The Coast News Group
Prior to investing in any new idea — like wall plaques for the office — be sure the strategy’s appropriate for your audience. Stock image
Ask Mr. MarketingColumns

Always test new marketing strategies

In 2009, my company (MarketBuilding Team) was selected as the US Commerce Association’s top grocery store. For just $200 the world would know we ran the greatest grocery in San Diego County. We’d get an award for my desk, a wall plaque and a press release.

Only we’re a marketing agency, not a grocery store. Whoever rented the mailing list saw “market” in the company’s name and made an assumption. You know what happens when you assume, right?

This obvious mistake made me forever leery of such promotions.

As my company derives 100% of its new business from networking and referrals (and zero from foot traffic!), I figure I’m better off investing in trade shows than wall plaques.

Now jump to Long Beach, where my friend Lorraine works at Gaylord & Nantais, a workers’ compensation law firm specializing in work-related injuries. Her team’s been looking at American Registry, which collects news about awards your company’s won and offers to sell you a plaque honoring each one.

Lorraine’s debating whether to buy up to 36 plaques to impress prospective clients. The question: Are promotional plaques hanging on the office wall worth the investment?

G&N gets many new clients using advertising, social media, billboards and the like, so their clientele could conceivably respond favorably to such announcements. Still, buying 36 plaques seems a bit excessive for an untested marketing strategy.

To mitigate risk, I suggested G&N buy plaques representing four recent awards. Tracking new business efforts before and after the plaques are hung up will quickly inform the team whether it’s worth investing in more next year.

With or without plaques, though, G&N will want to post social media and send out press releases announcing each award. Mentioning these awards in the company’s advertising and email signatures would also be wise.

Here’s the thing: Everyone craves recognition for their hard work and achievements. Awards, plaques, dinners, social media and publicity can all lead to increased business.

But prior to investing in any new idea, be sure the strategy’s appropriate for your audience. Check that you’re working with legitimate groups and that there’s a realistic potential for significant return on your investment.

If all those boxes get checked, then I’d encourage you to go for it!

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Mr. Marketing’s grocery career consists of returning cans to Albertson’s.

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