Two things offer potential market expansion in special event graphics production: the nearly unlimited variety of inkjet printing media now available to graphics producers and graphics buyers looking for more cost-effective and direct methods to reach their market.
The foundation of a good sales approach, particularly in this economy, is not in the sale itself but in providing a true consultative service. Special event graphics offer an opportunity to take this consultative approach and provide the end-use customer with ideas and solutions that help them maximize their ad dollars.
Making a List
While ad dollars are generally contracting, the good news is that all companies are looking for other avenues of opportunity, and special events—such as festivals, fairs, and any other community gatherings—are venues your customers should consider to build their brand and sales.
“The companies we work with have been pushing to get into different marketing outlets. The world of radio, television and the Web is getting a little stale to them, and it’s fragmented,” said Rick Mandel, president of Mandel Company in Milwaukee. “Special event work has been a growing business for us, and it’s basically public relations versus the classic ad agency work. The PR people we work with are more used to radio and TV, and need a little more assistance when they have a dream about how they want to present something at an event.”
Mandel’s observations correlate with current marketing and advertising trends. With a seemingly infinite array of electronic advertising outlets, advertisers’ messages are becoming more fragmented. It is more difficult to present your message to a captive audience, simply because those audiences are no longer captive. They’re Twittering here, Facebooking there, and blogging everywhere, not to mention TiVoing and canceling their newspaper subscriptions.
Companies are also looking for ways to connect on a personal level with their audience, and most of the “traditional” methods of reaching that audience are, by their very nature, rather impersonal. Even “social media” has an impersonal aspect to it, ironically enough. In many ways, it’s just a website with a less formal style.
Take it to the Streets
It’s in the community, at the physical, personal level that relationships between buyers and sellers are often most effective. This is especially true for small businesses that live or die by local word-of-mouth business.
This is where the consultative aspect of the sale comes into play. Find out about as many community events as possible, as well as the focus and, if possible, the demographics of each. Enter this information into a calendar of events so that it’s readily available when you communicate with customers and prospects.
Armed with this knowledge you can suggest events that would be most effective for getting their message across. This is not a sale, it’s a consultation. This approach will create a subtle change in the relationship from buyer-seller into a partnership.
A customer may or may not take the advice, but when they do the consultant is positioned to be a value-added partner when it comes to creating the graphics for the event. However, in order to transition from marketing consultant to display consultant—finding the best methods and materials for graphics production to present their message at an event—requires further research.
Material & Application Direction
Every event is different and each has its own peculiar parameters and conditions. The customer will obviously have their own requirements. Because of the numerous variables involved, it is essential to know what materials are available on the market and which applications they work best for.
“Each project that comes along seems to be more custom and unique, but you can be creative and cost-effective at the same time,” said Mandel. His approach is to not only stay on top of the latest developments in inkjet media, but to partner with companies that provide various structural materials, like metals and plastics.