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NSEMN8R

Mall Booth? -DZ Marketing ideas

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So while I'm sitting here balls deep in snow for the next 3 months, I'm trying to think of things I can do to get a good early start next season.

One thing I think I'm going to try is a booth in the mall. For $1000/month I can set up some posters and a couple of tvs back to back on their cart running skydiving videos and maybe put a wingsuit on a mannequin standing next to it or something to attract some attention. Maybe offer a sweet mall special deal if they buy tickets now and use them before June 1st?

Anyone tried something like this before? Any other ideas besides groupon and living social?

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You quite possibly get a better rate and reach 100 times more people by electronic bill board advertising along a key highway in your area.

Adventure seekers usually do not hang out in a shopping mall. Effective in a mall during Christmas season for gift certificate when people are more apt to buy on impulse.

In the early 80's we advertised on the old fashioned billboard for one year and it paid for itself three times over. Location and ad rate is the key.

Now is the time to recruit.
www.geronimoskydiving.com

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I believe you're right about the billboards but damn they're expensive. They want 3600/mo. for one by the highway. If I do it I will probably wait until we're open this spring, but I'm worried we're too weak in the search engines to get the full benefit from it. I hate to spend a bunch of money putting the idea in people's heads so they go home and google "skydiving" and end up jumping someplace else.

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I enjoy shopping for bargains. I can't remember the last time I was at the interior of the mall, even though it's only a few minutes from the house. Most of the time I'm at the stand-alone stores, or I order online. I don't hear of my friends going to the mall much either, only my teenage nieces. Maybe you should quiz your family and friends as to how much time they spend at the mall before you make that investment?
She is Da Man, and you better not mess with Da Man,
because she will lay some keepdown on you faster than, well, really fast. ~Billvon

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Remster

Quote

but I'm worried we're too weak in the search engines to get the full benefit from it



How about you spend a couple month's worth of Mall Kiosk money on a SEO project?



I've spent at least that much already. It's working too. At least we're on page 1 now. When we started we were on page 10. If you googled our name you'd find news articles about accidents before our website. We're getting there but 3rd place on page one might as well be page 2 most of the time.

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NSEMN8R

So while I'm sitting here balls deep in snow for the next 3 months, I'm trying to think of things I can do to get a good early start next season.

One thing I think I'm going to try is a booth in the mall. For $1000/month I can set up some posters and a couple of tvs back to back on their cart running skydiving videos and maybe put a wingsuit on a mannequin standing next to it or something to attract some attention. Maybe offer a sweet mall special deal if they buy tickets now and use them before June 1st?

Anyone tried something like this before? Any other ideas besides groupon and living social?



I believe that has been done successfully. I seem to remember a DZO did it for the holidays many years ago and reported good results. Of course that was during a time of year when people are hungry for unique gifts so the results could vary widely. I would also think the results would have everything to do with the type of mall and the demographic of its clientele. Of course at $1000 per month in rent plus staffing it wouldn't take a whole lot of sales to break even.

Here's a couple promotions that we used successfully when I ran a DZ near Houston.

- bar and nightclub promotions. Club operators will often allow your promo crew (pretty ladies in DZ logo'd shirts, of course) to pass out discount coupons to patrons and discuss skydiving in exchange for a tandem for the DJ to give away (at midnight or even later as a way to keep people at the club). It helps to offer a second tandem to the decision maker to use as he/she wishes. Kickbacks really do work.

- radio trade. This was one of our most successful deals. Give away tandem jumps on the air in exchange for air time. This is called "trade for mention" and can be very lucrative when done properly. Getting the most out of it takes some attention to detail so if you're interested message me and I will explain how we honed the program for maximum air time with minimum giveaways.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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skymama

I enjoy shopping for bargains. I can't remember the last time I was at the interior of the mall, even though it's only a few minutes from the house. Most of the time I'm at the stand-alone stores, or I order online. I don't hear of my friends going to the mall much either, only my teenage nieces. Maybe you should quiz your family and friends as to how much time they spend at the mall before you make that investment?



Good point Skymama. I should probably go hang out there for a while and scope it out.

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That's a fantastic idea Chuck. It also gives me an excuse to go hang out at the bar!

We did a radio ad last year but we paid cash. $1000 got us 30 30 second spots.I guess it's hard to tell if it had any effect on business but it seems like it was a complete waste of money.

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NSEMN8R

That's a fantastic idea Chuck. It also gives me an excuse to go hang out at the bar!

We did a radio ad last year but we paid cash. $1000 got us 30 30 second spots.I guess it's hard to tell if it had any effect on business but it seems like it was a complete waste of money.



Radio can be tricky, but if you get everything just right it can pay off. It's expensive so it's all about demographics, reach, and saturation. At 30 spots for $1000 I assume it was a small market. Small markets don't typically pay off like larger ones. If you draw customers from a major market do your promotions there instead. You'll have to play the game in a bigger way, but the payoff is much better.

Trade with stations can hit big but only in big markets where you are getting hundreds or even thousands of dollars in advertising and reaching hundreds of thousands of listeners per giveaway for the hard cost of a single tandem jump.

Also, don't waste your time with stations that don't offer the right demographic of listeners. Stick with core skydiving demo's - rock, new rock, top 40, etc. Don't try to sell ice cubes to Eskimos.

To minimize cost and maximize potential try these strategies:

Conduct the promotions during times when the payoff will be bigger. Early December with a "Christmas gift certificate" theme, just before spring break and summer vacation, etc. The promotion will cost you the same amount of money regardless of when you run it, so stack the odds of success in your favor.

Make the winner's certificates non-transferable. That way you get the advertising but folks who win the prize and decide not to jump can't give it to someone else. Be sure to have the radio station put the winners' names on the certificates so they can't be transferred. We provided the stations with a unique-colored pen to be sure we knew the winners' names were written on the certificates before they were given out.

List a weight limit on the certificates. Same goes with age, of course.

Place a reasonable expiration deadline on the certificates.

Have the station give the jumps away along with other prizes. Often the winner has no intention of skydiving but wants tickets to the ball game or concert.

Make the certificate part of a "prize pack" that includes discount coupons for the winner to bring friends, and if you use an AFF program offer a discounted "upgrade" for the winner to convert their certificate to an AFF jump for an extra price. During one promotion we gave away 30 tandem jumps and 2 people converted to AFF, went all the way through the program and bought gear. BTW that was in the late 90's and both of those winners still jump today!

Are you anywhere near a large market? If so, which one?
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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I never had much experience with booths and malls, trade shows etc. Gotta target the right ones and pretty much at every venue, you have to talk to 1000 people to convince one to skydive.

It is still a part of branding and marketing, but for $1000/month, I doubt you would ever see any return on that.

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chuckakers

***That's a fantastic idea Chuck. It also gives me an excuse to go hang out at the bar!

We did a radio ad last year but we paid cash. $1000 got us 30 30 second spots.I guess it's hard to tell if it had any effect on business but it seems like it was a complete waste of money.



Radio can be tricky, but if you get everything just right it can pay off. It's expensive so it's all about demographics, reach, and saturation. At 30 spots for $1000 I assume it was a small market. Small markets don't typically pay off like larger ones. If you draw customers from a major market do your promotions there instead. You'll have to play the game in a bigger way, but the payoff is much better.

Trade with stations can hit big but only in big markets where you are getting hundreds or even thousands of dollars in advertising and reaching hundreds of thousands of listeners per giveaway for the hard cost of a single tandem jump.

Also, don't waste your time with stations that don't offer the right demographic of listeners. Stick with core skydiving demo's - rock, new rock, top 40, etc. Don't try to sell ice cubes to Eskimos.

To minimize cost and maximize potential try these strategies:

Conduct the promotions during times when the payoff will be bigger. Early December with a "Christmas gift certificate" theme, just before spring break and summer vacation, etc. The promotion will cost you the same amount of money regardless of when you run it, so stack the odds of success in your favor.

Make the winner's certificates non-transferable. That way you get the advertising but folks who win the prize and decide not to jump can't give it to someone else. Be sure to have the radio station put the winners' names on the certificates so they can't be transferred. We provided the stations with a unique-colored pen to be sure we knew the winners' names were written on the certificates before they were given out.

List a weight limit on the certificates. Same goes with age, of course.

Place a reasonable expiration deadline on the certificates.

Have the station give the jumps away along with other prizes. Often the winner has no intention of skydiving but wants tickets to the ball game or concert.

Make the certificate part of a "prize pack" that includes discount coupons for the winner to bring friends, and if you use an AFF program offer a discounted "upgrade" for the winner to convert their certificate to an AFF jump for an extra price. During one promotion we gave away 30 tandem jumps and 2 people converted to AFF, went all the way through the program and bought gear. BTW that was in the late 90's and both of those winners still jump today!

Are you anywhere near a large market? If so, which one?

Thanks Chuck. I appreciate you sharing your experience.
Funny thing, I got a call from a sales person from WGRD just after I read your post. I'm going to meet with them on Thursday. I should print out your post and bring it with me.

The closest major market to me is Grand Rapids with 1.3M if you include the surrounding metropolitan area. Lansing with 450,000 and Kalamazoo with 320,000 are also about the same distance away.

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Hi NSEMN8R,

Quote

So while I'm sitting here balls deep in snow for the next 3 months, I'm trying to think of things I can do to get a good early start next season.



Car clubs. I have owned a couple of Porsches & used to belong to the Porsche Club of America.

My local chapter has monthly dinner meetings and they are always looking for people to give presentations; they do not have to be car related. Back in the mid-70's I showed a skydiving film, brought my rig and answered questions.

Most car clubs ( Mustang, British motor cars, Alfa, etc ) are similar. Google the car make & forum and see what you can find.

Good luck,

Jerry Baumchen

PS) Most unique-type car people are adventurer seekers.

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NSEMN8R

I believe you're right about the billboards but damn they're expensive. They want 3600/mo. for one by the highway. If I do it I will probably wait until we're open this spring, but I'm worried we're too weak in the search engines to get the full benefit from it. I hate to spend a bunch of money putting the idea in people's heads so they go home and google "skydiving" and end up jumping someplace else.



Is that price for a standard billboard or time on a changing electronic billboard with multiple advertisers.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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I was at an xmas boogie that ran for 2 weeks in a popular holiday town.
The organisers had a table at the local mall with 2 tvs playing mostly tandem vids and a few fun jumps and someone giving out pamphlets

Pretty sure that won them a fair bit of business as there were loads of tandems coming through to the dz

They also did a demo into a neighbouring town airfield that was having an airshow and got people to hand out info. Later that day the tandems started rolling in

Just some ideas. These were pretty effective at hooking people who were there at the time looking for things to do on holiday

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NSEMN8R

So while I'm sitting here balls deep in snow for the next 3 months, I'm trying to think of things I can do to get a good early start next season.

One thing I think I'm going to try is a booth in the mall. For $1000/month I can set up some posters and a couple of tvs back to back on their cart running skydiving videos and maybe put a wingsuit on a mannequin standing next to it or something to attract some attention. Maybe offer a sweet mall special deal if they buy tickets now and use them before June 1st?

Anyone tried something like this before? Any other ideas besides groupon and living social?



All depends on the mall and the audience it attracts.

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Great post. I'm in a similar situation myself. I've been trying to brainstorm about different marketing strategies as recently I volunteered to help out our club on marketing our dropzone.

Our dropzone is small Cessna operation, we really don't have much of a problem filling up the tandem slots that isn't really the problem. We are looking to increase our student numbers for our static line jump course. Basically just get out name out there to let people know that we exist, to let them know what is available.

I'm really enjoying reading this post though and I will definitely bring up a few of these at our next meeting.

Here's what I've come up with so far, I'm just going to stick with simple for now which with a smaller market for us might be a little easier to do.

Radio Stations- I plan on talking with a few of the local radio stations to try to get a slot in their morning show and have a member or two come in to kind of explain to the general public what skydiving and our DZ is about.

Flyers- I plan on putting them up anywhere and everywhere really. I guess I'll mainly be focusing on the places where you might find adventure seekers gyms, sports stores, the local college intramural sports dept the trendy bars, clubs, etc. And the bucket list people golf courses, country clubs. Pretty much though I plan on putting them up everywhere and checking every few week to monitor if #'s have been taken to keep track which ones are effective and which ones aren't.

Otherwise I was thinking of find the right events to possibly sponsor/trade for demo jump?, poker run that kind of thing. There is a cycle club outside of town and a few race tracks I may have to go have a talk with them as well about a billoboard of something along that lines. Was also thinking about the local fairs, ball games that kind of thing.

But yeah in our market/situation a mall booth really wouldn't work but if you guys are big enough and think you will get the exposure I say go for it. Typically here though its mostly Jr high kids and then the a whole schmere of different types of peeps I guess but the majority are women obvioiusly.

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I used to think that it would work until we sponsored a booth at a local minor league hockey team this off season.

We were giving out a free skydive to one person selected from those that filled out a card to get on the mailing list. And the name was being pulled at intermission, instant gratification. We were running a discount on packages during the same time frame that we were informing people about.

We got some people who came over to look at the videos we were playing, many of them were of a fitness level that couldn't make a skydive! I also saw that many young men and women would see the booth and practically run away! The tough looking guys with the swagger did not appreciate us asking them if they ever thought about trying skydiving.

My previous impression was that skydiving was viewed as most as an awesome activity, they just hadn't thought about it yet. I was going to be this reminder to them, and they were going to run over in droves to talk with the really cool skydivers.

I think the reality is most people aren't interested, and won't be swayed by in person advertising. This are going to put their head down, and drag their girlfriend just a little faster, so they can avoid being put on the spot!

I think your money is better spent elsewhere, trying to get customers who are already interested in skydiving.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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