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Finding a reputable, successful marketing person/company?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by MoodyBlues, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    In my entire life I've never had any reason to deal with marketing agencies/people, but now I'm thinking about it. Long story short, my CafePress shops used to bring me 4-figures a month in commission, then CP changed their commission model and it literally dropped to TWO figures overnight. I'm serious. Whereas a typical month's commission used to be $2,000-$5,000, after this change it fell to $20-$35/month. :eek:

    The real kicker is that my stuff is selling. It's not like I have something that no one wants to buy. It's selling, alright, but I'm making pennies on each sale while CP is raking in the dough. Some examples: hooded sweatshirts that used to bring me $20 commission, now yield me $1.19; bumper stickers that I used to make $2.00 each on, I now get $0.18.

    I have no experience at and, frankly, I suck at promoting my stuff. I've tried. I mean I've really tried, even tried things like paying for Google ads, but nothing has worked because I'm just NOT a salesperson.

    I need to find someone, and I don't care if it's an individual or an agency, who will be successful at generating sales. Someone reputable, reliable, successful at what they do. I don't have a clue where or how to look! A random search on the Interwebs isn't going to cut it.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to find someone like this? Ideally, what I hope to do is work with them on some sort of commission basis, i.e., where sales they generate (and these will be VERY easy to distinguish from other sales) yield them a certain percentage of my commission. But if I have to pay in other ways, like a monthly or hourly fee, or whatever, that's fine too.
     



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  2. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    ocnbrze likes this.
  3. no one

    no one Android Expert

    You could make a commercial with very attractive people wearing noting but your bumper stickers.
     
  4. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Now THAT'S an idea!! :D
     
    Dngrsone and ocnbrze like this.
  5. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Presumably the appropriate bumper sticker would be "If you can read this you are too close" ;)

    What changes to CafePress make to their commission model? Because when I did a little web research to find out whether there is an obvious better print-on-demand service I quickly found complaints about their offering low commission rates (default 5%) from several years ago.
     
    ocnbrze, MoodyBlues and Dngrsone like this.
  6. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    I could literally write volumes about this. I'll TRY to give you the short version.

    Originally, the shopkeeper (SK) set the markup on all items they chose to sell, e.g., a sweatshirt whose base price was $20, I added $15 as its markup, the customer paid $35 to buy it, I got my $15 as commission and CP got their $20. I, and a number of other people, had VERY successful sales. This was their main source of income, their full-time job, for quite a few of the REALLY successful (better than me, like 5-figures per month) sellers.

    There were always two distinct places for customers to buy: shops, and the CP marketplace. I was a really esteemed member way back when--I got the 'top shopkeeper spotlight' banner on the home page (marketplace) for ONE MONTH showing my stuff, a banner *I* designed, with my text, my models (two gay friends of my daughter's who posed for one of my gay marriage designs), pointing to my products. Back then, it made no difference, in terms of commission, where the sale was made.

    Then the shoe dropped. Overnight, CP began a commission model where *they* set the markup for all items in the MP, AND you earn a pittance percentage of their selling price. Items sold through your shops still earned YOUR markup. The percentage was initially stated as 10%, however as time went by it kept dropping, based on convoluted rules CP dreamed up; my current commission is only 7%; for others it's 5%.

    Here's the clincher: CP can and does UNDERPRICE their products, so there is NO POSSIBLE way a shopkeeper can compete. Example: they put a hoodie, whose base price is $30, on sale for $22.99. See the problem? If I wanted to match that price, I literally CAN'T, because the base price is not changeable, i.e., in my shops, if I try to modify that hoodie's markup....I can't enter a negative number....and if I could, I'd be a real moron! I'd LOSE commission. The absolute LOWEST price I could make that hoodie would be $30--and make nothing, and still lose the sale to their $22.99.

    Their promise at the time--and believe me there was a HUGE uproar--was that, yes, you're making less per item sold via the MP (which is where 99.99% of all sales occur), but you'll make it up in volume! They said that. Really. It never happened. Here I am, years later, seeing a $20-$40 deposit in my PayPal account every month or every OTHER month. I used to make thousands every month. The holidays were like Christmas morning, all the SKs excited and predicting how good sales would be, the forums absolutely buzzing. Now? Nothing. There's no difference in my commission after the holidays than any other time of year, and the forums died long ago, with nothing but complaints and discussions about alternative sites--which they promptly removed. Comments from disabled people who RELIED on the few hundred dollars they were making each month broke my heart. :(

    TL;DR To boil it all down, the ONLY way I can make my markup is by driving sales directly to my shops. The sale must be initiated and completed from my shop--if the customer visits the MP while they're shopping, and buys my same product there, I don't get my markup.
     
    #7 MoodyBlues, Sep 4, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
    Hadron, ocnbrze and Milo Williamson like this.
  7. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    FWIW I've never heard of this Cafepress, and know nothing about marketing(I'm a teacher), but are there any other outlets where you can sell your merchandise, that have better rates?
     
    #8 mikedt, Sep 4, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
  8. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Yes, and no. CafePress is what's known as a POD--print on demand--company. They do EVERYTHING, from stocking inventory, to printing the products, to handling payments/refunds, to shipping the orders and managing customer service. My part is to create designs, decide which products I want each design to go on (and there are hundreds of products), upload my designs, apply them to the products I want, and that's it. After that they do everything.

    Their biggest competitor, Zazzle, I had never thought of using until the horrid commission change. After that, I did sign up and start using Zazzle, but it really sucks compared to CP. I mean it's really bad. Its tools for mass-editing or mass-adding products just suck...so much.... :eek: A task that would take 15-20 minutes on CP can easily take several DAYS on Zazzle. No joke. I just don't have the patience to deal with the frustration using their site gives me.

    There are/were other PODs, but none comes close to the overall quality of CP, both in terms of products offered for sale and tools available to shopkeepers. There's just no comparison. I have a lot of work invested in my CP shops; my products have sold in the hundreds of thousands; I don't want to leave! I just want my fair share of the proceeds.
     
    mikedt and Dannydet like this.
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    It almost sounds like "bait and switch": wait until we have a big enough pool of content and then change the rules.
     
    puppykickr and MoodyBlues like this.
  10. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    I know, and I agree. What shocks me now and has since it happened, is how this could even be legal. But apparently it is! The way it worked was they popped up a revised 'terms and conditions' that you had to acknowledge before you could continue. By acknowledging it, you were accepting the new terms. IOW, our only choices were to accept the new [awful] terms, or leave. We all chose to accept...then we realized just how devastating the new model was, and nothing has been the same since.

    There was one guy on forums who was the BIGGEST CP cheerleader--he even called himself that. He had a line of comic books, but it was his CP merchandise based on those characters that brought him five figures a month. Talk about a change of mind! The last I heard of him he had nothing but horrible things to say about CP, and understandably. They literally ruined people's lives--overnight. There were people who immediately would not be able to pay their rent, disabled people, living on SSDI or SSI, unable to work, making $200-$400 a month on CP, which was enough to give them a little breathing room. Then the shoe dropped. It was gut-wrenchingly sad.
     
  11. McNeal

    McNeal Lurker

    If you have some imagination, you can do great things! If your idea is good, you are good to know. Next, you have to find some people who're able to help you out with many things regarding the market. I've read some articles related to marketing audit and I recommend you to take a look at them. Having good products is one thing, but knowing how to sell them is another story. There are few people who know how to do both of them, but the majority of us know how to do one thing only. Thankfully, they're many tutorials available and you can learn how to do both of them
     
    #12 McNeal, Sep 7, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2021
  12. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Um, yes, I know. That's how I turned designs I dreamed up into millions of sales!! Unfortunately, all the imagination in the world isn't a replacement for knowing how to MARKET your products, hence my predicament.
     
  13. mashayafai

    mashayafai Lurker

    I'm suffering from the same issue. I can't find a good agency that can solve my problems...I met only scammers in that field, unfortunately :(
     
  14. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    That's what I'm afraid of by doing a random search online. I was hoping someone would have personal experience with a reputable marketing person/agency who'd be a good fit for my needs. So far, no luck!

    May I ask what you're selling? :thinking:
     
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