Excerpts from Education at PPAI Vegas
Greetings from a sunny, yet surprisingly cold, Las Vegas! I'm here at the PPAI Expo 2011 in Las Vegas for the third year straight, though this time I was able to make it up a day earlier than normal to attend a few education sessions. It's my first time attending any industry classes, so I thought it might be cool to share some of my notes and thoughts from the sessions.
I took a ton more notes than I needed, so these synopses will be spread out over the next three days. Enjoy, and check back tomorrow for part two!
FIRST SESSION: 8:00-- Cliff Quicksell, "How to Maximize (Ok Squeeze) Your Marketing Dollars"
Cliff's presentation focused on ways to promote your business that make it stand out from the generic marketing noise your potential clients see every day (e-mail, cold-calling, catalogs, etc.), though he also covered adding value to your services and other customer-rentention ideas. He gave a bunch of ideas, both specific and broad, on improving both these areas of your business, but most of them could be boiled down to a couple core concepts:
-Use your creativity in your marketing efforts. Cliff stated that potential clients will respond well to creative attempts at engaging them, helping you differentiate yourself from your competitors. He gave the example of creative self-promotion that involved sending prospects freezer-packed containers of ice cream labeled with the appropriate marketing copy and the text "the ultimate cold-call."
-Be more than just a product-provider to your clients. Cliff claimed the path to both competitive advantage and higher margins is getting your clients to see you as a creative marketing consultant and not just a source of cheap promo items. Skills like weaving promotional products into memorable marketing campaigns, providing trackable and high ROI, and asking the right questions of clients were all emphasized.
I'm grossly oversimplifying Cliff's presentation, which was far more detailed, but those two bullets roughly cover the heart of his material. Overall I would recommend seeing Cliff speak. He's a great presenter, has a lot of industry experience (I believe 27 or 28 years?), and provided a good mix of philosophical and practical advice. He also gave a lot of case study examples to support his points, which I think is great. Seeing the 4-5 examples of creative promotions that Cliff had created, as well as just as many anecdotes of creative selling, really made his point of being more than just a commodity seller very clear.
BEST QUOTE: "If you are commodity-based, if you're just selling product, you will soon be a dinosaur in this industry."
MOST INTERESTING IDEA: Billing clients for your creative time like a lawyer would for legal counsel. You would offer free consultations, as a lawyer would, then return with an estimate of how many creative hours you'll be spending on research and other work. Charges for product, delivery, etc., would be included normally.
If you're at the show, good luck, have fun, and remember, check back here tomorrow for part two!