We started the year off with the doom and gloom of tariffs. The tone was that of uncertainty and bewilderment that a single tweet could possibly change the global economy. Suppliers searched for alternatives to Chinese production and diversification for sourcing, and not having published pricing in catalogs became the standard, not the exception.

The mega trend of the year seemed to be buzzing around sustainability: natural products, going green, carbon-neutral shipping, recycled materials, upcycled materials and everywhere you turned … reusable straws! We’ve seen an emergence in giveback programs, cause marketing and a deeper dive into corporate social responsibility.

This year we have continued to strengthen international relationships in a global economy that seems to make the physical distance smaller and opportunities for collaboration greater.

Industry colleagues once again came together on Capitol Hill in May for the 10th annual Legislative Education And Action Day, bringing awareness to our industry for small businesses, independent contractors and the value of promotional products. We might be feeling the importance of these initiatives now more than ever with the recent threat of legislation being passed that could harm all our businesses, and I hope more people get involved at both the local and national levels.

Hot topics such as PCI compliance, cyber-attacks and cyber security provided many outlets for education and shared wisdom from friendly competitors who chose transparency for the greater good.

We’ve seen a rise in experiential marketing that has opened up avenues for new products, new solutions, more creativity and value and, dare I say, we’ve even started embracing Millennials.

So, what will the new decade bring?

I am an eternal optimist, so as the Magic 8-Ball would say—Outlook is Good. 2020 will bring another election year with new marketing opportunities and a strong economy. With the push for sustainability, there is no doubt we will see new products introduced into the marketplace that follow this trend. I believe we will start to see a shift in demand for both retail brands and higher-quality products that buyers want to associate with their brand. There will continue to be a need for our members to actively reach out to members of congress to educate them on issues facing our industry, and PPAI will continue to lead the charge.

It’s almost time to pass the torch, as my year serving as PPAI chair will come to a close after the 2020 Expo. It has been a privilege and I am thankful for everyone I have been able to work with, collaborate with and learn from. I am grateful for our Association that is focused on building and supporting an industry of the future that will not only be relevant but critical for marketers in years to come. I am grateful for the members and volunteers who push us forward and have the confidence to evolve—those who challenge the status quo and embrace the unknown. I am honored and proud to be part of an industry that values the collision and collaboration of different generations and isn’t afraid to embrace the changes courageously.

I also want to give a huge thank-you to Brandon Mackay, MAS, president of SnugZ USA, our sales team and all my teammates for supporting me throughout my board service. I am very fortunate to have such an incredible support system that has been encouraging and are some of my biggest cheerleaders.

You have a great team who is working hard every day at PPAI. There is not a more talented, professional and dedicated group to work on your behalf.

Keep the industry indispensable. Keep it elevated. Keep it thriving. See you at Expo!


Brittany David, MAS, is chair of the PPAI Board of Directors.