The PPAI Expo is experiencing a fantastic run in Las Vegas this week. If you’re one of the thousands of distributors at the show, you are probably getting ready to head out to start your day but first take a moment, grab a cup of coffee and read this edition of Promotional Consultant Today.

This issue features a quick read by PPAI Expo presenter and industry innovator Michael Crooks, owner of distributor Crooks Advertising Alliance and vice president of U.S. operations for Weepuline, LLC.

In his book, buy•ology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, Martian Lindstrom makes clear how rewarding it can be for marketers when they ingrain themselves into the very fiber of a target market’s interest. It’s what I call “Camping Out In Your Customer’s Mind.” Lindstrom conducted a study that compared the strength of subjects’ memories of Coke and Ford, both major sponsors of American Idol. The study showed that because Coke had “camped out,” ie: integrated itself within the show through logoed cup placement, furniture in the shape of its bottles and even “Coke red” walls, it was able to gain more mind share and weaken the effect of Ford’s efforts, which only included traditional commercials within the program. Lindstrom writes, “In other words, watching the Coke-saturated show actually suppressed subjects’ memories of the Ford ads.”

The insight for marketers and business owners is that when your brand is supportive or part of something the target is already doing or already interested in, the connection in the mind is greater and more meaningful. If your brand presence is interruptive, such as a TV commercial within a program, the connection with your target is less meaningful. This insight bodes well for promotional products because often smart marketers and business owners can choose the correct imprinted product that is relevant to a specific event or activity.

A high-tech example of Lindstrom’s strategy came to my attention at a recent trade show. The vendor explained how a beer distributor used tent cards in bars to encourage patrons who ordered a Guinness beer, to “rate the pour” and be entered to win a trip to Ireland by texting the bar’s name to a specific code using their cell phone. This is brilliant because it asks someone to do something that is related to what they are already doing. Your beer was just put in front of you. There is a little sign on your table that asks you to rate how the bar served that beer to you. The beer distributor not only obtains the contact information for the patron, but uses the rating information to determine which bar is serving its product correctly. The bars themselves began using the data to text message patrons on slow nights to offer half-price shows during a specific time. The bars easily made up for the reduced price of the shots as patrons stuck around buying more drinks.

Using Lindstrom’s findings to your advantage means more than simply “getting your name or your client’s name out there.” In a golf outing for instance, it’s the difference between having your sign as a beer cart sponsor at the No. 1 tee versus having your sign as a hole sponsor. No one looks forward to reading the hole sponsor signs at a golf outing. But they do look forward to the sight of that beer cart coming down the fairway.

I believe Ford’s marketing folks may have learned their lesson. During the season end of NBC’s The Black List, Ford ran commercials for the 2015 Mustang featuring Ryan Eggold, who plays Tom Keen on the show. The commercials provided insights into the show, featured the character Tom Keen and showed him driving in a setting of the show. In effect, the commercial was an extension of the show. As I watched, I smiled and said aloud to myself, “Now Ford gets it.”

Hear Michael Crooks present Five Creative Tactics to Enhance Your Sales Skills on Thursday, January 14, 9 – 10 am in Lagoon L at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas. The session is free to show registrants.

Source: Michael Crooks is co-owner of Crooks Advertising Alliance and vice president of U.S. Operations for Weepuline, LLC, manufacturer of Weepuls®. “How to Camp Out In Your Customer’s Mind” is part of a new Crooks Advertising Alliance venture called “The Outdoor Promotion Guide.”