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Smashing’s Marketing Tool Box — A Flask, A Stack of Dollar Bills and the Fuzz

January 31, 2011

The PGA Miniseries — Part Deux


As JD pointed out last week, our main objective of going to the PGA Show was to see if this was where we wanted to be next year.  Is it worth the money?  How do people “do up” their booths?  yada, yada, yada

But I figured while we are there, we might as well try to do a little self promotion.  So we came armed with 100 postcards explaining Smashing’s difference and touting our many media accolades.  We were laughing at those poor suckers that spent $10,000+ on their booths, while we spent $30 on cards.  Suckers.

We also came with a garment bag of a few samples.  As many of you know, we were supposed to meet the Fashion Editor of Golf Digest.  Now when I confirmed a few days prior to our arrival, our phone conversation was making me a little skeptical:

Me: Hi Marty, it’s Spinner from Smashing.  I just wanted to confirm that we are going to meet up at the PGA Show on Thursday.

Marty: Smashing — yes, I will definitely come by your booth on Friday.

Me:  That’s great Marty, except we don’t have a booth and we won’t be there on Friday.  How about Thursday?

Marty:  I’m just getting off the golf course, just call me when you get in and we’ll try to figure out something.

So ignoring all the not so subtle clues, of “try” and “avail on Friday”, I still say let’s bring the samples, we’ll find him.

We enter the PGA doors to an onslaught of the senses.  Music, bartenders, scantily dressed girls, food — it was nuts.  All of a sudden our little $30 postcards looked a little, well, small.  But we weren’t going to be deterred — then we saw the signs –“ABSOLUTELY NO DISTRIBUTION OF PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS, VIDEOS, ETC MAY BE DISTRIBUTED INSIDE THE EXHIBITION HALL.”   Seriously folks, that makes no sense.  Isn’t that the entire purpose of the PGA Show?!?!  I’m still not deterred.

Then I saw the Fuzz — no correction, the ARMED Fuzz.  As in armies of them.   And I swear, they were all looking directly at me.  Ok, I’m a little deterred.

But we still try to hand out our cards.  It felt a little like handing out Chinese menus on a street corner, but just kept a smile on my face.  There was one country club connection we were stalking for about 3 aisles as she represented a big club nearby.  As I was getting ready to hand her a card, Ace screams, “ABORT. ABORT.  THE FUZZ.”  I drop to the floor.  Not to avoid the police officer, but because I have started hysterically laughing and can no longer stand up.

On to marketing tactic number two. We are eating lunch (the worst lunch in history AND Florida has no good diet soda — a blog for another day) and we decide to leave some cards laying on lunch tables (since we started with 100 and are now down to 98, we figured this may be a good plan).  But I don’t want to just leave them, I want it to look like someone wrote notes on them.  So I ask who has “masculine handwriting?”  JD says she does.  So I say write “Call Monday” on the front of the card.  She does in the most flowing, flowery, heart dotting i, handwriting possible.  “Uh, JD, I said “masculine handwriting!”  So she takes another card and prints in large obnoxious handwriting “CALL TUESDAY”  We are now in another fit of hysterical laughter.  Why you may ask?  Because (a) we haven’t eaten since the food is awful (b) we have had no caffeine since there is no good diet soda (c) we are handing out little postcards which seemed like a great idea back in little ol Illinois, but now doesn’t and (d) we are now defacing the very cards we spent days labouring over!

Let’s try marketing tactic number three.  Ace comes up with the brilliant idea of wrapping dollar bills around our cards.  Because let’s face it, people topple over each other to pick a penny off of the floor, they will definitely want that dollar.  Ace’s brilliant idea, funded by me, as she ironically has no singles.

It worked like a charm. Thank God I had high speed film to catch this guy picking up the dollar.  I’m not sure if they were more excited for the dollar or for the brilliant marketing literature about Smashing.  Time will tell, time will tell.

But as a great idea as it was, I only had a few singles in my wallet.  Next time I’ll come armed with a big, fat wad of single dollar bills.

Onto the final marketing tactic of the day.  Alcohol.  Yes, the wine tasting bar opened and we were exhausted from lugging all of our samples (yes, Marty didn’t meet up with us, he’ll find us Friday), stalking people and of course hysterical laughing.  We heard the pop of the cork and took off into full sprint, we were first in line.  Here we made some great contacts and at least made people hear our sales pitch before we would move out-of-the-way and let them have a drink.

So was the trip a success?  I think so.  If we only gained one contact — it was worth it.  But we gained more than that.  I think it became pretty clear the booth needs to be exciting and loud — a bar should work.   And of course I worked my ab muscles more than I have had in years with all those hysterical fits of laughter.  Definitely worth it.

2011 Copyright Smashing LLC 2011 Copyright smashingonline.wordpress.com

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