Utilizing trade shows in various “display” events is a wonderful addition to our promotions department. There’s nothing quite as sales-generating as giving potential clients a friendly greeting, a warm smile, and hands-on demonstrations.
Having the world’s best interactive crossword means having to back up that statement. By having exhibit goers come by a booth or stand and participate in the solving of a crossword on a large, beautiful, vibrant screen always generates tremendous interest and future sales. It’s too hard to resist the temptation of solving a few clues while others watch, and having one person providing a “hands-on” experience always brings more people over. So the actual demonstration must be spot on, engaging, simple, and fun.
Although many will come purely out of curiosity, a large percentage will want your product, and isn’t that the reason you’re there in the first place?
I’ve been creating crosswords for hundreds of clients for over 21 years, and crosswords themselves have barely changed. But my new crossword is loaded with new features, including live commentary. By displaying it in tradeshows, I love to see the reaction of people, especially the ones that are so fascinated they slap their foreheads. That’s something you can’t see unless you’re face-to-face with someone.
I offer my game free to newspapers and websites and pay them royalties when players upgrade from within the game. Having tradeshow visitors handle a live game while explaining that it is free and will earn them money, provides a unique opportunity.
Being on the spot, face-to-face and able to answer any questions right there allow you in many cases to close a sale at that point of contact. I’ve experienced that many many times, and it’s an amazing feeling of success.
Timothy Parker Crosswords is a brand that’s known worldwide. My puzzles have been in newspapers and websites around the world, and I count among my clients are Microsoft, Disney, Sony, USA Today, Comcast Cable, and many others. My tips for making your brand stand out is, first of all, never miss an opportunity to promote your brand. In this age of social media, mass advertising, and the wonderful opportunity of networking through tradeshows, etc., there’s never been a time in human history in which there were more opportunities, avenues and actual population to which to market your brand.
Always be on a lookout, no matter how small to put your name out and brand “out there.”
My second point in getting your brand to stand out is never to consider anyone, or any business “too small” to market your brand. One of the biggest surprises in my 21 years of editing and constructing crosswords is that some of my smaller newspapers by circulation would have the largest percentage of crossword solvers. For example, for one entire year, I had more solvers in Green Bay than in Chicago, and by a large number. Although Chicago’s reach was far greater than Green Bay’s, perhaps the hustle and bustle of Chicago cut down on the leisure time of potential crossword solvers. This is just my theory because the good people in Green Bay are very hard workers and may have the same or less leisure time than people in Chicago. But the love and passion for my brand and product in that particular city is astounding. So for me, although Green Bay was potentially a relatively small client, they were served with the same outstanding service provided to all clients, regardless of size.
Thirdly, be aware of snakes in the grass. As you get more and more successful, there will be more and more snakes slithering around trying to degrade your work in hopes of boosting theirs. This is common in any industry but is particularly relevant in my industry. I once had a D-list constructor for the Washington Post actually convince a gullible major newspaper reporter that one of my family-oriented crossword themes contained a secret “rape” joke. This preposterous and asinine assumption was then actually written up by a reporter who stated I had “hidden” a rape joke in my crosswords. Having a G-rated, family-oriented brand for 21 years, this could have been devastating to the brand. But in my case, solvers who have known my work for years came to my rescue, and not only chastised the D-list constructor responsible for this nonsense but also the reporter as well. The article stayed up for a couple of hours and was quickly removed.
The lesson learned here is rivals are rarely an asset to your brand. Many are snakes.
I have personally worked with over 1400 companies. Many have used my crosswords daily to have people coming back to their site every day. This works marvelously. Crossword solvers are notoriously addictive, and many have set routines, including a specific time set aside daily to tackle my puzzles.
I’ve had phenomenal success in making custom crosswords for clients because it keeps the potential customer focused on their product as they solve the crossword. Think of it this way; Ford can spend $300,000 on a 30-second commercial, not knowing how many viewers got up and made a sandwich or went to the restroom while the commercial played. If I make a custom crossword for Ford, I have their audience riveted on their product for at least 20 minutes. And even if the solver takes frequent breaks, they still come back to complete the custom crossword all about the Ford product, and for a fraction of the $300,000 price tag. This is a huge win-win for the client and me. Having my games targeted to a specific client themed around whatever they want, their brand, a new product launch, etc., is very profitable for me and very profitable for the client. They save thousands of dollars but reach a targeted audience for an average of 20 minutes! This is an astoundingly good use of advertising funds for them.
This is yet another reason why exhibiting your product is important. You can pick the right tradeshow and be connected with an executive from Ford, or Cheerios, or Comcast, and be able to explain face-to-face how you can save them hundreds of thousands of dollars by matching their brand with your brand.
The only downside that I faced with exhibits is having long discussions with people who know absolutely nothing about your product, in my case crosswords, and want you to explain every aspect of solving a crossword!
I create crossword tournaments for the gaming industry and clients. Hosting a tournament with your brand and sponsors is an amazing way to do three things. One, you build a strong bond between yourself and your sponsoring client. Two, your product is front and center, and knowledge of your product helps people win things. Everyone wants to win something; there are many competitive people out there, especially in the gaming industry. I feel that sponsored tournaments within the gaming industry are always win-win-win. Tournaments are wins for my brand, my sponsor’s brand, and the participants.
I’ve had phenomenal success with a very simple marketing plan. Make your clients money. That’s the entire plan, make your clients money. What I do is offer my crossword, which I strongly believe is the best, most impressive crossword experience on Earth, absolutely free to all my clients. That’s right, I never charge them a penny, although my recent game cost nearly $200,000 to create. I supply the best crossword playing app with the best crosswords, load the app with many features other crosswords do not have, such as pulsing clues and directions so players never get lost, live commentary as they solve, hidden riddles, fun pop-up facts, and more, to make the game far more than just a crossword solving experience.
I then offer a major upgrade to all players. The offer includes unlimited access to all puzzles and features, plus 3,285 printable puzzles per year for the solver or a loved one. I will add other incentives to upgrade regularly.
I provide all of my clients hosting the crossword their own password. So whenever a solver upgrades to our deluxe puzzle package from within their site, the client site is paid royalties. Our clients can check their sales at any time just by using their password. So to recap, I can have the world’s best crossword experience installed on any site in less than three minutes, never charge the site, and pay them royalties every time someone upgrades to our deluxe pack from their site. The password given to clients allows them to check their sales on their private section of our server at any time. This way, everyone wins. Who wouldn’t add the best crossword in the world to their site for free and earn money by doing it?
To keep things simple, the clients never have to touch the crossword once installed. We offer support 24/7/365, keep the host's Web visitors on their sites at all times, and the puzzles update automatically each day at 12:01 AM. What reasonable business person who wants to draw traffic to their site could resist a deal this great? The best possible deal is one in which cash never goes out, but cash constantly flows in.
Anyone can add their games to my site and is a free demo available at timothyparkercrosswords.com
My new syndicate was once asked by a rather large client what is the projection of yearly income that they would earn based on the number of visitors they had. They had several million unique visitors per month, and we estimated they would earn at least $220,000 per year simply by hosting my new crossword. I heard a loud “thump.” The wonderful lady on the other end of the phone said, “Sorry, I just dropped the phone. Did you say $220,000?” I smiled and added, “per year.”
BIO: Timothy Parker is a Guinness World Records Puzzle Master and America’s most solved crossword constructor. He founded one of the most successful crossword franchises in history with the Universal Crossword in 1997. In 2019, Parker left the Universal Crossword to form his own crossword and puzzle game syndicate. His puzzles continue to be published worldwide, and he has started his own book label.
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