PPAI’s Promotional Products Work (PPW) Expo for distributors and their invited guests is less than two weeks away, and Association leadership is already out in support of end buyer events at the regional level.

In Attendance

On Wednesday, Chair of the Board Kevin Walsh, CAS, visited the Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) and its Merch Madness show, open to distributors and their clients. And on Thursday morning, PPAI President and CEO Dale Denham, MAS+, also spoke to a mixed audience of distributors and buyers at the Promotional Products Association of Chicago (PPAChicago) Showcase.

With its mission to be the voice and force to advance the promotional products marketplace for the benefit of its community, PPAI is encouraging member participation and support of events that educate buyers on the possibilities and best practices when using promo.

End-Buyer Opportunities

Registration for the March 28 PPW Expo is open. The virtual event is designed to instruct end buyers on the efficacy of promotional products and the value of working with a distributor.

If nothing else, sending an invite to the event can help distributors stay top of mind for their clients without specifically soliciting business. PPW Expo helps buyers – hand in hand with the distributors who invited them – explore the vast world of promo products, ignite their creativity and engage them to work more collaboratively with their distributor partner.

  • No supplier personnel attend the event.
  • Distributors who attend with their buyers will receive key feedback on product pavilion items that piqued client interest.

A Receptive Audience

Attending the second leg of VAPPA’s two-day show – held in Chesapeake on Tuesday and Richmond on Wednesday – Walsh found an engaged audience for his town hall discussion.

“It’s been strong,” Walsh said of the event’s turnout. Some 200 end buyers were expected to attend the Richmond stop, hosted by nearly 100 distributors.

Taking the temperature of industry colleagues at the event, Walsh said, “From those conversations, business has been strong and the outlook remains positive despite economic forecasts."

  • Walsh also took the opportunity to thank and congratulate VAPPA members Jeanne Walls and Todd Mawyer for their recent efforts to defeat a Virginia House of Delegates bill that would have barred state agencies from purchasing promotional products.

In Illinois, Denham delivered a keynote aimed at elevating promo and getting buyers to think about the high value of the medium well after the event. His remarks included case studies of major international brands’ successful campaigns and leaned on PPAI research, such as a recently released survey that revealed consumers’ positive regard for promotional products during periods of economic hardship.

“I highlighted the ways branding doesn’t always involve a logo and encouraged subtle logos when necessary,” Denham said. “I also pointed out the industry’s progress on sustainability while mostly focusing on giving something people want to keep and reuse.”

Beyond Events

The PPW initiative has designs beyond the March event and another slated for September. The events’ slickly produced video elements are one aspect of an overall buyer-facing content campaign.

  • The Association has released a PPW Toolkit. It features an agency-produced portfolio of marketing assets, allowing members to share the story and benefits of promotional products with clients.
  • Toolkit assets include image and statistic-based graphics, as well as videos that can be used on social platforms, websites and in print marketing.
  • PromotionalProductsWork.com also functions as a content hub, featuring buyer-safe articles relevant to upcoming buying seasons and product trends.