My Best Promotion
Awards ceremonies can be as simple as a catered dinner down at the local VWF, or they can be much, much more. All-expenses-paid hotels for nominees, organized entertainment and networking, gift basket after gift basket after gift basket: the bigger the awards ceremony, the more sales opportunities there are for promotional products.
Mastering said opportunities may seem challenging, especially for a large, five-star event, but they can be managed. Debbee Poché, owner of Promotions 'n Motion, Plano, Texas, shared a great example of one approach. By focusing on the details, striving to please the end-user, and always aiming to go beyond the client's expectations, Poché was able to not only slam-dunk an enormous awards event, but also lock it up as a piece of annual business.
Promo Marketing: Could you describe a promotion that you consider one of your best?
Debbee Poché: It was for a mortgage company to recognize and celebrate outstanding performance. It was very high-end, really to award [employees] for their hard work, their contribution throughout the year. Our goal was really to nourish and reward them, and that's exactly what we did.
It was for a small, select group of people, only about 100 recipients of the award. The event was very significant in that they were truly treated like they were stars. The event was called "Center Stage," and we designed everything around an art deco look.
PM: What kinds of items did you use in the promotion?
DP: They had an art-deco gift basket they received in their room. It had food items and drinks, but not just bottles of water, you know. They had Perrier, they had Fiji water, we just did it first class. Initially when they arrived, they received their welcome gift and packet, then they went to another area where they selected an excursion for the following day. They had a choice of four items. They could go out to tour Dallas Cowboys' stadium, they could play a round of golf, they could go to the spa or they could go shopping. We created packages for each one of those. Then on their first night, they had a really cool-looking box that we created that had a buffalo throw in it. … Then on the following night the gift was a mahogany box with wine. We had an awards night again around that art deco look, so it was all very pretty and special. It was a moment for each winner to remember, and that's what the buyer was trying to achieve, so when they left, they were inspired, energized and ready to do it again the following year.
PM: What made this a profitable promotion for you, and why?
DP: It was so profitable, and here's why: When you're putting together gift baskets, it's subjective. … I made easily over $25,000 on that event.
PM: What was the best decision you made with this promotion, and why?
DP: Two things: One, having a room at the hotel allowed me to keep my pulse on everything. Second was making it individual, so if you weren't a golfer, there was another event you could attend. The feedback from the recipients was phenomenal. A number of them had won the award previously, but none of them felt the way they did when they left this event. And I think it's because we really personalized it, we gave everybody an opportunity to enjoy something they would like.
PM: Any other advice, either about running a high-class awards event or in general?
DP: To me, every detail matters. It's an impression, it's how you make someone feel, and we made them feel extra special. It was a look, it was a feel, it was very red-carpet I guess you would say, and that would be the advice I would give someone. Pay attention to everything, whether you're doing that part or not. For instance, someone came into the banquet area, and dressed the tables, and it was wait staff that were dressing the tables and putting everything out, and we noticed that they were putting forks on the wrong side. We moved them before they came in. Those are details that matter. Something simple, but it makes a difference. It's about perception. We're so dedicated to what we do, we knew we wanted to inspire and reward these people for hard work, and that's what we achieved.
Want to be included in a future edition of My Best Promotion? Contact senior editor Michael Cornnell at 215-238-5449 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of questions and other details.