Although promotional products may seem like a tactical job meant for your marketing team, if you are a CEO, there are certain points throughout the process that you cannot afford to avoid. Inversely, if you are handling a project for the CEO of your company, you may want to consider wrangling the C-level executives for their involvement at critical touchpoints.

The items you order to support your brand’s messaging may seem like an afterthought and approaching promotional products with that mindset may have worked OK for you in the past. But when trying to get the full attention of your audience you should consider having all hands on deck for the following key milestones.

Proposal and Planning Stage

This is the stage where the creative ideas are curated and the plans are put into place. It is essential to have C-level executives involved in this plan so they can ensure (a) their company is being represented in a way that they hope to be perceived, and (b) the strategy for their promo items aligns with their overall business strategy. This initial phase is also typically when budget is established. To avoid back and forth with strategic members of the team, they should be involved in these conversations from the beginning, because ultimately these individuals will be responsible for approving the budget, which can make or break your ability to keep on schedule with your timeline.

In my experience, this stage of the ordering process is the root of where most communication issues stem from. On multiple occasions I have been in communication with one member of a company’s team only to have every other email or call say something along the lines of “Great, let me check with [insert strategic team members’ name] and I will get back with you.”

Considering how many emails and phone calls go into an order, this often times delays the process significantly.

Artwork approval and Proof

If you’re executing your promotional product strategy correctly, the items you order should be messaged carefully and adhere to brand standards. The artwork relates very closely with how this order performs and can make or break a campaign. This is also an important part of the timeline and can shift the production date into the future if not addressed immediately.

When should C-level executives be involved with promotional products?

If you follow my advice for the proposal and planning stage, a C-level executive will have likely developed the strategy and plan for this order. To ensure everything is on track the way they’d like it is important to have their approval before moving into production as the items cannot be changed once the proof is approved and the responsibility will lie with the orderer.


Although it seems like a routine and tactical part of the order, it is very important you maintain a good relationship with your distributor and vendors. Everyone appreciates an on-time payment, and your distributor will be happy to provide you with more mind-blowing ideas for your next project if you follow through after the invoice!

Final Thoughts

You may think that promotional products are of no concern to CEOs or executives, but if strategic minds are not involved in these small parts the process, you will most likely see less desirable results from your campaigns. Don’t regard promotional products as a waste of time, because we’ve proven they’re not!