What Are Promotional Products?
Promotional products—usually imprinted with a company's name, logo or message—include useful or decorative articles of merchandise that are utilized in marketing and communication programs. Imprinted products that are distributed free are called advertising specialties. Imprinted items given as an incentive for a specific action are known as premiums. Business gifts, awards and commemoratives are also considered promotional products.
How Is The Promotional Products Industry Organized?
Supplier firms produce or process products offered for sale through promotional products distributors. There are more than 3,500 supplier companies in the promotional products industry.
Distributors act as independent agents and sell products to their clients. There are more than 30,000 distributor firms in the industry.
More than 14,000 distributors and suppliers are members of Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).
What Is A Supplier?
A promotional products company that manufactures, imports, converts, imprints or otherwise produces or processes promotional products offered for sale through promotional products distributors.
What Is A Distributor?
In the promotional products industry, a distributor develops ideas for using promotional products in a marketing or promotional campaign, buys the items from the supplier and sells them to end buyers.
How Are Promotional Products Used In Marketing?
Since promotional products can be used alone, or integrated with other media, there are virtually limitless ways to use them. Popular programs cited most often by industry counselors (called distributors) are business gifts, employee recognition and reward, orientation programs, corporate communications, and at tradeshows to generate booth traffic. They're also effective for dealer/distribution programs, co-op programs, company stores, generating new customers or new accounts, nonprofit fundraising, public awareness campaigns and for promotion of brand awareness and brand loyalty. Other uses include employee incentive programs, new product or service introduction and marketing research for survey and focus group participants.
What Kinds Of Promotional Products Are Available?
There are tens of thousands of different types and styles of promotional products. In many cases, it's even possible to obtain custom items that aren't found in any catalog. Examples of common items include: pens, calendars, t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, calculators, key chains, desk accessories and bumper stickers.
See More Research What Products Are The Most Popular?
Of the $22 billion spent in 2021 on promotional products, the most popular was wearables/apparel. Click here to see the summary sheet.
Locate A Promotional Consultant Where Can I Find Someone In My Area To Help Me With My Promotional Campaign?
Visit https://www.promotionalproductswork.com/distributor-connect. Fill out the form and we will help connect you with a PPAI-member distributor in your area.
Where Can I Get More Information About Becoming A Member Of PPAI?
Contact the PPAI Membership Department by phone 888-I-AM-PPAI (426-7724), e-mail PPAI Membership, or visit the Why Join section of the website.
What Should I Do If I run Into A Problem With Another Supplier or Distributor?
If you have a dispute with another promotional products company you can participate in PPAI’s voluntary, non-binding arbitration program. This service is for disputes that involve specific orders, a minimum $250 (gross), not for generalized complaints. Contact 972-258-3041 for more information.
It is a peer advisory service approved by the PPAI’s Board of Directors to provide impartial input
from industry peers who volunteer their counsel in a disagreement between two disputing firms,
typically a distributor firm and a supplier firm.
To foster improved relations between distributors and suppliers.
There is no fee for this member service.
This service is for disputes that involve specific orders (minimum of $250 gross), not for generalized
complaints about individual policies, marketing practices, etc.
Only one party needs to be a member of the Association.
This service is not meant to be (nor is it) a legally-binding arbitration service. As you may know,
Promotional Products Association International, like other 501 c (6) non-profit trade associations, is
not permitted by law to intervene in disputes between member firms. The Federal Antitrust Laws are
very specific on that.
Our Association staff is expressly prohibited from answering any disputee questions or providing any
personal opinions or any information other than the guidelines of how the service works. Please refer
the parties that call to the staff coordinator who handles the service.
(1) For this service to be provided, both parties must first voluntarily agree to participate in the
service. If either party does not agree and comply, the service cannot be made available.
(2) Both parties should then individually provide the facts of the dispute, from their perspective, in
All references to the companies involved in the dispute will be deleted and forwarded in a written
report to an advisory panel.