How to Turn a Sale Into Repeat Business
When you can turn a one-time promotion into repeat business every year, that’s a huge get in the promo industry. Martin Pahnke, owner/lead advisor for SWFL Marketing Group, Fort Myers, Fla., is especially fond of one annual promotion that his business does. He gave us the rundown here.
Promo Marketing: Could you tell us about a promotion you thought was one of your best?
Martin Pahnke: My favorite project that our company works on annually is an industry award for the Collier Building Industry Association.
PM: What did you like about this promotion in particular?
MP: What we love about this project is that the presentation of our work product is at a huge annual gala event that recognizes the best of our local building industry professionals. This project is more than just sending in art to the supplier for a known product, getting proof approval, arranging delivery, sending the invoice and collecting the check. We are involved from the beginning with confirming the pricing each year, ensuring inventory and production will be OK for a tight schedule from winners chosen to the event date, assisting our clients with the updated layout and transferring spreadsheet info to the award layouts, arranging the proofing process, accepting delivery and quality check at our facility, and on the day of the event setting up the awards. Our customer is a small group that really appreciates all we do to enhance the event.
A bonus to this group is they often order additional awards after the events to display in other locations besides the winner’s office, so we have another piece of business after the event. Associations can be a terrific type of customers, and including awards or increasing your awards business as part of what a distributor does for their customers can be profitable and fun.
PM: Did you run into any obstacles during this promotion? If so, how did you overcome them?
MP: In shopping for the best value, we were involved in some of the quality control suppliers normally do. This was expected, however the first year running the program we were setting up the awards until just before the start of the event. It all turned out great, but the solution is to plan for things taking longer than expected, and build in extra time and backup personnel whenever labor and deadlines are involved.
PM: Do you have any advice for distributors looking to do something similar?
MP: Consider associations as a vertical market to pursue, and if [you’re] already in this arena and not offering recognition, then it can be a great residual source of business.