Not many companies interested in sourcing have their own in-house team of buyers with the time or experience to travel the world to find the most unusual and cost-effective products.

According to research*, exhibitions, trade magazines and the internet rank highly for finding new and innovative products. However, the main routes are going direct to the manufacturer or through a sales promotion agency.

The research team concluded that buyers would increasingly prefer sourcing promotional products through agencies, especially those which also offered design and added value consultancy services.

When sourcing promotional products it is important to remember that a quality brand demands quality merchandise as anything less will risk devaluing the brand. Yet it is equally important to note that the quality of service can make or break a campaign – there is little point in sourcing the most amazing items if they arrive a day too late, or are the wrong colour!

If placing a large order or a particularly complicated one it is essential to select a supplier who has the relevant experience and expertise. It is also advisable to request actual production samples for approval rather than relying on mock-ups, and therefore extra time should be factored into the total schedule to allow for this.