Manufacturer Interview: Phil Cowley, CMO of Design Design Inc.

6 04 2016

Hi everyone, I appreciate your patience and support while I recovered from my hip replacement surgery. It feels so amazing to be back at my desk with renewed energy, a new perspective and motivation for moving life and business forward. Thanks to all of you who sent your well-wishes while I was recuperating!

www.designdesign.us

As most of you know, I believe strongly in building great, positive relationships. We find in art and character licensing, the 80/20 rule is just as true as it is in all the other industries. Specifically, this means that 80 percent of your revenue comes from only 20 percent of your clients. So in practical terms, to actually grow your revenue, you need to connect with as many people as possible. This means attending trade shows, talking to other artists, getting on the phone, asking those in-the-know for advice and finding industry events where you will meet the manufacturers and the decision-makers who will become the cornerstone of your licensing business.

The more you learn about what manufacturers want and are looking for, from the manufacturers themselves, the better you will be able to provide the appropriate art, in the proper format, to catch their eye and close your deal.

Not all manufacturers are willing to share this information. Fortunately there are some who will, such as Design Design’s Chief Marketing Officer,  Phil Cowley. I have worked with Phil on many occasions and he is such a wealth of information. In our interview, he shares intriguing insights about how manufacturers work, and specifically how Design Design works with artists.

Below I’ve listed just a few of the topics that are covered in this interview. I admit up-front, that the 30-minute length, is much longer than your average web interview. But I just couldn’t edit out any of the details. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and you’ll learn something, I’m sure. And thank you Phil for your time and so much valuable information!

  • What are the color and design trends for 2016?
  • What are the three most influential industries, when it comes to paper product designs
  • What is Design Design’s inside out approach to the marketplace?
  • What are their six key product categories?
  • What percentage of their product line is new each year?
  • How much art do they license?
  • How many artists do they work with?
  • How often does Design Design release new product?
  • What is the hardest greeting card (and other products…) category to fill?
  • Who are their primary retailer channels of distribution?
  • What exactly do they want from artists?

Final note: There are some audio issues on this interview due to internet fluctuations. We apologize in advance for making you have to listen extra-hard in a few places. This interview was taped in November 2016. The delay in publishing was due to my surgery. On all accounts, thanks for your understanding!

If you are interested in sending your portfolio of art to Design Design, Phil asks that you go to their Artists Inquiry page and download their Artist Guidelines for Artwork Submissions, which I’ve also linked to here for you. Please read this important information and then you can send your relevant artwork to their Senior Director of Creative, Tom Vituj at tom.vituj@designdesign.us

 

 

 





Art+Design Resource Center, Year 2, and Jill McDonald Design Exhibits for First Time at Licensing Expo

8 06 2015

20150608_174800 (1)The Art+Design Resource Center in Booth C13 will be open for business tomorrow for its second year, as we kick-off the first day of Licensing Expo. There is so much happening at our booth, so here are just some of the resources being offered for Exhibitors and Attendees.

I’ll be posting my blog multiple times a day from the Art+Design Zone of the Licensing Expo. Attendees can view and read the blog on the UBI Advanstar wide-screen monitor in our booth or go online to Licensing Expo’s Show Blog. Included in the blog will be news and interviews with many captivating people from all facets of the industry.

We will be giving away a free ‘Introduction to Art Licensing Essentials – Profits, Promotions and Protection’ class to everyone who visits our booth. This is a comprehensive, nearly 2 hour course, and one of All Art Licensing’s many new, just launched, Worldwide Creators’ Intensive video courses.  We are scheduling appointments for free consultations, as well as helping new and veteran exhibitors in the Art+Design Zone with advice, directions, printing services and a phone charging station. Just as we did last year, manufacturers and retailers can also come and get advice and pointed in the right direction toward creators, artists and designers who will fit their needs.

20150608_174213As I began setting up the Art+Design Resource Center at Licensing Expo today, I was thrilled to see Jill McDonald of Jill McDonald Design is my (across the aisle) neighbor.  Not long ago we met over Skype for what turned out to be a really interesting and fun interview.  I am a big fan of Jill’s art and style, which appeals to kids and especially Moms.Ahoy Ocean

Jill has exhibited at Surtex for 11 years and is now expanding her marketing efforts by exhibiting for the first time at Licensing Expo. This is a longer interview, but it really shows a delightful level of honesty. I know you’ll enjoy learning about her experience with a manufacturer who is doing a line with more than 50 items, her new foray into publishing children’s books and her less-is-more philosophy!

For those of you not attending Licensing Expo this year, let All Art Licensing be your eyes and ears on the show floor, sharing a wealth of information.  Join me.

 

 





Sara B Shares Her Strategies for Licensing and Licensing Expo

1 06 2015

PrintI recently interviewed Sara Berrenson about her three-year-old licensing business. Newcomers to the industry will learn some great strategies if you listen carefully between the lines of this brief and informative interview. Sara shares a lot about her inspiration, as well as how she markets herself before trade shows and throughout the year.

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I have more in-depth interviews with artists, brands and manufacturers coming your way before and during Licensing Expo…so stay tuned in!





Beyond the Booth – Top 10 Countdown – Making the Most of Your Trade Show Experience (Part 2)

22 04 2015

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.37.48 AMThis is Part 2, the conclusion, of ‘Beyond the Booth – Top 10 Countdown – Making the Most of Your Trade Show Experience’ 

5. Prepare press releases before AND after the show – This is one of the times you really need to reach out and share your business news and information. Publicity, such as those mentions or articles in magazines, blogs, newspapers, trade publications, are often more credible, believable and profitable than other types of exposure. Before the show it’s important to make sure everyone knows you will be attending, where to find you, and what you have to offer. After the show, it’s time to share the news about your accomplishments and executed deals.

4. Create a promo video – Videos are one of the most powerful and persuasive marketing tools available today. Keep in mind that a moving presentation overview draws in prospective clients, but be sure to share with them with your more detailed follow-up material when it comes to your one-on-one meetings. Try to format your videos for as many different platforms as possible. Videos can be used on booth monitors and on tablets and smartphones for impromptu presentations outside your booth, as well as in online public relations and for social media exposure. If you have a property that lends itself to an interactive demo, then go for it. By giving attendees something to do, it gives you more time to interact and discuss their needs. As you can see, your promotional videos will take on a variety of formats for different purposes. By organizing the goals and needs clearly before creating the videos, you can economize on the development of your materials.

3. Take time away from the booth – This takes preparation because you need the staffing to cover you when you step away, as well as to decide how to use your precious time. Get clear on your priorities so you can visit booths of prime prospects and competitors first. Make friends with your neighbors and take time to attend sessions where your prospects are speaking or might attend. And in general, talk to everyone to meet new people and make new friends. Whether in line for coffee, lunch, the restroom, or sitting at a training session or on the escalator…talk to the people around you. This is really the best way to take full advantage of your networking opportunities. Someone you struck up a conversation with is much more likely to stop when passing your booth on the show floor—and even if they aren’t a prospect, you never know WHO THEY KNOW. Once you have accomplished your goals, definitely take time to roam and get inspired by ideas and connections that hadn’t yet occurred to you.

2. Ask for what you are looking for – While many people might consider it too forward or rude, you will not get what you want if you don’t ask for it. This is what separates the effective business people from the ineffective ones. Write down exactly what it is you want your new contacts to know and what you are asking them to do. Make sure you relay it often and to everyone in a professional way. Again, be assertive, not aggressive. If you are unclear with yourself about what you want others to do, they will not know how to help you even when they are willing. Practice your points until you have them memorized.

1. What do YOU have to offer – This seems like a very obvious instruction, but you would be surprised how few people actually express clearly what they are offering. Remember that industry events, especially trade shows, are jam-packed with influential and busy individuals. You want to talk with everyone you can. Because you never know if they have the means to help your business in a variety of ways. And remember, common courtesy goes a long ways! You may not be as well-known as many of these folks, but you are important too. You need to be very clear about what you have to offer, so that you know exactly what you bring to the relationship. Conversations with high-ranking execs will go must smoother when you know exactly what you have to offer them. It’s important to have a realistic and dynamic vision of what you bring to the table, so that moving forward you aren’t wasting anyone’s time, including your own.

There is still time to register for ‘Marketing Your Art, Characters, Designs & New Brands through Trade Shows,‘ which begins today at 10 a.m. PDT. If you can’t attend today, you will receive an MP3 audio file and 80-page PowerPoint presentation at the conclusion of the class. For more information and to register click here.

Note: This article ran originally in the Licensing Expo Newsletter. All Art Licensing will be available at the Resource Center in the Art + Design zone Booth #C-13 where I will be reporting on deals and events, assisting attendees in navigation of the trade show, providing free expert licensing advice and supporting the Art + Design category exhibitors. Hope to see you there!





Beyond the Booth – Top 10 Countdown – Making the Most of Your Trade Show Experience (Part 1)

21 04 2015

LE booth interaction at Resource CenterThis is Part 1 of a 2-part special blog, so watch tomorrow’s to read the conclusion of the countdown.

Once you have your booth design completed, there is a host of other preparations to attend to. Actually preparing for the show and going ‘beyond the booth’ will assure that you have made the most of the time and money you invest in the show.

I know there are many of you who are just starting out or exhibiting for the first time and may not have thought of these, especially numbers #1 and #2 (in tomorrow’s post)! And for those of you who are seasoned veterans, it never hurts to skim and review good tactics.

If you aren’t sure whether you are ready for exhibiting at a trade show, or are exhibiting for the first time, definitely read my article below and seriously consider joining my class tomorrow. ‘Marketing Your Art, Characters, Designs & New Brands Through Trade Shows,’ will help you maximize your investment. This class explains exactly how to make intelligent decisions about whether you are ready (OR NOT) to exhibit at trade shows, as well as how to choose the appropriate shows and what you need to do to go from ‘internal creative concepts’ to ‘creating external income.’

We will cover an invaluable checklist of 25 questions which MUST be answered BEFORE you should invest the time and money in a trade show and how to prepare for and exhibit at the shows and create marketing to drive traffic to your booth. I’m really excited to be offering this class. Even if tomorrow doesn’t work with your schedule you can register, ask your questions, and take the class at your convenience through our MP3 audio file and 80-page PowerPoint presentation. Here’s a link to our course schedule page to register and get more details.

Now…in two parts: Beyond the Booth – Top 10 Countdown – Making the Most of Your Trade Show Experience

10. Make the most of your time – This takes planning and organization before the show. Create a list of goals to be completed before the end of the event. It should include people you want to see, booths you want to visit and educational sessions that are important to attend. Think about your overall goals and the people who can help you achieve them. Then I recommend looking at the exhibitor’s list for those who could be potential strategic partners, affiliates or licensees, as well as gathering information on your biggest competition.

9. Schedule appointments before the show – You will need to cull your existing lead list, as well as review the prior and current exhibitors lists for the show you are attending. If you know of companies important to building your business then find their contact information. It never hurts to introduce yourself and ask if they are attending the show. It is essential to prioritize the lead lists, so that you can request and schedule appointments with the companies which are most important to you.

8. Create specific goals for your meetings – In addition to your overall goals, you should prepare specific goals for each of your individual meetings so you will be well prepared to make the most of them. I strongly suggest if possible to research the businesses and people prior to each meeting and customizing the presentation when appropriate.

7. Prepare your content – Once you have created a compelling booth that tells a story, make sure you have the content—the ‘goods’—to back it up. Have collections, stories, scripts, designs, images that are immediately licensable. If you are a ‘concept booth,’ prepare as much content (television scripts, book manuscript, style guide imagery, etc.) as you can to show prospective licensees what they would be licensing from you and why a partnership will be profitable.

6. Take the conversations as far as they can go – Make sure that your homework includes writing down and practicing the questions which will move deals forward. This is especially important for the meetings with people you have already met with or spoken to prior to the show, and are now renewing or continuing the conversations. For the new contacts, most trade show attendees will usually give you 5 minutes or less of their time. Create and be prepared to share a VERY brief presentation, and then listen (DO NOT TALK YOURSELF OUT OF THE SALE)! As a rule of thumb, let them lead the discussion—be present and assertive, never aggressive. Then…you can ask questions to move things forward and make sure, as your potential customer leaves the booth that you have defined and agreed upon the next steps.

Note: The countdown continues tomorrow with the top 5 ways to make the most of your trade show experience.








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