Specialty Advertising is Marketing –Most of the time!
Thanks to Gregg A. Emmer, VP, chief marketing officer of Batavia, Ohio-based Kaeser & Blair for the following submission. The complete, original text reprinted here has not been edited by BFL&S.
As the number of people who have expanded their businesses by adding promotional products to the mix increase, so too does the confusion about what exactly they “sell” to their clients.
There are always circumstances where not having all the facts might just be a blessing. The often repeated statement about bumble bees continuing to fly only because they don’t know it is impossible comes to mind. But for most things and certainly in business, understanding exactly what it is that you do will help you do it better. This however, is not always clear. The terminology and language that is customarily applied to the specialty advertising or promotional products industry doesn’t help either!
A very unscientific study (a bunch of people were asked the same question) I conducted suggest that the overwhelming opinion of those who sell in this industry when asked what they do for a living stated “I sell promotional products”. Since the “selling” is what generated the money, the statement is accurate on its face but well off the mark if you consider why the client is involved in the transaction.
Work from what you know rather than what you think!
A university professor I was fortunate to have studied with insisted that all successful communication is outcome based. When the outcome (or objective) is clearly identified and the process to get there is developed working backwards, results of the communication are almost always better. In the simplest terms, it is better to work from what you know rather than what you think!
With that in mind, think about what our clients ask us for. We are more likely to here “I want to motivate my sales people” rather than “I want to buy some watches”. Your customer wants the “outcome”. Now consider that advertising is not outcome based but rather it is informational. It may contribute to an eventual outcome, but rarely will there be a direct cause and effect from the advertising. Years ago I boiled it down to: Advertising Informs, Marketing Motivates. So based on outcomes desired by our clients we would be more accurate calling this the “promotional marketing” industry or “marketing specialties”.