My Best Promotion: Catch Fire Marketing's Steve Bocher on Going the Extra Mile
It pays to go the extra mile. Regardless of the industry, customers and peers appreciate when someone makes that extra effort to create or provide something special. Steve Bocher, CAS, owner of Catch Fire Marketing, Greenwood Village, Colo., told us about a time he went the extra mile with a promotion that paid off for him, his client and the end-users.
Promo Marketing: Could you tell us about a promotion that you think was one of your best?
Steve Bocher: A client came to me asking if I could print certificates of appreciation. She had been doing a building renovation fundraising project for a nonprofit and wanted to recognize everyone who had made a donation—from $10 up to thousands of dollars—at an event they were having in less than 10 days. She thought she was looking for a fast, easy print solution. While I told her we could produce these using variable data, as we talked more about her objectives, it became clear that a piece of paper wasn’t going to serve her the best. These were individuals making donations, and we agreed most would not be framing and hanging these on a wall. So, I thought about what type of promotional marketing product might be in the same general price range as printing these certificates and would be useful to this audience. I made a few suggestions, and we quickly agreed that a full-color cleaning cloth with a picture of the building on it would be something that the donors would like and use. [It] would keep the project and their participation top-of-mind for many months or longer. Then we discussed how she was going to recognize the higher-level donors, and we decided to use the same photo image, but print that on a glass cutting board and personalize those with the names of the donor[s].
PM: Why do you think this was so successful?
SB: When my client showed the items to the committee just prior to the event, she told me that they said to her, “That is brilliant! This is so much better than certificates!” The lesson learned is that our job is not always giving the client what they ask for. Of course, at the end of the day, they are the “boss,” so they get to make the final call, but offering alternatives, when appropriate, is an important part of what we should be doing. The other reason this was successful was the personalization on the cutting boards. Personalizing something with someone’s name is a great way to add value to an item. It elevates the item from something that could have been pulled out of the closet to something that was planned for that specific person to receive. I think the recipients at some level [realized] that this was more deliberate on the giver’s part. It shows that [the organization gave] some thought and extra effort to produce something specifically for them.
PM: Did you run into any challenges with this promotion? How did you overcome them?
SB: There are some extra challenges with this type of project. Sometimes these items are a surprise for the recipient or organization (not in this case), so getting the right quality logos without having to forewarn the client about your project and gathering names can be a challenge, but the extra time has always been worth it. Often we’ll try to help the client, when we can, get the logo.
PM: Do you have any advice for distributors looking to do something similar?
SB: Obviously, to be able to offer personalized products you need to know what suppliers offer those services. So start looking for a group of suppliers that offer diverse products with personalization as an option. There are a number of suppliers—and more added each year—that are recognizing the value and importance of doing this, and the process is becoming easier and less expensive.
PM: Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you’d like to add?
SB: My client just came back from their event yesterday, came into the office and shared the results of the event. You know you have hit a home run when people are asking for more. She told me they were offering to buy extra cleaning cloths for friends and they even need to get a few more of the cutting boards made.