Terry Southern of LogBranders leads a marketing tactics forum at the 2014 Universal Unilink Business development conference

Guerrilla Marketing

Terry Southern, LogoBranders, led a lively group where Members shared marketing that’s working now. Here’s what Terry is doing in her own business.

Promotional products are an EASY SELL – everyone buys them … which also makes being successful difficult. You can get so wrapped up in all the “easy sales”… those SMALL sales where you work yourself to death, but never reach the volume needed to compensate yourself for the effort. You can go from business to business selling pens and go broke even though you have tons of customers. It’s targeting the right customers that will lead you to a successful career and add a nice profit center to your existing business. And Guerrilla Marketing can help you do just that!

“Guerrilla Marketing” . . . a strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results. “Guerrilla Tactics” help you identify qualified prospects that are not “obvious” to your competition. Take a look at how these concepts helped grow my business.
When starting LogoBranders, I had almost no industry knowledge, but I knew how to sell having been mentored by people skilled in consultative selling. I studied the industry (Who buys these products; how are they used, etc) and then, doing what I’d been trained to do; I made a marketing plan listing targets . . . prospects with large enough purchasing budgets that could help me grow.

Today, my firm uses exactly the same approach I used initially. We study the industry and the competition. Knowing your competition, how they sell and who they target is also essential in becoming a guerrilla marketer! ASI currently has 23,740 Distributor members. Looking at that number, you may conclude that with so much competition you might as well stay out of the mix. However, taking a closer look, 22,770 of the 23,740 have sales of less than $2.5 million per year; only 970 firms have volume exceeding $2.5 million. Those 970 firms are really the only competition because they are most likely to offer what larger prospects need.

Studies show that smaller competitors are more likely to be product pushers; it’s hard to build loyalty when you are selling products. As soon as the customer finds a lower price they move the business. Larger prospects are generally program and concept driven; requiring consultative selling. By delving into the mindset of the buyer to understand how they make decisions, what issues they need help with, what worked in the past; we become a resource by offering solutions. So we want to use the consultative sales approach but whom should we target?

Let’s not go with the obvious! Statistics show that schools are the number 1 buyer of promotion products. Larger Universities are so visible they are Top Targets for almost all salespeople; many waste considerable time calling on these accounts only to discover that you must be licensed to use their logo on ANYTHING. We chose to apply for an Internal Licensing Agreement with several major Universities . . . not high profile, but very profitable. Many are more open to approving new Internally Licensed Vendors, but most Distributors are not aware the possibility exists. Alumni groups, Admissions, Events – hundreds of buyers on campus use giveaways! These areas are under-served, even in the largest University!

Again, avoiding the obvious prospects that everyone targets, LogoBranders’ largest category is Manufacturing! Many of you are ALREADY calling on Manufacturing, a huge under-served category. You are already in these plants and should be selling them logo’d items. You’ll find buyers at local plants are easy to see. We’ve had great success in Safety – Banners, Giveaways to remind employees of the safety slogan and gifts for “No Lost Time” are especially profitable.

For example, years ago I targeted Paper Mills in Alabama. The Safety Director at International Paper in Selma, Alabama had never had a rep contact him with ideas for gifts! Within 2 weeks, I had an $80,000 order for jackets followed by another $80,000 order for Leatherman tools! IP invited me to lunches and safety meetings to get to know the people and get a feel for the gifts they might enjoy. No worries at that point about a competitor getting into my account.

Guerrilla Marketing . . . going after the targets that others don’t see. These accounts are profitable and a pleasure to work!