Don’t get lost in a sea of wacky wavers

Socially Smart - Jon Waldman
Socially Smart – Jon Waldman

As I sit and enjoy a comfortable late summer day in Winnipeg, my mind tends not to focus on one particular aspect of the marketing world, but instead looks to a few different facets of doing business – both individually and as a company – in Winnipeg.
So with a firm eye to quick hits, here are a few random thoughts on promotion in Winnipeg.
What’s the next wave?
It’s hard to avoid seeing inflatable wacky wavers outside of businesses in Winnipeg these days. What started as a trend about a decade ago continues today, albeit not with the same fervor that it once had.
After seeing a couple of these wavers, you start to become immune to their uniqueness, the central problem that happens whenever you’re looking to do something unique in advertising and promotion.
Take, for example, ad board spinners. This has practically been a trademark of Little Caesars Pizza – having teens stand on street corners holding signs advertising $5 pizzas.
While the method has been used in the past for everything from car washes to charitable events, the Detroit-headquartered fast food pizzeria perfected the concept.
Today, board spinners can be spotted across our city, advertising anything and everything, sometimes even in beagle costumes.
It leads me to think what will be next. The idea of motion to spur eyesight is far from a new concept in advertising and it’s ultimately very effective; but like any other trend, one has to be wary of jumping on a trend. Instead, look at blazing a new trail.
Simplicity of outdoor movies
While the historic Winnipeg drive-in theatre is a thing of the past, the pull to watch movies outdoors hasn’t slowed.
In August, hundreds of Winnipeggers took to Assiniboine Park to watch shows under the stars, and a month prior, the Gimli Film Festival once again showed movies on the beach (albeit not Jaws this year). It’s not surprising, given how few optimal condition days we actually have of warm weather and low mosquito counts.
What interested me was how much corporate and volunteer support went into these events. I’ve talked about community efforts in the past in this column, but this was an unexpectedly great show of spirit around simple, free events, and ones that will continue to run for years to come.
Event-driven marketing
I haven’t touched on this one yet in printed space, but there may be nothing that sells product more than a well-produced event.
Over the summer, a friend of mine held a signing session for her newly produced cookbook. She sold enough books at the one-off event to land on a local retailer’s best seller list at number one.
It seems, at times, we forget about how strong events can be for generating business and job opportunities. We’ll take advantage of networking opportunities the minute they’re presented to us, but to have a day like an open house or a public product launch seems to quickly be becoming less appealing, perhaps because of the labour hours involved.
It’s something that should be explored more often, and I’ll talk more about this in a future column, but with fall (sadly) upon us, now’s the time to start thinking about hosting or attending these events.
And if you’re a job seeker, this is your opportunity to get in front of a couple key people in a business, take a quick moment of their time to introduce yourself, and make a plan for a follow-up call. The day will be busy but you’ll start to put yourself ahead of the pack.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Jon Waldman is a marketing strategist with Cohesive Marketing. To learn more about the services the company offers, call 204-992-6400 or visit http://www.cohesive.ca.

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