Last night I was on a flight from Gulfport MS to Atlanta, connecting to NYC when, as the fates would have it, I sat next to a a man of the cloth. (OK, I was happy ’cause I knew the plane wouldn’t crash.)
The gentleman told me he was from Jackson Mississippi and he was a Baptist Minister. His congregation, he said, “is about 300 folks of varied backgrounds, but predominantly African American”.
And as we began talking, he began telling me about his last sermon; a sermon about truth. and then he said something remarkable, “The trouble with the truth, he said, “is that it changes everything.”
It stopped me cold.
And I thought about it; all the way to today and how I could relate that one sentence in this blog.
It seemed too coincidental as I had been trying to speak “marketing truths” on my whirlwind (20 out of 30 days on the road) client trips.
During this trip, I too was preaching, teaching and assisting; but it was more about bowling marketing than about religion.
I spoke the truth that summer league bowling as we know it and how, in order to exceed our expectations, we needed some complements. Complements such as: shorter summer sessions added to traditional summer leagues. Maybe 6, 8 or 10 weeks. Sessions that could start in June, July and even August. Sessions that targeted affinity groups.
I spoke the truth that if we continually use our data base as a substitute for direct mail it would result in getting even less people to open our messages (and more to opt out) than the scant 12% who open it now and the 1% who actually click through to our page for more information. It’s called “social media” for a reason. No, I don’t want to just get sales pitches from you. I want some meaningful information that benefits me. Because it is all about ME. Just ask anybody:)
I spoke the truth about the need to make every customer experience “like inviting your best friend and spouse to your house for dinner.” And I detailed the what and how to do it. How about saying, “Hello and welcome to Happy Lanes, my name is Derf…before asking for shoe sizes?
I spoke the truth about the need to stay marketing focused and not to pull in on the year long investment you
have made to gain and retain customers just because it is summer and nobody bowls..
Do you know of any business that doesn’t continually sell their product or service even if they have the lion share of the market? (Think Budweiser, Apple, Google and Exxon.)
It doesn’t cost much to make efficient, targeted based and offer based sales calls to companies, organization, non profit groups, religious institutions and schools for summer time indoor picnics and fund raisers. It just takes knowing how to do it and wanting it. The truth ( factual information) is there if you want it.
I spoke the truth about the fact that even though 68 million people went bowling last year, there are still 250 million people out there who do NOT know they are NOT supposed to bowl in the summer.
Simple statistics tell me you have about a three out of four chance to get to those people. I would even play on that theme, “Hey you’re not supposed to bowl in the summer but”…and then list ten reasons why you should. Then make an offer, provide a guarantee of fun, a call to action and a deadline to take action. Heck you could build a whole email campaign out of this!!
I spoke the truth about constantly communicating your open play programs, birthday parties and adult parties all summer long to relevant targets, by stressing the fun parts of being inside (no painful sunburns, no mosquito bites, no sweaty underarms- we’re cool and air conditioned- no dehydration and well, you get the idea.)
I spoke the truth about the Kids Bowl Free Marketing Movement and how to maximize results from this “done for you” marketing initiative. The truth (factual information) is there if you want it.
But you know what I found?
I found that the truth could change everything…if only we listened and weren’t so preoccupied with defending our old beliefs and “the way it was.”
Its a brave new world and we need to be braver!