PPAI Magazine January 2024

Must Read | Outlook 2024 Opportunities To Seize Savvy leaders in the promotional products industry will quickly identify that many of promo’s weaknesses represent the greatest opportunities for their firms. Industry pros cite five key areas that represent opportunities for the industry to grow, improve or simply seize upon a horizon of new possibilities. While most of these are already being focused on by numerous promo companies, the industry at large has plenty of room to advance by making these topics part of the larger conversation that begins with the term “promotional products.” And any company not yet taking the plunge may be falling behind. Here are the opportunities outlined most often by responding distributors and suppliers: 39% | Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Products The sustainability revolution has already begun in promo, but one supplier suggested the immediate future is going be key to that movement, saying “one of the greatest opportunities in the next five years is likely to be the increased focus on sustainability and ecofriendly products.” The survey results show that suppliers and distributors want the days of promotional products being referred to as “brandfill” to become a distant memory. It is becoming urgent for our industry and urgent for our planet. “Sustainability can be intimidating, but it’s important to look at this area as an opportunity for growth,” Wimbush says. “How each company approaches its sustainability goals and what success looks like for them has flexibility, based on where their greatest impact potential lies. These differentiators help set them up for new business and give a competitive edge.” Sustainability means accomplishing more than just eco-friendly goals. It also means better products or “more than one-use items,” as one supplier says. “My hope is that environmentally friendly products will continue to make inroads and become more competitive with more traditional (cheaper) products,” says one distributor. 28% | Advancements In Technology Technology is perpetually a vital frontier, and according to responding promo professionals, the wake of cutting-edge technologies like AI and digital platforms can streamline operations and offer personalized client experiences. One supplier stressed the “ability to reach more consumers via technology. Younger generations like the ability to personalize products or align with a brand.” Existing and evolving technology can also make work more efficient and easier for individual companies and the industry as a whole, or as one distributor foresaw, “new technologies to make production quicker, cheaper and easier with excellent quality.” This year, PPAI hired CW Karstens as director of digital transformation, and Karstens has come into the position with innovation as his guiding compass. “Embracing and fostering innovation is not merely an option – it is a necessity for individuals, organizations and societies CW Karstens Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Products Advancements In Technology E-Commerce & Online Marketing 39% 28% 17% 13% 3% Key Opportunities Retail Brands Global Market Expansion 70 • JANUARY 2024 • PPAI