Marketing To The General Public
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional
The mechanics of business are pretty simple. We go into business because we have something to sell that meets the needs of an individual or an entity. To stay in business we need to sell a sufficient number of profitable products to a sufficient number of profitable customers. To excel in business we need to take it serious enough to do the things that have to be done, when they need to be done. The better we are at the mechanics of business, the more successful our business will become.
The are four areas of business that give us a competitive edge. 1) You need to have good products. Product Managers are responsible for designing products that people will want to buy because they meet a specific customer need. 2) You need good customers. Customer Service Managers maintain relationships with their accounts and communicate with them on a regular basis. 3) You need to reach the buying public with your message when they are ready to make a buying decision. Marketing Professionals create the message about your products and utilize the best vehicles to deliver that message. 4) You need to be there to close the sale. Sales Professionals are there to ask for the sale. It could be on-line or face-to-face, but someone has to ask for the sale and follow-through.
It’s easy to understand the need and expense for product management, customer acquisition & maintenance, and sales efforts. They are part of the cost of doing business. However, many business people don’t understand the Marketing aspect. Is it a cost of doing business? An expense? An investment? Or just a black hole we throw money into?
In our business we classify our customers as current customers, former customers and future customers. Current customers are the easiest and less expensive group to market to. This group currently buys from you and you should have all of their current contact information. Needless to say, you should have a good working relationship with your current customers and contact them on a regular basis. Former customers take a little more work but not much more expense to market to. Former customers are those who have not purchased from you in over a year. Unless they are no longer in business you should have their current contact information. Think of a good reason to make contact with them again and do your best to reactivate their account status with you.
The third group of customers are people who have not yet purchased from you. They are your future customers. This group is the most difficult to identify, reach and sell to. Marketing to future customers (prospects) is the most expensive group to target. It makes me wonder why so many companies attempt to go it alone in their efforts to target market this group? To tell you the truth, it is too expensive and time consuming for dive industry companies to tackle this group alone. But there is a workable solution available.
DIVE LOCAL is a community effort to reach the general public and promote snorkeling and scuba diving as a exciting recreation. Our Mission is to show people how to: 1) Learn to dive. 2) Buy their diving equipment. 3) Go Diving. 4) Stay active in the recreation. Our Goal is to get new customers in the doors of: 1) Local Dive Stores. 2) Local Dive Boats. 3) Local Dive Clubs. 4) Local Scuba Instructors.
DIVE LOCAL has been set up so that every dive related business that is searching for new customers can participate in the program. There are many ways that Dive Industry Professionals can participate, by being Ambassadors, Volunteers, Sponsors or Donors. This community effort is utilizing Dive Shows, Regional Summit Meetings, Magazines, Newsletters, Websites and an integrated network of Social Media. Dive Industry Professionals and Dive Industry Businesses will spend a fraction of their marketing and advertising budget by combining forces with like-minded businesses in the diving community. Everyone can benefit just by paying their fair share.
DIVE LOCAL is very new to the industry. You may not of heard about it yet. The idea is only about 3 weeks old and yet we have created a Blog Website as our draft copy of the organization and future content for our new website. Our Blog is live and content is posted daily. Remember, this is a work in progress and as we attract more Volunteers, Ambassadors, Sponsors, and Donors the content will be refined. We created a facebook page and are using it to education, inform and communicate the love of local diving to the public. Our main website is on-line and currently under construction. More information will be available on the Blog as the program progresses, until the main website is launched.
A number of major sponsors have already stepped up to the plate and made significant contributions to DIVE LOCAL. Dive Industry Foundation is coordinating donations and fund raising efforts through its 501(c)3 tax exempt, non-profit, charitable organization. Dive Industry Association, Dive News Network, DivingGlobal, and Our World-Underwater are already on-board as Sponsors. Three Regional Summit Meetings are scheduled for next year and DIVE LOCAL will be exhibiting at three Regional Dive Shows in 2016 so far. There is a lot of work to be done and it is going to take a considerable amount of time, money and talent. With your help and generous contributions we can unite the industry and grow our recreation.
For more details and to read up on DIVE LOCAL – See our Blog at www.divelocal.wordpress.com
View and “Like” our facebook page at www.facebook.com/divelocal
Register for DIVE LOCAL when we complete our new website.