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APRIL 2012 issue of
Rental Management

Marketing with a catalogue
04/06/2012

Event Source utilizes print and the Internet

For Event Source, an inventory catalogue is more than a collection of photos — it’s a marketing piece and a customer service tool all in one.

“We’ve actually always done an inventory catalogue for the last 20 years to some extent,” says John Bibbo Jr., CERP, president of Event Source, Cleveland. “It started in a binder form and I actually have old versions. At that point, we did them in-house.”

About eight years ago, Event Source stopped producing the catalogue. “We got such a pushback from clients when we stopped printing it. The biggest point of the catalogue was trying to take our inventory out to the customer. How does the florist show their customer the concept? Sure, we have the inventory on our website, but the customer wants it in their hands. They are still hands-on, print people. As many people go to our website, the other half is still relying on the book. They have to hold it,” he says.

Bibbo says he understands the mentality of his customers and that while the website is a priority, it’s not the sole focus of company communication.

“I’m still in that transition, myself. I have a pile of magazines on my desk. I don’t know if it’s fully there yet, but I think our customers still want to have it in hand,” he says.

As a result of customer demand, Event Source brought the catalogue back. “We began producing the issue in 2007. We produce a new version every one and a half to two years. Each time the catalogue is printed, we make improvements and this was no exception. This one has 250 new products compared to the old one. The trouble is, the day it arrives here, we already have six things not in the catalogue,” he says.

“What we do to prepare for the next version is have a photographer come in once a month and shoot the new products or re-shoot older photos. We post a lot of those photos on our website and on Facebook. Once we get a couple hundred photos on file, we know it’s time to update the catalogue,” he says.

“This format, which is brand new for us, will be used for the next catalogue. It generally works out to about $2 per book, for print costs, not including designing fees. We have an outside person design it and an inside person coordinating the photos, outlining the photos and putting the information together. It’s a six- to nine-month process when we put focus on it,” he says.

“We were able to get the price low enough where we weren’t afraid to hand them out. Now, we’ll do a trade show and put them in everyone’s bag. You’re not as reluctant to give them away when you commit to a larger press run,” he says.

The next issue will come out toward the end of this year, because the company is expanding into some new markets, including Pittsburgh and Detroit, and plans to have a 2013 version of the catalogue to take to new clients, he says. Marketing is a huge part of why Event Source does the catalogue, he adds.

“It’s one thing when you go to a sales call and you have a nice marketing piece to hand them. It tells you all the facts about the company and what we carry. If they want to get more in depth they could go to the website. I like to use websites, but I also like to go through the hard copy first. If something is of importance, I’ll make a point to check the Internet,” he says.

“We’ve done all kinds of marketing, previous to this and we’ve done different sell sheets from time to time. This time, we combined it all in one publication. We didn’t spend time assembling packets and that’s kind of the way to go,” he says.

 

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