Secrets of Showcase Marketing

Hi, Everyone!

I was chatting with one of your fellow professionals about Showcase Marketing and thought I’d share an article I wrote with all of you:

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Successful Showcase Marketing:
Selling Your Services by Giving Them Away

On the surface, showcase marketing seems simple enough: create a free event with you as the star, book a room at a great conference venue, include a magnificent meal and fill the room with qualified prospects. Who wouldn’t want to attend?

Unfortunately, that strategy usually results in a very expensive and very empty room – and a very discouraged presenter.

What’s the problem? Actually, there are several worth noting:

1) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T about holding a one-time event. The chances that all of the prospects you want to meet can make the appointed date and time fit into their schedules is remote – and many of those who say they are available will have something come up at the last minute that prevents them from attending. Instead, by positioning your showcases as an ongoing series of monthly events, you have a much greater chance of your prospects actually attending. The reason though, isn’t just because they have multiple opportunities to attend. The fact is that offering a SERIES seems more legitimate to a skeptical buying public than a one-shot event – and that may encourage them to attend sooner.

2) Successful showcase marketing isn’t about offering a SHOWCASE. No one wants to go to a “showcase,” and referring to your event as such scares people away. The people you are targeting have probably attended “showcases” before and found out they were really just introductory samples and sales pitches. Instead, give your event a title that attracts people. Our Certified MasterStream Instructors and Certified ChangeWorks Analysts offer “A Day of Learning” for their business communities, and that title puts the emphasis where it really belongs – on the ATTENDEES and on EDUCATION.

3) Successful showcase marketing isn’t about YOU. I do hate to burst your bubbles, but unless you hold celebrity status, you alone are NOT a powerful enough attraction to fill your room. Instead, position yourself as the primary SPONSOR of a free event that is being provided FOR members of your business community BY members of your business community. Make your event as inclusive as possible by seeking additional corporate sponsors (obviously NOT your direct competitors).

These sponsors may provide you with space for your event, funding to cover the costs of handouts and refreshments, increased exposure by marketing the event to their own clients and prospects, or simply enhance your credibility by association with their good names. There’s a reason why chambers of commerce always have multiple sponsors for every event – and why you should as well.

4) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T about SELLING your services – it’s about increasing your EXPOSURE. The purpose of the event is to let as many people as possible know that you exist. The media isn’t likely to give a single-shot showcase any free publicity – after all, marketing such events is what their advertising solutions are all about! But an ongoing series of free educational programs sponsored by the business community IS newsworthy – and that means it is more likely to make it into their calendar of events and perhaps become the subject of an article or interview. Add a fundraising element in the name of a local charity and your series becomes even more attractive to both your prospects and the media.

5) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T about FILLING a ROOM. Although you’d certainly love to have a standing-room-only crowd, the real power of showcase marketing has very little to do with who actually shows up. Its greatest power is that it gives you a solid reason to contact your prospects on an ongoing basis – and effectively eliminates the pain associated with making traditional cold calls. Instead, short and simple service calls are made to inform your prospects of a free event and invite them to attend. As you contact them month after month, your prospects get to know you better and trust you more and that increases the chances that they will eventually participate. Even if they never attend, sooner or later they will ask you about what you really do – and that opens the door for you to discuss how you may be of service.

6) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T a SPECIAL EVENT. Make showcase marketing the CORE of your business strategy and many things become easier. Rather than making different sorts of outbound marketing calls, invitation calls are all you have to do. Rather than explaining your programs and services to prospects one at a time, route them into your showcases. Use your showcases as subject matter for your newsletters, articles and email broadcasts. Instead of feeling obligated to provide free guidance to friends and business associates who cannot afford to hire you, encourage them to attend your showcase every month. Increase your scope of impact by inviting groups who are often ignored, like business college students who may well be your prospects of the future.

Positioned and promoted properly, showcase marketing CAN be your best bet in building your business – but a well executed strategy brings you far more that money. Most people in the human development industry were drawn to the work because they wanted to have meaningful impact on people’s lives – to change the world. Achieving that objective meshes more with showcase marketing than any other approach.

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How many of you have tried your hand at something akin to Showcase Marketing — and how did things turn out for you?

Post a comment and let us know!

-T-

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One Response to Secrets of Showcase Marketing

  1. Bryan Dilts says:

    I am giving my 4th or 5th monthly Day Of Learning Tuesday the 9th. Obviously I wouldn’t continue if it didn’t work.

    What I want is new business out of it. I want new contacts. I want the chance to contact people with a quick email or two about the Day Of Learning each month. Before this, I only contacted them every 3 – 12 months because they weren’t really in my “right now” sales funnel.

    This is much more efficient than phone calls. It beats a “Do you have any needs?” email too. Much more successful.

    Now to scare you with the truth. I do mine by webinar. I have made a lot of great contacts, but had very few people attend. Seriously, I am getting 1 or 2 people maximum. Sometimes I get zero, but I do the presentation anyway. Then I get emails from folks saying, sorry I couldn’t attend. No problem.

    Does it work? Yes!! I covet the monthly contact with 167 people by email this week, and the 150 I will have an excuse to call this week.

    And I have gotten calls from people I lost contact with saying, “Could you come and help us out and take our money?”

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