If you’ve ever gotten an email from me you may have noticed I use many exclamation points in my correspondence. If you’ve ever talked to me about putting together a promotional campaign, then you understand why: I get very excited about promo! They’ve given me this space to tell you why. Let’s do this!
A little history.
Though I just returned a few months ago, I began working at JPT around 10 years ago. While I was attending actors’ conservatory I started dating a gorgeous, talented young actress named Isabelle who worked at her family business as a graphic designer. As college students are prone to be, I was completely broke, so I asked if her family business had any odd jobs that might provide me ramen noodle money. I started out filing, vacuuming, shipping, answering phones, that sort of thing. I’m pretty sure they just hired me because I wouldn’t go away, honestly.
Right around that same time, JPT began to grow in a big way (I like to think it was because of my vacuuming). That small family-owned-and-operated print shop went from “steady” to “in demand.” One such demand was promotional items, something JPT had not really provided before. My brother-in-law Pancho spent many days learning the intricacies of the promotional industry and shared much of that knowledge with me. I had learned a great deal in a short amount of time at JPT but none of it had really grabbed my attention quite like promotional products. I loved promo immediately!
So, that acting thing didn’t work out, huh?
As I indicated earlier, my academic and professional pursuit was (and is) in the performing arts, not promo-selling. There’s a joke in the entertainment industry, that goes something like this:
A – I’m an actor.
B – Oh yeah? What restaurant?
Sad but true. The “day job” as we call it is for many actors a soul-sucking nuisance that interrupts our audition schedule and irritates our agents. For the most part, my experience is in professional theatre, a nighttime endeavor that typically coexists comfortably with most traditional jobs. In 2009, I decided to change things up a bit and hit the commercial audition circuit—a broad term covering commercials, industrial/training videos, and movies—and so took my leave from JPT. You want to talk about soul-sucking? Commercial auditions. I shiver with heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. Have you ever tried to pretend that a pizza that wasn’t really there was more exciting than the birth of you first child? Have you ever had to suppress a laugh while reading lines to your werewolf-demon wife, while the writer-producer watches intently?
It wasn’t “for” me. But after 20 years of stage acting, love it as I do, I needed to try something different. I began looking for more opportunities to direct and produce, and really hit my stride. Since 2011 I’ve produced or directed at least 3 shows per year and still managed to squeeze in some acting. The welcome change of pace helped me to feel artistically fulfilled and moved my performance life back into the night shift. Most of all though, it changed my perspective in regards to how things come together, and the totality of a presentation respective the individual functions of its parts.
Weren’t we talking about promo at one point?
This August while I was enjoying the opening weekend of my latest directorial venture, Pegasus Theatre’s None of the Above, my wife (Oh yeah, it worked out with that actress!) told me JPT was looking for a dedicated promo salesman to help field the many inquires we get and that my name had come up. I knew right away that a reunion with JPT was going to be a hit.
Much in the same way sound, lights, set, and props should fit seamlessly around the actors portraying the script, a business’ marketing package should incorporate the right elements to promote their brand. Sure a water bottle and a pen probably won’t sell a prospect on your business on their own, but they’re part of the grand presentation and need to fit harmoniously to facilitate the greater goal of the marketing campaign.
Is mine an unusual way to look at promo items? I think so. I hope so! It’s hard to get excited about the same-ol’, same-ol’, and we want your prospects to be excited about your brand! I understand that for most of my customers promo is just one part of their job and maybe not the most exciting part. And, how are you supposed to get your prospects excited about something you aren’t excited about? Easy! You just give a holler to the promo guy and I’ll be excited enough for all of us!
Be sure to check back often for Jared’s blogs including promo picks of the month (beginning next week), FAQs answered, meanderings on marketing, and even more exclamations! You can reach Jared to get excited about your promo campaign today at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 866-785-1013 (xt. 108).