For a Rainy Day
Few things in life sell themselves. Ice cream, holiday cards for mom and maybe movies about mopey adolescent vampires. But in general, to sell a product you need a sales pitch. You need an angle. You need an idea.
Say you want to sell umbrellas. Great products, considering they keep you dry, can be imprinted beautifully in dozens of different ways and generally have a high perceived value. You can't take that information alone to a client however, and expect a sale. "Hey, check out this umbrella! It's neat and, uh, umbrellas! They stop rain!" isn't exactly going to have product flying off the shelves.
How about this: Umbrella suppliers Dan Edge, national sales manager for Peerless Umbrella, Newark, N.J., and Helen Stromberg, president of Stromberg Brand, Peekskill, N.Y., offer some ideas on running effective umbrella promotions? This way, the next time you're pitching umbrellas, you can replace the "It stinks being wet" with "I heard about this promotion someone else did with umbrellas, and I think it will work for you as well." You'll get to make a sale, the client will get a great promotion, and no one has to worry about one more person joining the "vampire soap opera" marketing dreadnaught.
Using an umbrella as a direct-mail promotion may seem a little far-fetched, but Edge described a promotion that did just that. The end-user company, a convention bureau based out of Phoenix, implemented a marketing plan emphasizing its state's sunny climate. Mailed to meeting planners around the country, the inside of the umbrella was printed with a bright, warm scene complete with palm trees and text reading: "If you were in Phoenix, you wouldn't need this umbrella." Caught in a rainstorm, the idea was the meeting planner would see the scene inside his or her umbrella and think that much more fondly about booking a convention in warm, dry Arizona. "I thought it was a fun way of using an umbrella for someone you wouldn't typically think would need one," said Edge.