executive perspectives: Community Ties
Paul Bellantone, CAE, has a lot to keep him busy. As president and chief executive officer of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the promotional product industry's not-for-profit association consisting of more than 10,600 member companies, he is responsible for successfully executing the vision of the PPAI board of directors, along with advocating for the industry.
After leaving his job at Miller Freeman Inc., a business-to-business media company, Bellantone joined PPAI in 1998 as the director of expositions and meetings. Fueled by a passion for increasing active and meaningful member communication, he quickly climbed the ranks. In 2001, Bellantone became PPAI's vice president of marketing and communications, and in 2004 he transitioned to vice president of marketing and business development. About three years later, he was named executive vice president and eventually stepped into his current leadership role in 2011.
In addition, Bellantone is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives, the Dallas Fort Worth Association Executives, the American Marketing Association, the Dallas/Fort Worth AMA and a board trustee for The Forum: Business Results Through People.
Here, Bellantone talks business.
Print+Promo (P+P): How does the economy continue to affect the promotional products industry?
Paul Bellantone (PB): We've continued to see steady year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter growth for both suppliers and distributors. Distributor members I speak with tell me their customers are more optimistic, beginning to think longer-term and discussing future programs. Clearly, that is good news for our industry. I am most encouraged that our research shows promotional products sales are growing faster than 11 of the 14 competitive media. In fact, only Internet, mobile marketing and cable TV are experiencing faster growth. As one of the most effective media, we can gain strength by positioning ourselves as a true advertising medium, rather than a "product" or "giveaway." In an industry of our size, this involves maintaining a level of awareness that will offset the competitive media. Herein lies our opportunity to leverage what we already know—promotional products work—by positioning promotional products at the forefront as one of the most cost-efficient and effective media in the advertising industry. Never has there been a better time for businesses to embrace promotional products.