By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
Throughout this “marketing scam” series of columns, I focused on generally-accepted marketing tactics that waste the limited dollars of the marketing budget and that deliver few sales opportunities. This final segment is devoted to two final activities that offer questionable value.
The first tactic more likely is driven by sales rather than marketing in my experience. Because a key sales target audience is the hard-to-reach C-level, any number of executive consulting groups and event companies offer “exclusive” executive events for a limited number of sales representatives to attend. The promise of meeting and networking with key C-level decision-makers is hard to beat. And, usually these events combine golf or other resort amenities, too.
Fish in a Barrel
Like the earlier scams, the premise sounds great at first, like shooting fish in a barrel. But keep in mind that the invited sales reps’ companies pay for those C-level attendees. They also pay for the venue and the organizer’s fee and expenses. The bottom line: these events are inordinately expensive.
Finally, think of the C-level attendee’s perspective: Is he or she really ready to do anything more than promise to look into the sales rep’s offer? Is he or she likely to change a decision or an existing decision-making process based on a social outing?
Question That Award Sponsorship (or Entry)
Without a doubt, awards are big business. If you sponsor an award that recognizes those in your target market, your organization derives exceptional branding value through the connection. If your company wins an award that is recognized by your customers and prospects, that too brings great value. NAFA, Bobit, AFLA and other fleet-tied organizations have well-established award programs that service providers and fleet decision-makers alike find tremendously worthwhile.
However, because awards are a great marketing tool and a lucrative revenue source for businesses from any arena – there’s at least one company that does nothing more than conduct award competitions – a cautious approach to involvement makes sense. Consider these questions:
- Can you quantify the branding value, especially if the award is not fleet industry-related?
- Knowing the branding value, what is the return once the total cost of entry and promotion is considered? (For example, preparing a high-ranking submission for a national business publication’s “Best of” award can reach a five-figure sum just for the consulting help.)
- Do you know enough about who is organizing, judging and managing the award program? You do not want your company associated with award programs run by individuals with anything less than the highest standards, trustworthy reputation, and a record of success.
As always, I welcome feedback, questions, suggestions, experiences and differing points of view from fleet product and service providers as well as from fleet managers, corporate buyers, consultants, trade association and media representatives. Just send an email to EdPierce@ITAcommunications.com