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Baby show vs magazine publication?

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by jennine, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. jennine

    jennine New Member

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    Hi there,

    I'm a newbie here and was hoping to get some opinions for getting my product known about more.

    My target market is new parents and parents of toddlers/young children and I'm not sure whether to do a baby show later in the year which is estimated to have 15,000 people attend that can see my product first-hand or, for about the same cost, place a very small advert in a free monthly publication (targeted at families) for 4 months that has about 137,000 readers per month that may or may not be seen.

    I'd appreciate any views.

    Thanks,
    Jennine
    Innocent Impressions

    www.innocentimpressions.com.au
  2. ray_223

    ray_223 Active Member

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    Tough decision ... of which no one will be able to tell you which will work the best.

    At the trade show for instance, 15,000 people might attend but how many will you talk to? (how many can you actually talk to in 1 or 2 days?) How big is your stand and where is it located? etc

    For the ad, how big will the ad be, what page will it be on? Who will write the copy and how good are they are writing copy that sells?

    As the great Claude Hopkins tells us the only way to know for sure is to test each method and record the results.

    This may mean advertising in a smaller publication / or having a smaller ad for less editions.
    It may mean going to a smaller trade show or getting face to face with potential customers in different ways.

    It may mean choosing one this year and the alternate next year and see which brings in the most work.

    I'd suggest get in front of customers and calculate how long you talk to each customer for (on average). Then multiple that by the number of hours the trade show is open for. That would be the max. people you can do a hard sell on. Do you think that would be better then an ad in a magazine?

    Sorry I couldn't help more ... and either way, good luck :)
  3. MissieK

    MissieK Member

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    It really depends on what your aim is. At trade shows, you can talk to people and grow your database by having a prize draw with one of the conditions of entry that they are added to your mailing list. With an advertisement, you have to wait for them to come to you. It also depends which baby expo it is. If it's the PB&C Expo - this is the one most parents know about and attend.

    It also depends on the baby magazine - there are quite a few out there. I subscribe to them all, but have never used any of hte companies that advertise. You may want to call a couple of advertisers and ask them how it's going.

    Depending on the cost of advertising, you may want to try some of the parenting websites and smaller publications - they may be cheaper and give you a way to test your ads :)

    Melissa
  4. Heidi Price

    Heidi Price Member

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    Hi Jennine!

    Cant give advise about the pros and cons of both your options (haven't tried either of them yet) BUT........

    You have a fabulous product and I wish you every success with it :)

    I also like that you take impressions for parents who have lost their bub - it takes a special type of person to do this with dignity and respect.

    Keep us all up to date with how the business is going, and which marketing option you choose.

    Heidi
  5. MissieK

    MissieK Member

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  6. jennine

    jennine New Member

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    Thanks Ray, Melissa & Heidi for taking the time and for your responses.

    I'm not a salesperson and don't know if I could do the hard sell at the baby show but it has certainly given more to think about. Thanks Ray.

    I hadn't thought of calling some of the advertisers to see how it's going but I will do it. It's a great idea, Melissa, thanks. And I also didn't think of websites for premmie & stillborn babies.

    Thanks Heidi looking at my website. I'll keep you updated with what I decide.

    I have my brochures in the private maternity hospitals within a 20km radius and my next step is to try and get my work displayed in some obstetricians’ waiting rooms.

    Regards,
    Jennine

    Innocent Impressions

    www.innocentimpressions.com.au
  7. LeelaCosgrove

    LeelaCosgrove Member

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    Hmmm ... for the kind of money you're looking at spending, I wouldn't do either.

    The cons to publications is that unless you're taking a whole page ad, it's barely worth it.

    The cons to trade shows is that if you're looking for an immediate return - it's not likely. They are a great way to get out and meet people, build your database (as Melissa said) - but in terms of hard return on your investment, negligible.

    You would be FAR better off investing that money into other things ...

    Good re: hospitals ... but I would go further ... I wouldn't JUST do maternity hospitals.

    A good friend of mine lost her 8 month old a couple of years ago. Very tragic. She holds on to the ashes because it's all she has. Something like this would have meant everything to her ...

    That's the -sad- side and we don't always want to be surrounded by sadness, so I would go a step further ...

    How about a talk and demo at a mothers group?

    How about getting involved with some of the childcare centres around the place? Again ... talk and demo are the most powerful ways to do it - brochures are pretty much pointless. They don't sell you- YOU sell you.

    Do a free wine and cheese (or breastfeeding mums ... so maybe a sparkling apple juice and fruit!) night at the local preschool ... make the topic something like ... 'They grow up so fast ... are you worried you're missing out on your child's most important moments?' - that's an ouch for a lot of mums who put their kids in childcare ... give them the opportunity to meet other mums in a relaxed kid-centric environment ... (that's not necessarily a contradiction!) and to record their kids hands and feet ...

    Ohhhhh - and have you thought about offering a 'first 5 years' package? Where you do it each year for the first five years of the kids life so they have a growing record? That would be kinda cool ... certainly better than pencil marks on door frames ...
  8. MissieK

    MissieK Member

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    Most expos don't make sales - there are so many people and so many stands, again, it really depends on the expo. It depends on what you want out of it.

    Some sites, such as www.realmums.com.au and www.babyuniverse.com.au have both free and paid listings for businesses aimed at parents. You may be better spending your money there.

    Melissa
  9. KenD

    KenD New Member

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    Hi Jennine - I'm a newbie too!

    You have lots of good advice here already. I personally think that the trade show would be a great way to get your name out there, whilst letting you get direct feedback from your target market all the time. From my (limited) experience in print adverts, unless you can afford prime positions and big sizes they won't have much impact. Advertorials and editorial coverage works great if you can get it, but small ads on their own don't stand out enough.

    Your product is similar to infant portrait photography in the way you will probably go with the marketing, in that its an emotional sale. People don't need your product, but they want to remember how it feels to have a newborn child. Top line photographers will advertise in specialist magazines, but you can bet the baby show will be FULL of specialist photographers. You will be competing with them for people's attention and budget, and the fact that you are offering a unique product will help you stand out. I'm a startup photographer, I don't photograph babies (pet portraits is my thing) and I did a couple of shows last year that absolutely filled my calendar and gave me a great start. In fact I got too busy and quickly found out that I couldn't cope with the level of business I was generating.

    Definitely don't attempt a hard sale! Just talk to people about their babies / pregnancy, talk about your product and so long as you are genuinely passionate about it, it will generate business. The competition idea is a great one and very effective, maybe offer a free package as a prize and run a 'guess the number of sweets in the jar' type thing. I do it at shows and have quickly built up a database a few thousand strong. If you follow up on these people quickly (I do a mail shoot and phone them up) you should get bookings. I also run special offers at a show, maybe giving a special discount for people who book there and then (if you have time to take their bookings), or soon after. It gives you a reason to call them up after ("don't forget our special offer runs out this week, so book now" etc) .

    Don't wait for people to come to you, try and engage them in conversation as they walk past your stand. A question about when their baby is due will engage them more effectively than launching straight into a product pitch.

    I disagree that you can't get a quick return from a show, so long as you do it right you can.

    I think it would be worth your while to see how the infant photographers market themselves in your area, and 'steal' their best ideas. The Mother's group idea is a brilliant one, also see if you can show your work in baby shops. Are there relevant charities you can work with to get your name out there? Shopping Centre displays is a popular marketing tool for photographers, its expensive but I know photographers who do two a year and get most of their business from just that (I have no direct experience doing this myself). Can your local hospitals display your work? Don't just leave brochures in a waiting area, try and get them included in info packs. A friend of mine had a baby last year, the hospital recommended a photographer, had his work on display, even allowed him in to pitch to new mothers! See if you can build a relationship with the hospitals, some judicious freebies to the staff might help in all this.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
  10. KarenC

    KarenC Well-Known Member

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    Personally I think if you choose a show, to go with an expo show instead where you get more of the general public. In Trade Shows you are marketing to Trade only who always want products at trade prices in order to mark up by 100%. (I've already experienced this.)

    My suggestion, strange as it may seem, is to try a Bridal Expo instead. You could go with "The next step ..." theme. So many people are getting married later and wanting to have a baby and they collect everything they can. There also appears to be another trend in pregnant brides. Just a thought. Perhaps a promo magnet would be better than a postcard or business card ...
  11. JodieR

    JodieR Member

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    Sorry, I haven't completely read all the other posts, so forgive me if I repeat anything.

    I actually quite like KarenC's suggestion... it's different.

    I've done bridal expo's and had 1/4 page ads in the local bridal magazine. I'm unsure of what the coverage is on the magazine, but certainly would've reached a lot more brides than the expo I was at. I received more queries and follow ups from the expo.

    It's personalised, speaking with people, chatting about what you do... you're not there to sell. you're there to provide information/answer questions etc.

    It helps to have a sample pack/bag or similar to hand to people as they pass, a a discount voucher for referrals etc. You've got to make it catchy because they'll be getting samples from everyone and you want yours to stand out. Find out if there are other exhibitors who do what you do. Research them so you know what you're competing against.... how can you get the upper edge on that market where there is competition.

    By giving out a postcard discount voucher, or sample bag you'll reach more people, rather than just the ones who come to your stand specifically to find out more. Some will rush past but still take a bag. And who doesn't want a discount ...

    certainly no hard sell need, just be friendly and approachable and have the info at hand so they can look at it later. They are more likely to remember you and like you for being human rather than a hungry sales rep.

    It can be a lot of fun socialising and networking. I know I've had other businesses approach me for information as well as the people visiting the expo.

    Also, if you have something special that no one else has, you may find that these people will go and tell others, which may bring more people back to you either on the day, or later down the track.

    I definitely vouch for the expo over magazine advertising.

    Put yourself in the customers shoes.... what are you more likely to look at, feel comfortable with, follow up on.

    I got a lot of customers in to my stand by having a lucky dip (different valued vouchers). You could have a questionaire to get peoples details, win a prize and follow up on them later.

    There's so much you can do at an expo which is only limited to your imagination. :eek:)
  12. BB

    BB Member

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    You know, I must be thick or maybe it's just my age showing - because when I read you talking about a 'baby show' I imagined you were talking about the old-fashioned 'baby shows'. It was only after reading the replies that I realised you were talking about a 'trade show'.

    But then - I thought - well why couldn't you organise an old fashioned 'baby-show'. You know the type - mums or dads bring along their babies and somebody decides who's the best.

    It'd be great marketing - you've already got the prizes - or you will have when you do the winners imprints. You'd probably spend the same amount as you would to atttend a trade show or advertise in a magazine, and you could always allay extra costs by doing it in conjunction with other people- eg: a photographer, or a childrens clothing store. You might find a pre-school or play group that might like to help also, as a fund-raiser. Bearing in mind that the entry fee could also assist with running costs.

    It could be a large venture or a small one - that's for you to decide. Either way you'd get some great exposure, have a lot of fun and probably some new clients - all through a non-threatening/ non-sales environment.

    B.B.
  13. jennine

    jennine New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input. You’ve all given me some good ideas and other things to think about.

    I definitely won’t be doing the magazine advert. I took Melissa’s advice and called an advertiser who didn’t think it was worth the cost for them.

    Thanks again for taking the time to post your thoughts. It’s much appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Jennine
    Innocent Impressions

    www.innocentimpressions.com.au

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