Published: February 21, 2017
Marvin Getman has been a promoter since 1978. His company, Impact Events Group, Inc, now manages slightly fewer than a dozen antiques shows and antiquarian book fairs annually. Often the two are combined. Getman started out managing a very successful flea market, Jolly Jim’s Extravaganza, in various locations around Boston. He also managed shows for collectibles and motorcycles that routinely drew more than 15,000 visitors. Getman, who earned a business management degree from Boston University, lives in Lexington, Mass., with his wife of 23 years, Sharon Kamowitz. The couple collects contemporary crafts. Having lost spouses to cancer, they are active fundraisers for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. They ride each year in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike-a-thon that has raised more than $500 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber. Getman’s business philosophy is quite simple. “My customers are my dealers. My job is to bring buyers and sellers together,” he says. Noting his background in advertising, he embraces online marketing tools and social media initiatives.
How long have you been managing antiques shows?
I ran my first antiques show in 1996. It was in Methuen, Mass., and had 40 or 50 exhibitors. By 2000 I had decided to concentrate on running fairs combining books and antiques. The show I ran this January in Wilmington, Mass., had about 160 exhibitors. Including books and antiques under one roof expands the potential market for both. Several book dealers have told me that they’ve made new customers who they never would have met at a show devoted only to books.
What do you see as your market?
We’re looking to attract collectors interested in antiques, collectibles, books, art and design. I use those words in my ads. At this time, the shows I’m running extend from Concord, N.H., to the New York metropolitan area. We have several shows in the Boston area and manage the annual Ephemera Society of America fair in Greenwich, Conn. Our Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, now with a Works on Paper Gallery, has been very successful. We are also running shows for the Lexington Historical Society in Massachusetts. We’re trying very hard to attract younger collectors. That’s easier said than done.
How do you use technology to promote your shows?
There’s no doubt in my mind that social media is the coming wave. Over the years, I’ve developed an e-mail list of more than 10,000 names. Back when I first started, I really worked at accumulating mailing addresses. In the days before the internet, I’d mail as many as 35,000 post cards to let people know about upcoming shows. That was a lot of work. Now using e-mail I’m able to contact customers about six or seven times before the show. I’ve learned that you have to repeat the e-mails. One isn’t enough.
How do you build and manage your e-mail list?
The list is segmented by geography. I use raffles at shows, giving away gift certificates that have to be used at the show, to acquire addresses. My ads offer half-price discount tickets to folks who go to my website and register for them. Facebook is excellent. We are able to target audiences by using keywords. Facebook provides useful analytical information, which I pay attention to.
Other e-marketing tips?
For two-day shows, I take a lot of pictures of booths and crowds on the first day. I send out an e-blast with photos that evening inviting people to come to the second day of the show. Dealers tell me they sell from those photos. Sometimes I give out free tickets to businesses near the show. I have two websites, one for antiques shows, the other for book fairs. Having two sites – www.neantiqueshows.com and www.bookandpaperfairs.com – increases our exposure on search engines. I’ve also setup a website for the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair at www.brooklynbookfair.com. I want it to be easy for interested people to find my shows.
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