Awards & Engraving

January '19

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36 • A&E JANUARY 2019 THE ASSIGNMENT Nailing down who you will work with for academic awards is one test, but determining needs may be another one. Oftentimes these customers are dictated by budget, so coming prepared with a plan that meets various monetary restraints is important. "It seems the greater percentage of awards for schools have a strict budget," Jim Millburn, Logocut and Stillwater Awards by Zeit Company, points out. "This can vary from very inexpensive to very high end." What this means for the retailer working with these customers is, be prepared to offer everything. Avenson agrees, adding that budgets are often all over the board. He states that retailers might see anything from price-effective solutions for high schools such as resin products to high-end sports awards, and everything in between. But there is one thing that is always certain: "Everyone (in this group) has to keep a tight control on their budgets." It might seem like a guessing game as to what an awards shop can offer these customers, but Garcia offers a few pointers that can help narrow it down. "As age/grade increases, the cost and type of award gets more expensive," she notes. For example, at the elementary level, pins and small plaques (i.e. items that are rela- tively inexpensive) are popular. Moving on to high school, this group often goes for the higher end plaques. Millburn also offers one more con- sideration: quantity. For those who do purchase the expensive awards products, budget still plays a role. When orders for high-end plaques do come in, expect to see a lower quantity in the order, he explains. THE FINAL GRADE Even with a tight budget and multiple buying groups, awards retailers shouldn't be afraid to sell to the academic market. In addition to having a variety of products that meet different needs, there are some marketing tactics to employ to help make the sale. "The nice thing about academic sales is that this market already knows the impor- tance of rewarding accomplishment," Avenson emphasizes. "You don't have to start at the beginning to show the impor- tance of recognition." This is a huge win in a world where recognition sometimes gets a bad rap. But be careful not to let this under- standing be the only thing to determine the sales — retailers still need to make their case. "Awards retailers (should) con- nect their marketing dots across the school In addition to traditional styles, academic customers also look for customization services, such as full-color photos, for their awards products. IMAGE COURTESY CONDÉ SYSTEMS Awards retailers should work with their academic customers to determine their recognition needs. IMAGE COURTESY R.S. OWENS

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