Workshop marketing may well be the key to breaking into the lucrative, yet underserved, womens marketplace.

While many professionals tend to use the terms workshop and seminar interchangeably, it is important to note the distinct difference between the two marketing approaches.

The traditional seminar approach involves a presenter addressing an audience on the selected topic, usually with little or no feedback required from participants.

The seminar format may be appropriate when you have a very large audience or an extremely limited amount of time in which to cover your material. However, if you will have a manageable size group and ample time, the workshop approach is worth considering. Workshop marketing is a very interactive, education-oriented format that encourages attendees to participate either verbally or through hands-on exercises.

The workshop marketing approach appears to work for professionals targeting women because women, in general, are more likely to make significant financial purchases once they are educated about them. Through in-depth education in a workshop setting, they are able to gain a better understanding of how certain products will be of use to their particular lifestyle.

Workshops also afford the professional who acts as a presenter with a chance to establish relationships and instant credibility with prospective clients through a scripted approach.

In addition, workshops also allow for more effective and efficient use of your prospecting time since you are in front of a number of potential clients at once.

A typical financial workshop would walk participants through the information, allowing them the opportunity to factor in their own personal financial situations. Many of these workshops come with a companion workbook for attendees. The workbook helps participants retain the information reviewed and can serve as a resource long after the workshop is over. A follow-up appointment also should be available at a later date. This will enable you to meet with participants, one on one, about their individual needs.

Another great benefit of workshops is the overall educational atmosphere. The workshop setting offers women the chance to interact and comment while gaining additional knowledge. In this environment, women may be more comfortable and open to providing the names and contact information of their associates, friends and family members who they feel might also benefit from attending a financial workshop, which translates into warm leads and referrals.

By using the workshop approach, the professional can create a built-in reason for follow-up and future client contact. In this age of “do not call,” spam and telemarketers, consumers are extremely leery of unsolicited informationno matter how beneficial it may actually be to them.

Insurance and financial professionals must develop a way to distinguish themselves not only from other insurance and financial professionals, but from general marketers as well. Once prospective clients attend a workshop where they have spent a good deal of time learning from a professional, any subsequent communication is not coming from a faceless marketerbut rather from a trusted professional with whom they are already familiar.

The womens marketplace can be a tremendous business opportunity for those who recognize its potential. Using workshops effectively allows professionals to gain credibility, sustain client relationships and ultimately achieve success in the womens market.

Verelyn Gibbs-Jones is director of marketing services for womens markets at New York Life Insurance Company, New York.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, February 18, 2005. Copyright 2005 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.