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  • #970352
    Sam
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    Hi All,

    I have created a skateboard brand and I am now in the process of getting stockists.

    To give you a brief overview about the business:

    Ironyc Skateboards is about quality products and building the Australian skate scene whilst also looking after the environment and the people who manufacture the products. Our decks are manufactured in America as the workers are treated fairly and the effects on the environment are minimal compared to many of the less developed manufacturing nations.

    I would love your ideas on the best ways to initially connect with potential shops right through to the actual conversion process to a stockist.

    Thanks,

    Sam
    __________________
    Sam McKay
    Ironyc Skateboards

    #1043875
    createdevelop
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    Great brand!

    Getting small retailers interested in ANYTHING is a long and arduous task. We have a few clients in the same boat as you, and you are pretty much restricted to the same old marketing methods (basically because most store owners are low-tech and highly sceptical). You could try to mail + fax a catalogue to a core of skate board retailers.

    Other than that I would go the social marketing road. If you get the kids talking about your brand, the retailers will follow.

    #1043876
    Sam
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    Thanks for the positive feedback on the brand! It’s always nice to hear, particularly when you are just getting started and have never done anything like this before.

    So true, social media is definitely going to be a vital part of building the brand and will hopefully help pave the way for getting into stores.

    #1043877
    chancelm
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    Hi Sam,

    I love the values you have set your business up with, don’t loose sight of that, it will differentiate you between others.

    Getting your product in particular into stores needed be hard but instead FUN! I’ll explain, I could be totality wrong, but I’d imagine that your market, your clientèle the retailers are cool, edgy and love unique, so I’d really play up on that by exploring some Guerrilla Marketing strategies. Here is a snippet from Wikipedia explaining more,

    “The concept of guerrilla marketing was invented as an unconventional system of promotions that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget. Typically, guerrilla marketing campaigns are unexpected and unconventional; potentially interactive;[1] and consumers are targeted in unexpected places.[2] The objective of guerrilla marketing is to create a unique, engaging and thought-provoking concept to generate buzz, and consequently turn viral. The term was coined and defined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing. The term has since entered the popular vocabulary and marketing textbooks.”

    Read the rest here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerilla_marketing
    View the Official website here: http://www.gmarketing.com
    In addition there are a great range of books on the topic with great ideas

    Aside from some Guerrilla Marketing ideas, I would continue to approach from left of field. Instead of ‘telling stockists why they should carry your boards’ have them WANT to seek you out and eager at the opportunity. Reverse the game, have some fun with it.

    Establish your ideal top 3 stores you would LOVE to get your product into, then enlist the help of 15-20 friends and colleagues and with a well planned strategy, gather them into the once place and outline a similar plan as follows.

    Over the coming 2-3 weeks, they’re each going to take turns ringing each of the stores at random and varied times but only once each, and ask if the store stocks Ironyc Skateboards, ask why they don’t and WHEN not if they will. Mock up an assortment of dialogs they could have during these interactions, encourage them to be natural and keep it simple and quick, the idea is to build interest and intrigue.

    At the same time these same people can randomly visit the store, browse around then ask similar questions in person; stealthy building the buzz around who the heck are Ironyc Skateboards, I’ve got to find out more.

    You could even park a delivery truck with your logo and URL plastered down the side near by their front window if possible. Just keep planting the seed, have your name be heard and seen popping up in all sorts of places.

    Once you’re nearly at the end of your ‘campaign’ ring or approach the stores yourself requesting the manager/owner, introduce yourself and pitch your interest in establishing a working relationship with them and what you have lined up for exposure for each of you (this maybe a magazine editorial you have pre-lined up, or a photo shoot with well known boarders for use in an upcoming ad etc, anything, bring something more to the table then just your product, make it a solid win-win.)

    Whatever you do, make it fun for your business and your colleagues and only do what you’re comfortable with.

    Looking forward to hearing your successes!

    To Your Success,
    Chance :)

    #1043878
    Sam
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    Wow Chance!! Thank you!! So many fantastic ideas in there and its so true that I need to keep it fun! I will definitely work with the ideas you have given me and hopefully come back with a great story of success.

    Thank you so much for your help!

    #1043879
    wordmistress
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    Hi Sam

    What a fun brand this is going to be to promote!! Chance has given some great suggestions. That whole sneaky “where can I get Ironyc skateboards?” idea is so cool because the store owners will be wondering why they don’t know about this new brand!!

    Ok here are some more ….

    Could you get a foot in the door with a skater celeb? Send him/her a free one or personally deliver one and ask them to try it out. The hottest celebs are usually sponsored by companies so be prepared for them not to want to be put on record with any official comments, but you might just get them thinking and talking about Ironyc.

    Take 2 or 3 skateboards to a skate park and ask the kids there to try them out. Video tape their live testimonials and stick them on Youtube! Also add them to your website but be sure to type what’s said on the video word for word and post that below the videos so the search engines will pick up on it. Use the testimonials in your retailer proposals – either in written form or take an iPad along with you with the video testimonials. Be cutting edge in all that you do.

    The end of the school year is coming up and schools run all kinds of activities in the days/weeks after exams finish. Ask around at some schools if you can do a demo for the year 12 or year 7 kids. Get them raving about Ironyc.

    See if you can do a really fun, coordinated demo at a school formal or end of year/graduation party. Go where the kids are!

    Whatever you do, have some really kick-butt music playing loudly as you run the event. You need buzz!!

    I really think you ought to have a newsletter sign-up form on your website’s holding page. It should obviously ask for name and email address but also add fields to show if the new subscriber is a potential retailer or potential customer. Something like:

    [] I’m a skater, tell me more!
    [] I’m a retailer, tell me more!

    The thing is, not everyone uses Facebook although plenty of your target audience could be found there. But for retailers, it might be better to get them signed up for a newsletter and have your database segmented for skaters and retailers so you can target them individually with different campaigns. What you really want is to have some people to tell when your site is launched! Offer a free Ironyc deck as a prize for subscribers.

    Have you got a Myspace presence? See if you can hook up with a local band who promotes themselves on Myspace, one whose music would be perfect as a soundtrack to Ironyc and see if they’ll co-promote with your company. Ride their existing following.

    Will you be selling stock via your website? If so, you could run all kinds of sales promotions via the site. But if your aim is purely to sell via retail outlets, then you’ll still want to showcase each model on the site. It’d be GREAT to get video footage of actual skaters trying out each model, with various backgrounds such as beachfront, skate park, etc.

    Not being a skateboarder, I don’t know how clever this would be but could you hold an Ironyc Deck Championship Race at a skating rink? Or create an obstacle course with jumps and so on, and have kids try them out? Great indoor venue with plenty of space and flat surfaces, sound system and food, all right there.

    Also, do you happen to need a copywriter for your website? I’m brimming with a million ideas for the website content and also newsletters. Drop me a line if you’d like to chat.

    Can’t wait to see Ironyc launch! All the best!!

    #1043880
    preneur
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    Hey, Sam.

    Sounds very, very cool. My thoughts is exactly the same as Chance’s. I know a lot of successful brands and even books and things that have been built on a “false demand” or a “manufactured demand.” So, actually getting people to proactively ring the stores and ask them if they have your products is a great way to sort of build up a demand.

    The other way is actually taking some of your products in there and say, “Look, you can sell them on consignment.” So, you let them actually have the stock in the store for free and then they pay you if or when it sells. Allow them to have it there for a month or two so there’s no risk on the store, which is great for them. They get to try something out at no risk, you get the exposure after, and it’s a win-win for everybody. That would be a good way to go.

    The other option is to actually do some online marketing to drive demand. Maybe do some banner advertising online or start a blog or some YouTube videos and things like that. Talk about the brand and how it sort of fits in the products and build up a lot of demand or a lot of exposure online. You can then go to the stores and say, “Hey, this brand is getting so much exposure and love in the marketplace. You should really stock it,” and sort of start manufacturing that domain that way.

    Those are a couple of tips. Hope it helps.

    Cheers,
    Pete

    p.s. This response was actually transcribed and posted by my virtual assistant.

    #1043881
    mike@engagemarketing
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    Hey Sam,
    nice work with the new brand! The designs look great (both the ad’s & the skateboard designs themselves).

    Preneur, Gina & Chance all gave some fantastic advice. I would suggest thinking about your brand from the point of view of a retailer. Why would they want to stock you?

    Retailers want to stock brands that are easy to sell. They don’t want to have to have to give a big sales pitch every time someone looks at the product to get them over the line. They want people to come in to the store with the idea of buying an Ironyc deck.

    Have you thought about your placement, where you want your products stocked? Are you trying to get it into as many stores as possible early, or start with a few select stores that are popular with true skaters, giving your brand a bit of prestige.

    Gina’s idea of running down to a skate park with a video camera is a really good one. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be awesome either. There are some super talented uni students that can help you out with filming & production for next to nothing in order to get some experience and just to be involved with something new and exciting. We work with a few for some of our clients campaigns if you’d like a few recommendations.

    Going along to a sales pitch with an iPad loaded with slick video testimonials and footage of kids enjoying your products and having fun with your brand is bound to be impressive. You don’t have to own an iPad either. To save a few dollars borrow one off a friend or go to rentoid.com and rent one for a day or two.

    Preneur’s suggestion of selling on consignment is also a good one if you’re struggling to convince the stockist or just want an extra selling point in your pitch.

    I see that you’re in Melbourne. Would you like to catch up for a coffee & a chat about your marketing? We have a client targeting a similar market to you (but with a totally different product) so there could be some good cross-promotion opportunities there.

    Anyhoo, shoot me an email at mike@engagemarketing.com.au or give me a call on 1300 781 334 if you’re keen.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    #1043882
    Sam
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    Amazing! I never expected to get so many great responses! Great ideas to work with which will certainly keep me busy I am sure and hopefully see my boards in store in the coming months.

    Thank you all so much!

    Sam

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