Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There's Nothing Like Free

(0:53) Some time ago I received a phone call from an ActiveCaptain Partner wanting to discuss an idea they had for a special. I love bouncing around ideas and feel great when I can help someone come up with something new and unexpected. I asked what they were thinking of.

(0:46) "We want to offer free slips for a month." After making sure I had heard it correctly, I asked why.

(0:43) It seems the marina had just completed a massive transformation from a rundown boatyard to a stunning state of the art facility. Unfortunately, the slips were practically empty. They felt if boaters could simply experience what they had, they would stay, come back, and tell other boaters. I thought it was a terrific idea.

(0:35) So for one month all the slips were free. Free for one night; free for one week; free for the whole month.

(0:32) You'd think they were crazy - think of the money they were losing. But three months later the marina was practically full of paying boaters and is still that way today, years later. Some boaters came for the free month and stayed. Some came and told other boaters what a terrific facility it was and those boaters came. Some had simply heard the buzz and wanted to check them out even though the slips where no longer free.

(0:20) My point is not that you should offer your dockage for free. My point is that if you want a big change you need to try something big. Too often businesses are paralyzed by thinking of what they believe they are losing rather than thinking about what they can gain.

(0:13) Whether the change you are seeking is huge or modest, it is more likely to happen if you are willing to change and try something different. Think beyond the same tired marketing choices that are so common and uninteresting. Make it your goal to try one thing that you haven't done before. After all, nothing ventured is nothing gained.

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