Selling Hats in the Public Services Sector

This is the largest market we have covered. The public services sector spans everything from government and politics to schools and local libraries. We will try to cover as many aspects of it as we can to help you increase your promotional sales.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will provide you with extended knowledge of the public services sector as it relates to promotional products. We will also offer tips to help you expand your cap sales into the market.

In this guide, will look at different types of companies within the public services sector so that you can have a better understanding of how to target each aspect of the market.

You will learn how to reach out to buyers and decision makers at schools and local services. Next time, we'll look at emergency and social services.IMG_5854


The education industry is said to be a recession-proof market. In the worst of economic times, after the 2008 crisis, the education market remained steady and even showed considerable growth, all things considered.


The collegiate retail industry is estimated to be worth an annual $10 billion. 

There are 2,618 colleges and universities in the United States, and they are a gold mine of promotional products. Everywhere you look, people are wearing branded hats or sweatshirts, even fanny packs.

Logoed hats make the perfect addition to swag bags, which are given to incoming freshmen and high school seniors.

There are countless collegiate programs that use promotional items as well.

  • Greek Life
  • Clubs & Activities
  • Athletics
  • Graduate Schools

High Schools

It can be difficult to start working with a new school that you haven't yet established a rapport with. Referrals from people who have an "in" can do wonders to help you kick-start a working relationship. 

Have you worked with a coach previously? Do you know someone on the school board? Break out your old Rolodex and see if you can make any connections. Smaller schools will usually have one buyer or decision maker. Larger schools may have one for each department. Try to schedule a meeting with the principal to discuss the school's buying behavior. 

To win that first sale, consider donating a percentage of the total amount of their order back into the school. This type of reciprocity will win you some faith and goodwill. 

Consider all of the school's organizations:

  • Booster Clubs, PTAs & PTOs
  • Clubs & Activities
  • Athletics

Elementary Schools

School sponsored sports are less common at the elementary level. Often, athletics for younger children are organized through a community center or local league system. Reach out to your contacts at the schools; chances are they can get you in touch with a decision maker for community activities as well.

Life Learning

Education is not synonymous with, blackboards, or teachers. Children are educated about life in many ways and institutions that transcend a classroom. 

A well-rounded child will be taught about things like health and social norms through a variety of situations that occur in group activities and shared spaces like gyms, centers, or camps.IMG_5853

Communal Spaces

Communal spaces governed by the Parks and Recreation department include everything from public parks to libraries and museums. Typically, there are very small (if any) fees to use these facilities. For instance, parks are usually free to enter, but public libraries might charge a small annual fee for cardholders. But for the most part, these run off of tax dollars and donations similar to a non-profit business.

One way to raise funds to ensure these places are kept in top-shape is to sell promotional hats not only on-site, but also at community events and other area-specific things like farmers markets and holiday celebrations.

Public transportation is so important, especially in large cities where it is cheaper to take the subway, train, metro, bus, etc. than it is to own and store one's own vehicle. Tax dollars help to keep public transit running and efficient, as well as fees and fares from patrons. 

In places where it is not uncommon to have a personal vehicle or other method of transportation, it is important for the city to advertise alternate means in order to bring more money into the city.

Public transit is better for the environment; it is more economically friendly; it can make people feel more emotionally connected to the area. Think about how you can advertise those benefits on a cap for residents and tourists?

I imagine San Franciscans and visitors alike would happily sport a dad hat one of their iconic cable cars embroidered on the front.

Check back later this week as we dive into emergency, and social services. If you haven't sold into the public sector in the past, I think this series will open your eyes to the vast number of opportunities out there.

If you want more information on selling promotional caps into the public services industry, order a Business Development Kit today!

What other industries would you like to see covered by a future kit or blog series? Let us know in the comments below. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.