I get many approaches from cold callers trying to sell advertising or other marketing services but this call was a little different in that they mentioned my client by name and the call was from a mature native English speaking female.
As I enjoy studying some marketing I decided to hear them out and listen to what was being offered.
She was not giving the game away but trying to get me to meet with the business owner who was working with a promotion at the golf club, who were already my client, so I succumbed and agreed to meet with the owner of the promotion.
The meeting was scheduled and I expected the normal presentation.
You know the type.
We are promoting a calendar, club newsletter, beer mats, club signage etc and we want you to join in on the promotion.
Anyway I was pleasantly surprised.
The co-op marketing owner visited me shortly after to pitch the idea they were selling.
It was an expert no nonsense pitch and the offer was explained quickly with no fluff and the idea was sold in a very short time because. . .
the deal was good
the presentation was professional
there was no hard sell
there was proof of product (physical high quality)
there were others involved I knew
there were terms to suit my situation
there were other influential factors
Anyway what was this promotion I was being targeted to be part of?
The promotion was something this business had been running successfully for over 30 years and stemmed out of them originally being a printing business and also a golfer.
Many years ago the business owner was due to play in a club tournament.
Not something high end just the regular weekend type event run at every community sports club nearly everywhere.
The job had fell onto the the business owner to draw up the scorecard and the elimination table for the event that was happening that day. . . apparently the club had run out of the round score charts and needed someone to quickly sketch up the 16 pairs that were going to play that day. and the knockout structure. - flow chart
Out of that experience a national business developed that has survived to this day and will most probably survive a little longer because of its simplicity and the network this business has built.
The idea was to have the draw sheets with each round displayed paid for by businesses who supported the club.
It started with the business owner printing some draw sheets for his club and getting a few local "mates" to contribute towards producing the printed blank draws for the club by doing the standard idea of surrounding the central information with advertisements.
The idea was expanded to approach every sports club. Tennis, Lawn Bowls, Golf etc. any club where they had regular amateur tournaments each and every weekend with the offer to print their draw sheets for FREE if they approved of businesses sponsoring the space around the outside.
Much like the 9x5 mailer or similar co-ops.
Anyway this business has every club (that has my ideal target market) on board as a user of the draw sheets in my local area some 40 plus clubs are involved in my area.
Researching the operation that have thousands of clubs involved across Australia and the operation is run by TWO people. - They outsource the printing nowadays.
I spoke at length after becoming a supporter because I wanted to understand the full story and this business freed the operator from being a traditional offset printer into an entrepreneur that had people on a 2 year billing cycle.
It takes them 2 years to go across Australia and they only ever have one or two spots that become available ( that might seem like sales speak but I've got to know the owner) and they have high repeat long term support from local businesses.
Some key points I would suggest if anyone would like to emulate this idea.
1. Get a group of significant clubs on board first.
2. Build a network of businesses / business owners who already support those clubs
3. Get a group of known business leaders to take out positions
4. Make an offer that reflects what businesses expect.
5. Give them terms that meet their cashflow but don't discount the service.
6. Establish a long-term - in this example 2 years. (remember Yellow pages was 12 months)
7. Approach local non-conflicting traditional businesses who have budget to spend.
8. Sign them up on one visit.
9. Deliver proofs to the business.
10.Bill them professionally
Businesses can obviously make offers in their advertisement to attempt to drive customers but this is not a product that will deliver a business immediate results but traditional business owners understand the value of long exposure to a target market particularly if their target market are more traditional consumers.
Given that the product is only sold into the market every two years also allows the owner to position it as a higher priced product and they don't have to sell a spot each month to a business like the monthly 9x5 type offer.
BTW - This business doesn't have a website. They do have online payments etc but I've discussed the website situation with them and they found they don't need one because they have relationships with every business via phone, email and personal visits.
Hope that gives someone a few ideas.