When we released the inaugural PPAI 100 in 2023, we said that the most important thing for us to do was listen to member feedback.

Not surprisingly, we heard plenty of it. We integrated your ideas where it made sense to create improvement, taking it as a duty to continue to perfect the program. There have been several important changes beyond doubling the list’s size to 100 distributors and 100 suppliers.

To incentivize companies reporting truly verified revenue and curb others’ temptations to overinflate their sales, a bonus and penalty system was introduced.

In coordination with PPAI’s recent membership structure change, we are not reporting or scoring revenue figures above the recommended range for a firm’s membership tier.

These changes were an answer to the most common request we heard from members – to enhance the veracity of revenue reporting. Because of these and other enhancements, we believe PPAI 100 is now a stronger, more authentic measure. And if our priority in 2023 was to listen, then the most important thing we can all do this year is to learn.

We’ve already learned so much about the model PPAI 100 is built on – namely that this will never be your grandfather’s list. Companies will rise and fall, sometimes significantly, because revenue growth over a rolling three-year period is such an important component. A pivot into PPE sales allowed some firms to have a relatively stable 2020. But if they didn’t expand their business as much in the years since, they tended to slip. Companies who rode a rocket ship out of the pandemic show themselves to be stronger by the PPAI 100 measure.

As for what the industry should learn from Year 2, consider this a signal for the future: The weight of the Responsibility category doubled in this year’s scoring matrix. And it will only go up from here.

Responsibility and all the other categories that represent promo stewardship, such as Innovation, Industry Faith and Professional Development, will only grow in their importance. Over time, we intend for the weight of overall revenue to decline, in the process encouraging positive action in these areas of vital interest to the industry’s future strength.

This will create a more level playing field. It’s my hope that more of the industry’s small and midsize businesses will learn to recognize the opportunity to be included and earn the social proof that comes with a place on PPAI 100, or High Marks honors for companies that didn’t quite make the list.

Your participation in each of the PPAI 100 surveys is crucial to forming strong benchmarking data that serves companies of all sizes. It also helps PPAI advocate on behalf of our membership. If there is any secret method to improving your company’s standing in the PPAI 100, or cracking the list for the first time, it’s increased participation. We want companies of all sizes to benefit from this massive research effort.

As for what I’m learning from the 2024 PPAI 100, here’s the main takeaway: Yesterday’s outcome does not guarantee tomorrow’s result.
How many of you are more concerned about the sales you made in 2023 than the one you’re trying to close today, or the prospects for tomorrow? Truly, PPAI 100 is about more than last year’s sales.

Its eight unique scoring categories are essentially a measure of an industry company’s trajectory, or how well positioned the firm is for the future. PPAI 100 is about picking up more and more wins with your team and doing things the right way. It’s about leadership.

Because of this, we’re all learning that PPAI 100 is the most valuable honor in the industry.