The PPAI Expo is the largest and most-attended trade show in the promotional product industry; who knew it would be my first-ever expo?
I joined the HALO team back in October as their new Marketing Media Coordinator — I was completely new to the industry. It wasn’t long after starting my job at HALO that I was told I would get to go to Las Vegas to attend the PPAI Expo and help coordinate other HALO-sponsored events.
Two thoughts crossed my mind after hearing this news: “I’m so excited I get to travel to somewhere I’ve never been before,” and “Wow! I get to attend the biggest trade show in the industry. What a great opportunity to get a firm grasp on what this business is all about by immersing myself in this experience.”
Before I attended the PPAI Expo I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how big this was going to be; there seemed to be a lot of hype surrounding it at work. An abundance of time went into preparing and planning for our trip to the expo, including how we could share our experience with our followers on social media – we’ll get to more of that later.
One consistent piece of advice I was given by anyone who had ever been to the PPAI Expo was: wear comfortable shoes. I had no idea how true this was until I got there.
As I stepped onto the show floor for the first time I was excited, intrigued and slightly overwhelmed. Booths were everywhere the eye could see, each one displaying all sorts of products, from apparel to pens, to wine bottles – basically anything you could imagine putting a logo on.
As I strolled down the aisles wearing what I thought would be comfortable, yet professional, flats I felt my feet begin to ache, but that didn’t stop me from taking in everything around me.
The show floor was absolutely abuzz with different suppliers displaying and discussing their latest products.
The first booth that really caught my eye was Numo’s booth. I loved the simple, yet feminine, products they featured with a pleasant display of pastel colors that really popped against their white display cases and floors.
Another notable PPAI Expo moment was when we saw the Toddy Gear character. Toddy products have been featured in some of HALO’s mailers in the past, such as our inbox.
We came across a pleasant surprise while walking the show floor, we found a HALO logoed wine bottle at the Wine Designs booth!
Another PPAI Expo booth that caught my eye was Showdown Displays. They managed to create an interaction both in person, and through social media, with their cutout ninja display. They asked people to post their picture on Twitter with the hashtag #imaSDninja which also entered them into a contest to win Solo 3 Wireless Beats headphones!
One of the most memorable experiences on the show floor involved trying something new on our Facebook account.
Our Media/Marketing team decided to go LIVE at the PPAI Expo. We scheduled times with different suppliers to host a brief interview that would allow each supplier time to feature, and elaborate on, their latest and greatest products.
It proved to be a learning experience, our first live broadcast was sideways, but that’s how it goes when something is broadcasted live! In order to learn you have to make a mistake or two along the way.
Facebook live seems to be one of the biggest up and coming social media marketing trends; according to the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, “A significant 50% of marketers plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and 50% want to learn more about live video.”
We spoke with Gemline, Crown and Prime Line/Jetline and truly enjoyed interacting with their supplier reps.
Rick Belefato spoke about Gemline’s trending color schemes for 2017’s products.
Bob Heintz discussed Crown’s new tumblers, coolers and The Great Plate which was featured on Shark Tank and was picked up by exclusively by Crown for the promotional product industry.
Gregg Szpicek with Prime Line/Jetline highlighted their apparel options and their source abroad section which creates custom pieces.
What was really fun about Facebook live was the fact that it was live, it made us all loosen up and have fun with it instead of overthinking everything we did, we definitely hope to do more of these videos in the future.
To check out our live videos click here.
Although the PPAI experience was a whirlwind for me (I was in Vegas Monday through Wednesday) I learned a lot, met a lot of great people and enjoyed my time there.