Issues - Marketing
It is essential to continuously promote your
services to potential customers. This is called marketing
and differs from sales in that sales consists of actually making
the sale, while marketing and promotion consist of making
potential clients aware of your existence so that you can sell
is your market?
The first step is to determine your market or
markets. It is easy to say "people who need laser
shows" but that is not particularly helpful. It is
desirable to define this more narrowly as different markets need
different kinds of promotion. A 'rave' style flyer is not
what you would use to promote to corporate clients!
To some extent, the type(s) of system(s) that you own will
determine your market(s). If you have an under 1 watt
system, your market is likely to be smaller indoor events as
that power of laser is not suitable for arenas or outdoor
shows. If you own a 10+ watt YAG laser, then your market
would be larger arena and outdoor shows. If you have a 3
to 5 watt full colour system, then your market would be anything
from the smaller indoor shows to arenas and small outdoor shows.
A secondary consideration would be the type(s) of controller(s)
that you own. If your system is limited to only 7 colours,
then the types of shows you can do will be more limited than if
you own a system capable of 16.7 million [or more]
colours. Typically low end dance, party and club shows
prefer 7 colour system while corporate shows will want system
capable of more colours (to match logo colours) and often 3D graphics.
Finally, you must consider what you plan to charge for your
service and if you can make a reasonable profit at the rates and
the kind of budget your potential market(s) have for laser
services. If you are charging $3,000/day for your system,
it is unlikely that low-end clients will have the budget to
afford you no matter how spectacular your shows are.
Potential markets for laser show are: wedding receptions, teen
dances, parties, raves, clubs, discos, sporting events, awards
banquets, trade shows, new product presentations, corporate
events, laser and fireworks shows, civic events, laser
billboards, grand openings and concerts.
Once you have taken the factors outlined above
into consideration, you should develop a "short list"
of potential market(s) for your show. Depending on the type of
client you plan to market to, different approaches will be
required. Traditional marketing such as TV, radio or
newspaper advertisements are not particularly useful for laser
shows. This is because they have a 'shotgun' effect and
reach a lot of people, most of whom are unlikely to need your
services. They are also more costly compared to other
kinds of marketing that target potential clients more directly.
There are a range of reasonably priced marketing
tools that you can use to raise awareness of your services amongst
Your most important and useful tool is your business card.
Your card should have your company logo, your name, telephone
number, E-mail address, web site URL and your street address.
That is a lot of information so care must be taken not to make
the card too cluttered or the print too fine so that the card is
easily readable. If you can afford the services of a
professional to design and print your cards, you will get a much
better result. If you are designing the card yourself, try
to not use more than two different font styles or your card will
look less professional.
With the proliferation of desktop publishing software, colour
inkjets and laser printers, it is easy and economical to make
your cards yourself. Business supply stores sell
pre-scored business card blanks in standard sized sheets. These
allow you to get a quality stock, often with a tasteful
pre-printed background, on which you can print your information
and then break them apart for a quality finished product.
If you have a colour printer that is capable of 300+ DPI
resolution, you can get 'photo quality' paper and print cards
with multicolored logos or even small photographs on them.
Always carry a quantity of business cards on your person and put
an extra supply of them in a plastic bag in your tool kit or
elsewhere in your equipment. It is considered rude to
'foist' your cards onto people. Four or five of them next
to your control console invite people to help themselves [be
sure to keep adding more as the supply diminishes]. If
anyone expresses and interest in your system or show, give them
Lasers are a visual medium and a web site is a very economical
way of presenting a lot of visual information. A web site
also allows a potential client to 'browse' through as much or as
little of your promotional information as they need or want.
Discussing the details of web site design is beyond the scope of
this article. While it is not difficult with today's
software to make your own web site, this is one area in which
hiring a professional is well worth the money. Before you
go to see the professional, you should have a rough outline of
what you want to see on your site. The easiest way to do this is
to put down the basics with each web page on a separate sheet of
paper - E.G. home page, systems page, services page, examples of
your work page, contact page and any other pages you may need.
If you are going to make our own web site, spend sometime on the
net looking at web sites of other laser companies. The
objective is to research styles and ideas you like rather then
try to create a carbon copy of another company's web site.
You may need to have some printed materials such as a flyer, a
catalogue sheet, or a brochure. Again, hiring a
professional to create these is well worth the money.
Depending on the market(s) you plan to serve, you may need to
have different printed materials for each market.
One method of doing this economically and still retaining the flexibility
to have targeted marketing is the catalogue sheet.
This is a glossy page with your logo and full colour pictures of
your services along with a slogan and contact information on one
side. By leaving the back blank, you can run these sheets
through a laser printer to add market specific promotional
material on the back.
If you are creating your own printed materials, a little
"puffery" is acceptable but don't make exaggerated or
untrue claims. Try to emphasis the positive benefits the client
will get by hiring your services. Make sure the end result
is not to 'busy' and overloaded with information by leaving plenty
of white space on the page. Try not to use more then 2 or
3 fonts to avoid looking unprofessional.
A portfolio or photo album of large, clear photos of shows you
have done is also very useful. Some of these photos can be
shot in your studio in controlled conditions to demonstrate the
effects you can produce such as examples of logos or beam
effects. You should also have some photos taken at shows
to demonstrate the type of work you have done and the range of
clients you have served.
If you are just starting out, all you may have are studio shots
but it may be worth it to get a professional photographer to
come out and cover your first big show. If you can't
afford this, inquire amongst your friends and contacts as there
are many dedicated amateur photographers who might be willing to
take photos for you if you cover the cost of film and
Again, lasers are a very visual medium and thus a video is one
of the best ways of demonstrating what you can do for the
client. A mix of controlled studio footage along with live
segments for your shows is a good way to show your skills. Keep
your video at under 10 minutes, especially if your are promoting
to business clients, as most people loose interest after that
time no matter how spectacular and interesting your video may
Be sure to label your video tape with your company logo and
contact information, both on the top and on the spine. You can
also convert some short segments of the video to net-video
formats to put on your web site.
Now that you have your promotional tools in
hand, you need to get them out to potential clients.
Direct mail is still one of the most effective and low cost
methods of promoting your services. Once you have
identified potential clients, you can send them a polite letter introducing
yourself and your services, along with a copy of your flyer,
catalogue sheet or brochure and your business card.
You can also do the electronic version of this by scouting
companies or organizations that may have a need for laser shows
and then E-mailing them a brief note with an invitation to visit
your web site. Be selective in doing this and don't resort
to mass mailings as nobody likes Spam and it is just ignored or
deleted, or in the worst case, gives you a negative image.
Networking through professional organizations is another way to
find potential clients, especially if your plan to serve the
corporate market. Many larger cities have organizations for
event planners. Join the organization and attend meetings
to make contacts. Informal networking through friends and
colleagues can also be helpful.
Charity events are also a good way to make contacts. Volunteer
your show to a high profile charity fund raiser on the condition
that your company name and web site will be mentioned in the
program and that you can distribute flyers and business
cared. Distribute this material in a low key manner by making
it available on a literature table or at the side of the
stage. Many prominent business people and the 'movers
& shakers' in the community attend such events and if your
show is a spectacular success, it will generate leads.
Press releases are also a good way to generate leads. If
you have just done an interesting or unusual show, or acquired
some advance technology, write a short article about it.
As a general rule, there should be only one paragraph that talks
about your company directly and the rest of the article should
talk about the show or the new technology and it's benefits.
Develop a list of science, entertainment and technology
reporters in the local media and send the article out to the relevant
reporter(s) with a cover letter inviting them to contact you for
you get a lead...
Once a potential client has expressed interest
in your services, arrange to send them more material or offer to
meet with them. Be sure the material you send them is tailored
to their market and resist the temptation to send them a copy of
every promotional item. Include a cover letter and offer
to meet with them at their office, or at your office where you
can provide a demonstration.
If you are meeting with them at their office, try to determine
what the corporate culture is like and dress appropriately.
Arrive five minutes early and be prepared to wait patiently if
they are busy. Bring along a couple of copies of your
video so that you can show it to them [if they have the
equipment], and give them a copy to view at their convenience.
If the client is coming to your office to see a demo, have everything
ready and tested well in advance. There is nothing more
likely to kill their interest than having to wait for your to be
ready, or having a technical problem during the demo. As
they are leaving, be sure to give them copies of the appropriate
literature and a copy of your video tape.
Promotion is the art of making people aware that
you exist and what services you can offer them. First you
must identify your potential markets) based on the system(s) and
equipment you have. There are a number of promotional tools you
can use such as business cards, flyers and brochures, a web site
and a demo video. The materials should be tailored to the
market segment you wish to attract. Once you have prepared your
materials, you can use direct mailing, networking, professional associations
and phone calls to locate potential clients and send them
Some of the information in the Backstage area is provided by the persons or
companies named on the relevant page(s). Laser F/X does NOT endorse or
recommend any products/services and is NOT responsible for the technical
accuracy of the information provided. We provide this information as a
service to laserists using the Backstage area.
| Marketing |