Valentine Davies was a marketing genius. Well, actually he was a writer. Specifically, he wrote Miracle on 34th Street in 1947. But, perhaps, because he was a writer and not a true marketer, he had a keen insight into what motivates people. I watch the movie almost every year around the holidays and for as long as I can remember – even back when I didn’t understand business – my favourite scene is when Kris Kringle sends a lady to another store to get the perfect gift for her son (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0TFUWJ8TMU). She is flummoxed that Macy’s would do that but, later in the movie, pulls aside the Macy’s manager to let him know that she normally shopped at Gimbles but because Macy’s put her needs ahead of profit, she would be shopping at Macy’s now all the time.
I got to experience this first hand this summer through GlowZone 360. In the spring, eight attractions met for the first time and I pitched the idea of working together to increase our collective visitors. Of the eight, four of us decided to work together. The other four couldn’t get past the notion that the rest of us were competition.
I believe the only thing each of us is competing for is the number of people who learn about our businesses and the number of touch points and times they hear about us. The tourism industry is built on people with disposable income. The vast majority of people with disposable income are not going to visit the same restaurant, attraction or hotel every week. They are going to spend their hard-earned money on a variety of experiences that make them happy. That means one of the best ways to reach your potential audience is to get in front of an audience already pre-disposed to spending money on similar activities.
In our case, the three other Brampton attractions and GlowZone developed a one-page flyer that had a discount/added-value offer for each of the four participants. When someone finished their laser tag or mini golf game at GlowZone, we presented them with the flyer and recommended that they check out these other great businesses. To see some of their reactions was priceless. We actually had people question why we would promote other businesses – just like in the movie. Our answer was always that we wanted them to experience all of the great things there are to do in Brampton. We also promoted the other businesses through our social channels and had a business card printed with each of the four logos and a place for a stamp. Everyone who visited the four locations was entered into a draw to win passes to all four of our locations.
Last week, we all sat down again along with another attraction who had a change of mind. We discussed the promotion. Each of us had a few coupons redeemed but not too many overall. Not one person completed their stamp cards. You would think it was a big failure. However, when we went around the table and asked how everyone’s summer was, all four participating businesses were up YoY and the one attraction who now wanted to join was down a bit YoY. Do we think that our cross-promotion efforts were the sole reason for our collective success? No. But we all recognized the importance of reaching and speaking to each other’s audience.
So now the five of us are working on promoting each other’s gift certificates, encouraging people to buy from each of us to “give the gift of Brampton experiences” and we are doing another flyer which will launch next week and will be valid until the Sunday before school returns in the new year. Our cost has been less than $50 to this point to get the captive audiences of three other great Brampton attractions. That is a deal in my book!
There are great examples of businesses working together to expand their reach. A Country Path (https://acountrypath.com/) is a shining example of how working together can dramatically grow businesses. It has been around for at least five years and started around the kitchen table with some folks who thought working together had benefits. They each invested some money to build a website and make a map for distribution. Five+ years later they are still promoting each other’s businesses, have a loyal following and continue to operate the website and produce maps. Somewhere along the way, they added a newsletter to let more people know what was happening each month.
If this sort of thing interests you, but you don’t know how you would start the conversation, shoot me an email at email@example.com. We are here to help get the conversation going and will work with you to determine potential partners and set up the first meeting to explore ideas about how to work together. Once you get started, you are never going to want to stop. It is a great feeling when you are working with others towards a common goal.
That’s it for this month. It is that time of year when we are inundated with holiday movies. I have a one-Hallmark Movie-a-day policy that began on November 12, however will be actively looking for the original Miracle on 34th Street for my annual viewing. If you get a chance, I hope you get to watch it too!
Have a great day,