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Wear in the community


It’s great when business comes in through the window, but with a bit of research, your own business could really take off and it’s all right there on your doorstep, reckons marketing expert, Paul Clapham...


H


ow would you like a new client – at least one – for every week of the year? Well, itʼs entirely possible and there are plenty to go round amongst all P&P readers.


They come under the broad heading of community events.


I hesitate to guess how many of these there are, but I comfortably predict hundreds of thousands. As you might imagine they are typically small but there are plenty of them right on your doorstep. Letʼs just address what comes under


this ʻcommunity eventʼ heading. School fetes are everywhere, although focused on the summer. Most charity events are local – the slimathon/walkathon type of activity. Every church celebrates harvest festival and some make a big thing out of it. Parish councils have local fund-raisers – open day for gardens, as a case. Every park in the country is available for rent for activity days, music and big picnics. I could make a list as long as this page. There are several factors which make all of these events fallow ground for printwear. In the first place, they are desperately poor at self-publicity. Very many donʼt even tell their local


www.printwearandpromotion.co.uk


newspaperʼs ʻWhatʼs Onʼ column what they are doing and when. Equally, local councils invariably have a similar facility on their website. Staff in the communications department bemoan the fact that it can only feature what theyʼre told about and they know that lots of people who could use such publicity donʼt tell them. Timing is a further benefit to the industry. In the nature of such events they tend to be concentrated into the summer months, in particular the school holidays. If you normally experience a slow-down then because clients are away, community events could do a good job of filling the shortfall.


Volunteers


Next, the organisers are enthusiasts and, indeed, volunteers. The majority have day jobs. They may know everything there is to know about their village, but they know nothing about printwear. In particular, they donʼt know how good a local publicity device it is, nor how popular, nor how much additional revenue it can generate for their coffers.


Above all, few will know any suppliers. Whilst in a lot of cases the same individual will be organiser for years there will always be new ones and in such cases the ʻdonʼt knowʼ factor goes through the roof.


My contact in Community Services at my local council says that not only are these events local but the organisers tend to be insular (my word, not hers). By that I mean that they are so deeply engrossed in their own project that they donʼt see the bigger picture. As a consequence, there is precious little sharing of ideas, information or expertise. That inevitably means that people are wasting vast tracts of time hunting for, say, generators when someone in the same town and in the same role knows all the best people locally. So how do you harvest these opportunities? Start with the local council who will have a list of this yearʼs community events that they know about, which will include a contact name and details. The correct person (or department) varies from council to council.


■ Continued on next page November 2011 | 19 |


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