The Education Market’s Prominent Role in the Promotional Products Industry

Year after year, the education market is the top market in the promo products industry. From higher education and trade schools to K-12 and culinary schools, this market demands promo to help enhance school spirit; drive admission; recognize superstar students and athletes; promote events; and boost alumni and community engagement. Strategically taking advantage of the education market could make all the difference in your annual sales. It’s important you know who to target and what products they need. Let’s explore the many opportunities in education.

End-Buyers in Education

Your end-buyer customers in education are vast. The most obvious are probably public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities. There is plenty of business if you stop there – but you shouldn’t! You can call on specialized schools (like art and STEM); trade schools; daycares; tutoring centers; and afterschool programs, too. And don’t forget about camps. Academic-related or school-managed camps, as well as music camps, could use promotions as well.

Within these institutions, there are so many sales opportunities. Just some things to consider:

  • Admissions
  • Annual events
  • School sports teams and clubs
  • Pep rallies
  • School stores
  • Field trips
  • PTAs
  • Alumni associations
  • Fundraisers
In-Demand Promo Products

All these schools can benefit from the classic promo product like apparel, water bottles and pens, but there is great opportunity for products that are tailored to each school audience. For example, public schools typically have a very prominent sports culture, whether it is football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball or just about anything else. The same can be said for boarding schools and some charter schools. Schools with a more prominent athletic-driven culture are great customers to advertise branded foam fingers, shoes, lawn chairs and towels.

Higher education institutions will always benefit from apparel in gift shops, table tents and blankets. Some tailored options could be branded speakers, car air fresheners and phone wallets. Universities and colleges have the unique aspect where although alumni are a large group of customers, college kids are the biggest demographic of day-to-day customers. This means there is some room for creative freedom to try out new products and trending products with a younger demographic. A unique or trending product could be branded accessories like bows, which are currently “in,” or boat totes that could act as a school bag while staying on trend and stylish. Offer branded versions of the newest tumblers, like Owalas or Stanleys, to hit both trending markets and all age groups. That’s how you maximize sales with intention.

Looking at trade and vocational school, there are fun and innovative opportunities to offer tailored promo like branded wrenches and toolboxes, aprons, work boots and culinary tools. With art schools, you can take advantage of the creative freedom and offer branded paint brushes, writing journals, ballet bars and easels. Each school has its own unique vertical where nontraditional products can be pitched and paired with all the other promo for sports teams, fundraisers and spirit wear. Sales will pick up in no time.

Timing: When To Reach Out

In the promo products industry, timing is everything. Not only do you have to reach out in advance of a school’s events so they have products in time, but you also have to make sure you reach out with enough time to accommodate shipping, especially from overseas. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to contact your prospects at least three months before the promo products are needed.

Just like any other market, there are important seasonal and annual dates that should be kept in mind to get the most out of sales. Each institution may vary on exact timelines based on whether they start school before or after Labor Day, if they are on a quarterly or trimester schedule and if religious holidays factor in. With that being said, here are some general calendar guidelines you should keep in mind:

  • Start of the Academic Year: Mid-August/early September.
  • Start of Sports Seasons: Some examples include fall – football and soccer; winter – basketball; and spring – track.
  • End of Sports Seasons: End-of-season banquets and awards.
  • Recital and Performance Seasons: Examples include spring musical, fall play and winter showcase.
  • Trade Show and Event Schedules for Vocational Schools: These can include events like licensing tests and culinary showcases.
Get Help Selling the Right Products for the Education Market

With all of this in mind, you are now ready to take on the education market and start selling your promo. Between the varying kinds of schools and the events and opportunities therein, there are profits to be made.

ASI is here to help you fine-tune your sales pitches and suggest products education end-buyers want with our download, 10 Promo Product Ideas for the Education Market. Check it out and tap into this lucrative market. Happy selling!