Monday, March 11, 2013

Creating Wholesale Marketing Materials

by Kris A. Kramer

[Editor's note: You may notice some words in bold type throughout this post. See this earlier post by Kris to understand the method to her madness.}

Here’s my appreciation for the day:  Life was a lot easier before Wholesale Marketing. I am going to a wholesale show in April 2013. Besides filling in the gaps in my inventory so I can display a good representation of my products, I need to update, redesign, and reprint my marketing materials.

What marketing materials will I take? As usual I will work backwards. I’ll start with the number of marketing-material units, because the number will determine a budget and thus materials. How many people will take materials? Five thousand buyers will be at this show, but it’s unlikely and impossible that they all visit my booth. My booth will be open-for-business for 18 hours over 2.25 days. If I hand out a complete unit of marketing material every five minutes that would be twelve per hour. Twelve per hour times 18 hours is 216.  I need then about 250 complete units of marketing materials--always take extra.

What actual materials then?  Here is new information and some more of my way of thinking.
  • 250 rules out CD and DVD presentations, such as an e-Portfolio. Too expensive and time consuming to burn all those.
  • I need to share contact info, and a business card is the standard way to do this in large numbers.
  • Not everyone wants an artist statement or an explanation of my art process. But, I need to have it for buyers who like to read these.
  • I need to have a finite offering of my items or product lines. I need to organize them. By material? By function (pendant or earrings)? By color? Hmmm.
  • I need to have one or more packages for buyers who prefer to write orders this way or for first-time customers who want an assortment for starters.
  • Pick boxes* would be useful for new and repeating customers.
  • A little pre-show advertising would be advisable.
I was puzzled at first. I make five products:  pendants, earrings, charms, necklaces, bracelets. And I have four product themes: Gems and Glass, Landscapes, Pebbles, and Animals. I need to present these well (a good reason to photograph every item you make) and in an orderly manner - one that makes sense to someone viewing them as a collection for the first time.

What bugs or irritates me at times? It feels like wholesale may kill my artistic expression. I mean, can’t I have a category called One-of-a-Kind? One-of-a-Kind’s usually live in gallery environments and collections. My complaint with a request for change is this: I want for every artist hawking their wares at any venue to have a section called One-of-a-Kind. Or perhaps Contest-Entries-That-Didn’t-Win. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Back to the marketing materials. Here’s what I did. I purchased 250 folders. I could have put my sticker on the front of store-bought ones and called it good. Instead, I ordered custom folders printed on the front with my logo and a lower a row of photographs. I used a sale coupon so they weren’t that much. On the back, I had text describing my work, my values and mission, my art process, and photos of two pieces. Inside on the front left flap was again my logo and basic company and contact information and on the right inside flap my business card tucked into the slits.

I included the following in each folder.
  • Product line inserts (two double-sided inserts on photograph paper) with an organized presentation of my four product themes with representative photos. One insert had my commodity items (best sellers). The second had one-of-a-kind pieces (ta da!) with different gem or glass cabochon in each--gallery pieces, organized into pendants, earrings, and charms.
  • Price list.
  • Terms, which are my ordering and shipping policies
  • Order form
  • Credit reference form
  • Package descriptions (2) with list of items, the savings, other perks such as a free display board, and photo representation of each package
  • Pick-box description
I will take extra individual copies of each of the above. I also applied to be featured as the artist of the week, paid for a small ad in a publication that will go out just before the show, and submitted some hi-res photos, one of which was already included in the parent company’s email to buyers. All I can say is we’ll see. Have I ever shared with you that there is no such thing as failure? There is only feedback. Whatever happens at this show will be good information for me going forward.

My wish about this show is that I get some orders. I hope and dream for the perfect number of orders, a number that leads to a decent income matched with a reasonable workday in terms of hours. I love what I do. I’m sure you understand my PMC passion. I’ve started training my daughter, who happens to owe me some money, for some office tasks. Just in case . . . .

*  A "pick box" is an item/process in which you send the customer a selection of items and they purchase the ones they want and return the rest. You can charge however you wish, but you have their credit card in case they don’t return some or all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Kris,

Really interesting. I never really considered doing wholesale and so never thought about all of the prep you do prior to. I appreciate your description of organizing your plans. Great to think about in lots of ways.
Thanks for taking the time to write about it.
Kathy C.