Welcoming The Next Generation

As part of its participation in the American Marketing Association’s 39th annual International Collegiate Conference, held this March in New Orleans, Louisiana, PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, moderated a panel discussion on promotional products marketing. The panel took questions from students in the audience and spoke on the various business and career paths within the promotional products industry.

I attended this session at the AMA International Collegiate Conference and found it very beneficial. Often times, when students are considering where to take their marketing degree after college, they are under-informed about promotions. We were given a book [Kirby Hasseman’s Delivering Marketing Joy] in the session that I have since read cover-to-cover. I will definitely be focusing my career on promotions upon graduating this May!


Southern Illinois University-Carbondale


Breaking Out Of Your Niche

The April issue’s Question column explored how distributors can get out of a tailspin when the niche they’ve specialized in is on a downward cycle. On niche market specialization, there are several areas to investigate in addition to those mentioned in the article:

1 If your market niche has been one company in an industry and if it is a larger company, you might try getting internal referrals. In a course I taught, I asked the class if they controlled all of the purchases of promotional products in that company. Most of the group felt that they did get all of the business from that client.

I suggested that prior to the next class meeting each person do a little research with that client to see if other departments or other locations had requirements. The most vocal member of the group was convinced that he had all of the business but took up the challenge and returned to the next class with a surprising result. His contact said the company had a number of subsidiaries located two floors above his office and provided the name of a key contact. Our distributor class member went upstairs to visit with several key people and within six months gained six new clients who, as a group, purchased three times as much as his old client had purchased in the prior year.

2 Most of my consulting clients over the past 25 years failed to exploit their neighborhood. Most towns and cities have a department in their government responsible for bringing new business to their locations. Most towns and cities list their major clients on their websites. Many distributors consider these lists as a good source of leads for new business.



Hults Consultants

Bridgeville, Pennsylvania