• 12 Jan 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    It’s only natural to start January by reflecting on the last year and looking to the new year. By all accounts, 2022 was a very good year for PromoStandards and industry integration, and everyone is taking note.

    PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi reflects on how the standards, which are mature, proven, and based on critical needs, have created a network that is getting stronger and stronger.


    A Year in Review

    The industry is confident in PromoStandards, and adopters are encouraging others to integrate. As a result, both adoption and membership are up.

    Standards are improving with second versions of the integration endpoints to fill requested features. Additional standards are being developed for new functionality to bring even more efficiency and automation.

    Trading partners are building on the success they’ve had in 2022 by implementing additional endpoints and integrating with more partners.

    All in all, PromoStandards members are getting involved in the process, and adoption is a great leading indicator of future success.

    PromoStandards Integration

    There is value in integrating, even with one important trading partner. The information that used to take a lot of time and labor to communicate is now done automatically and accurately, providing a hassle-free experience.

    Industries organically organize and grow into a strong network with:

    • open standards that anyone can adopt,
    • a community that helps everyone succeed,
    • and an organization that encourages everyone to participate in developing the standards.

    The PromoStandards Community

    20th-century American philosopher William Durant said, in summarizing Aristotle, that success breeds success. Aristotle also said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    You may be wondering how these philosophers relate to PromoStandards. Through our community, PromoStandards has built a successful network. In doing so, we’re developing even more functionality.

    What We Do Matters

    Members and consumers of PromoStandards are key to creating solutions. As adoption continues to grow, so do the opportunities for positive outcomes. Here’s to continued success in 2023 and beyond!

    To become a member, sign up today!

  • 5 Dec 2022 11:19 AM | Anonymous


    PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi has always been thankful for the commitment of the PromoStandards community of members and volunteers that have amassed as the non-profit continues to improve the industry through evolving standards.

    Recent interactions with members have only made Eric more optimistic about the future of PromoStandards and the industry.


    A Recent Reminder

    Just before Thanksgiving, Eric met with a PromoStandards member, a prominent supplier in the industry. As is common these days, the member explained that their organization was undergoing management changes.

    The member felt it was only right to let Eric know about those changes but that the organization was steadfast in its continued commitment to PromoStandards.

    They expressed their desire to further embrace our standards and get more involved in our initiative, reaffirming that what we do matters.


    PromoStandards & Member Commitment

    His meeting with that supplier was only one of many that Eric has had with other members. Each time he walks away with a renewed respect for PromoStandards’ members and an optimistic outlook on the industry and the role that PromoStandards plays in it.

    PromoStandards provides the framework to reduce friction throughout the supply chain, ultimately improving the industry.

    The powerful words and actions of our members bolster our commitment to and vision for the industry's future. It’s our members that make improving the industry possible.


    We Love Our Community

    PromoStandards and our community are facilitators of positive change. We develop open standards that benefit everyone involved.

    We thank our members for their continued commitment and adoption so we can continue to improve the welfare of the industry. Here’s to the industry, members, and volunteers that make up our incredible community. It’s a true gift for all.

    PromoStandards is actively improving the industry and its standards as it works with its valued members. Sign up to become a member and join an organization that’s for the industry, by the industry.

  • 10 Nov 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous


    Traditionally, we celebrate Thanksgiving by watching the Thanksgiving Day parade and football game and gathering with friends and family for a feast. This time of year, we’re also reminded to give thanks and count our blessings. PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi reflects on how Thanksgiving started and how thankful he is to the PromoStandards community.


    What Thanksgiving Means to Us

    Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday in the US, occurs every year on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s easy to feel sentimental, as this is a special time of year. Farmers and professionals alike are reminded that we reap what we sow. When we contribute to our communities, be that family, friends, co-workers, or the organizations we joined as members, we all grow.


    Giving Thanks to Our Community

    “What I was looking forward to the most for the inaugural PromoStandards Tech Summit this past October was the opportunity to meet with the PromoStandards community face-to-face to build stronger relationships and to say thank you to our members and volunteers," said Alessi.

    "The time and energy this community has devoted to the PromoStandards organization and our industries have made us better and stronger. While we couldn’t meet this past October as planned, it deserves to be said: Thank you for everything you do!"


    Here’s to a Brighter Future

    PromoStandards impacts thousands of people beyond the promotional products industry, and the contribution of volunteers and the PromoStandards community as a whole makes a difference.

    Your help creates a powerful ripple effect that touches the lives of others. When you commit your time and talent to a nonprofit’s mission, you make communities stronger and lead to a brighter future for all.

    Are you ready to join the PromoStandards community and make a difference? To become a member, sign up today!


  • 10 Nov 2022 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    From September 19 to September 26 of this year, PromoStandards hosted its first virtual Hack-A-Thon, sponsored by Essent. During the event, cross-functional teams used PromoStandards’ protocols to access trading partner data and services to develop solutions for real-world promotional product industry challenges.

    Keep reading to learn more about this exciting event and the winning teams!


    Why Was the Hack-A-Thon Important?

    PromoStandards, its community, and Essent have a shared vision to remove friction from the supply chain through tight trading partner systems integration. The Hack-A-Thon was another productive and fun opportunity for the community to collaborate on strengthening the industry.


    How Did the Hack-A-Thon Work?

    More than 50 participants representing 33 companies from around the world formed seven teams. Throughout the week of the event, the teams met to collaborate and present their solution to a panel of guest judges, which included:

    • David Nicholson – Vice Chairman of PCNA
    • Vera Muzzillo – CEO of Proforma
    • Kate Alavez – PromoShop Inc
    • Wade Williams – OrderMyGear.

    Each team was given ten minutes to pitch their solutions. During that time, they were judged on the following:

    • Problem statement clarity
    • Presentation creativity 
    • Technical feasibility

    The winning teams (first place and runner-up) were awarded $5,000 in cash prizes to share and received additional swag.


    The First-Place Team: The Adaptors

    The Adaptors rose to the challenge, and PromoStandards is happy to award them first place in our first-ever Hack-A-Thon.  The team consisted of the following individuals:

    • Chad Sparrow – VP of Product at Brikl 
    • Jason Reinhardt – Co-Founder and CCO at Brikl
    • Lisa Hubbard – VP of Sales and Marketing at Vernon Company
    • Peerarust Siriamphan – Engineering Manager at Brikl
    • Phoomparin Mano – VP of Engineering at Brikl
    • Suz Pathmanathan – VP of Marketing at Brikl

    To view The Adaptors’ presentation, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwr-K8nzTQ0.


    The Runner-Up Team: Promofound

    Promofound also impressed the judges, making it a close call. We can’t imagine how hard it was to make that decision, as the Promofound team also showcased incredible talent and knowledge.  The team consisted of the following individuals:

    • Steve Luisser – VP of Research and Development at Essent
    • Bryony Zasman – Co-Founder at ZOOMcatalog
    • Kevin Chambers – Web Experience Manager at Thumbprint 
    • Mark Whiffen – Senior Product Manager at Facilisgroup
    • Trevor Woodman – Web Developer at Thumbprint

    To view Promofound’s presentation, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC2iC3tOtVc.


    PromoStandards

    We want to congratulate the winning teams and recognize the hard work all the teams put into their solutions. We can confidently say that this year’s Hack-A-Thon was incredible and set a standard for the years to come.

    As we’re always looking for ways to strengthen the industry, we invite anyone and everyone to become PromoStandards members.

    To learn more about membership levels, please visit https://promostandards.org/membership-application.

  • 25 Oct 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    While PromoStandards planned to host its first Tech Summit in October 2022, the weather had other plans. Hurricane Ian raked a path of destruction, devastating Florida and its Gulf Coast on September 28 and making landfall in South Carolina two days later. PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi reflects on how this turn of events is a reminder of the power of nature and how technology can be part of the solution.


    Technology’s Impact

    “As a technologist and business executive, I continue to be impressed with the positive impact technology has on businesses and individuals,” shared Alessi. A week before Hurricane Ian, The National Weather Service issued advisories of a potential storm and its general path. This advanced notice gave the public time to prepare.

    Modern buildings were largely intact, many with minimal exterior damage. A major factor is modern building codes put in place after Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992. Some of the toughest storm-specific codes in the country resulted. In the aftermath of Ian, the buildings with a 2007 code and beyond were left standing and in fine condition.


    The Power of Nature

    This is not to say this is a plus-side to the hurricane or that technology is a silver lining. Cities did not escape unscathed. Hurricane Ian is on one of the strongest hurricanes to strike the state, tying for the fourth-strongest storm.

    • 1935’s Labor Day Hurricane reached 185 mph
    • 1992’s Hurricane Andrew reached 165 mph
    • 2018’s Hurricane Michael reached 160 mph
    • 2004’s Hurricane Charley and 2022’s Hurricane Ian reached 150 mph

    Let’s look at how technology is part of the solution.


    The Power of Technology

    The development and application of technology allow us to improve the human condition for all. Technology can prevent or eliminate problems altogether. No matter how large or small, technology has the power to make things better, sometimes in unexpected and impactful ways.


    What We Do Matters

    Members and consumers of PromoStandards are key to creating solutions. As adoption continues to grow, so do the opportunities for positive outcomes. What we do matters.

    To become a member, sign up today!


  • 22 Sep 2022 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    To put it simply, PromoStandards is an agreed-upon structure of data and an agreed-upon way of exchanging that data.

    But what does that mean for your industry?

    By utilizing PromoStandards, distributors, suppliers, decorators, and service providers no longer have to deal with complicated Google Sheets or Excel documents, time-consuming phone calls, and lengthy emails. PromoStandards removes the friction from product development and distribution.

    PromoStandards sets the standards that allow frictionless contact between suppliers, distributors, decorators, and service providers, which can help provide a higher ROI for all involved.

    Keep reading for more on PromoStandards and why joining may be the perfect move for you.

    What Is PromoStandards?

    PromoStandards is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization whose memberships drive its open standards. It is not a for-purchase software. Instead, it details how developers can write computer code using a common set of instructions or standards.

    These allow suppliers, distributors, decorators, and service providers to integrate their existing computer systems to communicate vital product information back and forth automatically and seamlessly.

    Typically, distributors and decorators are the consumers of the information provided by the suppliers. At the same time, service providers bridge the gap between the suppliers and distributors or decorators and provide the information in an appealing way.

    The difference between using PromoStandards and an Excel document is that PromoStandards communicates using XML information, which is transported back and forth between distributors or decorators and suppliers via a service provider.


    How Does PromoStandards Work?

    Once you become a member of PromoStandards, you gain access to a list of endpoints and company contacts, separate from the Slack channel.

    If you are looking for a business or technical contact for a particular company, we probably have it in our member directory. Search the company you are trying to find a contact for, and several names will pop up. You can then click on “business contact” or “technical contact” to determine which is best for your situation.

    PromoStandards currently has about 1,500 endpoints alphabetically listed on their website. They provide a search tool to make finding your endpoint quick and easy.

    Once you’ve found the endpoint you want to access, you’ll need to request credentials from the supplier or service provider.


    PromoStandards’ Endpoint
    Services

    PromoStandards provides multiple endpoint services you can utilize. These services include:

          Inventory

          Order Status

          Order Shipping Notification

          Invoice

          Product Data

          Product Media

          Product Pricing and Configuration

          Purchase Order

    You can use all these services at once or only a couple at a time.

    If you’re new to PromoStandards, we recommend choosing one or two endpoint services that could provide the most ROI for your business.

    Based in our experience, there are some standards that, when implemented, provide a higher ROI than others. We’ve separated these services into tiers as a visual representation:

          Tier one – Inventory, Order Status, Order Shipping Notification

          Tier two – Invoice, Product Data, Product Media

          Tier three – Product Pricing and Configuration, Purchase Order

    Once you know what service you want to utilize, have found the endpoint you wish to access, and have the authorization to access that endpoint, you may access PromoStandards’ web service validation tool.

    With this tool, you can input the service you are requesting along with the authorization information provided by the supplier to validate that you are receiving the correct information. However, we recommend that you enlist a service provider to help you understand the information.

    A service provider will help you set up the infrastructure to use PromoStandards within your company’s existing software and help convey the information you’re requesting in a palatable way, so you don’t have to worry about reading XML.


    Get Started
    With PromoStandards!

    Whether you’re the head of IT, marketing, sales, or a president within your company, PromoStandards is here to help you work more efficiently, save time, and ultimately help your business thrive.

    We are passionate about what we do. Helping our members network and grow within their industries is incredibly fulfilling and a fantastic initiative to be a part of.

    The more members PromoStandards has, the more we can grow our standards and make them available to the public free of charge.

    Please help us help you. Join PromoStandards today and watch your business grow like never before.

  • 27 Jul 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    PromoStandards is proud to provide suppliers with an easier way to transfer order details electronically and allow others to access their products. One success story comes from Charles River Apparel.

    The leading apparel brand for corporations, businesses, school teams, athletic groups, and college students nationwide was founded in 1983 and is based outside of Boston, MA. Here’s how they discovered PromoStandards and saw immediate results!


    What They Were Doing Before Implementing PromoStandards Correctly

    Jeison Ortega, at the time, was the Director of Information Technology and is now its Chief Technology Officer. He understood the advantages of trading partner integration; sellers can more efficiently provide information online, and customers have immediate access.

    Yet, the technology provider Charles River Apparel initially chose didn't know how to implement the integration endpoints correctly. In the promotional products industry, almost every order is customized and highly configurable, so well-formed orders are vital for including fine details and communicating accurately.

    Since the provider wasn’t versed in the intricacies of the promotional products industry, they learned the PromoStandards protocol from scratch. They didn’t use a standard method or platform, and the fact that they were not very experienced with trading partner integration made it all the more challenging.


    How They Discovered PromoStandards

    Jeison knew what his company needed was an experienced integration service to reliably create, host, and maintain integration endpoints while meeting the specific needs of the industry. Then, at the 2019 PPAI Technology Summit, he recognized Essent Corporation, a provider of fully-integrated business management software solutions and services for process-intensive industries.

    Stephen Luisser, Vice President of Research and Development at Essent Corporation, is an award-winning integrator and former PromoStandards board member. When he delivered a presentation on integration and how rapidly its spread throughout the promotional products industry, Jeison realized they’d make a great team.


    Charles River Apparel Saw Immediate Results

    After working with their initial provider for one year, they switched to working with Essent’s OrderTrax Network, which implemented the Media Contact endpoint in just 24 hours. Essent implemented the endpoints for Inventory and Order Status next. And, within a few phone calls, Charles River Apparel had the Media Service endpoint fully implemented.

    Charles River Apparel distributor partners immediately expressed they were pleased. Jeison shared that Charles River Apparel was even able to salvage a relationship with a customer that was having issues using the endpoints set up by the previous provider.


    Find the Right Integration Provider With PromoStandards!

    At PromoStandards, we make it easy to communicate with others in the promo industry. When you become a member, you can leverage the open-source standards more efficiently by working with a service provider who knows the promo industry. Find a service provider by joining PromoStandards today!

  • 21 Jul 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    PromoStandards standardized the transfer of vital information to move transactions forward. This clearly works for the promotional products industry. The question is: does it also work for print?

    In short, the answer is yes! This success story comes from Brand Chain (formerly the Print Services and Distribution Association, or PSDA), a network of professionals dedicated to providing print, marketing, and business communications solutions for distributors.

    Continue reading to learn how Brand Chain discovered PromoStandards and how the print industry benefits from implementing these standards!


    The Print Industry Before PromoStandards

    Knowing how to communicate customer needs quickly and accurately for vendors to produce and deliver them on time is a challenge that’s existed since businesses started.

    Poorly formed purchase orders cost money. In the promotional products industry, this adds up to millions of dollars annually. Plus, these waste time and create giant headaches for end users.

    Orders could be:

    • incomplete and missing information, such as the imprint location, imprint method, or the shipping or billing address.
    • vague with typos, lack of specificity, or missing some of the correct info, like a digit in the SKU.
    • missing the form entirely.

    In these instances, someone needs to take the time to fill in these blanks.


    Brand Chain Joined PromoStandards

    Andrew Alford, the President of Brand Chain, realized the importance of integration. By engaging in trading partner integration, Brand Chain was able to become closer to its partners, give real-time access to where orders are in the fulfillment cycle, and make informed decisions that can encourage customers throughout the buying process.

    Brand Chain joined PromoStandards as an Advisory Member and formed a Technology Committee. This committee, which includes several other PromoStandards members, maps out significant integration needs for print distributors and suppliers.


    How PromoStandards Helps the Print Industry

    The print and promotional products industries are very similar, with overlapping markets, suppliers, and distributors. Both industries customize products, and removing friction from the supply chain is a high priority.

    “Print and promo are sister industries that share customers and have a very similar workflow,” said Eric Alessi, Chairman of PromoStandards. “Leaders in both industries are looking for the same thing, which is the ability to conduct custom product sales as efficiently as possible. Solving integration for print is a natural fit and extension of solving integration for the promotional products industry.”

    As such, the open-source standards by PromoStandards provide benefits in trading partner integration for both industries.

    1. These streamline the buying process by displaying accurate pricing and availability information and allowing the buyer to choose how to customize the product.
    2. These save time and labor by reducing the number of phone calls and emails to ask about inventory, the status of an order, and more.
    3. These make customers happier by having a smooth line of communication between distributors, suppliers, and manufacturers.


    Join PromoStandards Today!

    You too can easily share information to move transactions forward! Endpoints for Inventory, Invoices, Media, Order Status, Product Compliance, Product Configuration, Product Data, Purchase Orders, and Ship Notices are available. To get started, simply join PromoStandards to access all the info you need!

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