“It’s really hard to get people to move to Minneapolis, and it’s impossible to get them to leave.”
Although not entirely true, this old adage about one of the most unique metros in the United States has some merit. As most of the other large metropolises in America have struggled with increasing disparity between the rich and the poor and shrinking levels of class-mobility, Minneapolis and it’s greater metropolitan area have fought off similar trends more valiantly over the last half century.
Yes, gaps in wealth are growing, but Minneapolis’ ability to hold onto its college graduates, share wealth throughout the Twin Cities districts, and keep educated managers at every level from leaving the area make it somewhat of an anomaly within the larger U.S. economy. Over the last 60 years, 40 Minneapolis-based businesses have cracked the Fortune 500 list and this is largely due to the city’s extremely low rate of outflow. For all of the financial growth within the city over that time, Minneapolis has managed to keep costs of living and fiscal inequality relatively low compared to other metros.
What does this type of market mean for promotional staffing agencies, businesses, and the products they are trying to sell? It means that Minneapolis has a strong “homegrown” community and people here know inauthenticity when they see it.
Economic & industry landscapes
If you haven’t heard, Minneapolis has also recently become one of the hottest tech hubs in the United States, ranking 4th in average salaries within the tech industry behind only San Diego, Boston and the Silicon Valley metro area according to Forbes. This has fueled excitement and energy within the region and will only further contribute to the city’s ability to keep homegrown talent from going elsewhere.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is home to a number of professional sports teams, including the Vikings (NFL), Twins (MLB), Timberwolves (NBA), Wild (NHL), Lynx (WNBA) and Minnesota United FC (MLS). Super Bowl LII will be played on the Vikings home field at U.S. Bank Stadium in February of 2018 and the game has already had a distinct impact on Minneapolis’ infrastructure and countless branding strategies in preparation for the big event.
In order to keep up with the Millennial’s market demands, craft brewing continues to grow at an astounding rate throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul region and the industry as a whole has contributed over $1.3 billion to the Minnesota economy. This has created a more challenging landscape for household brands to navigate, but we view it as a opportunity to raise our game.
Minneapolis is also rich with innovators and an educated workforce. Studies have ranked the city as high as 2nd in the U.S. in terms of literacy, further challenging brands to get creative with their approach to this market. Having a unique selling proposition (USP) is imperative.
Promotional Event Staffing in Minneapolis
Boosting sales in the Minneapolis market requires thorough planning and a defined strategy in order to capitalize on the most receptive audiences for your product or service. What might sell to young professionals in Uptown, or the up-and-coming North Loop, may not resonate with the corporate crowds of the downtown business district or the diverse, industrial and “neighborhood-y” Northeast Riverfront.
Working with a local agency is your best bet for providing consumers with an authentic, “homey” atmosphere that the Minneapolis market requires. Finding one of these agencies, however, can be a bit of a challenge. There are a handful of nationwide agencies that offer services in Minneapolis, but do their brand ambassadors and/or models work and live in the Minneapolis metro? One of the easiest things to get wrong with a live promotional event is hiring a team that doesn’t understand the culture or core values of the region you are holding your event in.
At Modern Talent we offer a wide variety of services including Promotional Models, Bar Promotions Staffing, Brand Ambassadors, Event Staffing, Guerrilla Marketing, In-Store Product Demos & Tastings, Trade Show Staffing & Promotional Models, Wine Professionals and most importantly: we are proud to call Minneapolis our home.
Growth in technology and increasing travel costs have threatened to make in-house promotional event teams a thing of the past. Fortunately, there is hope if your business operates in Minneapolis! Our remote capabilities allow us to have well-trained, versatile and local models and brand ambassadors to help brands promote their products in 13 states throughout the U.S., with Minneapolis being one of our most prioritized markets. We strive to pair talent that is local to your community to create a more personalized and homey experience for consumers and believe that by doing so gives us the best chance of growing sales at your events.
Running an in-store liquor sampling sounds pretty easy right? Simply position a couple of beautiful models to hand out free samples of your product and you’re golden!
Just because you are holding a free liquor sampling doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games–you have a product to sell! You need to see results, otherwise what was the point? Sure, consumers may now be more aware of your brand, but did they actually feel compelled to purchase your product? Why is your vodka, rum, whiskey etc… better than the brands consumers already patronize? What is your unique selling proposition?
If you are going to invest valuable resources into an in-store sampling, we will assume that you aren’t only looking for one-time buyers. You want to grow your brand, grow your sales and generate return customers. This is easier said than done, so you need to make sure you set yourself up for success before launching the event.
As a brand:
Know what you want to achieve
Before you jump into an in-store liquor sampling, it is critical to know what you want to get out of the event. This will help you determine a budget, find your target market, select an appropriate location and guide your research. Before you run a tasting you should have a pretty good idea of what kind of people you hope to target and if they frequent the location you’ve selected.
You also need to know how much product to stock at the sampling so understanding the in-store tendencies will help you gauge foot-traffic for the tasting. You don’t want to show up shorthanded, but you also need to have a limit for how much product you are willing to sample to maximize your ROI (Return On Investment).
Know your brand
What is your brand’s message? If you don’t have a clear vision or understanding of what your brand’s overall message is, finding the right Brand Ambassadors to reflect that message can be very difficult. Is your brand funny, laid back, classy, energetic, youthful, elegant etc…? Whatever your message is, having clarity in this area will greatly increase the chances of pairing experienced and well-trained models with your in-store sampling. You need to have Brand Ambassadors that know your product and brand, but how can they if your understanding is not clear?
As an agency:
Research the product
Consumers are more educated than ever these days so they don’t want to hear the same old, same old. They aren’t only concerned with how the product tastes–they want to know how it’s made, where it comes from, who are the people behind the labels and if the brand is authentic. Creating a story around a product is a great way to generate a unique selling proposition. Some questions to ask while researching the product include:
- What can this brand say about its product that no other brand can?
- What cocktails can you make with it?
- How is it made?
- Are there unique ingredients that may peak consumers interests?
- How did the product come about?
- Where did the journey begin?
- Are there any prominent social figures that use/endorse the product?
Talk to your customers, not at them
Fostering an engaging brand experience is a great way to draw consumers over to your tasting booth. Settling by simply saying “want a free sample?” will quickly make your booth seem like just another tasting booth. You need to make it an engaging experience by going beyond the commonalities of a free tasting. Ask consumers what they are specifically shopping for, what they are making for dinner that evening, or what special occasion they are shopping for.
Ask genuine questions and then explain how your product would be perfect for what they need. Consumers appreciate when you start by asking for their input or their needs instead of being constantly sold to. Yes, the goal is to sell product, but nurturing sales is a much more delicate creature than it may seem. Using the same worn out promotional techniques over and over is a great way to get your product lost in the crowd.
For all involved:
Know how to measure event success
What’s the point of running an in-store liquor tasting, or any event for that matter, if you have no way to measure its success? How will you know if your time, energy and money was invested into something useful or not? Understanding what you want to achieve with any event is a great start, but having tangible, measurable outcomes for an event is the only way to know if it worked.
Questions to consider:
- How much product was given away during the sampling?
- How many sales were made the day of the sampling? Did you convert 30%, 40%?
- How did sales from weeks & months prior at this location compare to those that followed the event?
- How did this event measure up to past events?
- Did the event draw any media coverage?
- Was the event shared on social media?
- Did you provide a way for consumers to give you their email addresses or other contact info?
- Drawings, contests, newsletter signups?
- Do you have a method to attain customer feedback from the event?