2021 Wrap-Up: All Our PM Longform Stories From This Year
Since we launched PM Longform in 2018, we've covered everything from the role of promotional products in Purdue Pharma's aggressive marketing of OxyContin, to Amazon's ever-creeping expansion into the branded merchandise world, to the early days of the pandemic PPE rush and more.
This year, we kept the series going with in-depth reporting on several big topics directly or indirectly related to the promo industry. If you missed them the first time around, here are all the PM Longform stories we ran this year.
Click the titles to view each article. And thanks, as always, for reading along.
We talked to five distributors about how they got into selling both printed and promotional products and why that crossover has taken on renewed importance in the current business climate. Our first longform of the year, it was a mission statement of sorts for our newly combined Print+Promo Marketing print magazine.
2. Price Increases, Shipping Delays and More: How COVID Is Breaking the Promotional Products Supply Chain
By now, it's hard to remember a time when the global supply chain wasn't the chaotic mess it is today. In this longform from early 2021, we looked at the various interconnected issues happening at the time—port backups, raw materials price increases, etc.—that would eventually come together to push supply chains to their breaking point.
3. 2021 State of the Industry Report: The Economic, Legislative and Market Factors Shaping Print and Promo a Year Into the Pandemic
While technically not part of our PM Longform series (it was released as a downloadable PDF resource), this article fits the bill, at least spiritually. Featuring interviews with government affairs analysts, breakdowns of policy and economic factors, and multiple Q&As with industry experts, it was our longest story of the year.
Mergers and acquisitions largely went on pause in 2020 as companies waited out the early stages of the pandemic. But, as we outlined in this story, signs were pointing to an increase in industry M&A for 2021. Since then, we've seen big deals including S&S Activewear's acquisition of TSC Apparel and Custom Ink's purchase of Swag.com and more.
Gifting as a service, one-to-one gifting, end-to-end gifting—whatever you call it, the boom in tech startups offering some variation on algorithm-assisted corporate-gifting drew a lot of attention in 2021, with many of these companies attracting big venture-capital investments. We looked at what these companies do, how they work and what's behind their rapid rise as we looked to demystify their relationship to promo.
6. Promo’s Burnout Problem Is Only Adding to the Supply Chain Mess—What Can the Industry Do About It?
Our final longform story of the year, this one looked at how burnout was (and still is) impacting individuals and businesses on both sides of the industry—and creating a feedback loop that was making supply chain issues even worse. There might not be any immediate solutions to the problem, but distributors and suppliers had some ideas for how to get through it.
Check back in tomorrow for the next 2021 wrap-up. Thanks for reading!