Are You Selling to the Financial Vertical? Hear One Distributor's Success Story
This would be the time of year when many would refresh their warm-weather wardrobes, but there is nothing normal right now, unless we count rotating athleisure looks. COVID-19 has forced brick-and-mortar retailers to quickly pivot to online-only operations—a move sure to complicate an already-struggling sector with increasing bankruptcy filings.
Those tracking these developments may remember one such filing last year that ultimately resulted in the sale of teen apparel brand Charlotte Russe to SB360 Capital Partners, a private merchant banking group. SB360 Capital Partners provides short- and long-term equity investments, financial assistance, commercial real estate investments, asset recovery, auctions and liquidations. In managing the chain’s going-out-of-business sale, SB360 Capital Partners helped to move millions of pieces at a rapid pace. As such, the firm wanted to recognize those involved in the process with an award, specifically a Tombstone highlighting “Collaborative Success in the Liquidation of 160 Million in Inventory.” That’s when reinforcements were called.
“When I was presented with this project, I wanted to do something different [from] the typical acrylic 5x7" Tombstone I had previously done for them,” Linda Miller Seder, principal of Innovative Promotional Concepts, Watertown, Mass., said of her client. “I also wanted it to be something that was relevant to the project itself.”
Here, she explains her thought process behind the campaign and offers advice to peers hoping to broaden their reach in the financial vertical.
What items were featured in this promotion, and what influenced that decision?
Linda Miller Seder: I spoke with a few vendors and explained that I envisioned something that was representative of shopping for women’s apparel. I received several mock-ups and I presented this dimensional acrylic piece of a pink dress being put into a shopping bag. They were very happy with the creativity of this Tombstone and the fact that it so perfectly reflected the project they successfully completed.
How was this a profitable promotion for your company? For your client?
LMS: In terms of profitability, I would say the major benefit was it showed them my creativity, the fact that I think outside the box and that I had the resources to make it happen. This company is rapidly growing and was in the middle of a major liquidation for a national retailer when the coronavirus hit and things came to a halt. I know that this particular job will continue when we can get back to ‘work’; in addition, they have many others in the planning. I feel confident that I will be working with SB360 Capital Partners, and its affiliate partners, on all future recognition projects. I have been fortunate to become the client’s only promotional marketing distributor.
With regard to my client, the recipients of this Tombstone were very happy with the award and loved the fact that it was so different. This was not used to directly market their company, but to recognize the people and companies involved in this project and their success. I strongly believe that this recognition in combination with the success of the project, will add to the company’s profitability in the long run.
Did you encounter any challenges with this particular promotion? If so, how did you overcome them?
LMS: I would say that my biggest challenge was to get my vision into a dimensional piece that represented the project at hand within my client’s budget. We had some amazing mockups with different vendors using combinations of materials—acrylic and metals. The mockups included women’s clothing hanging on retail racks [or] window displays, or being inserted into shopping bags. … I chose the dress in pink that matched the color of the retail client’s logo simply being put into the dimensional shopping bag—as that is exactly what was happening. Shoppers were purchasing clothing that was sold in a liquidation and leaving the store with a shopping bag bearing the Charlotte Russe logo.
Do you have any advice for your peers attempting a similar promotion in the financial market?
LMS: There are so many distributors in our industry, and we need to ask ourselves, “How are we going to compete with everyone else?” I gave this serious consideration when I went out on my own in 2010 and I realized that I needed to differentiate myself. I believe that my role as a marketer is to help my clients differentiate themselves! I always use the line, “Dare To Be Different” in all of my social media communications. ... I took this opportunity with SB360 Capital Partners to show them that I am a solutions provider versus an order taker.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.