Monthly Archives: September 2011

Virginia is for Promotional Product Lovers

Congratulations to the MAPPA board, volunteers and executive director Dana Geiger on a successful two days of shows and education yesterday and today.

MAPPA is one of the dozen or so regional associations that allow hosted buyers to attend their shows and education. As part of our ongoing regional presentation and town halls, PPAI chairman Eric Ekstrand, MAS, and I had the opportunity to present PPAI’s ADvocate program at the opening sessions each day. The ADvocate program provides compelling research on the value of promotional products and working with a promotional consultant to create and deliver safe and effective campaigns. Take a look at the presentation (ADvocate Presentation) and I think you will be impressed – or at least reminded – of how valuable promotional products are in building and promoting brands for small and large companies. I know the end-buyers were impressed and they freely shared their promotional product case-histories with Eric and me during and after the presentation.

Following our Wednesday presentation, Eric and I met with a reporter from the Richmond Times-Dispatch who interviewed us on how promotional products are especially effective for marketing small businesses. The answer is clear: with 27 million companies in the United State – and only 18,000 considered ‘large’ (over 500 employees) – promotional products, with an average order size of less than $1,000, are targeted, cost effective, tangible, useable, and proven effective for small businesses. I will post the story when it appears in the Times-Dispatch or their online small business publication WORK IT, RICHMOND.

Finally, I want to thank some of the folks that made this trip incredibly enjoyable. Dana Geiger and the MAPPA board, thanks for the opportunity to speak to the membership and their customers. Michael Irwin (AIA) and Stan Dohan (Allen Co.) for being the perfect dinner companions. Karen Barkevich (Gempire) for helping me brainstorm business development ideas and Christopher Duffy (Bagmakers) for the intelligent and thoughtful conversation.

Next week, I am off to Advertising Week in New York City to extoll the greatness of promotional products as a stand-alone marketing tool and as part of integrated media campaigns. PPAI sits on the Advertising Week Organizing Committee since 2004 and has helped it become the world’s premier annual gathering of marketing and communications leaders. Advertising week gives PPAI the opportunity to share research and tell our success stories to marketers, clients and other organizations such as the American Marketing Association, the American Advertising Federation, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Advertising Council.

Later in the week I will be at the Motivation Show in Chicago to speak and meet with our colleagues in the premium, incentive and engagement industries. I am sure we’ll have other successes to communicate from that visit.

Thanks for reading and caring about the industry and PPAI.  And let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you grow your business.

A Visit With Friends From North of the Border

The PPAI director team, Chairman Eric Ekstrand, MAS, and I met with Carol De Ville, MAS, PPPC chair; Robert Spector, incoming chair; and Ed Ahad, president/CEO, today at PPAI headquarters in Irving. PPAI has always had a strong relationship with the volunteers, staff and members of Promotional Product Professionals Canada (PPPC) dating back to my predecessor’s predecessor H. Ted Olson.  Olson, and then PPAI past president Steve Slagle, paved the way for today’s first-time strategic meeting between the two organizations.

Ed Ahad, has been in his role as president/ceo for less than two years so we’re both sensitive to the challenges and opportunities that come with changes to the senior leadership.

On the agenda for today: an overview of each other’s major programs and services, competitive challenges and opportunities to collaborate on existing and new products and services.

Tomorrow’s agenda includes presentations from PPAI’s department directors and more brainstorming. I am particularly interested in PPPC’s newly launched Member Rewards program and, dare I speak it, successful hosted end buyer program held on the third day of their national convention in Toronto.

First stop – Phoenix, Arizona

It was a treat to join these industry legends Bob Davis, Gene Geiger and Paul Lage.

Last week I had the opportunity to be among “Legends” – promotional products industry legends that is: Bob Davis, MAS, Paul Lage, MAS, Gene Geiger, MAS, and facilitator Joel Schaffer, MAS.  I was a panelist at a “Future of the Industry” education session at the AzPPA Expo and because there I was there sitting second from the right  I got referred to as a “legend” as well.

When they first started promoting the program it was Industry Superstars which made me uncomfortable enough.  After all, I was the only one on the panel – and probably in the entire room – that never made or sold a promotional product.  I sensed that legend was a bit over the top even for the others although they come closest to the true meaning of the word.

Being a panelist with four of my industry ‘heroes,’ yes heroes is a better word, was fun. They are incredibly quick, bright, intelligent, thoughtful and wickedly funny.  When Gene Geiger, deep in debate with Paul Lage, deadpanned from an old “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update skit, “Paul, you ignorant slut,” I thought I was going to lose it.

Joel Schaffer did a super job of keeping everyone in line and asking relevant questions. It was good to be around two 2012 Hall of Fame inductees, Bob Davis and Paul Lage, and to spend time with my someday-to-be-hall-of-fame heroes Joel Schaffer and Gene Geiger.

Kudos to show chair Molly Ginnish, AzPPA president Bruce Perryman and the entire AzPPA team for a successful education session and show.