Although it was probably never uttered by anyone outside of the 1899 issue of Punch magazine, Charles H. Duell, the Commissioner of US patent office in 1899, allegedly stated, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Wouldn’t the people of 1899 be overwhelmed with the number of inventions we’ve had since then. Creativity continues unabated.
Dorothy and I experienced a few clever touches of creativity from the restaurants and caterers who participated in the Claremont Restaurant Week Chamber Mixer and Media Preview for the 2015 Claremont Restaurant Week. Naturally you might expect them to exhibit creativity in their dishes. And they really did. We were especially impressed with the dessert mini tacos that Pine Haven Cafe gave away.
Begin New Relationships
But from a small business marketing point of view there are two reasons, besides the wonderful food samples, to get out and enjoy networking events like this mixer and media preview event held by the Claremont Chamber of Commerce and Discover Claremont. The first, naturally, is the opportunity to network, to actually meet new people and learn about them and their businesses, to expand your horizons and, ideally, to start building a relationship that might benefit both of you over time.
New Marketing Ideas
The second reason lies in finding new marketing ideas that might spark your own creativity. If you are simply sitting in your office working all of the time, you’ll miss out on these new ideas. At the Claremont Restaurant Week Chamber Mixer and Media Preview, one restaurant had this cute little box for a giveaway. I was surprised to see it there in an age when so many people have given up smoking as this kind of box was at one time used to hold little matchsticks.
Still, I have a constant curiosity about things and love to see what other marketers are doing so I picked one up thinking that if worst came to worst I would use it use the matches to light candles or piece of paper to start the fire in our fireplace. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that some clever marketer has repurposed these little boxes to package toothpicks in them.
Points for Choosing a Valued Giveaway
When coming up with a giveaway for your own small business, one of the marks of a good giveaway is that the prospects value it and hang onto it to use again and again. You want them to see your name whenever they use it so that it helps keep you top of mind in a world overloaded with market messages.
Another thing is that as much as possible you want to tie in and fit with the purpose of your business. For instance, toothpicks fit very well with restaurants. By the way, Dorothy expected it to hold little mints, which would also have been a good idea albeit more commonly done.
The final point about these kinds of handouts is that they are relatively inexpensive so be sure to use the name of your specific business. That is what people are likely to remember, not the group of restaurants that you are part of. In this case, the name of the specific restaurant was on the back of the box with a couple others in that restaurant group, though, is a smart idea to promote the rest by association.
You might not find a new idea like these boxed toothpicks we found at Claremont Restaurant Week Chamber Mixer and Media Preview at every event, but you may find some other inspiration to boost the impact of your own marketing. One thing’s for sure, you’ll broaden your horizons beyond the top of your desk when you get involved – and you may event meet a future strategic alliance partner.
The restaurant review that was the spark for this is “Claremont Restaurant Week Kicked Off with Mixer at DoubleTree.” You’ll see other marketing ideas in the pictures for that review.
Building your profits through strong relationships,
John R. Aberle, Scriberle, Aberle Enterprises
P.S. The restaurant review “Claremont Restaurant Week Kicked Off with Mixer at DoubleTree” is an example of going to an event for one purpose and benefiting because of always being on the lookout for good marketing ideas.
I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.
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