Awards & Engraving

January '19

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A&E JANUARY 2019 • a-e-mag.com 35 While there are some challenges to be aware of, selling to the academic market doesn't have to be complicated; in fact, awards retailers who stock a variety of prod- ucts that span different budgets will do just fine in this arena. Paired up with the right marketing tactics, retailers can get a perfect score with their academic customers. THE STUDENTS Not every customer who walks in the door of the local trophy shop is looking for the same thing. Actually, just the opposite is true. When specifically talking about the academic crowd, retailers will see different age groups, varying budgets, and diverse personal tastes, making this client group as distinctly separated from one another as they come. On the most basic level, academic groups are often sorted out and classified by institution: elementary school, middle school, high school, and colleges and universities. But don't fool yourself into thinking these are the only groups looking for academic awards. Cathy Garcia, Marco Awards Group, has a long list of specific clients within those organizations who need academic awards: teachers, department heads, principals, counselors, advisors, and even parents may all be individually searching for recognition products for those special students. Of course, there are the larger learning groups to also consider. "The academic market consists of learning centers with larger budgets such as universities and for- profit colleges," states Mark Avenson, R.S. Owens. "Alumni associations make up a large section of this category, and you even (deal with) large corporations with training schools such as McDonalds." And there's more. When dealing with each entity, there will be different decision makers that the awards retailer will work with. It might be as simple as a department head within each academic level. Garcia notes that for elementary schools, it may be teachers; for high schools, it's often a coach, principal, or counselor; and for colleges and universities, it will most likely be department heads. Going outside the traditional academic buying groups, awards retailers will also find a diverse clientele among national organiza- tions. "Scholarships are a huge part of the academic award market," Garcia emphasizes. "Anyone offering a scholarship is a poten- tial purchaser for the award supporting the scholarship." Although there are many people an awards shop will work with, it's not always easy pin- pointing that exact person. "Finding the cor- rect person can be hard; (the institutions) tend to not publicize this," Avenson states. It is crucial that awards retailers go out and find the client. IMAGE COURTESY JDS INDUSTRIES Perfect Products to Celebrate Academic Accomplishment Not sure what to offer your academic customers? Here are some ideas to get you started: • Stock Frames/certificate holders • Desk accessories • Pins • Plaques • Medals • Trophies • Crystal items • Custom awards Academic customers are attracted to certain styles and themes, such as the Lamp of Knowledge. IMAGES COURTESY MARCO AWARDS GROUP

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