AIM was born in 2006 from a conversation among a group of distributors. They discussed the need in the promotional product industry for an organisation unlike anything that had been created before. They imagined a group that united experienced, promotional product distributors for benefits with top suppliers – in other words, to help level the playing field for distributors who were looking for better customer service, reciprocal loyalty when using the same suppliers over and over, and for help with a number of other shared challenges.
This level of partnership and solidarity was uncharted territory in our industry, but the discussion inspired distributor and AIM founder Jamie Coggeshall to step up to the challenge. At its start, AIM became a group of about 100 distributors located primarily in northeast America. Gaining members via word-of-mouth, the young organisation grew steadily. Finally, in 2013, AIM was marketed throughout the US promotional products industry for the first time. Today, AIM is proud to have a membership of over 2,200 distributors.
In 2015, AIM held its first event, managed by one of these strategic partnerships, which gave AIM members the opportunity to meet one-on-one exclusively with AIM suppliers – helping each other build stronger relationships and grow their businesses. (This was also around the time when Jamie and Nikki first met, and the beginning of their terrific friendship... but more on that in a minute.) By the end of 2018, AIM had grown to more than 1,900 strong with close to $2 billion in combined annual sales.
In 2019, AIM experienced an exciting new chapter in its history. Jamie Coggeshall (President of AIM, USA) and Nikki Stella (CEO of Altitude Group PLC) had been discussing their mutual love of this industry, and a similar vision for what heights AIM could soar to with the right team. In January of 2019, the stars aligned, and AIM was acquired by the Altitude Group PLC, a UK based technology and software company who also owns the market leading UK brand, Customer Focus. Once Altitude acquired AIM, the sky was the limit. New programs and events began to roll out in 2019 with even brighter possibilities and exciting offerings in 2020.
Today, AIM is a global powerhouse distributor organisation with a team of dedicated professionals at the top of our respective fields. Under the outstanding leadership of Nikki as the CEO coupled with the highly experienced UK team led by COO Deborah Wilkinson, AIM was launched here in the UK, extending Altitude Group’s market leading industry service suite to incorporate AIM’s outstanding member benefits and community beliefs. The teams in the UK and US work closely in sync providing unrivalled global insight and benefits and includes former distributors, former suppliers, marketing professionals, and more - all bringing valuable knowledge and experience. As we look to the future, we know it looks bright, and we are all excited to be part of this amazing group.