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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A to Z of Marketing: I is for Innovation

To succeed in business you have to change and adapt. That is very easy to say and hard as heck to do.



In addition, to remain successful you have to have the awareness to see and understand how your customer base is changing. With that awareness in mind, you can begin to adapt your product or service offering to cater to their needs and desires.



When Canaan Valley State Park was built, more than three decades ago, it was focused on the needs of customers. Those customers, the Post-War Cohort group and the Leading-Edge Baby Boomers, were very much into golf and tennis. Wisely, the state park was built with a half-dozen tennis courts, like the ones shown in the photo at left.



Fast forward to 2007, guess what percentage of vacationers play tennis? Only around 9%, according to credible estimates I've seen recently.

So that presents a considerable dilemma. Tennis courts are big. They occupy a large quantity of real estate. Today, every square inch of real estate in a resort or park has to be utilized toward creating a phenomenally great experience for your visitors. In essence, every piece of land, every asset, has to generate revenue. Anyone in the tourism business today had better figure out what kinds of things today's (younger) visitors get excited about. What are Gen-Xers and Millenials (Gen-Y) willing and eager to do, or try, or see? (Pay money to do.)




Well, one thing they love is adrenaline. What if you provided a place where they could bungee jump, spin around and hang upside-down in midair at 20 feet off the ground! Tell you what: the young man in the photo at left was loving it! (And so were his buddies. )


How about skateboarding? And rockwall climbing. Or paintball? Yep. Those things work. Now you're talking ... creating some interest and excitement!




So guess what! Our friends at Canaan Valley Resort State Park have taken 2/3 of the tennis courts, which were forgotten and underutilized anyway, and converted them.



From State Park to Skate Park!
















And from tennis balls to paint balls!



This is a superb example of real awareness and innovation. Truly impressive!

Kudos to the marketing geniuses at Canaan! They knew that in order to survive and thrive they had to innovate.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Karan I. said...

I love it.

What I would have loved MORE, though, would have been a couple of coats of paint, so that it seemed less about "making due with what you have".

They just needed to turn it up to 11. It's one louder. (Name the movie?)

11:41 PM

 
Anonymous Karan I. said...

Although... on second thought, maybe skating an old tennis court has some street cred that I don't know about. Like skating empty swimming pools did in the '70s.

And, well, paint for the paintball area might have just been redundant.

11:46 PM

 
Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Karan,

Thanks for your Spinal Tap reference!!! ... and for adding your thoughts on the topic of innovation.

We're thrilled to have you as a part of the Marketing Genius community.

Skip

9:41 AM

 

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