As part of the BPMA’s ongoing commitment to raising industry standards, the association held its latest Education Day on September 13 at Whittlebury Hall in Towcester. A whole host of seasoned speakers covered a wide range of topics. P&P editor Melanie Attlesey reports.
Designed to suit all levels of expertise, the BPMA Education Day 2016 delivered in all that it promised. Over 140 delegates attended and found inspiration from 13 different speakers and topics, ranging from attracting clients, getting a return on investment from social media and how to successfully sell apparel.
Featured below are overviews of two of the topics from the day.
Getting a return on investment from social media – Grant Leboff
Top UK sales and marketing expert, Grant Leboff, sought to unlock the world of social media to a packed room.
Grant explained that we are currently living through a communication revolution and this makes the world both an exciting and daunting place to be. Decades ago the only channel for acquiring information was through traditional means i.e. newspapers, radio, television and now he added: “For the first time in history everyone has a communication channel.”
Grant explained that marketing is essentially the art of interrupting someone else’s audience. Grant added that there are three golden rules of social media and by following these the method will work.
- Rule one – digital marketing has to have value in its own right.
Marketing has to have value beyond the transaction and needs to be interesting to those not looking to buy. If you run a digital advert with a link, don’t route people back to your homepage, take them back to a specific landing page to peak their interest.
- Rule two – digital marketing should never be about products and services, it should be about people instead.
Grant advised that businesses should think carefully about their USP; however he adds that it is ok not to have one. He suggested that businesses should differentiate by not what they do, but the people they do it for and how they do it. When it comes to social media Grant suggested taking a standpoint because people find it interesting. He also suggested investing some time into thinking about the narrative of your business and the case studies involved.
- Rule three – digital marketing and selling is not about winning customers.
Grant said that digital marketing is about building a community. He added that the best salespeople will be people who are engaged with businesses. This where Grant then proceeded to talks about the digital sales funnel.
The digital sales funnel has a narrow top to allow social media followers to trickle in slowly, he said that users should not expect to get 20m followers instantly. The hard bit is keeping followers in the middle of the funnel and not to let them drop out of the bottom.
Grant explained that the trick to keeping them there is to provide them with value. This requires content creation. As a starting point Grant suggested thinking about the challenges customers face within the industry and then begin to create hints and tips based upon these challenges. ROI can be measured by keeping track of the number of people engaging with the content that then continue on to purchase products.
Successfully selling apparel – Marty Lott
Marty Lott is the founder and CEO of SanMar, an American garment distributor with an annual turnover of $1bn. Speaking to a room full of promotional product suppliers and distributors he was faced with informing them about the best way to go about selling apparel.
He said the trick to cracking the industry is to understand who is wearing promotional garments and providing them with garments that they want to wear rather than have to wear.
He provided the following hints and tips:
- Understand your client’s colour and branding – when initially pitching to clients make sure that the colour you choose isn’t offensive to them or their brand.
- Fit makes a difference – in the 90s, Marty explained it was assumed women wore XS and S, while men wore M, X and XL. He added that everyone wants to look good, which is why brands have worked hard to produce partner and companion pieces.
- Uniformity and colour swatches are important – Marty used the example of his K420 polo shirt. This garment has been in the Port Authority range since 1993. A new colour navy was introduced a few years later, but customers still ask for the older colour for consistency with uniforms. So he added it is important to keep a consistent supply of the same style and colour.
- Be knowledgeable – keep up to date with new fabrics, new technologies, new decoration techniques. Marty added that it helps to wear the products in your catalogue as this increases the chance of selling the product.
Marty concluded his seminar by saying: “I love this industry because you’re all entrepreneurs. I’ve always been one and so this industry works for me. You can all succeed if you desire to.”
The very next day the BPMA held its inaugural trade show at Silverstone. The day consisted of more than 90 exhibitors representing most of the major players in the promotional products industry.
Visitor Sue Moth of B Sanders, said: “I just wanted to say how absolutely brilliant the BPMA Show was. We were pleasantly surprised (as of course we did not know what to expect from a brand new trade show), at just how well organised the whole day was, and what a lovely venue.”
The one-day show attracted almost 400 distributor visitors from the promotional gift industry, with many of the larger promotional gift distributors sending their entire sales teams.