Expo East And ISS Meet Again

Expo East Brings Fresh Schedule, Same Excellent Show Experience To Atlantic City

Expo East returns to Atlantic City next month, running March 16-19 in conjunction with the Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Expo East is a collaboration between PPAI and the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY), and is gearing up to again bring to the East Coast a show experience similar to that of the highly successful PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.

The Atlantic City event adopts a new show pattern this year, with an education day on Wednesday, March 16, and the show dates shifting to Thursday through Saturday, March 17-19. The change was made to better meet exhibitor and distributors’ needs.

In conjunction with the ISS show and the latest technology, developments and services in the decorated apparel industry, Expo East offers attendees access to more than 1,000 booths to find new ideas for their clients and campaigns. The Expo’s popular Product Pavilions—Top Sellers, Green Products, Made In The USA and Express Ship—will also be part of Expo East. Early birds will get a first look at what is available on Thursday, March 17, with the Product Pavilion Sneak Peek at 9 am.

Expo East attendees will have more than 50 education sessions to choose from on seven tracks—Strategies & Solutions, Corporate Responsibility, Industry Essentials, Marketing & Advertising, Decorate,

Sales & Service and Technology—as well as insightful keynote sessions. Speaker and sales coach Diane Ciotta highlights how to get and stay motivated in a sales-based business in Wednesday’s keynote luncheon, and acclaimed PPAI Expo 2016 speaker Seth Godin joins Expo East as Thursday afternoon’s Keynote & Cocktails speaker.

Diane Ciotta Diane Ciotta

Seth Godin Photo by Brian Bloom Seth Godin
Photo by Brian Bloom

Registration for the four-day event is now open and special Expo East room rates are available at a number of area hotels, including the Tropicana, Borgata and Sheraton Atlantic City. Find the full schedule and register at expoeast.ppai.org.




PPAI And SAGE Extend Power Of Two Relationship

PPAI and industry technology provider SAGE have announced an extension of their Power of Two strategic alliance to deliver one comprehensive association and business management solution to promotional products distributors. The renewal agreement extends the $495 SAGE credit for PPAI distributor members. PPAI and SAGE will also be introducing a new streamlined process for membership renewals and credit redemption to be announced in March and rolled out in April.

“The Power of Two alliance has been a significant benefit to our members,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI. “SAGE has provided them with direct access to full product and supplier research and much more, and we are pleased to continue this relationship as our exclusive technology partner.”

Through this alliance, all new and renewing PPAI distributor members receive a $495 credit toward a SAGE Total Access subscription, which completely covers the cost of the first user for the year. Additional user licenses are $95 per year. SAGE Total Access provides distributors with access to SAGE Online, SAGE Web and SAGE Mobile, SAGE’s premier suite of product research, presentation, CRM, order management and virtual sampling tools.

“PPAI has long been the leading authority, advocate and voice in this industry,” says David Natinsky, president of SAGE. “By providing our subscribers with direct access to PPAI member benefits like legislative action tools, product safety initiatives, professional development and thousands of dollars in business savings, we are giving them the opportunity to develop as industry leaders.”

As part of the new agreement, SAGE Mobile served as the official show planner app for The PPAI Expo 2016, and will do the same for Expo East 2016 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. With SAGE Mobile, attendees can view complete event schedules, create walk lists, navigate the show floor using an interactive floor plan, add notes, pictures, videos and voice memos as they visit booths, and more. For more information on using SAGE Mobile at shows, visit go.sageworld.com/planexpo.

“I’m a huge supporter of both SAGE and PPAI and I am glad to hear that the Power of Two relationship is continuing,” says PPAI member Suzan Bolski, president/CEO of distributor Anything Goes Promotions, Inc. “SAGE’s technology has made my business more efficient and PPAI’s resources and professional development have helped me bring my company to the next level. We know we can always count on both SAGE and PPAI for help and support. For the distributor community, this is great news because access to SAGE Online, plus the unequaled value we receive from PPAI membership, means we will more than cover our cost in dues, making it a profitable opportunity for us.”

For more information on PPAI’s member benefits and savings opportunities, call PPAI at 888-I-AM-PPAI (426-7724) or visit www.ppai.org/join. For questions regarding SAGE services or the $495 SAGE credit, please call 800-925-7243 (SAGE) or visit www.sageworld.com.


PPAI Signs On Public Relations Agency For New Industry Branding Initiative

In May 2015, the PPAI Board of Directors approved the Association’s Industry Branding Initiative, a five-year plan to position promotional products as a top-of-mind and preferred advertising and marketing tool among professionals responsible for branding, advertising, media planning and media buying. In one of the first concrete steps of the plan, PPAI selected Saxum as its agency of record for the initiative in December.

PPAI developed the branding initiative aided by research on buyer purchasing habits and preferences, and in collaboration with industry leaders, PPAI’s Public Relations Advisory Group and the Chairman’s Roundtable Work Group. Oklahoma City-based Saxum will work with PPAI to implement an integrated communications plan, including strategic brand positioning, media relations, integrated creative content and a paid media campaign launching the promotional products industry’s first cohesive awareness and branding initiative.

“PPAI chose Saxum because of its unique approach to integrated communications, which we are confident will complement and enhance our ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the industry among promotional products buyers and the media,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “As we continue to work toward bringing the industry together under one mission, one purpose, and one voice, partnering with Saxum will help us meet the challenges of the market and create a powerful voice for the industry.

“Our industry represents one of the oldest forms of branding and advertising; we are sixth among traditional and digital advertising expenditures, and we are the eighth-fastest-growing medium, but many marketers and advertising agencies have yet to take full advantage of promotional products,” adds Bellantone. “PPAI and Saxum will work together to drive key messaging and elevate the fact that promotional products deliver the highest rate of reach, recall and response among major forms of advertising.”

Along with national and trade media outreach, Saxum will work with PPAI and the promotional products industry to develop the industry’s first multimedia evidence-based promotional products case study campaign library as a resource to media and buyers.

“As an integrated marketing communications firm, we understand the importance of identifying and maximizing all of the marketing tools that make up a balanced campaign, and that includes promotional products,” says C. Renzi Stone, founder and CEO of Saxum. “We’re excited about working with PPAI to expand understanding of how and why promotional products should be critical and strategic components of every organization’s marketing strategy, right from the start.”


Seth Barnett Named PPAI’s First Diversity Development And Engagement Manager

Seth Barnett

Seth Barnett, who for more than three years has served as PPAI’s government relations manager, has transitioned to a new role at the Association: diversity development and engagement manager. Part of the member engagement and regional relations team, Barnett’s position is a new one at PPAI and will focus on the strategic integration of demographic diversity in the Association’s programs, messaging and outreach within and outside the industry.

As government relations manager, Barnett has supported the ongoing success of PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) as well as the development and growth of L.E.A.D. Local. He trained industry advocates, wrote legislative briefs, monitored updates to industry law and tracked legislative matters at both the state and federal levels.

He recently spoke with PPB about his new role at the Association, the challenges it was established to address and his plans going into the position.

PPB: This is a new position at PPAI. What needs of the industry and Association was it designed to meet?

Barnett: The diversity challenge of our industry primarily focuses on generational demographics. The global economy is at a crossroads where, within the next 10 years, most of the workforce will be nearing retirement and there will be a tremendous need for young leadership. Our industry is no stranger to this demographic challenge as it primarily employs Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

During my time at PPAI, I’ve written articles and recorded podcasts about the generational issue and the ways our industry can meet this challenge. When PPAI’s Board of Directors began incorporating generational diversity within the industry in its strategic plan discussions, I wanted to take this idea to the next level and presented it as a new role for PPAI. This role will take this global economic challenge and simplify it in ways our industry can tap into to ensure continued success in the marketplace.

PPB: What will be your primary responsibilities in this role?

Barnett: There are two primary challenges that this role will seek to address. The first is our industry’s broad generational divide between the large number of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, and the insignificant number of Millennials in its workforce. We will look at how companies both within and outside our industry are attempting to recruit and retain Millennials. We are a unique industry with unique opportunities for younger people to get involved and stay involved, and we will find ways for businesses to diversify their workforce and create leadership opportunities that ensure success into the future. The second challenge is to better understand the changing marketplace and find ways for our industry to meet the new demands set forth by the younger generation of consumers. This will help businesses compete as the market continues to trend toward younger consumers.

PPB: How does this position work with other stakeholders in the Association and industry?

Barnett: This position works with supplier and distributor members at all levels. The success of the industry is made possible through a continued common understanding among all stakeholders. It is my hope that the information we will be providing will be useful to everyone in some way. We will also be developing ways to educate young people about the industry and what value it holds. This will not only inspire those seeking new opportunities to join our industry but also educate future consumers about the value of promotional products as part of the advertising mix. So in that regard, we are attempting to create new stakeholders through education and marketplace optimization.

PPB: What will be the focus of your first 90 days in the position? Any longer term goals?

Barnett: During the first 90 days I will work to establish a foundation and begin to help those in the industry have necessary conversations about their employment demographics and their visibility in the marketplace. It is our goal to establish long-term plans that address potential future industry demographic shifts as this position progresses. Many industries have begun to forecast the ways demographics will affect business several years down the road. It is my hope that as the research, conversations and education about this issue continue, we will be able to better predict economic and demographic challenges.