How to build and promote marketing programs that will ensure sustainable sales growth.

By Chris Schriever

Over the years we have had the opportunity to work with many different associations that were looking to increase revenue by way of advertising, exhibit or sponsorship sales. From the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, who retained us to help grow the patio furniture segment of the now HPBExpo, to the National Association of Chemical Distributors, who contracted us to sell advertising and exhibition space within their magazine and at their annual conference, the challenge was the same – to increase sales.

While I have great confidence in my team and its abilities to do just that, our main focus is on sustainable sales growth—growth that’s focused more on pairing the right opportunity with the right partner. Sales that really deliver are those that will grow and, over time, increase revenue far more than anticipated. In order to do that successfully, we adhere to a few key fundamentals.

1. Evaluate The Market

Understanding the market is paramount to developing sustainable growth opportunities. The first step of our sales process is to dive into the industry, getting to know what your members are actually looking for. Knowing the needs of your members, what they use and whether or not they have buying authority is critical to assessing the type of ROI a program can deliver and, candidly, whether or not a program can succeed.

2. Review The Current Offerings

Then, we review the current offerings, from the association as well as the competition. We look at the media kit and how the advertising, exhibit and sponsorship opportunities are being presented. Does this accurately describe the offerings? Are the offerings delivering on time, as they say they will to the audience described? And, we connect with current advertisers or exhibitors to learn about their challenges in reaching the associations members.

3. Reevaluate The Offerings

Once this is complete, we reevaluate and fine tune the offerings based on our observations. In doing so, we ensure they’re delivering as promised, priced accordingly and positioned to provide a return on the investment for both the association as well as the advertiser.

4. Make It Simple

Simplicity sells. In our final step, we take all that we’ve learned during the fundamental research stage and pare it back, focusing on the magical Four Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. When complete, the revised media kit and offerings statements will highlight the opportunities by succinctly communicating where the advertisement/exhibition/sponsorship will be, what it will include, how it will be promoted and what it will look like.

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