The wealth of educational opportunities presented at The PPAI Expo 2024 and The PPAI Expo Conference serves as an indispensable resource for professionals within the promotional products industry. This year’s conference showcased a myriad of forward-thinking concepts, offering attendees beneficial and intriguing ideas that they can readily apply within their own companies.

Strategic Standardization

In the competitive world of promotions, standing out is crucial for success. In the session “Creating Wild Business Growth by Embracing Your Standard,” Bill Petrie, founder and creative director at brandivate and the 2024 PPAI Distinguished Service Award winner, shared valuable insights on the significance of clear standards in setting your company apart.

“Standards shape how customers perceive an organization. Clients prefer working with companies that have well-established and consistent standards and expectations,” says Petrie.

Defining standards plays a pivotal role in outlining each employee’s responsibilities within the company. This, in turn, contributes to improved financial stability, enhanced efficiency, and increased productivity, ultimately benefiting customers.

Standardizing your business goes beyond mere conformity; it’s about forging a distinct path in the market. The establishment and upkeep of standards not only shape a company’s personality but also serve as the ultimate catalyst for success.

Diversity Matters

Unlocking new revenue streams requires a shift beyond relying solely on existing clients and referrals. In the vast landscape of untapped customers, success lies in understanding those who are not like you.

In her session, “How To Market To – Sell – To – And Service People Not Like You,” Kelly McDonald, of McDonald Marketing, emphasizes diversity manifests in various forms, including race, age, life stage, language preference, religion, sexuality and hobbies or special interests. Acknowledging these differences and customizing a product, message or marketing strategy to resonate with the uniqueness of consumers validates the significance of specific consumer groups. It’s a shift toward marketing based on values rather than demographic profiles.

A crucial aspect to consider is gender. Women prefer testimonials about products and services both written and on video. Additionally, women appreciate options, different approaches and time to consider their choices.

On the other hand, men prefer a more streamlined approach with fewer options, ideally three choices or less. Men tend to respond best to marketing that is simple and straightforward.

Above all, it’s essential to tap into the core values of all demographics. Connecting with a customer’s core values taps into their heart, mind, and eventually, their wallets.

The Creative Edge

A harmonious blend of creativity, design prowess and flawless execution is key to standing out in the promo field. This trio forms the foundation for distinguishing your business amid the crowd.

In the breakout session “How To Use Creativity And Merchandising To Set Yourself Apart,” industry experts Jessica-Gibbons-Rausch, MBA, PPAI’s manager of professional development learning programs; Samantha Fullerton, senior account executive at BAMKO; Kate Masewich, vice president of marketing at commonsku; and Quinn Bui, CAS, national sales manager at Rupt, collectively emphasized the pivotal role of creativity as the cornerstone for creating a lasting impression.

The group discussed the significance of presenting novel ideas and new products to clients, even when clients approach them with specific products in mind. This proactive approach not only showcases the business’s innovation but also makes clients more receptive to unique and unexpected solutions.

By continually seeking inspiration, exploring new avenues, and embracing creative thinking, individuals can elevate their capacity to generate fresh and compelling ideas that set their businesses apart.