My Best Promotion
For this month's My Best Promotion, Devin O'Brien, M.A., account executive for O'Brien Corporation, St. Charles, Ill., recounted a job done for a hospital employee-appreciation event.
Tasked with pitching and executing a party celebrating the hospital's positive work environment, O'Brien beat out his competitors by going above and beyond on presentation and execution, as well as taking a gamble on local farmers who were unfamiliar with the promotional industry and not used to providing items in such large quantities. The local farmers provided fresh apples, fresh hand-dipped caramel apples and apple butter for roughly 3,800 people.
O'Brien also used the same volume of buttons, customizing them with positive phrases from a recent hospital evaluation survey and working them into a mingle-and-match game for the party that would reward participants with a one-of-a-kind decorated tumbler. Inside the tumbler was a slip with a URL for a survey so attendees could rate the party's quality, letting O'Brien to show results of how the event was perceived to the hospital administration.
O'Brien's risks, item choices and extra work paid off. The promotion was hugely successful, not only creating a whole new line of business for the company, but also adding several new supplier partners that could be used in later promotions.
Promo Marketing: What did you like about this promotion? Why was it one of your favorites?
Devin O'Brien: I liked it because we could show results. Inside the tumbler was a link to another survey with a custom link, it was basically a reaction to the event itself, so we could show level-one ROI. I liked it because it wasn't just a thousand pens, and it showed results and it was different. We went outside of [the promotional products industry] and built some new supplier relationships as a result, and now can probably continue to use them.
PM: What was one of the best decisions you made with this promotion?
DO: I think the way we presented it. We wanted to get them to taste this food, which we thought was very good, so we created a wicker basket with burlap, we put in some colored shredded paper and all the products in there. It had a nice display, there was a scarecrow and some fall treats and stuff. I gave it to my contact and presented to the VP of HR, they loved it ... [the job] was bid out, everyone else came in with a basic power point, but we went above and beyond, and that's what really made us stand out. We wanted them to taste the food, we wanted them to see that we are investing in this, that it wasn't just going to be clamshell stuff that's been sitting on a shelf for two months.
PM: Do you have any other advice you'd like to give distributors?
DO: Challenge the process. You're not stuck to just doing a search on [an industry search engine]. Look local, look at people who are doing great work in your area and try to do work with them. And, I'd always say, try to show results with your programs, to show that they're worth doing and spending the money on.
If you'd like to be considered for a future edition of My Best Promotion, contact senior editor Michael Cornnell at email@example.com or 215-238-5449 for questions and other details.