Vail Valley: Eagle marketing company tries its own advice
Vail, CO, Colorado
As sales at her own business dropped, Kris Wittenberg decided to take her own advice.
Wittenberg is the owner of SayNoMore Promotions, an Eagle-based company in the Vail Valley that provides other companies with promotional items from shirts to pens to water bottles and more. As the national, then local economies turned sour, clients all over the country cut back. Companies that once ordered martini glasses and fleece jackets cut back to golf towels and water bottles. Companies that ordered USB drives and lip balm cut back to sticky notes and pens. Companies that had bought pens and paper stopped ordering altogether.
Wittenberg has been trying to keep sales rolling with existing customers, stressing research that shows companies that keep advertising and marketing through economic slumps are better positioned to recover faster when days get sunnier. But that’s become a hard sell. So Wittenberg has hit the road.
“We have no money for it right now, but we’re going to two national trade shows this year, we’re doing community events, we’re going to events in Denver and getting active in other groups,” Wittenberg said. “Through this slowdown in our business, we’ve learned how to be better marketers.”
And Wittenberg is starting to see results. SayNoMore has started to line up new clients, and they’re placing orders. There’s more to this success than just a winning smile and persistence, though. Wittenberg has had to cajole better prices from her suppliers ” the companies that actually print, embroider or etch logos and company names on virtually anything.
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These days, she’s running a special of the week, putting out an e-mail blast to all her clients. Those specials have included logo-printed USB drives for just $10 each, or 1,000 pads of branded sticky notes for $350.
While Wittenberg’s seeing some success from her company’s efforts, her biggest challenge may be right outside the windows of the company’s offices on Broadway Street in Eagle.
“We’re a national promotional agency,” she said. “We’ve won national awards, and it seems like people here don’t know it.”
Local businesses are working hard to get the “shop locally” theme to their customers, and Wittenberg’s no exception.
“You don’t need to use the catalogs,” she said. “We can do just about anything, and if we can’t meet the catalog’s price, we’ll tell you.”
Wittenberg said she also tries to steer clients toward stuff that won’t just end up in the landfill. That’s why SayNoMore encourages local clients to buy bottles of 30-level sunscreen instead of 15.
“We want you to give people something they’ll keep,” she said.
Wittenberg and her husband, Auggie, came to Eagle in 2002 after starting SayNoMore in San Francisco. Ironically, they came to the Vail Valley seeking a more affordable place than the Bay Area.
“We saw Eagle Ranch and that was it,” she said.
Since then, the Wittenbergs and their staff can often be seen tooling around town on cruiser bikes, and they’re usually at the summer’s ShowDownTown concerts in the town park. They know who gets the prizes American National Bank gives away at the shows ” prizes they’ve provided to the bank.
While today’s a struggle, and no one knows when the current slump will turn around, Auggie Wittenberg said he’s been seeing some encouraging signs lately.
“After the market crashed there wasn’t anything for a while,” he said. “It’s starting to come back, but at a muted volume.”
– Increase market share during the recovery.
– Get more return on investment during the downturn.
– Grab customers from companies that have cut back on marketing.