Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Know Your Customer

(0:59) I write a lot about providing the services and amenities that will draw in boaters. These past few weeks I've been reminded that it is just as important to know who is not your customer.

(0:53) We have been traveling marina to marina visiting Sponsors. It's a chance for us to give some personal assistance and talk about what's coming. It's also a terrific learning experience for me. Many of my Minute ideas have come from things I have observed and learned at Sponsor marinas we have visited.

(0:46) This past week we have been at a wide variety of marinas from a homey do-it-yourself community to a high-end resort to a marina struggling to overcome their past and win back boaters. The key to success in each instance is understanding the marina's positioning and communicating the strengths to their target customers. It's also just as important knowing when the marina is not a good fit.

(0:37) I am fond of using restaurants as an example because we've all been to a wide variety of them. Successful ones have been able to position themselves so they attract the right consumer at the right time and are able to set their customers' expectations so they walk away satisfied.

(0:30) I hope it's safe to say you wouldn't choose McDonald's for a special anniversary dinner. Nor would you select a high-end French restaurant for a toddler's birthday party. You know where each of those restaurants fits because they have properly positioned themselves in your mind.

(0:23) Knowing what you do well and what you are not able to provide allows you to focus your marketing efforts. You won't waste money on promotions that miss the mark. Instead you can spend money on promotions, events, and amenities that will satisfy your target boater's needs.

(0:16) Can you describe your perfect customer? That boater who would be crazy not to spend time at your marina? Think about it. It encompasses the boat, their boater, and the specific needs the boater has at a given time. This last point is important. Like my restaurant example, what a boater needs in a marina one week may be different during the next week.

(0:07) Having a realistic understanding of your marina's positioning in the boating community will not only focus your time and money, it is critical to success.

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