I met up with Director Emma Shaybani, to find out more her business.
Emma is a young entrepreneur who got the business bug early.
From the age of fourteen she was organising music events. She worked as a freelance during her time at London College of Communication and studying marketing at Westminster University.
During that time she did some corporate modelling work for a leading mobile phone manufacturer. She got asked " Do you know any other models, we need 5 for such and such an event. .....Then she found that she was being asked to supply more models and saw the business opportunity ......
Researching the market she discovered that there was noticeable client dissatisfaction with models who although glamorous merely seemed to dish out flyers and were unable to answer queries from stand visitors and were unskilled in engaging with stand visitors in conversation.
Many of today's event stands need both "beauty and brains". So she set up OTB Models. Her co-workers include a 21 year old with no less than 8 languages.
In these tight economic times, exhibitors at trade shows want improved return on their marketing investment ( ROMI). This includes better ROMI on engaging corporate models.
Even a modest exhibition stand in London is a serious investment especially for a SME
For a small basic three square metre stand at Earls Court you can be talking about an investment made up as follows.
£4,000 stand space for a three day show
£ 400 for a couple of Chairs and a table
£ 200 If you want electricity for your laptop
£ 600 for three lights for the three days
£ 500 for printing of literature, cards and flyers
£ 230 for insurance
a total of £ 6,530.
Of course you might be able to negotiate on insurance but many of the above are a fixed pricing situation.
If you are going to have say 3 people working the stand each day the costs of the away from the office or in the field this could be £ 9,000 depending how you cost them.
So the cost of not engaging with visitors on stand and merely giving freebies away or dishing out flyers is a poor use of stand investment.
For larger organisations it is not untypical to be spending £150,00 for a 50 square metre stand for three days at the Excel. ROMI rules therefore.
Although Emma finds word of mouth the most powerful way to promote her business. This is followed by networking groups both real and virtual . She does undertake email campaigns but likes them to be focused.
Her approach to prospecting.
" Be courageous and go right to the top (MD or CEO )."
OTB sales process is a straight forward stepped approach.
A typical cycle would progress as follows:
- Enquiry registered on website
- Telephone Call to make an appointment
- First meeting to scope the project, assess the needs of the client in terms of languages needed, product and market information for the team to learn, consider the cultural sensitivities and nationalities. Demo via the website as a visual aid.
- The next stage is to put together a quote/ proposal and email that as attachment.
- Second meeting to finalise details both terms and conditions but also bespoke uniforms etc.
- Sign Off.
Other buyer's journeys are simply direct bookings captured by email.
Spreading the word is a key objective for OTB at present. They employ a number of social media approaches such as a corporate twitter page .
At present Emma prefers using facebook rather than Linked In for her business networking. She is not keen on the Linked In system - "the 'good stuff' is an extra cost"
Facebook works best for her network at the moment.
The range of projects that OTB Models have undertaken range from supplying 50 girls for the Solar Awards show at the Dorchester , to two girls at the grand designs show at the NEC, to a "meet and greet" at an airport,
The wackiest ( so far) was to supply two glamorous models to dress up in gigantic inflatable sumo costumes on an inflatable dojo.
The models were game for a laugh.
Leaders are readers
Emma is currently reading Jim Blythe's "100 Great Marketing Ideas" (2009 published by Marshall Cavendish).
Her Iphone, Ipad and Blackberry are never far away ready to do the next deal.
EXHIBITIONS- are they worth it?
40 % of the sample in the Buyers survey of salespeople had met with supplier salespeople at an exhibition in the last twelve months.Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study
OTB have used a number of campaign management software systems in their work.
However campaign management and follow up are key. Here are two systems that OTB have used.
1. Campaign Monitor offer a complete package for successful email marketing campaigns for themselves and their clients. You can even re brand the interface, create sub-accounts for your clients and let them send their own campaigns.Click for campaign monitor
Permission-based email marketing is a cost-effective and powerful marketing tool.
Dotmailer suggest a good system should comprise of the following
• The professional looking design of the emails you send HTML email is essential to grab and hold interest, maximize response, and maintain your brand presence.
• It needs to be quick and easy to create.
• The delivery of your email marketing campaigns – sender reputation and authentication are critical factors when it comes to making sure the marketing emails you send out, actually reach their targets.
• Detailed reporting and tracking on how your customers respond to your email marketing campaigns is crucial to increasing the success of campaigns. Click for dotmailer