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Exchanging Your Services for Something Other Than Cash

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Exchanging Your Services for Something Other Than Cash

I became involved in a healthy, but interesting discussion in a social media group recently when I suggested to one fashion industry group member that they may be able to engage a photographer to take awesome pics of their fashion range in return for exposure on the site for the photography business.

A photographer, who has possibly been asked to ‘shoot for free’, one too many times, respectfully challenged me on my thinking.

The ensuing conversation highlighted the importance of taking a strategic and definitive approach to bartering your product or service in return for exposure.

If it doesn’t lead to a benefit for both parties, don’t do it.

In this instance, a talented fashion photographer should be able to gain great exposure for their business by being acknowledged on the fashion website for their work. If the fashion business were paying cash for the photography service, they most likely wouldn’t be willing to promote/advertise the photographer on their website as well.

What is the exchange in this instance? The fashion business gets great photos which will increase their sales. The photographer gains additional branding exposure for their skills through the fashion brand’s website, which in turn could lead to bookings from a market they may otherwise have not been exposed to.

There’s not much point in a photographer promoting their business on a fashion website if fashion photography is not their niche.

Here are some other examples of ‘silly’ solutions during my time working in shopping centre marketing and management over the past 30 years, and how they could have been better executed.

A bakery was asked to donate pies to a Pie Eating Competition in return for acknowledgement leading up to and throughout the event.

The bakery thought they were being funny by loading the pies up with pepper. Needless to say, they were inedible.

This led to a negative reaction from participants and audience alike. The event was attended by over 100 people and was a missed opportunity for the bakery. The pie eating entrants were die-hard pie eaters and, if they weren’t already, would have become long-term customers if the bakery had chosen to supply their regular range of tasty pies for the competition.

They could have also distributed tasting samples to the audience with an offer to purchase on the day, or a voucher to come back by a certain day, potentially increasing sales then and there and in the future, but they didn’t.

Opportunity lost.

A butcher donated a $40 meat tray voucher for a raffle and filled the order with tough cuts and close to ‘use by date’ sausages, instead of using the opportunity to present his best product to a potentially long term, new customer.

They too could have supplied discount vouchers to the community group to distribute while selling the raffle tickets, inviting new customers to come and try their service, but they didn’t

Opportunity lost.

A pharmacy contributed their end of line clearance products to a shopping centre promotion to ‘get rid of unsellable stock’ instead of using this opportunity to promote their latest, newest release high priced and high-profit margin perfume or makeup range and inviting customers in for a complimentary facial and/or make-over.

Opportunity lost.

When you are approached by a business or a community group to provide a service or product in return for something other than cash, take the time to be strategic about your contribution and develop a plan to ensure you can make the most out of the exposure.

It is possible to turn the value of your contribution into something worth ten times your investment. All you need to do is to think creatively.

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