Promotional Industry Social Rock StarsWe set out on a journey a month ago. The destination was to identify the Top 25 content producers in the promotional products industry. There has never been a comprehensive, data-driven list of online influencers created for the industry and we set out on this initiative because we think it’s important. There is much for all of us to learn from emulating the thought-leaders providing digital leadership in our industry, and having a list based on a methodical review and analysis seems like a great place to start.

We worked with one of the top big data firms doing “netnography” in social media, The Social Studies Group. We wanted to make sure the effort was absolutely objective, so we excluded the accounts managed for the Quality Certification Alliance, as well as the personal accounts of our staff. Additionally, while QCA-accredited suppliers and Distributor Advocacy Council members were included, we made it clear that they were not to be given any preference — there was not going to be any home cooking on this list. The Social Studies Group combined several extensive Twitter lists of North American industry players, including over 1,300 accounts on the PromoPeople list from industry recruiting firm,, and removed all duplication. To make sure we didn’t miss anyone, organizations and individuals in the industry were invited to submit their names for consideration. Many, if not most, of the manual submissions were already on the list, and the total had grown to nearly 2,500 accounts!

Wendy Scherer, managing partner at The Social Studies group, explains, “We set up social media monitoring in Brandwatch to collect the 2015 content for everyone on the list. There were so many, it took four queries to fit everyone in. The top 150 authors were selected based on their Impact Score, which is a normalized calculation of the sum of the number of mentions by the Author and the maximum values achieved for Potential (how much potential a mention has to be seen) and Engagement (how often a mention has been viewed, shared or retweeted). Impact Scores were given a score of 1 to 5.”

“Next, Social Reach (number of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube) was calculated for each author, again giving a score of 1 to 5. Next, our analyst reviewed the top 50 authors for content quality and industry topics (rather than personal or off topic content) for a Content Relevancy score of 1-5. The final list represents the top 25 Impact Score + Social Reach + 2x Content Relevancy. Content Relevancy was given twice the weight, as one of the primary goals of creating this list was to identify content that provides great value to the industry.”

QCA 2015 Top 25

Right behind the two major industry trade associations on the list, ASI and PPAI, the top individual account, Danette Gossett, principal of Gossett Marketing (@MarketngTidbits) landed at the number three spot. “When we launched Interesting Marketing Tidbits we wanted to help everyone better understand the promotional products industry and how it influences not only business, but everyday life. We wanted to tell stories about a variety of products and programs–from the serious to the crazy extreme. We’ve been gratified to have our many long term loyal followers and we really enjoy the positive feedback we continue to receive.”

Margit Fawbush, communications manager for BIC Graphic N.A. (@BICGraphic), says “Social media is ever-changing. Trends shift, technology evolves, habits change, analytics change, but one thing remains constant – it takes time. I am always learning, always tweaking the strategy, always trying to find new ways to engage.”

Kirby Hasseman (@kirbyhasseman), of Hasseman Marketing and Communication, is the best example of why we weighted content as being so important–no account scored higher in content. “While it’s a huge honor to be recognized with this fantastic collection of influencers (and it is!), I love that the Promotional Industry is really stepping up as a whole! Clearly many leaders see the need to create content and story tell in a relevant way to help grow the industry…and our businesses!”

To make it easy for you to follow our Top 25, the team at QCA (@qcalliance) has compiled a Twitter list (QCA 2015 Top 25 ) of these rock stars. One of the great things about research like this is the conversation it generates, including talk of who’s in that shouldn’t be, as well as who might’ve been missed. Think you should have made it into the Top 25? We hate to miss anyone, so if you think you were overlooked and/or if you want to let us know about someone who should’ve been included, I hope you’ll let me know. Reach out to me at @jeffreypjacobs. And, of course, there’s always next year!

Top 25 Promotional Products Industry Influencers 

#1 ASICentral (@asicentral)
As the voice of ASI, Vin Driscoll’s social conversation starters include new product ideas, recognition for industry award winners, and resources for a strong business and career.

Promotional Products Association International features industry events and awards, marketing tips and career development resources.

#3 Danette Gossett (@MarketngTidbits)
Danette’s Twitter feed and website provide an abundance of resources related to promotional products, building and maintaining a healthy business, and tips for marketing and networking.

#4 Tervis (@TervisTumbler)
The highest-ranking product brand makes customizable insulated beverage tumblers. Fun and engaging social conversation revolves around promoting various Tervis tumbler products.

#5 BIC Graphic (@BICGraphic)
BIC Graphic is a QCA-accredited supplier and its social conversation includes BIC Graphic product promotions, as well as information related to social media marketing and the promotional products industry.

#6 Stahls’ ID Direct (@StahlsIDDirect)
Stahls’ is a leader in custom, heat-applied materials for the sporting goods industry. Social conversation includes product promotion, how-to advice and ideas, sports talk, motivational quotes and questions to encourage engagement.

#7 4imprint (@4imprint)
4imprint is a provider of promotional products to companies of all sizes in the US, UK, Canada & Ireland. Social conversation includes product promos and sharing of marketing tips and resources.

#8 Dana Zezzo (@danazezzo)
Dana is the Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for QCA-accredited Jetline Promo. Widely recognized as an early adopter, social conversation includes industry news and events, with product updates and conversing with his industry hashtag of #GetSocial.

#9 Motivators (@MotivatorsPP)
Social conversation starters include weekly deals, product promos, motivational quotes and business tips and resources.

#10 Heidi Thorne (@heidithorne)
Heidi is a promotional products professional, business speaker, author and coach specializing in B2B and small business sales.

#11 Perfect Imprints (@perfectimprints)
Perfect Imprints is a creative minded marketer of promotional items. Social conversation includes product promos, business tips and resources and general interest.

#12 GreenBiz (@GreenBiz)
GreenBiz promotes sustainability and green business, which is reflected in the entirety of their social conversation.

#13 FreePromoTips (@FreePromoTips) is a popular resource for the promo marketing industry. Social conversation from Jeff Solomon includes industry information, videos, humor, and product promos.

#14 Kirby Hasseman (@kirbyhasseman)
Kirby is owner of Hasseman Marketing & Communications. His “Sharing Marketing Joy” YouTube programs are unique in the social conversation.

#15 Promo Marketing (@Promo_Marketing)
Promo Marketing is a leading industry trade magazine . Social conversation includes posts about industry events, product promos, business tips and general interest and info.

#16 Steve Woodburn (@SteveWoodburn)
Steve is a regional sales manager for QCA Founding Member Prime Resources. Tweets primarily share resources for business and personal development.

#17 Imagination Branding (@ImagineBranding)
Imagination Branding is a full-service promotional products and marketing company. Social conversation covers includes business advice, motivational quotes and personal development.

#18 Mediacation (@Mediacation1)
Mediacation is one of Canada’s leading specialty advertising agencies. Tweets include business and marketing tips and resources.

#19 PromoPlacement (@PromoPlacement)
Promo Placement helps staff the Promotional products industry. Fittingly, their social conversation revolves around career satisfaction, job openings and tips for networking, interviewing and hiring.

#20 Vickie MacFadden (@VickieMacFadden)
Vickie specializes in supplying tech, trade shows, eco-friendly and executive gift promotional products. Social conversation is broad covering business, entrepreneurship, and industry trends.

Official account of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Tweeting safety alerts, recalls, breaking news.

#22 Danny Rosin (@DannyRosin)
Danny is the president of Brand Fuel and a self-proclaimed promotional marketing addict. Social conversation includes product promos, resources and tips for entrepreneurs, building brands and music and general interest.

#23 Jason Hess (@JasonHess14)
Jason is CEO at Hessprint. Social media activity covers products and marketing tips and resources.

#24 Bodek And Rhodes (@bodekandrhodes)
A family-owned QCA-accredited supplier specializing in imprintable apparel from a range of national brands. Social conversation includes product promotion, marketing tips and resources, industry events.

#25 Matt Gray (@MyLogoSource)
Matt is the voice of MyLogoSource, Inc. His social conversation includes product promos, tips for marketing and using social media, inspirational quotes and stories.

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