Although this can be a long shot, the returns can be astounding. One dealer in Italy did over a million books in three years with Proctor and Gamble. It is well worth your consideration, even if you don't have any experience dealing with large corporations. How many times have you said "I wish I had a nickle for every happy meal sold in the USA last year.
The term "Premium / Incentive" is the phrase used by an industry that provides perks, bonuses and gifts to corporations who wish to give them away in conjunction with the sale of their own products. For example, when a diaper company wishes to sell more diapers, they have a Mother Goose Create-A-Book developed and offer it with several box tops from diaper boxes. When the consumer wants one of these Mother Goose books, they have to buy several boxes of diapers to get one. So the book, in fact, becomes a selling tool for the diapers.
The customer is given an "incentive" to buy more of a product. In this case, Create-A-Book in the premium.
- From 1991 to 2004, Huggies has been buying Create-A-Books from our dealer in Chicago to offer their customers who buy the diapers.
- In 2004, Nestles's brand of Juicy Juice (Libbys) featured a Personalized Arthur Create-A-Book on all its bottles. A dealer in Texas was responsible for that promotion.
- In Italy, a dealer put together a deal with Proctor and Gamble and Disney to manufacture over 800,000 Create-A-books as a premium. All books were given away free with the purchase of diapers. This was the biggest promotion in Create-A-Book history.
Working with a premium incentive program takes time, money, creativity and persistence. At Create-A-Book, we have the capacity to publish the any book you want, when your client (corporation) wants to give away something unique. You probably have a company or group in your town that would benefit from a Create-A-Book premium program.
When you put together a program like this, you can make a profit on a large number of books over time, sometimes years. This is a very efficient way to sell thousands of books, because one client or customer buys multiple books as opposed to selling one on one in a mall. Also, we can design a Create-A-Book book as an exclusive book that only you and your client will be able to sell. This builds repeat business for your client, and insures you won't have anyone else selling that book against you. The public won't be able to buy your special premium Create-A-Book from anyone else but your client. The Huggies book is a special book, created only as a premium and not offered by Create-A-Book to any other dealer.
Prep work before you start
When approaching a large corporation to use Create-A-Book books as a premium, there are certain variables that you must keep in mind.
- Which type of book does your company want, conventional (hand made) or sticker?
- Do they want the book to be hardbound or softbound?
- Do they want to provide the art work and or story line or do they want Create-A-Book to design the book?
- Will the premium be a one time offer or a continuing promotion?
- Will the book be offered exclusively through the corporation?
- Will the book be developed from the ground up or will they modify a book already in print?
- How many books need to be made per week or month?
The final cost per unit will be determined by the amount of books purchased at one time. The more you buy at once the lower the cost per book.
Who to contact?
You should consider any large corporation that is interested in building sales and good-will with their customers. Large food companies, toddler's clothing companies, diaper companies or toy companies are just a few types of companies to consider approaching. There really is no limit here. You just have to think of all the reasons why the company in your community would be willing to make books and give them away to their customers or clients. Maybe even your town might be interested in publishing a personalized book to give away or sell to tourists.
Check out the corporate listings in Dunn and Bradstreet or the Internet Yellow Pages to find other companies you might approach.
If you have a large tourist attraction in your area, you may want to contact them about a special book. One dealer worked closely with a Zoo and had a special sticker sheet designed for The Zoo is Blue. She was able to sell a lot of sticker books to the Zoo. They used the book as a membership drive incentive and substantially increased their sponsorship base.
How to contact large corporations
Contacting a large corporation may seem intimidating, and it is for the first time. Make that first contact by phone and/or in writing before meeting the purchasing agent or marketing director. Call the corporate office and speak to the receptionist or secretary. Find out the contact name, and enough information to personalize a book for the contact person you will be meeting.
The secretary or receptionist may prove to be your strongest ally, so it could prove beneficial to include his or her name in the product as well. Customize the book as much as you can to emphasize what your product can do for the corporation. Remember, you are in business yourself, so approach the corporation in a professional business-like manner.
If your contact asks you to send something to them prior to a meeting, then create a cover letter introducing yourself and include a sample Create-A-Book. Send these to the person(s) you plan to meet. Include a contact time in your letter. Be as professional as possible. You may want to read up on corporate presentations. There are a number of books and pamphlets available on the subject from the SBA, BBB, your local Chamber of Commerce and libraries.
Make your presentation
- Remember your audience. Consider what information is important to them and why. (How can your product increase their sales.) You are going to have to do a little homework here. There are so many reasons for a company to publish a book, that we just cannot cover them here. Each program is different. Some companies want to make money selling the book, or make a profit from the book sale if our dealers sell it. Some companies want to please their customers even if the book only breaks even and they don't make any money from the project. And, still other companies want the information about their customers by collecting data from the personalized book order forms sent in for future marketing purposes. You will have to call our office at Create-A-Book to get some detailed advice if you have a premium book you wish to do and need some help. That's why we're here.
- Be product aware. Have a fact sheet available to answer any question about the product and how it can be customized to fit their needs.
- Be aware of the time. Try to schedule your meeting to coincide with the company's new product calendar. They will not be able to implement a program out of the normal budget schedule. In other words, you might ask them what time of year do they consider new projects for premiums. They are more likely to meet with you if you are talking to them at the right time.
- Focus on the product. Take samples in with key persons names in place. People tend to recognize their own names more quickly than another. This drives the uniqueness of the product home in the buyer's mind.
- Define the variables. Once you have their general consensus, try to lock them into the type, size and format their premium book will take.
- Discuss fulfillment. You may need to allow two to six weeks if using a handmade book.
- Generate curiosity. Interest and enthusiasm are contagious. If you have a contact at the corporation, enlist their aid in demonstrating the demand for your product. If you don't have a contact, try to enlist the aid of the secretary or receptionist you first spoke to on the phone.
- Don't forget the educational value of the premium. Remind them that today's young people are tomorrow's employees. Point out that not only is this program a premium to get their customers to respond to their offer, but that the end result is that children get books, their books, to help them learn to read.
How to get the books into print
When you are through with your meetings, and you have the premium book defined by the corporate management, call Create-A-Book for a price per book. We will have to know all the particular details in order to get the price for you. When the company is ready to commit via a contract, we can submit a solid bid to you for the printing.
Obviously, the company will have a strong interest in the development of the book. That can mean delays until the company approves the art, the story and the personalization. We can push things along and nudge the company when necessary, but you need to be aware that there will be some factors out of our control when creating a new book. Part of your job will be to keep close contact with your contact to keep things moving.
You will also want to get at least a percentage of the development costs up front. Fifty to 100 percent would be a good target, since these expenses are out of pocket expenses. If you want an opinion on the contract you will be signing, forward a copy to us so we can review it. Although we cannot represent you an an attorney, we can check the contract for some details as they pertain to book publishing and productivity commitments. If we spot anything unreasonable, we will bring it to your attention. And, let us repeat, you get your attorney (hired by you) to check out any agreement you intend to sign, since you will be responsible for it and will be entering this promotion independently and not on behalf of Create-A-Book, Inc. and Hefty Publishing Company (the parent company).
This program can, by far, have the most impact and visibility on your business if successful.