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Let's Make Co-op Advertising A Reality - Here's the details.

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Paul Cascio, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    From: Paul Cascio Email:info1@realcustomframer.org

    For the past month, I’ve talked about the need for change in our industry. I’ve posted numerous messages expressing my personal opinion that our industry has failed to mount an effective response to what I’ve referred to as our “Always –On-Sale” competitors. And, I’ve suggested some possible ways to improve our ability to compete. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to provide you with a fuller description of my plan. Now I can. There were good reasons for my secrecy, that you may already, or will soon, understand.

    As a result of that secrecy however, I’ve had to endure the slings and arrows of numerous personal attacks, some direct and some of the passive-aggressive variety. I chose to mostly ignore these and consider the limited viewpoint of the posters.

    By the time you read this however, chances are you will have already learned something of the project I’ve been working on and my plan for an effective advertising program for independent picture framers. However, I promised you that I would have a major announcement today and I am here to deliver on that promise.

    Yesterday, in Sarasota, Florida, I unveiled a cooperative marketing and advertising campaign that I hope you will embrace with the same enthusiasm and support that it was met with yesterday in a room of more than 70 people, most of whom were independent picture framers.

    For more than a decade, our industry has faced an onslaught of coupon, and coupon-like, advertising from large competitors - and in some case small ones - claiming to provide enormous savings to consumers. Unfortunately, the consumer is unaware that the value they are seeking is already available in many cases from an independent picture framing business in their neighborhood – yours.

    But as we all know, ignorance is bliss and everyone wants a bargain, even if it’s only an illusion of one.

    This needs to change. For the sake of our future, independent framers need to recognize the critical importance of joining together, as other industries have done, to become a force in the marketplace.

    It’s time for us to enlighten the consuming public, make them aware of who we are and what we offer, and build a positive identity for ourselves and our services. At the same time, we also need to encourage the consumer to ask tough questions about our competitors’ offers and enable them to reach the same informed conclusions we have reached.

    Unfortunately, none of us has the resources to do this alone. Individually, we cannot speak loud enough, or often enough to change the public’s perception of us as, “The Twice as Expensive Framers.” Nor can we create the awareness that the “Great Sale” is really not such a great sale, or possibly not even just a good value. To do this, we need the clout of leveraged advertising, more commonly known as Co-op advertising.

    Part 2 to follow.
    Sponsor Wanted
  2. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Part 2: Let's Make Co-op Advertising A Reality - Here's the details.

    From: Paul Cascio Email:info1@realcustomframer.org

    Co-op advertising will enable us to get our message across loudly and repeatedly. What it won’t do is put your sign face on the airwaves in the way you are accustomed. However, we all recognize by now that this is not working quite as well as we hoped. The industry stats, and your own financial reports provide the proof.

    Other industries have discovered that promoting the whole is often much more effective than promoting the parts, especially if you can do it 5, 10, or even 20 times more often. Such frequency builds memory retention. Successful campaigns such as “got milk?,” produced by independent dairy farmers have illustrated the power of co-op advertising.

    Co-op advertising can also lead to other co-op benefits in purchasing, Yellow Pages advertising and more. First, however we must join together to bring more customers into our stores. This is by far ouyr greatest need and it’s at the foundation of all future expansion.

    This concept has also been proven in the retail hardware industry, where Ace and True Value have enabled small, independents to survive and prosper in the same communities where Home Depot and Lowes do business.

    Naturally, in any industry, even one as small as ours, there will be those who don’t agree, don’t want to participate, or simply prefer to maintain the status quo. To you, I hold no hard feelings and wish you luck and good fortune. For those who recognize the problems our industry faces and the need to join together for answers, I offer you hope.

    Of course, hope without a solution is what we already have, and in large quantities. So, I am also offering a plan, one which I have been considering and formulating for quite some time. Now, after long and careful thought, I am prepared to turn it into reality.


    Because, it appears obvious at this point that that no one else, no company, and no organization is able or willing do it. Therefore, we need to do it ourselves. I am prepared to lead, but I need your support, participation and commitment to make it successful.

    Here is a brief description of the program, known as Real Custom Framing℠.

    The Real Custom Framing℠ campaign provides a way for us to create a unique, positive identity, and to separate ourselves from the Always-On-Sale Framers (AOSFs). I believe it accurately represents our segment of the custom picture framing industry. It also lends itself to flexible and extensible advertising campaigns, today and in the future.

    Best of all, it’s designed to be implemented one market at a time. Wherever there are enough independent framers willing to throw down their swords and promote together, this program can become reality.

    Real Custom Framing℠ won’t take hundreds of thousands of dollars and it won’t take an industry wide consensus. In some markets, this could mean as few as five framers, in others perhaps only 10.

    My company is willing to produce 4 commercials at its own expense, to be made available for this program free of charge to cover the first 120 days, the minimum commitment of each participant.

    It will also handle the placement of ads during that period and donate 100% of the agency commission paid by the media company, to buy additional advertising.

    Part 3 to follow.
  3. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Part 3: Let's Make Co-op Advertising A Reality - Here's the details.

    From: Paul Cascio Email:info1@realcustomframer.org

    To encourage early adoption of the program, charter participants will not be required to pay an initiation fee. However, those who join later will be required to pay a fee based on the length of time the program was in effect in their market. This fee will be disbursed as follows: 50% will be used to buy additional advertising and the remaining 50% will divided amongst the existing member in shares proportionate to the length of their membership, such that Charter Members receive the greatest portion. This is fair, encourages early adoption and rewards those who pioneered the effort in each market.

    Although I am not currently in favor of it, membership may be limited within a zip/postal code.

    After the first 120 days, each participant will be charged a nominal monthly fee (approximately $50) for use of new ads as the old ones burnout. My company will oversee the program, produce the ads and handle the accounting and media buying. It will also compile and use the statistical feedback provided by the participants to maximize effectiveness.

    After the first 120 in each area, my company will derive its income from the monthly fee desciribed above and through the 15% agency discount for hadnling the media buy. This is by the way, fairly standard in the industry. The buying power that can be achieved by pooled advertising, especially as the program grows, will more than offset this. I am sure you will understand that I cannot continue to indefinitely do this without compensation, but I am committed to seeing this succeed and am willing to spearhead the effort. I truly feel that this is what our industry needs to survive and prosper.

    My 2-1/2 hour presentation in Sarasota yesterday, provided detailed information about the program and also previewed two prototype commercials. For competitive reasons, I do not wish to make them public on this forum. However, foreseeing your need and desire to have more information in order to make an informed decision about your participation, I hired at my expense a video crew to film yesterday’s presentation.

    These recordings will be edited to a summarized version and be made available via DVD, and/or online delivery, to bona fide independent picture framing business owners. I hope to have this available by weeks’ end but, editing video is a very time consuming task, especially with this much footage from a dual-camera shoot. Therefore, I can’t ensure an exact day of completion, but I will put in as much time as necessary to get it done promptly.

    Two websites are also being created. One, realcustomframer.org will be for participants. The other website will be for consumers, who will need only to type in their zip/postal code to retrieve a list of local participants. Each particpant will have a provided one page website, which may include links to your own website. (BTW, I’m in need of a person with good graphic design skills to help with websites. Admittedly, this is not my strength.)

    Each participant will also be able to use the Real Custom Framing℠ logo in its other advertising for as long as it remains a participant. Window decals will also become available for use under the same terms. Eventually, shirts and other logo items may be made available.

    If/when 20% of the industry’s independent framing businesses are participants, Real Custom Framing will be donated to become a non-profit company owned and managed by its members (the participants), or their chosen hire. My company may, at the discretion of the members, and subject to my own desire to do so, be retained to continue to provide any/all services as described above.

    I am confident that once you know the all the details, you will want to get involved. I believe this program addresses the needs of our industry, incorporates what has been learned from past programs, and offer the greatest potential to succeed.

    If successful, this is something that can benefit our entire industry and help esnure its future. Success however, depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is your participation in promoting and organizing at the local level. Now is the time for us to join together.

    As a final thought, I just arrived to the aftermath of a flood at my Connecticut home and need to deal with the fact that many of the items that used to be in my basement are now residing on the main floor of my home.

    Fortunately, the damage was minimal, however, the cleanup is more substantial, as anyone who has experienced a flood can confirm. I will try to juggle all of these tasks the best I can.

    Have questions? Want to get involved? You can email me at info1@realcustomframer.org, or call 860-585-5115 and leave a message. As I receive feedback, the items described above are naturally subject to change.

  4. Mary M

    Mary M CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thanks, Paul-for all the really hard work you've put in. In spite of the slings and arrows thrown your way--it's actually been a lot of fun reading all the posts this last month. Sorry to hear about the mess you have to deal with at home....as they say--"No good deed goes unpunished." :)
  5. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Mary. I look forward to indie framers in CDL joining together. I hope you will take the lead in your beautiful, and rapidly growing city.
  6. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Overall sounds good, my only stumbling block is how do you get other shops to participate.

    I don't think most shops would want to invite their competition to join, and if television frequency depends in part by how many framers are involved in your area I think some locations that can't muster up enough non competing shops or areas that don't have any shops around them might be out of luck.

    Also how about a non compete clause? If I'm on board and the guy litterally down the street jumps in also, is the web going to point to both of us?

    Here is a link to my television comercial, just curious what you think about it. (it is at the bottom of the page and the tv one was of a higher quality) Ran it on HGTV and TLC and A&E, got so-so results.

    I think it can be a good idea, and thanks for your efforts. I'm sure you are going to be hit with a fair amount of nay sayers but at the very least you are trying instead of complaining from the sidelines.

    I would like a lot more details before I decide but depending on the production value of the spots and the message, it might be a first step to regaining some ground.

    Sorry about your flood, we sent it up your way just after it flooded my basement as well.

    Take care
  7. penguin with sun glasses

    penguin with sun glasses Grumbler

    Welcome back to CT, Paul.

    Half of the money from later members goes to long-time members? And they know about this before joining?

    Sorry about your flooded basement. Hope you find a job soon.
  8. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Good questions JB, let me try to answer them for you and others. I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing for clarity.

    Q. Overall sounds good, my only stumbling block is how do you get other shops to participate.

    A. 1 Have them read all three parts of my post.
    2 Ask them to watch the DVD when it's available.

    Q. I don't think most shops would want to invite their competition to join...

    A. Indies need to recognize who the compeition really is. We're in an industry that used to think the "Basement Framer" was their greatest threat.

    Anyone who doesn't recognize who the real threat is, won't stand a chance of understanding this program. Don't waste your time with that person.

    Q If particpation depends in part by how many framers are involved in your area I think some locations that can't muster up enough shops, and areas that don't have any shops around them might be out of luck.

    A. Markets boundaries for this program are defined by your local cable television company. Ask them for an Advertising Coverage Map. It will show the smallest area that you can reach with advertising. If your can't reach the miminums (80% participation in a market of 10 indie retailers (IR) or less; 70% participation in markets of more than 10) try expanding the area.

    For example, you may not be able to meet the mins for a small area, but can if you expand into the next larger area shown on the map.

    I've set the percentages set to ensure the greatest chance for success. It does no good to let 1-2 participants fail in a market that should have 8 in order to get the frequency needed to make an impact.

    Unfortunately, this does mean that some areas will not get the needed particpation on the first try. However, as the program gains momentum, you can go back for another shot, or they may come to you.

    Q. Also how about a non compete clause? If I'm on board and the guy litterally down the street jumps in also, is the web going to point to both of us?

    A. Sorry, but at this time my objective is to help every indie framer that wants to particpate and to give them a reasonable opportunity to do so. I understand your concern, but the benefits of another contributing advertiser in you market will help the entire membership.

    Let me make it clear that RCF is intended to help you compete against the big guys and to expand market share for you. You can use your skills, intellect and industry to compete with other indie and have the comfort of knowing that you do so on a level playing field. Co-op should not be seen as a replacement for your entire private advertising budget, but as a supplement to it.

    Q. Here is a link to my television comercial, just curious what you think about it.

    A. Sorry, but I don't see the link.

    Sorry about your flood, we sent it up your way just after it flooded my basement as well.

    Thanks Bob, I knew I could count on you.

  9. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks, but I got more jobs than I need. I'm an idiot to take this on, but I just feel compelled to do it.

    To address your question. My feeling is that those who step forward now should not be responible for carrying the weight of freeloaders without some opportunity for possible reward down the road. Yes, this will be part of any agreement.

    However, it is to your ultimate benefit that every potential member in your area eventually participates as it will give all indies greater clout. Therefore, the initiation fees should be fair, not onerous or punative.

    I appreciate good questions like this because it helps me find flaws in my plan, make clarifications, also provides the info that others would also want. I will try to answer all that I can.

  10. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Be sure to read Part 2 and Part 3. Then, feel welcome to ask questions.

  11. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Explain the name, please!

    Paul, I am not being critical, really I am not. But on the original thread about needing an identity I expected something really special in a name. You said that it would have multifaceted marketing potential.

    Could you please elaborate on "Real Custom Framing℠", cause I just don't get it. Are we supposed to be reading it as "Real Custom Framing Square"? What is the significants?

    I can get on board with co-op advertising among independents!
  12. Bork

    Bork CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    "Real Custom Framing℠",

    Should be read as: "Real Custom Framing TM",
  13. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    And if this is Real Custom Framing, what is Fake Custom Framing???

    I don't see the pull of the RCF name, To quote you IT SUCKS :)
  14. stud d

    stud d SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That is the longest thing I have ever read on this world wide web thing. And that includes some wild stuff. So I am enthused to say the least.

    I think Paul's plan is more of an awarness of sorts? Making people realize we are here, we are able, and we can do it for whatever price (in reason) the customer wants. So it is more like a united WE that is about making people realize that we are better than joe next door. If no one knows we are here than who needs to worry about competition? That is what I am feeling from this so far. Paul feel free to correct me.

    Now I gots a kwestion...What about corporate sponsorship? Like moulding companies, maybe glass (if people stop complaining), art distributors? I am not sure who this could be handled. I am sure this has been thought of by you and there are answers. So I shall sleep and read tommorow.

    Good job ol chap.

  15. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bork, I believe custom framing could fit into either category depending on whether you see it as a service or a product.

    What is a service mark?

    A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

    A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.
  16. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Uh...no, I don't believe there is anything fake about framing.

    Let me just say that you haven't seen the prototypes.

    Unfortunately, your comment, which I'll take as a sincere concern, puts me in a difficult position-a catch-22. Do I give away a competitive edge, or push the program?

    I know there is nothing that will please everyone, but the prototypes were met with enthusiastic applause from a room of 70+, most of whom were indie frameshop owners.

    I assure you that the criteria I outlined in the contest can be met by this campaign theme. I will acknowledge however, that it's difficult to find a way to encompass a large group, but I believe that as independent framers, we see oursleves as genuine because of our wide range of skills.

    You are free to not participate of course.
  17. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    More than awareness

    Patrick, you are partially correct, but my goal is more than just awareness. We're the underdogs - David v. Goliath, Mac v. PC.

    The competition can outspend us, so we need to not only toot our own horn, but enlighten the public that maybe the great deal wasn't such a great deal.

    I believe we need more bang for the buck than simple awareness. I want customers who are about to buy framing to at least consider going to an indie framer, in the same way that computer buyers now have to at least consider a Macintosh.

    I polled the room and almost every framer said they matched up well to a chain store's prices. Does the public know this? Shouldn't we tell 'em?
  18. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    Paul, my comment is directed to the programs name, Not the program itself. On a previous thread YOU were very critical of others ideas for a tag line. I feel that RCF in name was not worth the hype.
  19. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I understood what you meant. Check you private messages after 8 am.

  20. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Gotta say I feel the same about the name. I know there is more too this than just the name, so I wait for more details.

    We know M is monitoring the Grumble so they are well aware of your proposed plan (at least as to what has been exposed so far) So, when this co-op, advertsing goes into effect, what do you thinkg their counter attact will be Paul? We know they aren't just going to set back and do nothing.
  21. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    They will advertise too, and so will Jo-Ann, and Corners, and BA... I'd rather us be pro-active for once instead of doing nothing.

    We'll probably be able to repsond faster than they will. Besides, with local advertising, they won't know where ads will po up next.

    Also, in advertising David can do things that Goliath can't.
  22. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm not talking about them (the BB's) advertiising too, they already outdo us on that. And yes, I am all behind the group advertising (I already do cable and know I can't spend enough by myself)

    I am talking about what their strike back will be. Not just more adverstising in the same vane. We are going to say give us a chance people we are in the same price range as them. Do they have the buying power to even lower their prices more and make that a false staement. Can they sell at a loss long enough to win over comparison shoppers?

    Just want to hear that their is a long range plan for when these things happen.
  23. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Do you want to maintain the status quo? There are really two choices, change or stay the same.
  24. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    This is my .02 (and it’s worth every penny). I did read all of your post but I’m sure there are some things I have misunderstood.

    I can recall about a dozen co-op ads.
    Epic Pharmacy.
    “Beef, its what’s for dinner.”
    “Got Milk”
    “Pork, the other white meat.”
    I’m getting hungry.

    I think you would call those “Producer Cooperatives” (Ace and True Value are a different thing). They all produce a similar product and combine resources to better market and brand their product. The problem I see with this is that with all the millions of dollars spent to get that message out there, I can’t name a single cow farm or slaughter house or beef producer or participating pharmacy.

    Epic is running ads here like crazy. I’m not sure if its local or national advertising I’m seeing or both but the message is getting through. The radio jingle is catchy and I generally “like” the TV spots with Mike Rowe (who ever he is).

    Now name me one participating Epic pharmacy.
    I can’t and because the advertising provides no independence or autonomy, it’s a miserable failure. I would have to log onto a website and search for a pharmacy. It ain’t gonna happen!

    This may or may not be on topic because I don’t know what kind of advertisement you’re working on but why can’t somebody just produce some nice ad opportunities and sell the darn things? It doesn’t have to be hyper-complicated. It’s actually the primary reason I hoped for Framerselect’s success. The main product they had before its demise was the professionally printed, cost effective, postcards. I bought em and know plenty of others that did too.

    Perhaps the reason I mention this is because it seems that I will never qualify for this program you outline. Owensboro is the 3rd largest city in Kentucky and we, sort of, share a market with Evansville Indiana who is probably also the 3rd largest city in Indiana. If you divided up all the land between here and there into zip codes and pick only one shop, I don’t think you will have 5 shops total with 100% participation. Furthermore if this advertising is as generic as “Got Milk” why should a select few shops pay to advertise for every independent in the market?

    Finally can you explain this “However, those who join later will be required to pay a fee based on the length of time the program was in effect in their market. This fee will be disbursed as follows: 50% will be used to buy additional advertising and the remaining 50% will divided amongst the existing member in shares proportionate to the length of their membership, such that Charter Members receive the greatest portion.”?

    This sure sounds reminiscent of a pyramid scheme!

    I know there’s no one size fits all solution but my business could benefit from at the very least some professional ads. I’d buy them in the form of a co-op or outright. I think it’s a fantastic idea. I look forward to seeing more about the program.
  25. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jay, your cable companyy breaks their area into small segments, the way newspapers do. You only need to advertise in the small segment.

    You answered your own question about advertising for others. That's why you should be reimbursed in some way for those who want you to carry the burden for them. There's nothing even close to a pyramid scheme here.

    We're talking about a finite number of framers in your immediate vicinity. Let's say there are 10 and 7 agree to coop. Four months later, another sees the results and wants to join. You and the other 6 framers have somewhat carried this framer for 6 months, so I feel he/she should partailly reimburse you. Don't you?

    Of course, with RCF, you do have some unique co-branding with the decal and use in your own ads.

    There's not perfect way, but co-op let's us enlighten the public about how indies differ. Otherwise, we'll continue to be thought of as "The Twice As Expensive Framers."

    Those co-op campaigns lasted becasue they worked. Sometimes it's more effective to advertise the whole, than the part. Especially if you can do it with 5, 7 or 10 times the frequency.
  26. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Sorry Paul,

    Just like in emails I forgot to put the link to my commercial in, here it is.



    Overall it is an interesting premise, I look forward to the dvd for more info.

  27. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Real nice job Bob. Good production values. Who did it? How often do you change ads?
  28. Harry FKA Harry

    Harry FKA Harry CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    You outlined this program very well. I see tremendous upside to this type of co-op situation. I have to beleive that I will participate in this assuming we can get enough buy-in in my neighborhood.

    As for the name, it is just a name and will be only as effective as the advertising makes it. I think it's fine.

    for now, I will sit back and watch the reactions...... should be entertaining.

    Thanks in advance for your efforts.

  29. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thanks Paul.

    Except to increase frequency, why would the other shops ever jump on board?

    Also I wonder how the real life application will work in how the "markets" are divided. Our cable company does NOT break up advertising in any segments. Nor does our newspaper. Now, if you buy inserts and don't want to pay the big bucks, they will sell you partial coverage but as a rule the paper is the paper and doesn't vary from area to area. I'm not arguing but while I was reading your thoughts, I kept thinking that it seemed to be set up for large metropolitian areas. I'm not sure how the system would work in middle America. I still wonder, but I'll wait for more information.

    Thanks again.
  30. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    So far I like the idea.

    I hope it will take off.

    I, like some of the others question participation in my area. There are a few that probably would join. Don't know if that will be enough.
  31. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    Good looking TV ad Jb!

    Did the local cable company make it for you?
  32. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Q. Except to increase frequency, why would the other shops ever jump on board?

    A.Because you'll benefit a lot more than they will. They may getsome periperhal benefit without joining, I expect that they will start to lose customers to you and as they have to the chains.

    Q. Also I wonder how the real life application will work in how the "markets" are divided. Our cable company does NOT break up advertising in any segments. Nor does our newspaper. I'm not sure how the system would work in middle America.

    A. I think RCF is easier to initiate in a small market. Owensboro is only 54,000 population by my research, so they won't split it. I believe your market would be a good candidate for RCF.
  33. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Jerry.

    My cable add guy actually steered me to a company that shot it for the same price as the cable company. (Magi, they are in NJ)

    He said he wasn't supposed to but if the cable co. did it then he would have to direct it and he said you don't want him directing.

    OK, I have a double fillet job that I really don't want to do waiting for me.

    Gotta go.

  34. TessaE

    TessaE CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I think this is a great idea! I am looking forward to getting more information on this program.
  35. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Isn't that self defeating in itself Paul? By not participating in your plan we will lose business to other indies that we are supposedly united with? Comes accross as a protection racket. I'm sure that you didn't mean to say it that way did you?
  36. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm sure he didn't Brian. It is just the results of advertising or not. If they don't join and the campaign takes off, their shop won't be listed on the website. Those that join and also advertise on their own will get an extra boost. Those that don't join but advertise on their own might also get a boost.

    Those that do nothing, will most likely get nothing.
  37. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think my posts have been pretty clear.

    If you advertise (individually or coop) and your competitors don't, what would expect the outcome to be?

    In a co-op program, especially in it's early stages, there is a likelihood that some people willl try to hitch a free ride.

    Ground floor opportunities have inherent risks, and potential rewards. You're not going to profit from iniation fees, and you do want those people to join, but it will help to pay you back for the free ride.
  38. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm just glad someone is doing something!

    And I like the phrase "real custom framing"

    I think it makes the others seem generic, and we are name brand!

    I am looking forward to hearing more about it and making it a reality.

    Thank you Paul for putting all the time in it. I can't wait to see the rest of it.

    I think picture framing will work even better in this kind of advertising. Better then the Ace hardware stuff , because of the emotional value our work emcompasses.

    They just need to understand the difference we can bring to the table. They also don't know and understand alot about us. This will really help.

    Thank you Paul, I am all ears for more!
  39. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have an idea! Why don't we continue with personal attacks on anyone with a plan to stop business from bleeding to death and when we have too much spare time because customers aren't coming in the door we can post a new thread about how the BB's aren't playing fair and it's ruining our business.

    Seriously, I don't know if I'll be a participant but I'm looking forward to hearing more details.

    We started with cable ads four weeks ago - the same week a M's opened 7 miles away and this month will be a record April for us. So I think cable ads may be a great way to go but I don't know if I could find 5 framers to co op the advertising with me in our area. (And I'm not sure that I want to ~holding out for more details).

    But thanks for doing the footwork on this Paul. I hope it works.
  40. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    I hope that others will get on board around the country. I will try to make it happen in my market. So far my shop is the only one that has done any TV spots. Cable is not really that expensive and by joining together it can really become affordable and can get our message out.

    I have seen a prototype for a commercial Paul has in mind. Everyone be a little patient and keep an open mind and I think they you will see that this could have a real benefit. Stop worrying about how much it might cost, you can afford it if you quit wasting add dollars in ways that don't work.

    In my market I am buying cable for $6.00 per spot. I run about 34 per week. People tell me they see my spot all of the time. Imagine if I could get 4 shops together and be running 136 spots per week, plus my own 34. What if I can get 10 shops running 340 per week?

    The Big Guys here don't do TV. They do have a Big Full Color Insert once a week in the Sunday paper with their AOS ADD! Can you imagine what impression we might make with 100 - 300 spots per week. Would they at least take a look at us? :smiley:
  41. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thinking about co-op with other area independents?

    I don't know if I want to or not? That seems to be a concern of many. Should it be? Think about it. Would you rather have a chance at a new customer if you could get them in your door instead of the BB?

    Now in my town there are 2 BB's both the same. If my potential customer is going to go to them they are passing my store and several others to get there. A new customer who is going to try out an independent framer, probably is going to look for someone in their neighborhood or where they commonly shop. (hence the listing on the realcustomframer website) Chances are if I am co-opping with other framers, most of our customers are not cross-overs. If we all can get a bigger slice of the pie, there is more to share anyhow!
  42. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Bob, nice job with the cable ad, I like it.

    Paul, like so many others I am watching this very close and imagine the possibilities. We need to be aware and ready to change as the market shifts. Like Maryann I salute you in your efforts and devotion to the industry. I look forward to more details....
  43. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You are right Bob. That's going to be our advantage. I fully expect AOSFs, big or small, to change their advertising. It's my goal.

    In fact, as I have often stated, my goal is to clean up the marketplace and help level the playing field.
  44. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    Sounds good except up here at the end of the world, we don't have that many frame shops in the whole county let alone locally. Heading downeast from me, the next frame shop is 50 miles away. In a 20 mile radius of my shop there are 3 other shops. Moving out from that, there are 2 more in the next 20 miles out. Rather thin pickings up here for getting the minimum together. I'm sure there are other areas in this US of A where it is as sparce or more so.

    Even so, I probably would participate if it can be made to work up here.
  45. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Our indie competitor isn't gaining a competitive advantage by cooperatively advertising with us. It's a wash there, becasue we're being promoted simultaneously.

    We're going to take market share from AOSFs. That is the purpose. Co-op let's your message get heard many more times and give you fresh commercial so you don't hae to keep using the old ones. Even the best commercials have a limited lifespan before people tune them out.
  46. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    So Framah, you don't have any ASOF in your area to compete with? If not that is good. But if your population can or will in the future support one, eventually they will come.

    I know we are pretty fortunate here too only have 2 M's and 1 HL in our area, some of our brethren have much more completion than that.
  47. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    One avenue that might help muster up some numbers is to talk to a couple of your reps.

    I will make a few calls to see if they know of any other shops that may be willing to play as well.

    My reps know MANY more shops than I do and have relationships with most of the owners. I will ask them for their $.02 of who may be best to approach and who not to.

  48. nancyg

    nancyg CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I don't know.....

    I would like to hear how this would work for me. I am in a small village/town with one other frame shop (two others have gone out of business in the last year) and an ACMoore, M's and a JoAnns about 20 miles away. The next nearest independent is 8 miles away......what if I am the only one who wants to participate.....?? Am I out? Or if I don't, Are we all in, or all out??

    If these three little frames shops get the framing from people locally who don't want to make the 20 mile trip, how does co-operative advertising help us. It is a smallish pie....

    There is a force to this that seems ...... BIG.....:party:

    Any way.....thinking about it

    smile away

    P.S. Paul, It's 5 years since I took your course......still 'hanging' in there!
  49. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Nancy, do you have all of the framing you think you can possibly get out of your area? Do you think none of your potential customers are going to the other larger chains? Of course you don't, I imagine.

    In order for co-op advertising to work, you do have to have some one to cooperate with. Even if the 3 independent shops could garner a larger share would it be worth it? I don't know yet what Paul's requirements will be in order to participate but he wants it to work for all independents that want to work it. I thinks he is trying to tailor it for all market sizes. Paul knows where the average independents frame shops customers come from. We don't need to advertise outside of our trade area. Small markets / large markets, rural vs. urban have unique and common needs. I look forward to a forum where we can discuss how to meet our needs.

    Stay tuned, I am sure we have more to learn and share with each other. [​IMG]
  50. nancyg

    nancyg CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Mo money

    No, I surely don't .....And I would love to stop hearing "how long have you been here???, or I didn't know you were here....." that kind of thing.
    I am on the second floor, and don't have window display...and I am a marketing moron.....(I'm working on my web-site) so exposure is something I could use....

    So why does this make me un-easy?? Is it the mass-marketing-mega hoopla aspect? That's why I keep reading the posts, and trying to get a feel for how I fit in, ....or not.

    Smile Away
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