Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Making the Tour" Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 8: Sunday

Today is the final round of the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic.

The golf has been great. Media coverage has been great. Attendance has been great.

Everything has been great – except for today’s weather.

With storms expected later in the day, yesterday TOUR officials announced that today’s final round tee times were moved up by 90 minutes in an effort to beat the weather. This obviously requires contingency planning.

This change was announced late Saturday afternoon and almost immediately I was on the horn to media both near and far to let them know to let their readers, listeners and viewers know. It worked. Though attendance was down from years past on Sunday, it was obvious from the media coverage this morning and the attendance that people did get the word.

The other change necessitated by the weather is that the entire round cannot be broadcast live but rather recorded live for airing during its regularly scheduled time. This requires contingency planning as well.

As the players are working toward 18, three are in contention with only three shots difference between them. As players get to 18 tee, I am already at 18 green waiting with a trophy, a table, a speaker system and a host of media. We are all expecting the tournament to be won outright by the current leader.

Now, I and a few others (PGA TOUR Officials mostly) know that if there is a tie a playoff is necessary. This sudden death playoff will require the players to potentially play 18 twice more and if they are still tied start at 16 and work their way to 18 until a winner is declared. Got that?

For Golf Channel coverage this means if there is a playoff, I have to be prepared to take the trophy (an 88.5 pound trophy) to whichever hole they finish on – the golf channel likes to see the winner with the trophy on the winning hole – and then bring it back to 18 for an official ceremony.

As it turns out, the round did end with a tie and a one-hole playoff was necessary. As the final putt hit the bottom of the cup, the table was being moved to 18 green, spectators were celebrating, the winner was celebrating and media were in their spots ready to go.

The ceremony went off without a hitch.

But it made me think about how we as marketing professionals plan for the unexpected. We have all heard “expect the unexpected.”

But it’s our ability to be ready that sets us apart.

"Making the Tour" Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 7: Saturday

Thursday attendance at the National Mining Assistance Pete Dye Classic was the highest first-round attendance in the three-year history of the event – more than 5 times that of the year before. I found this out about 6:30 a.m. By 7:00 a.m. newspapers that didn’t already go to print, the AP and countless radio stations knew of this news.

Friday attendance is looking great as well.

Below are some astonishing numbers.

Total Potential Impressions: 920,989,478
The above number represents the total potential audience multiplied by the number of ads placed.

Projected Actual Impressions 92,098,947
This number is a conservative estimate of actual impressions based upon numbers provided by media outlets in which we purchased space. Estimates ranged from 10 – 80% of the market. We opted to be rather conservative –to be safe – and go with the lower figure.

Even using the conservative estimate, it’s easy to see how valuable a property (a reference to an earlier sponsorship post) this event is. And that’s before day one of the live telecast to more than 70 million households worldwide began.

To what do I attribute such success?

We helped the tournament staff to better understand the market and to identify its key customer segments. We reached into new markets – larger markets – more familiar with championship golf, with higher income levels and more likely to travel up to four hours – though we actually had a good amount of spectators from much further away.

We refined the prior year’s advertising strategy. Based upon surveys conducted after last year’s event, it was determined that print ads simply didn’t work. So this year, we ran less in print and focused more in broadcast media and online media. The airing of weekly vignettes on news stations in large and small markets, 30-minute previews in large and small markets, and weekly e-newsletters to a growing base of subscribers helped get the word out to a larger audience than ever before.

Oh yeah, the championship golf helped a little bit too.

Friday, August 25, 2006

"Making the Tour" Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 5: Thursday

Typically in the pre-dawn hours at the Pete Dye Golf Club you’d expect to hear little more than crickets and the occasional splash of the bass or catfish in the pond in front of the clubhouse. But this is no typical day. Today is round one of the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic.

Today, 150 athletes, a premier golf course, sponsors, staff and volunteers are on display to more than 70 million households worldwide (the event is broadcast live on the Golf Channel). Today 150 athletes begin their quest for one prize.

While they’ve had their fun earlier in the week, even in darkness it is obvious the mood has changed. It’s showtime.

As I walked around the clubhouse I noticed each of the golfers talking to their caddy. These two-man teams were planning strategies, recalling what they’d learned in earlier practice rounds and going through their final rituals.

The PGA TOUR has a saying. “These Guys are Good!” Perhaps the above explains why.

So how do we as marketers prepare for our task(s) at hand? What do we do in our “practice rounds?” What are our pre-game rituals?

Answer those questions and maybe then when people speak of you they’ll say, “these guys are good too!”

"Making the Tour" Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 4: Wednesday

Still going strong here at the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic and we haven’t even begun the rounds of championship golf.

On the day of the second Pro-Am today’s discussion is all about customer satisfaction. Time to talk about sponsorship.

Successful sponsorship involves leveraging the power of a brand combined with the sponsored event or property that creates impact with the brand owners’ target audience in an experiential and measurable way. Those activities/events capable of being sponsored are commonly referred to as ‘properties’.

Such sponsorship may be an investment in cash or in kind activity, in return for access to the commercial or goodwill potential associated with that activity (yielding a favorable return for the sponsor). Sports, education, arts, and community events generate both passion and excitement and the hearts and minds of the public can be captured by these events in a very positive manner.

A marketing genius somewhere once wrote what I think is the best way to determine properties worthy of sponsorship - SMART objectives. SMART objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time bound. If the property meets these criteria, it’s worthy of consideration.

But remember, your job is not done once you’ve landed that sponsor. Rather, it’s just beginning. Providing good service after the sale and meeting the needs of the sponsor are of great importance – especially if you’re hoping for a renewal.

As you begin your ‘service after the sale,’ consider the following:

-Manage the ‘Property’ as perfectly as possible
-Maintain a good reputation with the sponsors
-Strengthen the relationship with the sponsors
-Demonstrate the event’s strong future
-Demonstrate ability to market the event up to, through and after the event
-Keep the sponsor happy

Do this and your event will be an even bigger success.

"Making the Tour" Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 3: Tuesday

After an early arrival to the course, a live remote at grocery store and countless media requests, I hosted the junior golf clinic at the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic. The event is attended by young children (who all want to be Tiger Woods) and their parents (who all want to be Tiger Woods) seeking to learn a tip or two from the pros.

So what's the focus of the post on this day? Presentation skills.

Though I’ve never really been afraid of public speaking, today was a bit different. I’ve only been golfing for a year or so and today I was thrust into the role of emcee for a youth clinic before a rather large and diverse audience including media, kids and parents and PGA TOUR officials.

It was at that very moment that I thought ‘time to put those presentation skills I’ve developed to good use.” Though a new topic to me, I remembered the ’93-7’rule. It is estimated that when you speak only 7% of your message is actually the words you say. The remaining 93% is body language, tone(including cadence and volume), and other non-verbal items.

If you’re ever in this spot, remember the ’93-7’rule and the following:

-Be prepared
-Create an outline
-Be calm
-Use hands and arms to effectively convey message
-Be brief. Be brilliant. Be gone.

But perhaps most importantly, know your audience and relate with them. That’s what helped me through the experience (which I fully enjoyed). I worked the crowd, shook hands with players, the kids, parents, everybody. The audience and I were comfortable with each other long before I ever said a word.

Hope that helps. Now, as for golf, you’re on your own.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Making the Tour" Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 2: Monday

Today I played in the Pro-Am. Our foursome was partnered with a pro from the Nationwide Tour, Brett Bingham. Throughout the day, our pro spoke of targeting. He spoke of lining up with your target, keeping your eyes on the target, and following through to the target.

He explained how the game comes down to basic fundamentals. The same applies to your marketing success.

Learn the fundamentals and then work on them.

Keep your eye on the ball. Keep your eye on the target.

You’ll improve in golf - and marketing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Making the Tour" Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 1: Sunday

Since early spring, Maple Creative has been working to provide marketing, public relations and sponsorship development assistance to the 2006 National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic. The event is a Nationwide Tour event taking place at the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, West Virginia August 21-27.

Today I arrived at the clubhouse to set up the media room -my home (and the home of the media) for the next eight days.

Here are some things to consider when setting up a media room:
  • Expect the unexpected! Develop an ‘anticipated questions and appropriate requests.’ In doing so, you will identify possible questions that might be asked – and some that might not – and an appropriate response.
  • Location. Location. Location! Choose a location that is accessible and can meet the technical requirements of the media. The site should also be visually attractive and enhancing to your message.
  • Give ‘em space! Provide adequate space for interviews.
  • Remember show and tell? Determine whether to use visual aids. Is there a good visual, such as a big chart, that may be shown? Have it placed such that television cameras can include it.
  • Who’s on ‘the’ list? Decide if credentialing the press is necessary.
  • Gear up! Manage all the technical requirements of the press. Arrange for lighting platforms, special power, translation, and mult-boxes audio equipment that has a single input and multiple outputs that go to recording devices). Make certain that anything that will be used works.
  • Be a nice host(ess)! If appropriate, provide hospitality to those in attendance (food, refreshments, etc.)
  • Know the who’s who. Have the names, phone numbers, and cell phone numbers of key people at the site.
  • Get it in writing! Have a sign-in sheet for the press and any visitors so you know who was there.
  • Time Management. Provide a daily schedule of events.
  • Get the word out! Put copies of your stories on your Web site and out to the media as soon as possible.

Hope the above helps you have an above par experience at your next media event.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yes, But Does it Sell?

In the advertising media there’s been a lot of talk recently about Chrysler’s $200 million “Dr. Z” campaign. The question is: “Is it working?”

Hmmm. In a word, no.

Sales are actually down at Chrysler in double-digit percentages. Nothing new there right? Just ask Ford, GMC, and every other automotive giant in the States. However, from a marketing perspective, the Dr. Z campaign has a fundamental problem, namely when you watch the commercials, you remember nothing about the product, just the guy with the funny mustache and thick German accent. In effect, the star of the show is overshadowing the very cars he’s trying to sell.

In a random sampling of viewers, the Today Show discovered that – after watching the commercial in its entirely - few people could name the type of car being pitched and even fewer caught that that Dr. Z is actually Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board at Chrysler.

The point is that messages are products in and of themselves that should be tested before they’re released to the general public. Most rational business owners would consider it insane to do a comprehensive roll-out of an untested product, yet these same executives waste thousands of dollars each year by taking a “spaghetti approach” to marketing, i.e. just throw anything up against the wall and see what sticks.

I felt sorry for Chrysler’s spokesman as he did what any good PR spin doctor would do tried to turn negative questions into positives. I watched as he cheerily said that while sales were down, web traffic was “through the roof” and the company was very happy that people were talking about their cars.

Call me crazy, but I’d rather have people buying my cars than talking about them.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Secret to Profitable Marketing Agencies

A quote from the Marketing Geniuses (with a capital G!) at Second Wind:

If you are still selling ads and projects instead of using your brains to forge strategic marketing partnerships with your clients and prospects, then you are not going to be around much longer….These partnerships involve not just advertising, public relations, direct marketing or sales promotion, but an organic combination of whatever marketing tools it takes to accomplish the client’s sales objectives. It also promotes programs that…work more effectively because they play off one another in ways that narrowly focused programs no longer can. In the days when our society - and most buyers - were more homogenous, it was acceptable, even preferable, for a marketing strategy to be somewhat universal. Today, society is extremely pluralistic and what works on one set of buyers does not even come close to working on another, creating a need for multilevel, multidimensional marketing strategies.”