The problem with promotional events is that they can all too easily become a jolly, with little purpose or specific outcomes. When I was in practice, we annually took a small group to England Rugby Union matches at Twickenham and this event was also in danger of this drift in direction.
One year I decided I would set myself clear targets and planned outcomes for such a promotional event.
I specifically wanted something from my invitation which was to be linked to a clear request, that frank. This direct approach was a little worrying and not at all traditional, but I tried it anyway.
The result of one such invitation is a major lesson of the power of every action having a compound reaction. You could say this was my Butterfly Moment!
One of my clients was an interesting and ambitious business owner and when I invited him to the England v New Zealand rugby match I said to him, “I know you love sport and I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is I have a spare ticket for the England v New Zealand game in a few weeks. The bad news is that we have agreed as a firm that we need at least one referral from everyone we invite.
What do you say, fancy coming?” You might feel this was a scarily frank approach, so how did it work out?
He came along to the rugby and quite frankly I had no real expectation that he would fulfil his part of the bargain.
As we stood around the boot of the car, sipping red wine and munching on canapés he pulled out a slip of paper and on it were the details of a company and a person’s name.
He said to me, “Here you go I haven’t forgotten. This chap is a director of this company and they need your strategic help.”
This was well over twenty plus years ago and much water has passed under this particular bridge since.
With the help and support of another client and friend of mine, the very entrepreneurial Managing Director and his team were able to really go for growth in sales of their superb products, aided and supported by an equally entrepreneurial and practical Chairman.
Today, it is a just under £10m ($12m) a year sales revenue business, highly successful, very profitable, leaders in their field and employers of around a hundred and fifty people.
It’s the classic small business success and they are manufacturers to boot. I’m very proud of my part in this success story and deeply value my relationship with the company and its directors and still to this day input strategic and non-executive advisory help every month.
From a risk (that is being that frank with my original referral request) to reward (over twenty years of significant annual fees) basis, the targeted invitation approach definitely worked!
It seems to me that outcome focused marketing works!