Monthly Archives: December 2022

Choose your ‘trinkets’ well

my last post urged grads to consider careers in B2B Sales/Marketing; if that intrigues you, pay respect also to suppliers of ‘leave-behind premiums’ ie ‘momentums’ or even (ughhhh!!!) ‘Trash & Trinkets’- promotion tools firms use to leave an impression at/after in-person events eg trade shows. On Dec 1-2, Seneca College partnered w Sheraton Hotel, Queen Street, Toronto to host the 2022 Ontario Collegiate Marketing Competition (OCMC). Thanks to a convenient venue & the perseverance (& contact list!) of event guru Nancy Bodi, a record number of Pay It Forward minded sponsors opened their wallets and sent talented (B2B) staff.

Thanks to this sponsors! And thanks for showing students the role of ‘Premiums’. B2B Marketing makes a science of Trade Shows- choosing which to attend, how to participate (manage a booth or just attend), what else to sponsor (speaker, meal, mix & mingle, etc), who to send (from your staff), booth design, sales materials (biz cards, promotion sheets,,…) and … choosing the ‘Premiums’. There are so many possibilities- & always a (risky) chance to separate one’s brand from the crowd with a novel item. But also: concerns about lead time, safety, durability of construction, how easily it ‘takes’ a logo (in the brand’s pantone!), cost/unit- & much more. The items say something about your brand, & its impression of the attendees’ importance, so consider well!

The OCMC gave most student attendees their 1st taste of a Trade Show- how booth exhibitors demo a brand, start a conversation, use easy casual banter (ice breakers!). They’re professional!

Students: Want to Be in B2B? watch & learn!

And note the Show ‘Premiums’- what’s hot? (it tends to change each year-(I recall when Flash Drives & Sticky Notes were the hot Premium choice); it takes skill to stay atop such a lively field. Most big brands hire a specialist to help them choose & then oversee design, QA, inventory /delivery, packaging, etc. Think it’s ‘Trash & Trinkets’? Nope. It’s your brand’s leave-behind impression. This year:

Metal water bottles are hot- they take a logo well & ooze politically correct ‘sustainability’, but come at a high cost/unit and they’re bulky for the exhibitor to lug around a show, replenish inventory, etc.

Mittens (imo a bright choice to separate sponsor McGraw, albeit very limited seasonally);

Privacy/peeper Camera covers for phones/laptops -they’ll get lots of impressions (one each time you open your laptop!) but QA must be rigorous (awkward brand impression, if durability or adhesion is iffy);

Poppers or PopUps for phones

Socks! (yep, Socks!)

Stress relievers- often it’s stress squeeze balls; at this show it was an X’s and O’s fidget device

Business Card holders and Pens- (traditional choices)

An unusual choice at this show -STICKERS! lil fun character stick-ons to engage students in a chat, presumably to ensure they don’t think working for a tech firm (Salesforce) needs to be dry /boring.

Not at This Show (but hot elsewhere): RFID wallets, card sleeves, key holders.

Consider: if YOU were to choose a premium for an upcoming show- what would you choose? Would it say the right things about your brand immediately?.. after some use? Would it separate your brand? …carry the logo well? … arrive on time?… be affordable? … be easy to lug about the show & keep at the booth? Think about it: choosing a Premiums is not a ‘light’ decision at all. We do learn to #Respect the ‘Premium’ suppliers, designers -even if some still refer to their industry as ‘Trash & Trinkets’


B2B Sales/Marketing – #respect

I devote hours of Marketing diploma student class time to careers- types of careers, skill sets for various careers, typical career paths, etc, as there are many misconceptions/myths for ‘Marketing’ grads -eg Advertising & Brand Management roles have long held ‘the glam factor’. Yet other roles do have their own ‘glam’ and appeal, even if, for example, roles in Analytics, Planning & B2B Sales are too-often improperly/inaccurately portrayed in Pop Culture & the pre-Secondary education system.

My advice to grads: consider your own skills preferred work style & aspirations-not what Uncle Joe/Cousin Sue think you’d excel at or should do for a living.

B2B Sales, a career typically under-respected in the Canadian education system, requires planning, analysis & strategic skills. Such roles do often involve long hours or after-hours work; but what promising career doesn’t? At least, in many B2B Sales roles, you eat what you kill– ie your comp is often clearly linked to the new accounts you secure, the extent to which you help grow sales & satisfaction to/for your customer, etc, etc, etc. You perform: –> you earn.

Students ask if introverts can succeed in Sales roles? Yes!

Is B2B Sales pretty much just firm handshakes & being quick on your feet? PLEEEEEEEASE! Stop watching bad TV shows! B2B Sales requires Preparation, Research, Listening, Relationship Management- when you graduate & meet various B2B Sales professionals, you’ll undoubtedly be impressed by their deportment, insight, readiness, attention to service. In decades in Marketing, I’ve been impressed by various suppliers & prospective suppliers. Now, in Education, I find B2B account reps & ‘Biz Development’ staff at publishers & other partners, to also be impressively professional.

And, if you think B2B ‘Sales’ peoples responsibilities, empowerment & compensation are remotely similar to that of Retail Sales people, think again! Those are 2 ENTIRELY different worlds– the pay structure, amount of empowerment/ autonomy, resources & time horizons couldn’t be more different- in fact, many B2B ‘Sales’ roles aren’t actually not called ‘Sales’ roles at all; their titles are often rephrased as ……..’Marketing Reps’!!!

– so there! Does that have a bit more ‘glam’ to it, Marketing program grads?