Decoding Promotional Products Industry .pdf
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Promotional Products Logo Apparel
Business Gifts Marketing Materials
1. Promotional Products: A Genesis
2. Promotional Products Association
3. How does the promotional industry work?
4. What are promotional products used for?
5. Who buys promotional products?
6. Tips for choosing a promotional product
7. Why business owners prefer promotional
products over other advertising media?
8. When should you give away promotional
9. The most successful product categories products?
10. The items customers love to receive!
Promotional Products: A Genesis
Barack Obama's 2012 Presidential Campaign deployed an arsenal
of promotional products to get his message across to American citizens. Car magnets, stickers, bands and t-shirts are some of the promotional products that were used to highlight his campaign. A dedicated site (https://store.barackobama.com) allowed visitors to
rowse aand purchase political merchandise.
residentt too use promotional prodObama, however, wasn’t th
ucts. The reliance on promotional giveaways is a practice that dates
back to the first American President – close to 300 years ago. In
1789, supporters of George Washington – the Father of the Nation –
handed out attractive commemorative brass buttons when he was
successfully elected as President. The buttons displayed the message:
“GW: Long Live The President”.
These buttons caught the fancy of several entrepreneurs – they realized that products could be customized and deployed as marketing
tools for business growth. As a result, the 1800s witnessed the introduction of advertising calendars, wooden specialties and the Farm-
Jasper Meeks: The Revolutionary
Jasper Meeks is regarded by many to be the Father of the modern
promotional industry. In the late 1800s, he convinced a local shoe
store to imprint their name on school bags and supply them to needy
children. This triggered a promotional frenzy and several other businesses started imprinting their names on anything they could lay
their hands on – calendars, caps, fans and even aprons!
Thus, the late 1800s became the launching pad for the promotional
industry as it is known today.
Promotional Products Association
By 1903, America was host to a number of promotional products
manufacturers. But they lived in difficult times and business was
mostly unpredictable. They needed a common platform to boost the
perceived value of promotional products to achieve buyers' objectives.
On November 20, 1903, a group of 12 manufacturers got together to
form the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).
Ever since its inception, PPAI has been highlighting the use of promotional products as an advertising medium across the world and
especially in the United States.
Some interesting facts about PPAI:
Since 1903, PPAI has undertaken more research and surveys than
any other entity in the promotional industry. PPAI Research is
renowned for its valuable insights and surveys on the industry
PPAI regularly felicitates the industry’s top performers with awards
for categories such as customer service, creativity and ingenuity
PPAI is responsible for the PPAI Expo, the industry’s biggest and
most relevant tradeshow that attracts thousands of people from the
USA and across the globe
PPAI Publications serves as the leading communication
network for the promotional industry. PPAI is behind several renowned magazines such as Promotional Consultant
Today and PPB Newslink
How does the promotional industry work?
The promotional products industry is powered by an efficient
supply chain that has the manufacturer as the starting point and the
buyer at the end. Sandwiched between these two are the industry’s
most important entities – the Suppliers and the Distributors.
The Suppliers source the promotional products from the manufacturers and make them available to Distributors. The distributors, in
turn, offer these products to business owners or individuals.
The arrival of Internet several decades ago resulted in a fierce battle
online between Distributors for customer supremacy. As a result,
several websites offer fabulous deals and discounts on products and
Today, an individual can place a bulk order for promotional products
from the comforts of home itself with the products being delivered to
1. The buyer visits the Distributor's website and places an order for a product.
He provides a logo and/or message for imprint on the product.
2. The Distributor gets the artwork ready and provides it to the
supplier who imprints it on the product.
3. The order is finally shipped out from the supplier's warehouse.
What are promotional products used for?
Promotional products are primarily used to highlight a product,
service, cause or an individual. This is achieved by giving away business gifts, awards, prizes, commemoratives and other imprinted or
The 2009 PPAI Program Category Study lists the following as the
Top 10 Uses for promotional products:
New Customer/Account Generation
Employee Relations & Events
New Product/Service Introduction
Employee Service Awards
Who buys promotional products?
Hundreds of American firms and institutions place bulk orders for
personalized products each day. They imprint their logo or message
on products and distribute them among their target audience,
whether its customers, students, employees or the general public.
A 2007 survey by PPAI sheds some light on the Top 10 buyers of
Education: Schools, Colleges, Universities
Financial: Banks, Savings & Loan Companies, Credit Unions
Health Care: Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Clinics
Construction: Building Trades, Building Supplies
Trade, Professional Associations and Civic Clubs
Real Estate: Agents, Title Companies, Appraisers
Government: Public Offices, Agencies, Political Candidates
Professional: Doctors, Lawyers, CPAs, Architects
Restaurants and bars
Which sector do you belong to?