I’m a member of a local Chamber of Commerce. Not because it drives a lot of business for me.

Not by a long shot.

What it does do is provide one avenue to keep me sharp. I hone my chops and practice my presenting skills. I’ve made some terrific new friends, frolleagues and colleagues. And it gets me out of my office to new locations I’ve not been before. It’s a marketing maneuver. Show up, be present, be visible.

Last week I hosted, as I do annually. It’s an excellent included benefit to members who take advantage of it (why some don’t is positively mystifying to me!). As a chamber member you can sign up to host the Friday Greeters, a come and give a 30 – 40 second pitch to the others present. It’s lively, helpful (sometimes) and usually very good-humored. As I said, I don’t find a lot of business happens, yet relationship development does. I know it for this so that’s why I go, when I go.

Greeters, photo courtesy of the fabulous Graham Lewis

Greeters, photo courtesy of the fabulous Graham Lewis

As a host you get 5 – 7 minutes to present, being the sponsor of the event as it were. I started my time last week with an exercise. As each person arrived, I made sure to thank them, hugged (most of) them or shook hands, and gave them a small yellow piece of paper with 1 – 7 and my logo & tagline on it.

Once settled in, I posed the following to the entire group:

  1. What is marketing?
  1. How is art like marketing?
  1. What population is the world’s most powerful buyer?
  1. T/F Marketing is expensive
  1. What can marketing do for a business?
  1. What’s the most important V word in marketing?
  1. T/F Ginger is the marketing pro you want/need (okay, a bit of a stacked deck question here…)

We met at the Schneider Museum of Art, hence the connection in question 2. Also – I’ve earned an art degree and believe it to be a critical part of our human existence. We can gain much by taking in Art and connecting it to Marketing.

Only 19 of 60 guests turned theirs in…..which is a message into itself for perhaps another time.

Want to know what they replied? Tune in tomorrow for the results.

Exercises like this, quick in nature, very telling and insightful in resulting input, are great highly economical market research.

See, people think marketing is expensive, before they inquire with a true pro who, first of all asks them questions and gets the proper lay of the landscape. Then the two dig in together, marketing pro and business person.

The replies made me nod my head, shake my head, and laugh out loud with – thankfully – not too much WTF?!

For participating actively, I’m giving them all a special certificate to apply towards future marketing services. In my world, participation deserves recognition and reward. I appreciate their input, time and attention. And now I get to look forward to working with them.