The Independent Media Producers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (IMPATT) held its first networking meeting last Saturday 21st March 21, 2009. The event was advertised on Facebook and I felt it was the perfect opportunity to do some networking. Here's what happened.

I was so impressed that as soon as I got to my computer I had to tweet “big up” with on Facebook. I thought that the coordinators did a superb job in planning the “speed networking” . At a guesstimate I would think that maybe 35-40-people attended.

In my opinion, the event was a completely innovative approach (for Trinidad) to build their database of practitioners. Simultaneously, it provided the participants with a unique opportunity to connect with others in their industry, people who could possibly assist with ongoing projects. Definitely a sweet guerilla tactic if there ever was one.

Everyone was provided with name tags with their name and area of specialty written for everyone to see. The actual networking with each other took place like musical chairs with participants going around in a circle introducing themselves for 3 minutes. The timing could have been managed a little more precisely but all in all it worked fine.

Not being a member of any media, employed or do freelance with producers in the media the question may have been asked. Why was I there? No one asked. That’s because this group of individuals know that marketing is an important aspect of what they do. I think that they all understood that even if they were creative prodigies, to get the value for the work they produced they will eventually need to market it. Having a “marketing” label on my chest drew a lot of producers, writers, videographers, lawyers and even another marketer asking questions.

I spoke to a lot of people and was sure to take their cards and give them mine. It was only after I got home and looked at the cards that I noticed something peculiar. In fact, I had started a conversation with one Managing Director of a Television Production Company about it but never got to finish because things were happening so fast.

Almost without fail, none of the cards had a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), not one. Now this is not unusual for people who are not involved in marketing. To them a business card is just a business card with the name of their company, their name, contact numbers, email address and their position like “Managing Director”. Some had lines that read “Television Production Company” “Photographer” “Productions” “Videographer” or “Media Producer”.

Some of these cards were particularly cryptic, almost as if its saying if you can guess what my company is doing then you can use the number below to call me, if not… well.

So what is a USP and why does it’s absence show that a company needs marketing help. If the concept is new to you take the time and read it. It is the easiest, no-cost way of defining your business and setting you in the right marketing path.USP

Each of these businesses needs to spend the time to develop USP. It is not particularly difficult especially since most employ writers and editors with a command of the English language. Well, honestly, that’s not all it takes but anything is better than nothing.

A good USP will not only help attract new clients but it could provide the company and its employees with a standard of operation and help in targeting a market more specifically. Well now that you know what the real thing is, go out and do it.

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