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Marketing Essentials for the Skydiving Industry (Visit this link)

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Marketing execs love to throw around industry jargon to make themselves sound like marketing experts. Terms like ROI, target demographic, disposable income, call to action and spiral binders with graphs and charts showing positive gains look and sound legit. Donít believe the hype.

All this Ďmarketing-speakí sounds good, but the majority of marketing execs who work for broadcast, TV and print donít understand the skydiving industry and mistakenly apply successful campaigns used for other industries to our own.

Before buying in to a marketing plan, understand three major reasons why mass media ads donít give a return:

1. A Tough Call to Action. Strong marketing plans offer a call to action prompting an individual to respond to an ad. Few ads challenge people to do something that may result in oneĎs death. Though death is an unlikely result, it weighs heavily for Joe Public to actually commit to calling a DZ and making a booking.

2. Recruitment. Think about it, how many people come to a DZ alone? It happens, but itís the exception to the rule. Students usually recruit a friend to share in the fear, anticipation and excitement of the experience. Not only does one need to spend time considering whether they should jump, but then need to recruit a friend, which takes time.

3. Disposable Income. How many of us have an extra few hundred dollars lying around? Many mass media ads for activities are more affordable than your average price for a tandem skydive.

Combine the obstacles of having to consider making a jump, recruiting a friend and saving money and youíll find that a lengthy amount of time has gone by before the phone begins to ring. Some will argue that advertising creates brand awareness and this is true, but there will only be a small percentage who see and hear an ad that follow through all of the steps to make it to your DZ. Bottom line: a poor return on investment. Most DZOís have been happy to break even on their mass media campaigns after theyíve launched.

The Affordable and Effective Approach

The most effective kind of marketing harnesses the exhilaration of your current customers. Firstly, give these guests a reason to come back to make a second jump. No longer does this need to be a Ďonce in a lifetime experience.í These guests will recruit their full-retail paying friends to experience lifeís greatest adventure. Secondly, equip your guests with a means to advertise your DZ utilizing social media by sharing videos, photos and check-ins.

Top Five Marketing Basics Every DZ Should be Implementing

Online Reservations. If youíre a DZO who says that you donít want to miss on the personal interaction with guests while making a booking, then this is the first marketing change to be made. If someone desires to spend money with your company at two oíclock in the morning, let them! Donít force your potential customers to spend money with you on your terms.

Social Media. The biggest corporations in the world are actively engaging with people through social media. If you are putting a couple posts out here and there then youíre missing a huge opportunity that the business world has come to embrace. Creating a social media plan is necessary, should be organized and well structured. This is a legitimate and inexpensive way to market the business.

Video E-mails. Embrace your customerís enthusiasm by using a service to e-mail guests their videos. Be sure the DZís branding, phone number and website is included because these videos will be shared everywhere. This is an example of getting your customers to market for you.

Database Collection. Updating your DZ database is a critical piece to the marketing pie. Collecting e-mail addresses will allow for broadcasting your marketing message to a clientele that knows how great you are. A professionally designed newsletter offering specials during the holidays will reap rewards to the bottom line.

Surveys. How do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Allow your customers to tell you by seeking their feedback. This should never be done at the DZ ten minutes after your guests have jumped. An online survey should be sent 24 hours after a jump allowing for anonymity and comfort to provide honest insight about the experience. In order to have a finger on the pulse of the operation and understand the weakest areas of the customer experience, surveys are invaluable.

Finally, the best marketing is word of mouth. Examine every interaction your guests experience with the operation from the website, cleanliness of bathrooms, presentation of the instructor, cleanliness of jumpsuits etc. and be sure to amaze your customers. Having a plane with instructors who can safely execute skydives is not enough. The details that surround the experience is just as important as the skydive to ensure your customers arenít just happy, but thrilled with the experience.

About James La Barrie:

James La Barrie is passionate about marketing and the skydiving industry. As a former drop zone manager for nine years, La Barrie is the antithesis of most marketing professionals. He doesn't believe that great marketing starts with throwing money at an advertising campaign, but rather implements techniques in word of mouth (womm), social media, company culture and world class branding to create a connection with guests that drive the bottom line. La Barrie is the founder of DropZone.Marketing - a marketing agency for the skydiving industry.

By James La Barrie on 2013-07-22 | Last Modified on 2015-02-19

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.  | Votes: 5 | Comment: 1 | Views: 20489

1 Comment

cbuffalino  2013-07-30
4 out of 5 stars

Great insight!

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