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How can you adapt the idea here to turn your delivery trucks into passive salesmen? We’ll explain below.
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MEET THE AUTHOR


Before she founded THE NIBBLE™, KAREN HOCHMAN was an advertising agency president and consultant to corporations such as American Express, Citigroup, Canon USA and Cunard Line. Here, on an ad hoc basis, she will share thoughts on marketing opportunities. Think of it as a marketing blog without frequency or blogging software.

 

July 2005

Home / Manufacturers & Retailers

 

Ad Hoc Ideas For Business-Building

How Can You Stand Out ... Everywhere?

 

Overview

We at love to help small businesses grow. The duality of mission is to find the best artisanal and specialty foods for our readers, and to help small producers grow by introducing them to new customers.

The editorial director and the publisher of THE NIBBLE™ have spent years working at and with major corporations to grow their businesses. We enjoy speaking with specialty food producers about their own business management challenges and growth plans; and find that we have both practical and blue sky ideas to contribute.

In this section, we’re going to begin to write down the ideas we’ve offered to individual manufacturers, so that a broader audience can take advantage of them. We’ll add to this list as time permits. If you have ideas to share, click here.

 

Big Idea # 1:
Your Delivery Truck is An Advertising Billboard

Traditionally, a company’s delivery truck has its name, address and phone number (and today, URL). “Savvy” marketers add their tag lines. Really good sales types realize their trucks are moving billboards, and add their product lines and a benefit statement. But few ever realize that all 5 sides of the truck—left side, right side, front, back, and roof—are free advertising space, whether you’re parked or moving.

In fact, there are services that charge a lot of money to drive a car, truck or other vehicle painted with your ad through the neighborhoods you want to target; and you’ve been seeing bus, taxi, and subway advertising for years. You can (and should!) be running advertising all the time for cost but the paint job, on your delivery truck(s). Some tips:

  • Use all surfaces. The right and left sides have the largest surface area, but there’s plenty of room on the back panel for an abbreviated message.
  • There’s always room on the front of the cab, at least for your name, tag line and URL. URLs are better than phones: they are 24/7, provide detailed information, and enable the prospect to browse without giving any information to an employee.
  • Put the message on the roof of your truck, too. Thousands of people looking out of windows will see it. Over the years you’ll have that van, those leads will pay back the cost many times over.

Here are the components to use in your traveling ad:

  • Your company name: Edible Art®
    [fictitious example]
  • Your tag line (if you don’t have one, develop one):
    Innovative Catering for All Occasions
  • A brief product description including benefit and solution:
    If you need to make a great impression, call the artists at Edible Art.
    From Home Cocktail Parties for 20 to Corporate Events for 2000.
  • A free offer, if you have one:
    Call or visit website for a no-obligation estimate and free event planning chart.
  • Contact Information:
    300 Main Street, Anytown, USA 12345
    (800) 555-1212
    www.EdibleArt.com
  • Photo: If you can use great photography of your product that makes your business look even more appetizing, do so. If the photo isn’t delicious, leave it off. There are good illustrations, but don’t use a hokey one. This is consumer advertising, and your presentation is critical to the perceived quality of your product.

Don’t use fancy typefaces. The most important thing is readability—including type large enough to be read at a distance.  Few people will be walking up to your truck to read the fine print.

 

Going Over The Top

The day we saw the Red Bull® car, in the photo above, drive by, we were waiting to meet with the owner of a specialty cupcake business. We live in a town where exterminators have giant bugs on the roof of their vans, so the concept is nothing new. We’ve seen all the cigarette and toothpaste companies paint Volkswagen® bugs and yellow school busses. Nothing new there either.

But Red Bull pulled it all together into an attention-getting vehicle with a cute sculpture that was endearing without being offensively promotional. It was endearing, it evoked warm feelings. We wanted to see it again and again. We felt good about the Red Bull brand.

We thought: This hard-working baker with a great but not too-well-known product needs buzz, and could use visibility like that for her cupcakes. And what would be cuter on the top of her van than a giant cupcake?

We knew she doesn’t have the budget of Red Bull to hire a sculptor. So we offered these to ideas to her, and we share them with you. Even if you don’t need a sculpture for your truck, the concept of partnerships and co-sponsors applies to other marketing promotions you do need.

  • Concept #1: The Easy Way. Find a metal sculptor to do the cupcake for a low price in exchange for a permanent sign on the van that says, “Cupcake Sculpture by Kris Sculptor, www.KrisSculptorMetalworks.com.” Your van turns into a permanent art gallery and billboard promoting the artist’s work, and is likely to generate press and sales leads for him or her.
  • Concept #2: Labor-Intensive, But With More PR and Networking For You. You still end up with the sculpture, but create a lot more fanfare and PR for your business around it.

Here’s how:

  • Create a Cupcake Art Contest (or whatever is appropriate for you) co-sponsored by your company and local commercial leaders: your biggest cupcake account, a bank (they have a budget for community activities), the power company and phone company (ditto), a retailer, and a local culinary school (or if you’re in appliances or tabletop, a school with an appropriate curriculum, like design or marketing). There are entrants/winners for the best cupcake art, both by art medium (sculpture, painting, fabric, etc.) and by age group.
  • Have celebrity judges from the art and food (and/or design) worlds. The winners get donated prizes from sponsors, plus some big awards. E.g., the artist with the winning outdoor sculpture gets $1000, plus the sculpture becomes the “permanent ad” on your van; the artist with the winning painting gets $1000 plus the painting hangs in a prestigious local restaurant.
  • All the winners and entrants can be exhibited at the bank, power company, phone company, retailer, and other sponsor locations. (If no one has appropriate exhibit space, try colleges and public libraries.) For further publicity and traffic, have a “bake sale” alongside the art exhibit where the cupcakes can be sold at the opening reception. A percentage of cupcake and art sales can benefits the library, school, or or other good cause.
  • You can find MBA or communications student volunteers to run the contest as a project—it’s a great opportunity for them to get credentials and connect to a permanent job with the companies they contact in the process. Or professional PR and advertising people may volunteer to do it for the connections as well.

I hope this is food for thought.

Until next time,

Karen Hochman

Founder and Editorial Director, THE NIBBLE™

To read more about building a successful PR program for your business, we suggest:

Guerrilla Publicity Full Frontal PR Sales Promotion Essentials

Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars, by Jay Conrad Levinson et al. Guerrilla Marketing is based on using non-financial resources for marketing when you are strapped for cash as a small business. Click here for more information.

Full Frontal PR: Building Buzz About Your Business, Your Product, or You, by Richard Laermer. This do-it-yourself guide for snaring publicity shares the PR industry's dirty little secret is that you can create the buzz factor yourself. Click here for more information. Sales  Promotion Essentials, by Don E. Schultz et al. The ten basic sales promotion techniques and how to use them. Click here for more information.

 



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