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Not all of them will be repeating the event next year, but, as a rule of thumb, local events happen in the same week each year and most are annual. Then contact your local newspaper(s) for similar information from the whatʼs on page.

I would be very surprised, based on my researches, if that didnʼt rapidly generate two hundred contacts.

I would say that the sales opportunities come on three levels. First, there are the enthusiasts who can be expected and recommended to wear the item(s) around the area as walking billboards for the weeks preceding the event. Next are the extended organisational team – car park attendants, marshals, security and so on. Finally, there are the visitors who may number dozens, hundreds or thousands. The councils all say one thing: make it easy for people to say yes.

Remember, too, that a committee will probably be involved. Offer proven, simple, popular solutions and an interesting design. In this case, the huge choice available in printwear can actually be a barrier to sales if you donʼt narrow that choice.

The local authority areas you are targeting may have a free guide to organising such events. Plenty do. They are all pretty much based on the formula provided by central government. Check out xyz. However, not everyone provides this. If they do or not, I can see excellent business opportunities. If your targeted authorities provide such a guide, contact them and ask for an advertising opportunity – they are typically a download from the website with the option of hard copy by mail. By definition, every single recipient in either category is a potential customer. In the nature of local authorities, they tend not to be alive to this opportunity. You might well get a very good deal. In any case each of the guides I looked through told organisers to give all their volunteers T shirts, which suggests there would be a fair wind behind you. On the other hand, if they donʼt provide that guide, why donʼt you do it? You donʼt have to re-invent the wheel, the needful content is sitting on websites. Iʼve looked at a few and the Sheffield City Council version is a good sample. The local authority versions naturally talk in generic terms. They canʼt suggest suppliers, however obvious the need. Your efforts in this area can win all sorts of prizes. Youʼll be well aware that central government cuts are impacting

About the author

Paul Clapham is a marketing consultant with more than 25 yearsʼ experience covering a broad range of business sectors and a full spread of marketing disciplines. He works with small, medium and large companies alike to increase their profitability.

| 20 | November 2011

on local authorities. The effect of that is to cut support budgets for local events and/or increase prices of facilities provided for them by councils. A good, grown-up way to help solve that squeeze would be well received by all parties. Sell lots of printwear would be a damn good start!

I would strongly advise creating your own event organisers evening. Some

access to this customer base. Who would not buy from the person that helps them get business?

Also contact your local client base and tell them that you are selling into this group. Itʼs very likely that some of them will be involved in such events. You could cement a relationship with an existing client and win a new one in the same email.

‘Offer proven, simple, popular solutions and an interesting design. In this case, the huge choice available in printwear can actually be a barrier to sales if you don’t narrow that choice.’

beer and some buns and an invite to your premises would be cheap. As above, theyʼll need a proper sell job on the value to them of printwear but your premises are 100% the right place to do that. Youʼd be a mug if you went for the me, me, me approach. Instead, you should tell them the free publicity vehicles for their event and provide all the contacts (dead easy – ask the council).

‘Fine idea’

I would also predict that the individuals invited would value the chance to share ideas and worries with their peers. I asked all the local authorities I spoke to if they ran such an event themselves. The answer was always no but they all thought it a fine idea.

Involve relevant clients in this event. Imagine how beneficial it would be to sit a provider of services relevant to such community event organisers in front of them. They would love you forever. Equally, you could sell to businesses in that category with part of the deal being

There is a fair bit of graft involved in the above, but I would suggest plenty of potential, too. More than that, the sales would be repeated year-in, year-out, in very many cases. If you could build into your business plan fifty steady pieces of business, youʼd do it, wouldnʼt you? Never assume that people are commercially astute. Those involved in organising community events and the local authority staff you will deal with are fine examples. Donʼt regard that as a problem –

theyʼre ignorant of the opportunity, rather than stupid. Explain that opportunity and you can create enthusiasts. As an example of that lack of commercial awareness, when the Turner Centre opened in April in Margate a lot of volunteers were recruited for the first weekend and each was provided with a nicely designed T shirt.

One of them tells me that she was asked six times where it could be bought and the answer had to be “sorry we only produced them for stewards”. Overall, that suggests that hundreds, perhaps thousands of sales went by the board. I have to point the finger at the company who supplied the shirt. If youʼre reading and talked yourself hoarse trying to persuade Thanet District Council to buy for resale, I apologise.

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