Perspectives: Customer First
If you are a member of PPAI, you get the benefit of the Association reinvesting dollars into the industry. You are truly our customer whether you are a supplier, distributor, business services provider or a buyer of promotional products.
Just as every business ultimately exists to serve its customers, PPAI exists to serve our membership, and the customer must come first. It’s very cliché to say but growing more challenging to achieve.
Customer demands have been increasing steadily over the last 20 years. We can thank Amazon and others for the fact that people now expect a great “customer experience,” which usually involves an investment in digital transformation to make things easier. Other demands such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are newer but gaining momentum faster than many predicted. These increasing demands make it more important than ever for leaders to make smart investments.
Every expenditure of time or money should involve putting your customer first over the long term and start with the question, “how does this impact the customer?” Some investments will be easier to tie to customer experience than others, such as a new website. Other investments may be less clear, such as replacing an internal system or switching marketing automation platforms. If nothing else, asking how the initiative will benefit the customer gives you the opportunity to maximize the value of any investment with a focus on the customer.
PPAI puts our members/customers first in our investments, and we expect to help you do the same for your own customers. Our most significant investment is in the Promotional Products Work campaign, and with it, Promotional Products Work (PPW) Expo, which just wrapped its inaugural event in May as a preview of what will become a signature PPAI production.
The PPW Expo puts the ultimate “customer” of promotional products first. In-person “end buyer” shows have been succeeding in the industry for many years, and during COVID lockdowns, the online end buyer events became extremely valuable to keeping clients informed. Clearly an in-person event is the most valuable, but few clients will travel very far to attend an in-person event on promotional products. Thus, the PPW Expo allows suppliers and distributors to engage with end buyers, no matter where they were located. In addition to product pavilions and supplier virtual booths, PPAI provides education on promotional products to inspire clients and highlight some of the best aspects of the industry.
If you weren’t able to be part of the preview event, know that the next PPW Expo will take place Sept. 29. Plan to invite all your clients to the fall event to maximize your fourth quarter. You can learn more about our initiative at PromotionalProductsWork.com.
The PPW Expo is an important part of how PPAI is leveraging digital transformation to benefit our members and driving customer value. We have several other initiatives to drive value to our members, investing in both CSR and the industry’s digital transformation, with a focus on ensuring that we advance the overall marketplace for the benefit of our community of members.
As you consider your investments, always ask “how will this impact my customer?” Our investments will put you, our customer, first.
Dale Denham, MAS+ is president and CEO of PPAI.