Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Create a Buzz

(0:59) Ask five marketers to name the five most critical components that affect sales and you'll get five different lists. But I'm confident all will include successful word-of-mouth marketing as one of the components. Customers talking to customers can be pure gold. And the best way to get them talking is to do something memorable, different, maybe even a bit wacky.

(0:48) You need to think beyond the standard BoatUS or other affiliation discounts. These discounts have become so commonplace that they're hardly discounts any longer. Not only do they fail to have a significant impact, they end up forcing you to provide the same boring special whether you have slips to fill or your docks are full. On the busiest day in July when you're turning away other boaters, you'll still be offering those price breaks. That's not a good way to maximize income.

(0:34) Instead consider offering specials that are timely and out of the ordinary. Doesn't it make more sense to match your specials to your varying needs and your unique advantages? Offer something that makes you stand apart from your competition and not fade into the crowd. You can be in control by offering your specials when you need to generate more business.

(0:25) This requires thinking beyond the standard discounts. It could mean a truly deep discount but can also mean offering something a little out of the ordinary. Think about what your marina can offer that sets it apart. But don't stop there. Is there another business or service nearby that you can partner with to offer a unique experience, a much needed service, or a convenience? The key is in providing what you can offer that is different from the competition matched with something your customers need.

(0:11) Can't think of anything different? I explore some possibilities in the Minutes "Think Different" and "There's Nothing Like Free", some ideas that go beyond the ordinary by combining services and timing deep discounts. Then I'll tell you about one marina that turned things around by offering slips for free. Yes, free. Trust me, it created quite a buzz.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.