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We Are Farfromboring.com

December 20th, 2011

If I were a freelance reporter doing a feature story on the state of the promotional products industry I wouldn’t have to dig far to uncover some universal truths.

For starters, I’d probably let people know the ad specialties industry grosses more revenue than any other traditional advertising medium. Surprised? If I didn’t know anything about the industry I definitely would be.

After I mention some startling statistics, I’d briefly touch upon the number of promotional product distributors operating in the U.S. While the number will soon be 20,000, I learned not all distributors are equal. Some have a national reach while others simply service the town they reside in. No matter which category they fall into, they all have access to the same products. Or do they? In a moment I’ll explain, so stay with me.

As a freelance reporter not familiar with the industry, I found out a pen really isn’t a pen after all. An astute sales rep told me a pen is really a promotional tool. “Think about how many times someone uses his or her favorite pen throughout the day?” he said. “That is the power of a useful promotional item – the advertiser’s message gets across many times a day. Without useful promo items, the advertiser would be, well, out of sight – and consequently out of mind.”

As a reporter, I would have guessed a magazine advertisement would be the way to go over a high quality pen. If 100,000 magazines are circulated throughout my town, that’s a lot of eyes seeing all those ads. Actually, research proves that’s not really the way it works. If you watch people read magazines they usually don’t read it cover to cover. And most of the ads in the mags are only concerned with branding; a very small percentage are conceived by direct response marketers. Think about newspapers: some buy it only for the sports section and throw the rest away.

By the way, you can make the same argument for a cheap pen. After interviewing a few sales reps about the effectiveness of a $0.40 pen some raised the question of perceived value. They were wise enough to suggest some other options that would work for my budget. While some recipients of the plastic pen may use it, others may throw it into a drawer full of pens, and therefore the advertiser loses. As a non-biased reporter, I have a duty to report the truth to my readership.

Are all distributors the same?

After contacting both small town promotional product distributors and those that appear on the first page of Google, I learned some very interesting things. Most everyone on the first page of Google featured the same items, while the smaller players did not have access to as wide a variety. At the end of the day, my analysis concluded the price points of these products are fairly the same on the big sites, leaving the advertiser with a very remarkable cost per impression. The difference, as it seems to be with any industry, comes down to customer service.

Some of the bigger players could only recommend I search specific product categories on the site, and get back to them. This leaves me to believe they were simply order takers, and had very little product/marketing knowledge.

Others displayed more of a vested interest, and were willing to work for my business by providing fast solutions based on my fictional project requirements: ‘I need 2,000 tumblers shipped to the West Coast, and they have to be in my hands in less than 72 hours. By the way, I also needed help with my 2-color logo.’

What makes Farfromboring.com far…from…boring

My 2,000-word article was to be accompanied by a sidebar that solely focused on one distributor that operated with a clear competitive advantage. I decided to call upon those distributors on the first page of Google, thinking the bigger players would have more case studies under their belt than a small-town guy.

I collected story after story and compared them. Nothing really stood out. I needed a clear-cut winner in order to make my headline pop. I called on the folks at Farfromboring.com and expected to hear the same old, same old. Boy was I surprised.

Rob Stillman

After speaking to founder and CEO Robert Stillman, I knew his company would be the focus of my 500-word sidebar. Stillman told me he just came back from a business trip to China, where he not only met up with his core group of suppliers to discuss business but also to find the latest and greatest promotional items that have yet to hit the U.S. This is by far one competitive advantage that Farfromboring.com has over other distributors.

Sewing Machine

Stillman mentioned how his leather factory can create some really cool bespoke pieces. For example, let’s say you wanted to give 100 of your special clients a personalized leather iPad case with their name debossed on it. It wouldn’t be in normal font, though. His factory can actually take your client’s signature penmanship and make it come to life…the way he writes his name on paper can be imprinted to exacting specifications. Wow! That is really far from boring. That is a promotional gift your client would never forget.


Stillman emphasized in today’s economic landscape it is important to offer an experience people won’t forget – and it all starts with customer service. The promotional product specialists at Farfromboring.com create personalized digital catalogs from scratch that are tailored to their client’s individual needs. This not only saves clients time (and the occasional headache) from searching online, but it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing by showing clients promos they would have never thought of.

Robes and slippers

The proverbial ‘one stop shop’ is a popular phrase tossed around by everyone in business today, however after seeing the photos Stillman brought back from China, I have to admit Farfromboring.com truly fits the bill in this respect.

Morning in China

At the end of my sidebar I decided to include a telephone number (877-751-PROMO) in case someone felt compelled to call on Stillman’s expertise. I can say this: I learned a lot about promotional products just by speaking to Stillman. And that’s the best part about my job as a reporter – sometimes you find out a pen really isn’t a pen after all.

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