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Report From the Front: Mary Anne Comotto of PFI Sees Surge of Growth Through Distributors

Despite logistics and other pandemic challenges, this 70-year-old incentive company has thrived through the pandemic and demonstrates the opportunities to expand the incentive marketplace. 
PFISince the turn of the 20th century, Performance For Incentives at PFI-Awards.com has built a steadily growing business providing incentive, recognition, and gifting solutions through promotional distributors, but nothing prepared CEO and Principal Mary Anne Comotto for the impact of the pandemic. “I had thought this to be pretty much of a mature business, but the past year has made me rethink that notion.”
PFI is a member of the BrandMediaCoalition.com outreach effort to expand the use of the use of brands in effectively designed programs to achieve organizational goals. 
She says her company has experienced significant growth in demand for her company’s AwardLink suite of technology solutions to support programs for every stakeholder and application, including programs for sales and non-sales employees, channel partners, loyalty and consumer promotions, and gifting. 
“There is no question that more promotional products distributors are focusing on incentive and gifting programs,” she says. “On the other hand, most do not have the time to learn about all the intricacies of program design and measurement. We encourage them to ask the right questions to identify opportunities and then to turn the opportunity over to us as soon as possible to conduct the actual discovery with the client to identify their needs. Once distributors are comfortable knowing that they can always trust us, they would far prefer to let us handle the details while they focus on the overall customer relationship.” 
Given the increased focus on people relationships accelerated by the pandemic, Comotto is optimistic that growth will be sustained as the pandemic recedes. Believing that there are probably no more than 1,000 distributors actively involved in the use of brands or incentive, she sees a significant opportunity for growth. “On the one hand, organizations around the US are investing in more efforts to engage all their key people, and on the other there are thousands of promotional distributors with extensive access to management seeking new ways to replace the reduced demand for their traditional business. The conditions are ripe for continued growth.” 
Her company’s major challenge?  Like all other companies in her space, PFI has to contend with widespread product shortages in popular brands, especially imported items. She does not anticipate a resumption to normal in the overall supply chain until 2022. 
Mary Anne Comotto
Tel. 216-881-1969
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