy to get to know them.

Think about it. You have a good relationship with your customer and someone they know is looking for promotional swag. Chances are your customer is likely to recommend you to that person. Your customer is able to help their friend/acquaintance, that person gets what he/she is looking for and you get to help another person out, leading to another customer and another sale. It’s a win-win…win situation.

Now let’s say you know your customer well enough to not only know what’s going on in their business, but also some of the things that are going on in their personal life. Your customer is coaching his son’s little league team, you ask if he’s looking for team shirts. Your customer gets engaged and you show him/her some prices on a variety of wedding favors. Your customer volunteers for a local non-profit and has a fundraising event this summer. You’ve talked about this with her before and become the one she purchases event swag from.

Successful sales people don’t wait for their clients to always come to them with what they want, they provide ideas. They show their clients the items that they may not have even thought about before but are eager to have. Their customers get cool new swag, and the sales person helps another person get what he/she is looking for. It benefits both parties.

Target Customers with Integrated Marketing Strategies

If recent history in the promotional products industry has taught us anything, it’s that competition in today’s marketplace is more ferocious than ever. With the constant challenge of differentiating yourself to stand out from the crowd, generating the right kind of new business and cultivate meaningful relationships all while managing the clients you currently have – it’s no surprise that few of us have time to analyze our business methods or make any major changes in the way we work. Now more than ever, you have to be a master in various methods of communication to get the attention of customers and prospects. Creating and implementing a marketing plan that promotes yourself as efficiently, professionally and economically as possible is key to your success. An integrated approach, incorporating print and online communication strategies, will help you get the best results.Integrated_Marketing_image

At Vernon, we focus on innovative, turnkey marketing solutions to get our account executives the attention they want and deserve. They include:

1. Direct Marketing. Print media is still a convenient way to present products to a “shopper” and one of the best vehicles for lead generation. Whether it is personalized product catalogs, eye-catching postcards or dimensional mailers, Vernon’s direct mail programs ensure that the account executive’s name lands on the desk of his/her clients and prospects numerous times throughout the year.

 2. Personalized E-Marketing. Email is a quick, easy and economical way to market yourself. It can reinforce the messages delivered through traditional methods – direct mail, phone calls and personal visits. Vernon offers a turnkey email communication program, creating and distributing personalized weekly product specials and monthly educational e-newsletters to clients and prospects on behalf of our account executives.

3. Website Marketing. Clients and prospects want to access ideas and purchase products quickly and easily, when it’s convenient for them. A website is an easy way to keep your target audience educated on current trends and product offerings, share best sellers and promote special offers. In addition to our corporate website (, Vernon account executives have personalized websites to allow their customers easy product ideas and shopping at their fingertips.

Through these and other integrated marketing programs, we empower account executives to make a difference with their customers and prospects. Combine that with beginning our 114th year of industry success and you have a winning combination.

The Vernon Company is recognized as one of the largest and most successful promotional product firms in North America. Founded in 1902 by F.L. Vernon, we serve more than 40,000 customers from our Newton, Iowa corporate headquarters.

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