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Bombed Promotion - Back-End Success

A company we cannot name, needed to get a lot of return out of a very small budget for a trade show promotion.

The company made office and personal knick-knacks related to sports. All kinds of sports: baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, soccer, golf - you name it.

Their product was very catchy and always well received by sports fans when they saw it "in the flesh."

To get a lot of hot, interested prospects to the trade show booth, David Garfinkel instructed the company to call the assistant of every major buyer who was likely to be at the show ... get the correct spelling of the person's name ... and find out what their favorite sport was.

Then, he wrote a letter for the company, referring to the buyer's favorite sport (each letter was customized) -- and had the company pin a knick-knack related to the favorite sport of the recipient to the top of the letter. All letters were FedEx'd to the appropriate buyer.

The purpose of the letter was to get the buyer's attention, and to entice him or her to visit the booth at the trade show.

Well, the trade show turned out to be an unimaginable disaster. It was at the Atlanta Convention Center, and the company's booth was located in some remote and impossible-to-find wing of the center in a separate building.
No one came. They were the loneliest guys in town.

But the letter worked wonders in an unexpected way. It turned out the buyer for one of the nation's largest retailers was a hockey fanatic. He had every piece of hockey stuff you could think of ... sticks, pucks, helmets, posters, jerseys, you name it ... and they were plastered all over his office.

So when he received a tiny hockey stick at the top of a letter from the company, he went into spasms of euphoria. It was almost like he had died and gone to heaven.

He got right on the phone, called up the company, and placed an $80,000 order on the spot.

So even though the trade show bombed, the company came out ahead very nicely on this promotion.

Lessons to be learned

a] A marketing campaign can always bring in back-end results, even if it failed at its prime purpose. It takes clever copy, clever targeting and a clever direct marketing package. Some effect can always be generated!

b] Success of a direct marketing campaign in part depends on how precisely you can tailor the campaign and the individual elements of the direct marketing package to each individual recipient.

c] In order for a marketing campaign to work, all of its elements must be successful. Told differently - an excellent direct marketing campaign will do nothing for you if your prospects cannot find you or if any other elements of the campaign don't work. This goes for all marketing approaches, not just direct marketing.

[Story told by David Garfinkel]


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