Co-Op Marketing Through DIVE LOCAL

Gene-Video-200Co-operative Marketing Through DIVE LOCAL
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

The mechanics of business are pretty simple.  We go into business because we have something to sell that meets the needs of an individual or an entity.  To stay in business we need to sell a sufficient number of profitable products to a sufficient number of profitable customers.To excel in business we have to take it serious enough to do the things that have to be done, when they need to be done.  The better we are at the mechanics of business, the more successful our business will become.

The are four areas of business that give you a competitive edge.  1) You need to have good products.  Product Managers are responsible for designing products that people will want to buy because they meet a specific customer need.  2) You need good customers. Customer Service Managers maintain relationships with your accounts and communicate with them on a regular basis.  3) You need to reach the buying public with your message when they are ready to make a buying decision.  Marketing Professionals create the message about your products and utilize the best vehicles to deliver that message.  4) You need to be there to close the sale.  Sales Professionals are there to ask for the sale.  It could be on-line or face-to-face, but someone has to ask for the sale and follow-through.

It’s easy to understand the need and expense for product management, customer acquisition & maintenance, and sales efforts.  They are part of the cost of doing business.  However, many business people don’t understand the Marketing aspect.  Is it a cost of doing business?  An expense?  An investment?  Or just a black hole we throw money into?

In our business we classify our customers as current customers, former customers and future customers.  Current customers are the easiest and less expensive group to market to.  This group currently buys from you and you should have all of their current contact information.  Needless to say, you should have a good working relationship with your current customers and contact them on a regular basis.  Former customers take a little more work but not much more expense to market to.  Former customers are those who have not purchased from you in over a year.  Unless they are no longer in business you should have their current contact information.  Think of a good reason to make contact with them again and do your best to reactivate their account status with you.

The third group of customers are people who have not yet purchased from you.  They are your future customers.  This group is the most difficult to identify, reach and sell to.  Marketing to future customers (prospects) is the most expensive group to target.  It makes me wonder why companies attempt to go it alone in their efforts to target market this group?  To tell you the truth, it is too expensive and time consuming for dive industry companies to tackle this group alone.  But there is a workable solution available.

DIVE LOCAL is a community effort to reach the general public and promote snorkeling and scuba diving as a exciting recreation. Our Mission is to show people how to: 1) Learn to dive.  2) Buy their diving equipment. 3) Go Diving. 4) Stay active in the recreation.  Our Goal is to get new customers in the doors of: 1) Local Dive Stores.  2) Local Dive Boats.  3) Local Dive Clubs.  4) Local Scuba Instructors.

DIVE LOCAL has been set up so that every dive related business that is searching for new customers can participate in this program.  There are many ways that Dive Industry Professionals can participate, by being Ambassadors, Volunteers, Sponsors or Donors.  This community effort is utilizing Dive Shows, Regional Summit Meetings, Magazines, Newsletters, Websites and an integrated network of Social Media.  Dive Industry Professionals and Dive Industry Businesses will spend a fraction of their marketing and advertising budget by combining forces with like minded businesses in the dive community.  Everyone can benefit just by paying their fair share.

For more details, read up on DIVE LOCAL on our Blog at www.divelocal.wordpress.com

View and “Like” our facebook page at www.facebook.com/divelocal

Participate in DIVE LOCAL

 

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A Weekend of Fun at SharkCon 2015

DSC_0312A Weekend of Fun at SharkCon 2015
By Gene Muchanski
Southeast Dive News Correspondent

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Tampa…”   That’s how Spencer Stewart, creator of SharkCon introduced SharkCon on their web site at www.shark-con.com

SharkCon is a weekend watersports festival for the general public, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa Bay, Florida. Spencer Stewart planed this event for four years prior to launching it last year. Now in its second year, SharkCon is sponsored by The Florida Aquarium. It’s a local event that brings those who love the ocean and its creatures together for a weekend of education and fun. SharkCon has something for everyone who loves the ocean.

The second annual SharkCon was held on July 11-12, 2015. Over 7,000 attendees took part in the festivities and the place was crawling with Sharks, Mermaids, Pirates, and Giant Fluffy Sea Creatures. The exhibit hall was one of the main attractions for the adults consisting of 76 exhibit spaces and 56 exhibitors. There were plenty of activities for the kids like the bounce house, the great inflatable shark slide, face painting booths and a mechanical shark ride. And let’s not forget the giant sand box provided by the Florida Aquarium, although I saw a lot of parents playing in that attraction.

There was a 50 x 50 theater set up for slide shows, speakers and The Left Shark Dance Team to keep the attendees entertained on both days. SharkCon had two book signing tables and many of the 13 speakers took advantage of that space after their presentation. In total, there were 20 events planned in the theater on Saturday and Sunday and as a special treat for attendees on Sunday with two Weddings held in front of the Tampa Aquarium’s Megalodon World Famous Fossil Shark Jaw.

Dive Industry Association Members are always looking for opportunities to connect with the general public whether they are divers now or want to become divers. Local events like SharkCon are excellent opportunities for us to meet with our Members like Bill & Nadine Beard – Bill Beard’s Costa Rica, Ed Buckley – St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures, Debbie Helms – Roatan Charter, and Julie Illes World Dive Adventures.

SharkCon proved to be a good place to meet divers and people interested in becoming scuba divers according to Rock Bottom Divers of Dunnedin, FL and Sea Experience of Fort Lauderdale. Retail Dive Centers and Dive Operators interested in exhibiting next year can contact Spencer Stewart at info@shark-con.com or call 941-539-0833.

Thanks to our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/divelocal we are able to post pictures and video of SharkCon 2015. Southeast Dive News readers can see our photo and video coverage of SharkCon 2015 at www.facebook.com/sedivenews

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