Archive for September 21st, 2010

A Little Marketing Imagination

I was catching up on some ezine reading over the weekend. Judy Murdoch always has great stuff, and one of her recent articles inspired an idea I thought I would share.

In this particular article, she talked about working with a client who designs children’s clothing using vintage fabrics and patterns and how retailers were extra picky these days about taking on untried vendors due to the ecomony. Although neither she nor the client had much experience in retail marketing, she very handily relied on a tool from her advertising days with great success: the customer profile.

(Excellent stuff; be sure and read the article in full.)

Before I’d even finished reading the article, my mind was racing with ideas. One in particular was a riff on the old “trunk sale.”

Don’t know what a trunk sale is?

Back in the day, I knew someone who was friends with Tarina Tarentino. Maybe you’ve heard of her? She has a makeup line in Sephora now and is getting her finger in all sorts of other fun things. But her main claim to fame is jewelry design. Lovely, sparkly, wonderfully imaginative little beauties.

When she was first starting out, she would have trunk sales at high-end retail stores like Nordstrom’s. At a trunk sale, what you do is set up a little display (sometimes even literally out of a trunk), and the store makes a special event of it. If your sales and products go over well with customers, the store buyer may decide to officially pick up your product line. It’s one of the ways folks get their foot in the door of selling their products at retailers.

My first thought was how Judy’s client could do trunk sales with great results. After coming up with the customer profile and using that to determine the best retailers to focus on, she could propose the idea of putting on a special trunk sale and making an event out of it.

It would give the retailer an opportunity to promote their own business in the process by contacting their customers and giving them a fun reason to come into the store. They could provide drinks and refreshments, maybe come up with some interactive activities and giveaways. And they could be sure to give folks a reason to leave their email addresses (such as a giveaway or contest) so they could be added to their mailing lists.

So not only would Judy’s client be creating an opportunity, in a fun way, to get her foot in the door of these retailers, she would also be helping them market their businesses at the same time. If I was a retailer, I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be irresistible about that.

Well, there’s no reason you couldn’t do a version of the trunk sale in a professional services business–live or online–with a little imagination.

Put together a little presentation, combine it with some fun, interactive games or contest, and make sure there is a call to action and some way of capturing email addresses. Fun and interactive would be the keys here. Organize it like a party or a shower, not a self-serving promotion. Propose the idea of having a client or another business host the event and you’re giving them an excuse to get in front of their audience as well.

Put those thinking caps on!