I have had several people contact me after buying Bridal Show Success or reading my posts on outrageous marketing that wanted more specific direction.
The whole point of outrageous marketing is to stand out from the crowd. Perhaps the best way to get your creative juices flowing is to catalog what the ‘crowd’ is doing. Let’s start with bridal shows. In the book I suggest that you have one statement piece in your booth. Go to the next show you can find and see what everyone else is doing; then do something else. OK, that sounds pretty lame, but think about it. If you look at the photographer’s booth every one of them has beautiful wedding images hanging in their booth and after a while they all look alike. Hang something different. I am not saying don’t put wedding images up, I’m just saying as your statement piece do something completely different. If you do fine art photography, use one of those, blown up to an outrageous size. If you have some award winners put them on one wall with the awards. In a sea of wedding photographs you booth will be the one they remember.
If all the sugar artists in your area fill their booth with 3 or 4 full size cakes make one larger than life dummy and than a wall of centerpiece size cakes that are all different. Get some vertical shelving (I used to pull the chrome shelves out of my shop) and fill the shelves with different thing that you do: cookies, small cakes, examples of sugar flowers and put something amazing on that top shelf that will be seen above the crowd.
Are all the florists doing a major statement piece arrangement in the center of their booth? Do a variety of smaller, more realistic ones. A client of mine gets a corner booth and takes down the outside wall. On that point she puts a 7 foot tall wrought iron tree hung with bouquets and boutonnières. Smaller arrangements and tabletop décor line the back wall, again going vertical with stands. They are grouped to go with the various bouquet styles. Trust me, that tree draws a lot of attention. Brides first see it as a whole and then start discovering all the parts that make it up. If a bride zeros in a particular bouquet, she can show her ideas for centerpieces that go with it.
If you are looking for follow up ideas, send in an accomplice to sign up. Seriously. The only way to know what kind of follow up your competition is doing is to get on their list. Find an employee or friend or daughter of a friend and have them sign up for services in your category. Use an email address that can be forwarded to you. Once you know what they are doing, again, do something different. You should read the article on Cherry Picking Your Lead List for more ideas on outrageous follow up.
This is for the July issue of Think, so in a perfect world, you can go scan the late summer shows and start planning your booth for January. If not, you may have to see if you can dig up some images from last season. If there are multiple shows in your area, go to the ones you aren’t doing. Sign up to their mailing list off their website, that may give you some indication of what they are thinking.
Some of you may think this all sound a little shady. If I were telling you to go steal their ideas I would agree with you; but I’m not. I’m telling you to do this kind of research so you can zig when they zag. Marketing is about making you stand out from the herd. If you are doing the exact same thing as everyone else you are just going to blend in. Be outrageous, be flamboyant, be uniquely, marvelously YOU!