THE CLIENT’S NEEDS AND PRESENTATIONS
©2007 Michael Woodward
Presentations should be prepared with the client’s “needs” in mind. This sounds simple but it’s not as straight forward as it first appears. However, before you do anything you must understand the market sector you are aiming at. Let’s look at an example: Greetings cards. First go out and visit at least 10 stores. Choose different types of stores; supermarket chains, local Mom & Pop stores, high end Stationery/gift shops, Book Stores e.g. Barnes & Noble, Borders, Dollar Store, galleries, local book store, and a New Age store.
Look at what they sell and how it’s displayed. The supermarkets and major book stores always almost have huge racks. Small gift stores often have spinners. Look at the types of work being sold. What is the age group and market sector it’s aimed at i.e. are the cards expensive and for a sophisticated audience or are the middle of the road? What kind of humour? What new trends do you see? What colours seem to work well? What appeals to you? What kind of customer do the stores attract? Get the picture? Research the market. Look at what is selling. Look at the names of the publishers, buy a card of a company who seems to be a “good fit” for your style.
This system applies to ever market sector. Know the market so well that you can name every major publisher and what kind of work they sell. For fine art posters and prints visit galleries, frame shops, furniture stores, and mass market retailers. Cover the whole market so you get a true understanding of all the markets not just your own niche. This way you learn more about what fits where. Do this regularly. See how the market changes. By doing this on a monthly basis you’ll start to see how trends change and new colors or new subject matter start to appear. Spend some time online every week looking at the websites of major retail chains in the industry that appeals to you. You can also look up the publishers or manufacturers websites if they have one. Some publisher’s sites may be inaccessible as you need a trade buyers password but there are many you can access so it’s worth browsing on the web regularly as you can learn a lot about the companies you wish to approach. You will see new product lines and in some cases the best sellers are posted.
Presentations; Only present work which has a synergy with the client’s look or least in the same ballpark. i.e. if they only sell photography it’s waste of time sending illustrations. If they only produce humour then why send flowers! These things seem so obvious but clients often tell me over 50% of presentations they receive are not suitable for their needs. Keep the presentations simple either a CD of small jpgs 250k max each (around 12-20 will suffice). Email a few initially if email presentations are accepted. Keep your email short and sweet. Let the work speak for itself. If sending mailers print them in letter size format and use good paper and put your name, copyright notice and phone number on each sheet e.g. ©2007 John Doe. Often sheets get passed around and if your details aren’t on there they won’t know how to contact you.
ALWAYS send a SASE if sending by mail or your presentation may simply end up in the trash bin. I appreciate it may seem a petty thing but often publishers receive as many as 30 presentations every week and the cost of envelopes and postage soon adds up.
©2007 Michael Woodward