What if I told you it’s possible to change the direction of your business, generate more sales and increase your profitability and at the same time set yourself above your competition? Would you be interested? When I ask this question during marketing seminars, I get a resounding, “I would, I would…” with hands raised as if at a revival. But would you? Sadly many who say they want growth rarely make the shift in mindset to make that happen.
The tools we have available to us in this industry are immense, yet we seem to overlook some the opportunities as they stare us in the face. It could be the ways suppliers present their products to us, it could be the mad rush we seem to get in to just to get a sale and move on to the next deal. I would ask you to really reflect on what I share here because, if done correctly, it can change the direction of your business.
We have grown up in an industry where the focus is finding clients that want to buy stuff with their logo on it, sell it to them and hope they reorder – a monotonous, vicious circle. We fight for business and often times lower the price to get the order. Think about it; we go to shows, find a supplier “self-promotion special,” buy one-hundred and fifty pieces, place our logo on it and hand these out and to what end? In hopes that the client will like it and order a truckload, but this rarely happens. If it does, the slippery slope of price reduction begins, “I found it on the internet, can you match the price?”
This scenario happens all too often. Eroding margins is no way to run your business.
I am not saying stop using self-promotion pieces, but, what if you could take that same product, package it, wrap it with a creative theme and call to action and use it to open doors to gain new clients OR expand and go deeper within your existing clients? Would you be interested? I was the proverbial product pusher for years, average sales, low margins always bidding – I knew there was more out there.
My philosophy of marketing is about creating opportunities; it is the fuel for your business, and if you are like most of my clients, you are always looking for ways to expand your client base, getting new clients – better clients. There is an answer.
For the remainder of this article, I’d like to share a couple of creative case histories “self-promotions” designed for my clients—people just like you. After seeing these, you may try to convince yourself that you could never come up with anything creative—but I believe, you’re wrong.
You may remember reading previous articles about the importance of targeting specific groups with relevant, thought-provoking messages. This piece, “The Jury Is Out, Now You Be The Judge” had amazing success. Targeted specifically to penetrate law firms with a marketing arm, this small replica of a briefcase, small folder with three case histories inside marked exhibits A, B & C, wooden gavel and tipped in business card made for a remarkable door opener. The copy had a strong hook, on the front, “The Jury is Out…” when opening, the copy continues; “Now you be the Judge. Give us 15 minutes to present our case and judge for yourself.” This custom marketing piece gained entry into some large firms, not to sell gavels or business cards, but to have a conversation. One client, Paul Zafarana reported a remarkable 60% appointment rate and some significant business using this piece.
For marketing directors, innovation is the key. Today we can all agree it is difficult to break through the gate-keeper. What tools make a difference and have a measurable impact to your target audience? Would a pen and a catalog have that needed push to elevate your marketing to a conversation? Not likely. This dimensional piece named, “A New View on Creative Marketing” takes a retro view and has an old-school appeal. Branded by a business card, old-school viewfinder and reel along with a four-color book describing each of the six case histories that coincide with the reel images highlights the talents and creativity that the marketer brings to the table. Interestingly, the last window on the reel states; “Now that you’ve seen our vision, let us help you with yours.” Delighted with the results, one client reported having penetrated an account using this piece where he had repeatedly tried for nearly a year. Another client, Chuck Feldman, reported a 100% appointment rate with this piece, having sent out ten pieces; one resulted in a $25,000.00 order at a 40%+ gross profit…impressive!
These may seem like difficult campaigns to pull off, but quite the contrary, if you partner with the right suppliers and think a bit more creatively, outside of the box, you can create some amazing offerings that will propel you above your competition. I know this because I did it and have helped countless others do the same.
It is my sincere hope that you will take this information and begin to look at all of the possibilities available to you. Once you do you will find that clients will want the same types of things designed for them. Then and only then, will you be considered a trusted marketing advisor, getting paid for your time and creativity and not just another product pusher relegated to play the price game.
As always, Continued Good Selling!
Cliff Quicksell, MAS+
Cliff Quicksell & Associates