So, this will become a more regular column on our blog… where I WOW! Factor a specific business or industry with simple, strategic solutions that will bring in more clients / customers and more money. Just because you’re not selling promotional products or aren’t running a restaurant, or don’t operate a bed & breakfast, DONT TUNE OUT and ignore this new series. Make it applicable to YOU.
So, the promotional products industry. They’re up against some “stuff.” PRICE wars are top of the list. We need pens or business cards or t-shirts or bags, and we can search online — and price shop. They’re also facing shrinking budgets within corporations and especially small businesses. So, what used to be “No brainer” purchases for marketing materials or employee rewards, etc. are now being held to a new standard of price AND RELEVANCE. Can you relate?
Here’s the WOW! Factor strategy for this industry — and YOURS:
Find a way / CREATE a way to make your products specific and relevant to your customers.
Now, in order to do this, you’ll have to get to know your customers better than you ever have before. Let me repeat this. To do this, to become relevant and indispensable to your target market, you have to know them better than YOU ever have before. MORE IMPORTANTLY, you need to know more about them than your competitors do.
As I plan for 2013, I’ve had a need for promotional items I’ve never really considered before. Bags, private label wine, direct mail pieces, notebooks, tshirts, etc. Keep in mind that SOME printers and promo-items businesses are in regular contact with me. They know that I’m in the marketing business. They know that I design marketing campaigns for my customers. And so you know what they want? You got it. They want me to include their products into the campaigns I design for my clients. Smart move on their part.
Bottom line: I get a lot of free stuff. Because they WANT me using their items, promoting what they can provide my clients.
BUT, I’m all about LOCAL business. So, I started using a local promo items company. I love the owners. See them regularly. As a business, they’re fast, dependable, honest, affordable and have really cool stuff! Plus, they offer small batch items, which is perfect for me and are absolutely delightful to deal with. So far, so good, right?
Last week, one of the owners introduced me to someone and — in the introduction, said, “I have no idea what she does, but something about women and wow.”
Whoa. Shut the front door. ?????
I’m your customer. So far, I’ve sent only two of my clients to you. But I have many many more. And you still have “no idea” what I do. Well, let me tell you. I’m your cash cow. My clients need promo items and GUESS WHAT? When they buy them and use them, well — they are part of a larger marketing strategy and so they WORK. They produce. My clients are succeeding, producing huge increases in revenue and investing that money in more “client-generating” campaigns.
But, they (evidently) don’t know this. They haven’t googled me. They don’t know what I’m doing with companies all around the country. They’ve never peaked in on one of my events. (Listen, if you’re not AT LEAST googling your prospects, c’mon…. you can at least google them.)
Let me ask you. If you’re in the promo items business… given this above scenario…. how could you WOW! Factor your business? Let me give you a paint-by-numbers plan:
1) Get to know thy customers.
HOW in the world can you serve them when you have no idea what they do? How in the world can you suggest the RIGHT items for them if you’re not sure what their specific goals are? How in the world? You know, you have three choices:
A) Leave them to their own devices and have them come up with what they want on their own, allow them to google it, price shop and then ask you to beat someone else’s prices.
B) Show them random items and leave them up to their own devices about whether or not and how to use the items… hoping something sticks and hoping they don’t take your idea and google you out of the equation. OR
C) You can get to know them. Ask for a conversation to go over their marketing and / or employee appreciation program for the upcoming quarter and come back to them with a customized plan using your products to achieve their goals. Show them ONLY that which you know will fit their needs — EXACTLY. QUICK HINT: MOST companies have NO IDEA how to use promo pieces profitably. BE that resource for them.
2) Consider meeting their needs in a MASSIVE WAY.
Lets say that you mainly sell products that are used to either MARKET a business or REWARD employees. Consider bringing in a marketing / sales expert (ahem.. me!) to do a HOW TO PROFIT LIKE CRAZY USING OUR PROMOTIONAL ITEMS! workshop for your clients or customers. On the employee recognition end, bring in an HR expert to do a similar type of workshop. Because here’s the deal. People buy promo items, have NO idea how to use them and then… you know what they think? They think, “WEll, what a waste of money! That didn’t work!” And if they buy again, they’ll buy less.
Not a good trend, people.
3) Deliberately Tap into OPC. Other People’s Clients.
You down with OPC? Yeah, you know me! =) Why are promo items businesses and printers aware of me? Trust me, it has ZERO to do with me. They want access to YOU, of course. I’m a small fry in terms of MY PERSONAL orders, but they want access to YOU. They want OPC. If you’re in this industry or a similar one, please consider who has customers YOU want access to. Business consultants, Employee Engagement specialists, Human Resource consultants, motivational speakers for the corporate market, Staffing agencies, HeadHunters, etc. WHO ELSE are your ideal customers already trusting, already working with? And how can you reach out to them DELIBERATELY?
Quick hint: You’ll HAVE to take the time to GET TO KNOW THEM — and their CUSTOMERS. THAT’s what your business HINGES on. But, if you do it, you’ll see gains unprecedented in your business.
So, there you have it. ONE industry WOW-factored. How many more to go?
Next up: Your RESTAURANT WOW! factored.