Bruce Fox Blog

SWOT Analysis of the Promotional Products Industry

Posted by Kristina Hublar on Mar 3, 2020 12:30:00 PM

Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes

SWOT Analysis of the Promotional Products Industry

We all know of the importance of doing a regular SWOT analysis.

When I worked in the marketing world, we would regularly do self-reflection and look for areas of improvement. Maybe that’s because our industry was constantly evolving or because our company wanted to live on the cusp of innovation – either way, it was deeply ingrained in me.

However, when you ask many owners or professionals in the promotional products industry, when was the last time that they stopped to think about their business beyond a fleeting thought, much less a SWOT analysis, there are few who can answer.

The Importance of Self Analysis

We all say that we want to improve. We want to be better at “X.” We want to improve sales. We want to get better at connecting with people. Or even we want to get better at time management.

There’s plenty that we could say. And everyone can easily point out a few things that we want to improve upon.

However, true self-reflection and self-analysis requires taking it a step further. Allow yourself time to be introspective – whether it’s 30 minutes or a few hours. As humans, we tend to be going non-stop with little time to really sit down and think beyond fleeting thoughts or matters at hand. But what we need to do is force ourselves to be truly effective with our time.

Yes, taking the time to do self-analysis is effective and useful –a SWOT analysis for yourself, your business, and your company is worth your time. There are plenty of articles out there supporting my case. 

So, why don’t you let yourself do something that can positively impact your wellbeing and your business - especially during these uncertain times?

SWOT Analysis of the Promo Industry from the Supplier Perspective

While we’re on the note of SWOT analysis, we’ve gone ahead and done two on this industry. One, for the promotional products industry from the supplier’s perspective. The other is a SWOT analysis of the promotional products industry from the end-user’s perspective.

Be introspective about these two main audiences. We hope to assist you with being thoughtful about what our industry’s current position is – especially considering the industry’s current climate.


  • Wide and diverse distributor network
  • Known tools and language in the marketplace




To sum this all up, there are great resources for distributors and suppliers, as well as some opportunities to personalize the experience for businesses to create more value to the end-users.

However, there are enormous weaknesses and threats. From overpopulation of distributors because it’s so easy to get into the promo industry and the commoditization of products (as well as becoming a price-driven race to the bottom), all the way to the fact that the majority suppliers and distributors have so little control of the supply chain – opening themselves up for liability, social and trade issues, poaching via bigger hunters with deeper pockets, and threats.

SWOT Analysis of the Promo Industry from the End-User Perspective

But how does the promotional products industry look from the end-user’s perspective?

What do your clients see when they start looking at the promo industry?


  • Systematic (easy to order)
  • Accepted practice
  • Price competitiveness



  • Inexpensive impressions
  • Buy online easily


  • Low prioritization/nonessential to the business
  • Commoditization/proliferation undermines effectiveness
  • Much of what’s offered is frequently not goal-focused
  • Possible environmental and product liability issues – Bad PR
  • Tariff-fueled inflation
  • Supply chain issues, which affects timing, price, and other concerns

This is what your clients see. It’s good that they find it easy to order with you, but what about some of the others?

  • Promotional products are typically offshore cheap junk with little effectiveness?
  • Promotional products can be easily bought online? That sounds concerning because that usually means Amazon or other big online retailers.
  • Promotional products are riddled with pitfalls like tariffs, supply chain concerns, or other bad PR/reliability issues?

These are just three easy reasonings any end-user could make. Just looking at the SWOT analysis, it’s pretty obvious.

So, what does that mean for you and your company? And what can you do to in order to deal with what’s hovering over you like a specter?

The answer is that you need to do a SWOT analysis. Not one for general distributors, but for you and your company. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? You need to sit down for a long time (more than just your lunch time) and really think. Be honest with yourself, otherwise there’s no point – you’re doing no good lying and hindering your growth.

Afterward, if you find yourself in need of domestic solutions that are unique and provide value to your clients that can never be duplicated; and if you’re interested in learning what’s possible, then contact us.

Marketing Specialist for Bruce FoxKristina Hublar is your friendly neighborhood Marketing Specialist at Bruce Fox, Inc., which means she is the person behind the keyboard for the social media, emails, website, and other marketing efforts. In her spare time, you’ll find her plotting her next road trip, bobbing along to music while crafting, or spending time with loved ones.

Tags: Benefits for the distributor, Challenges faced by distributors