This past weekend, PPAI® Research Manager Mo Das and Communications and Branding Strategist Kim Todora attended the 2019 American Marketing Association (AMA) Winter Academic Conference in Austin, Texas, to present the Association’s white paper on the role of promotional products in higher education.

In developing “Growing the Curriculum: Promotional Products in U.S. Higher Education,” PPAI partnered with the AMA to collect insights from more than 400 marketing faculty and more than 1,000 undergraduate students from across the U.S. to better understand the state of promotional products in higher education through the eyes of marketing faculty and students. The study explored the depth of faculty awareness, knowledge and understanding, as well as illuminated student motivations, mindset and behavior to identify the perspectives of the next generation and the schools expected to educate them. Highlights of the study were reported in PPB’s September 2018 issue.

PPAI’s study uncovered both challenges and opportunities for promotional products in higher education. Although 90 percent of marketing faculty say they consider promotional products a form of advertising and 79 percent of educators say promotional products are recognized in marketing courses at their institutions, the attention paid is minimal. The white paper, written by Das, notes, “This apparent disconnect illuminates a significant opportunity for the industry ‘by involving industry partners in teaching,’ a full-time lecturer says, ‘[and] promotional products can be used as a link’ between the institution and the supplier, distributor and business services companies to create forums and educate faculty, future buyers and future peers in the promotional products industry.”

Das and Todora’s session at the AMA conference explored PPAI’s findings and noted that while the goal of higher education is rooted in transitioning students into professionals, it is equally important to effectively communicate to the next generation the ways in which their degrees, interests and talents can lead to successful and fulfilling careers in promotional marketing.