Marketing Buzz 11/01

Tattoos: the new deal-closers, and the marketing benefits of event sponsorships
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the November 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Really Inking The Deal

Sometimes, a tattoo can actually close a sale. Customers of 3-year-old MD Productivity in Austin sometimes ask regional director Bradley Garfinkel, "How confident are you that this company is going to stick around?"

That's when Garfinkel-who's 6'1" and 260 pounds-rolls up his right pant leg, revealing a tattoo of the company logo. Also imprinted are the words "Dictate," the name of the voice-recognition medical transcription product he sells.

It's a helpful tool, admits Garfinkel (right), who earns more than six figures a year. And if Garfinkel, 32, someday works for someone else? He can always roll up the left side of his pants. "I'll just tattoo my entire resume on each leg," he jokes.

It's Showtime!

Imagine putting your logo on billboards, banners and T-shirts, and handing out free product samples to countless potential customers-all for next to nothing. With event sponsorship, you can do all that and more. "Sponsorships [are] a great way to quickly get market awareness about our product," says Steve Yacht, 28-year-old co-founder of Warp Energy Mints in Toronto, which frequently sponsors extreme-sports events.

To find events that reflect your business, "you need to think about your customers," says Robert Madrigal, professor of marketing at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Warp, for instance, sponsors extreme-sports competitions because they appeal to the company's target market of 18- to 29-year-olds.

Products considered new and innovative-like Warp's mints-can often get free ad space at events in exchange for product samples. "Traditional companies offer [event promoters] more money," says Ron Cheng, 28, also a Warp co-founder. "But [many would] rather associate themselves with cooler, up-and-coming brands."

Networking is the best way to get started doing sponsorships. Yacht used an association with Strength (a skateboarding and snowboarding magazine) to secure Warp's first event sponsorship: a Converse skateboarding competition. Since then, the mints have made their way into more than 10,000 U.S. and Canadian retail locations.

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