|Written By: Marvin Wisneski
Stanley’s West Arm Resort
|Originally Published in the March 1992 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.|
When my dad bought our camp 43 years ago we did not know anything about marketing, and did not care. Every weekend eager fishermen drove in from the United States. When our camp was full we sent them down the road to the next one, and they in turn did the same.
Those days are gone forever. Today, marketing is the key to a successful business. Every business has to have a marketing plan regardless of its size. Here are some useful tips on how to create a successful plan.
In preparing a marketing plan you have to acquire or develop some personality traits. These are:
PATIENCE – which more or less speaks for itself
AGGRESSIVENESS – to stick to a plan and be determined to see it through
IMAGINATION – in your advertisements or any other item that reflects on your business
SENSITIVITY – you must be aware of your customer’s needs, wants and expectations
EGO STRENGTH – you must believe in yourself, your product, camp, and the marketing plan you are to follow
Now, let us put these personality traits to work for us in some marketing ideas:
Name: A camp or company name people can pronounce.
Positioning: A word or slogan that people will recognize as your camp or logo.
Logo: A graphic representation or visual reminder of your camp.
Theme: A set of words that summarizes your camp (i.e. “Ontario Yours to Discover”).
Pricing: Among consumers, 14% say price is the main factor in whether to buy.
Business Cards: Make them more than just a name and address, pack it with information. A mini-brochure.
Stationary: The look and feel of your stationary is a powerful marketing tool.
Advertising: Customers consider service or the lack of it to be of foremost importance in selecting a business or resort.
Follow-Ups: Marketing does not end when you get a customer, it just begins. You have to keep them.
Customer Recourse: Know what to do if a customer is not satisfied. Have a clear plan so disgruntled customers can be converted.
Testimonials: These are free, easy to get, and impressive for new prospects.
Sales Presentation: The best salesmen use certain words and phrases. This indicates that the best sales presentation should be memorized, then delivered with zest and sincerity.
Booth for Malls: People are always interested in holidays and even more so when not pressured or distracted by similar displays, such as sport and travel shows. There are many opportunities to display other than sport shows. Inquire and be imaginative.
Government Funding: NORFUND funding for some parts or equipment for marketing are available. Do not overlook this money saver.
Newspaper & Magazine Ads: These add to your credibility. Many important magazines and newspapers now publish affordable additions. Consider local papers and well known magazines.
Newsletters: These letters keep customers mindful of your operation and are an excellent introduction piece for prospective customers.
Specialty Advertising: These are gifts and promotional goods that display your camp name and remind customers of your operation. Holiday examples include ball point pens or calendars.
Take One Boxes: Place these with your coded brochure wherever you can. Check them often and you will be amazed at the interest.
TV Commercials: Powerful marketing tool. Check NORFUND for possible funding.
Reputation: This turns prospects into customers. No money will ever change a bad reputation into a customer.
Credibility: If you have credibility, people will believe in your quality, your values and everything you say about your operation. Do anything to earn it.
Mailing List: Keep it from the day you go into business, or start tomorrow. The longer the list, the more names you can draw from. Such a list is worth its weight in gold because of repeat business and referral business.
Buying: Good marketing is also wise and meaningful buying. Support those who support you. Buy from a NOTO Allied Member.
Marketing is an ever changing exercise, however, there are a few basic ideas you can follow. The above 23 tips are just a few fundamentals that one can always apply in preparing a marketing plan.
Before I submitted this piece, a friend of mine read it and commented “I know all of that”. However, knowing something and not applying it when it should be used is like not knowing it at all.
In today’s competitive and expanding market place, marketing is the key to SURVIVAL.