Chapter OneSecrets of Neighborhood MarketingA marketing executive once remarked, “I know I’m wasting half of myadvertising...
bootstrap start-ups. Any corporation or small business can adapt thisprogram to create marketing and advertising that gene...
any form of supervisory level, the impact and ability to dominate    the neighborhood is lost.Even a Fortune 500 company m...
Imagine for a moment that you own an appliance store. Customerscome to your store and look at a refrigerator, freezer, or ...
this first chapter, youll discover some interesting examples ofneighborhood savvy. These are unusual promotions that illus...
mirror; it will often occur in the most unlikely places. As aneighborhood marketer, you must always be prepared to take ad...
money. One day he received an irate call from the police department.The officer he spoke to was not pleased. He explained ...
commercial messages each month. From the minute you wake up in themorning and put on your Fruit-of-the-Looms or cross your...
A similar, but less risky, idea was used in a nightclub a few yearsearlier. It was about the time when the movie Urban Cow...
determine for yourself what that point is for you and your organization.That brings us to the next Neighborhood Marketing ...
Neighborhood Marketing Secret 6 – Don’t out-spend yourcompetition, out-think them. While this particular secret is a commo...
that impressed me. An account executive who worked at the publicrelations company who handled my publicity told me about a...
quality of the atmosphere. The less the advertising costs, the morevalue the owner could actually give the customer for hi...
My former landlord showed his neighborhood savvy once when he hada problem in the neighborhood where our office building i...
By now, you understand a little of the attitude, and of course you’lldevelop more of that as you learn the step-by-step te...
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7 Secrets Of Successful Neighborhood Marketing Excerpt

  1. 1. Chapter OneSecrets of Neighborhood MarketingA marketing executive once remarked, “I know I’m wasting half of myadvertising budget, but I don’t know which half.” Most business peoplewould probably agree with this, but while that 50 percent may havebeen true a few years ago, today the percentage of wasted advertisingdollars is more likely in the 75-90 percent range.Advertising and promotion cost more and deliver less. Television ratessoar in the face of declining and fragmented viewership. Newspaperrates skyrocket as readership falls. According to The Wall StreetJournal, corporations, big and small, are panicking because theiradvertising and marketing are just not working for them. Advertisingagencies are in a frenzy trying to figure out alternative ways to givetheir clients a better return on their advertising dollars.Consumers are not responding to mass advertising as they once did.Perhaps this is because their tastes have become more regionalized,individualized, and personalized. Corporations are only just learninghow to appeal to the individual tastes of consumers, but they are still ata loss when it comes to marketing to them.The authors of best selling books, including In Search of Excellence,Passion for Excellence, and Hug Your Customer, have pleaded forcorporations to get in touch with their customers. Major companies areusing new, more interactive approaches to advertising; viral marketing,social networking sites, and blogs, to name just a few.This is, perhaps, a step in the right direction, but many businesses arestill missing a tremendous opportunity. Now is the time to outthinkyour competition instead of out-spending them. The problem is thatthinking is a time-consuming process. While I would not presume tothink for you, I would suggest that I can bring next generation businessthinking to your organization, and help you grow your business in theprocess.It took me more than 20 years to develop the Neighborhood Marketingapproach. Much of that time was spent at a major national consultingfirm working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to 1
  2. 2. bootstrap start-ups. Any corporation or small business can adapt thisprogram to create marketing and advertising that generates results. Onesimple underlying principle makes all the difference in the world. Thisprinciple is explained in the following example of a marketing programfor a fast food unit that was in trouble.A well-known fast-food restaurant was having trouble with one of itsstores in a little town in Ohio, about 60 miles from Columbus. In thissmall town, the restaurant had always done a brisk business, until thesummer of 1985. That spring, a second store in the chain opened on theother side of town near the interstate. Management expected some salesloss at their older location, but they didnt count on competing chainsalso opening up in the same small town.Despite running a tight ship and turning out a super product, salesdropped. The pie could only be divided into so many pieces. At thetime, I was interning with the chain’s parent company, and was part ofthe team that was dispatched to the store and given three months towork on the problem. We trained one employee, who was both a crewmember and a breakfast hostess, to set up several customer generatingpromotions in the community. Using the marketing techniques wedeveloped, she arranged with 14 of the 15 major employers in the townto give each one of their employees a special Employee VIP Card. Thelocal Chamber of Commerce mailed out, at their own expense, 12,000of these VIP cards to its members and their employees. Dozens of areamerchants distributed the restaurant’s advertising to their customers forfree. Even the local elementary school distributed special invitations forthe students to visit the restaurant with their parents. In just 90 days,and this was documented by their Regional Supervisor, sales increasedby 21 percent. This was better than they had ever dreamed possibleunder the competitive circumstances. While I cannot much of the creditfor this amazing turnaround—my role as an intern was mostly limitedto fetching and copying—I learned two very important lessons thatwould one day be the genesis of my own program for performingmarketing miracles:1. You get more results from your advertising and marketing efforts if you carry those efforts all the way to the final point of distribution, whether it be a store, dealer, agent, or office.2. In order to be truly effective, the execution of these programs must take place on the neighborhood level by the person or persons who run the operation in that neighborhood. If execution comes from 2
  3. 3. any form of supervisory level, the impact and ability to dominate the neighborhood is lost.Even a Fortune 500 company made up of thousands of individuallocations serving thousands of individual neighborhoods is ultimatelyrun by the individual store managers who have the potential of makinga tremendous difference in the sales volume of their stores if they areproperly trained and motivated. .Another classic example follows:In 2005, I was working with three different pizza franchisees that,between them, owned and operated more than 500 stores. Anotherfranchisor seemed to have very little interest, at that time, in localizedmarketing in any shape or form; but once the word got out about salesincreases and turnarounds in competing stores that had been losingmoney, his franchise store owners wanted the Neighborhood Marketingprogram. Feeling the pressure from his franchisees, this companydeveloped their own localized store marketing program—which theycalled Block2Block Marketing… clever—and launched it during theirannual marketing convention. Their program consisted primarily of asingle manual in a fancy binder. It put more emphasis on the glitterthan the guts. It even came in its own leather carrying case. In theireffort to create the cute packaging—and I have to admit it really WASnice packaging—they forgot to create programs that store owners andmanagers could use. This is the main principle of NeighborhoodMarketing. Customers tend to ignore expensive mass marketing bymass marketers that fails to appeal to their specific localized needs. Orconversely stated; neighborhood customers respond to neighborhoodmarketing conducted by neighborhood business people they can trust.Corporations are looking for an edge over their competitors. You canget this edge by focusing on the community level. You need to adaptyour marketing to your neighborhoods. The chapters that follow areseven “how-to” lessons, each relating an important secret ofNeighborhood Marketing, and a final chapter on executing aNeighborhood Marketing program across a multi-unit business.Regardless of your size, you need to think small in order to reach yourcustomers where they live—in their neighborhoods. An added benefitof the Neighborhood Marketing approach is that it can be done on alimited budget. 3
  4. 4. Imagine for a moment that you own an appliance store. Customerscome to your store and look at a refrigerator, freezer, or perhaps arange. They spend an hour or so getting information and haggling overthe price, then tell you that they “want to think about it.” Of course, youknow that means they want to go across town to Best Buy or CircuitCity and price shop for awhile. On their way, they may waste moretime down the street at the regional competitors. A few hours later theyhave completed their shopping marathon. By then they have totallyforgotten you exist.This actually happened to a client of mine in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Hesaid that customers were price shopping him to death, and he wanted toknow if there was anything that could be done about it. How could hemake sure that he was the last place they shopped, or at least narrowtheir choices to two or three so he had a fighting chance of getting thesale? I had him do several things. One was to plug in one of his freezersand fill it with half gallons of ice cream. A customer would come inand look at a refrigerator, freezer, or a new range. If they said, “Wewant to think about it” (which in the language of customers translatesinto, “We’re not buying from you”), the sales staff was instructed togive that customer a half gallon of ice cream as a “thank you” just forstopping in. Naturally, their hearts melt with enthusiasm for the store,but that’s not all.Imagine the customer is ready to get in the car on a hot and humid day.Heat fumes rise from the hood. The car door is opened and heat escapesfrom inside the car as if opening that new electric oven they just priced.The windows are rolled down and they gingerly slide onto the hot seat,while placing the cold half gallon of premium vanilla ice cream furtherin the middle. Condensation forms on the cold container. The enginecomes to life and the car air conditioner spews forth hot air at first,followed by warm, then finally cooling, relief. Their minds clear. Atthat point, they realize they have a dilemma on their hands—the resultof which is to take their ice cream home immediately, thus keepingthem from further shopping the competition. Later that week, the storedelivers their new electric range.I call this type of audacious, intuitive marketing “neighborhood savvy,”and its concepts form the basis for Neighborhood Marketing.The neighborhood savvy approach to local marketing is a combinationof results-oriented, low cost, and local store promotional techniquesthat are integrated with entrepreneurial spirit, cleverness, and nerve. In 4
  5. 5. this first chapter, youll discover some interesting examples ofneighborhood savvy. These are unusual promotions that illustrate thisvery unique form of business savvy and creative problem solving. Thestories in this chapter are not necessarily meant for you to copy andapply directly, but rather are meant to start you thinking. They’re thecatalyst in the mixture that creates the concrete foundation of thisprogram. Armed with next generation business thinking, you will havethe potential to dramatically increase your sales. You will begin tounderstand the novel psyche and psychology of neighborhood savvythat allows you to out-think your competition not out-spend them.It is the goal of this chapter to set the stage for discovering, developing,and distributing your own customized, results-oriented, local marketingprogram. It’s up to you to determine for yourself just how competitiveand aggressive you want to be. Indeed, some of these examples fall intoa grey area that may make you feel uncomfortable. This isunderstandable. There are a few examples that I would neverrecommend, yet the lessons learned from them offer valuable insight.Take them in the spirit for which they’re intended—open your eyes todifferent and new ways of thinking.This example is from a book called The Great Brain Robbery byMurray Raphel and Ray Considine. A stockbroker on the East Coast,commuting to work daily, paid a toll twice each working day. Beforehe paid his toll, he would look in his rearview mirror. If he saw aLincoln, Cadillac, Mercedes, or Rolls Royce, he would pay not only histoll, but also that of the person behind him. He then left his businesscard with the tollbooth attendant. The guy in the Mercedes would pullup with a dollar bill in his hand, only to be informed that the person inthe car ahead of him had already paid his toll. The attendant would thenusually give the puzzled driver the business card left behind by thestockbroker. Did the attendant ever just throw the business card away?Of course. Did he or she ever take the second driver’s dollar anywayand slip it in his or her pocket. Probably. But that stockbroker got morenew clients from paying a dollar toll than from anything else he did. Iknow what you’re thinking. What does that have to do with me?Perhaps you are not a stockbroker, or you do not pay a toll to get towork.Neighborhood Marketing Secret 1 – Always be on the lookout foropportunities, and be ready to seize them. Keep an “eyes-open, ears-to-the-ground” attitude. You never know where an opportunity toincrease your sales will spring up. It could even be in the rearview 5
  6. 6. mirror; it will often occur in the most unlikely places. As aneighborhood marketer, you must always be prepared to take advantageof every window of opportunity before that window closes on you.Neighborhood Marketing Secret 2 – Don’t try to reinvent the wheel;instead, make small improvements on existing successful programs.A neighborhood marketer truly believes that there is nothing new underthe sun. It has all been done before. The success comes in recognizingthese effective ideas regardless of the source. It may be in your industryor in a completely unrelated industry. Once you identify the idea, thenyou must extract the element of that idea which has merit for you. Nextyou modify, improve, and adapt the idea to make it work for you. In asense, this entire book is an illustration of the second NeighborhoodMarketing secret. You will not read new ideas, but new adaptations ofold ideas. Next generation business thinking isn’t really about newideas so much as it is challenging the old assumptions and finding newways to look at old problems. It doesn’t have to be new or unique to begood—it only has to work.Neighborhood Marketing Secret 3 – When you see something thatworks for someone else borrow it! Why spend thousands of dollarsand hours on formulating new ideas? After all, there are none. Just findsomeone who has an idea that you need, then use it. That’s exactlywhat a lawn and garden operator did in Texas. He heard the tollboothstory, but he knew that the idea really didn’t apply to him. He wasn’t astockbroker, nor did he live on the East Coast. He didn’t have to pay atoll to get to work. Yet, there was something about the story thatinspired him. No, they didn’t have tollbooths, but they did havesomething in their downtown area that was very annoying to many ofhis customers and potential customers: parking meters. This gave himan idea. He created a promotional piece that looked remarkably like thelocal parking ticket. It was the same size and color. It read, “This is nota parking ticket. However, we happened to be going by your car andnoticed that your meter was ready to run out or had already done so. Tohelp you avoid the hassle and expense of paying a $25 fine, we’vetaken the liberty of putting a little money in the meter for you.Compliments of [and you could just as easily insert your companyname here].” As you can imagine, it created quite a lot of attention.Many people talked about it. The lawn and garden operator received alot of phone calls—including one from the local police department.Apparently, they have a policy not to ticket the same car twice. Theofficers were heading downtown ready to get their quota for the day,but all of the cars looked ticketed. It was costing the city a lot of 6
  7. 7. money. One day he received an irate call from the police department.The officer he spoke to was not pleased. He explained to the officerthat he checked with his attorney before making the tickets, and it wasa perfectly legal promotion. “It may be perfectly legal, sir, but need Iremind you that you do have seven registered vehicles on my streets,and I’m sure if my boys look real close, they might be able to findsome...”“Say no more.” Then he started asking the officer some questions. Heknew that when you have an irate customer, you don’t battle; you askquestions. In doing so, you not only find out what the problem is, butby probing and digging with your questions, they’ll usually offer youtheir own solution. Not only that, but it helps you remain in control ofthe conversation as opposed to constantly trying to defend yourself.We’ll discuss this in greater detail in later chapters. By askingquestions, our neighborhood marketer found out about the confusionand the cost to the city in lost revenue. Wanting to remain in control ofthe conversation while helping the officer to suggest his own solution,he continued, “Let me ask you this. If I changed the color of mypromotional piece from red to yellow, would your officers be able totell the difference between the two?”“Is that a trick question? Of course they would.”“And if they could tell the difference between the two, our problem issolved. Right?”“I suppose it would be.”“Fair enough,” he responded, and with that he was able to turn apotential disaster into a successful promotion responsible for gettinghim many new clients without spending a great deal of money oralienating the law enforcement officers.Neighborhood Marketing Secret 4 - Never give up, even whenconfronted with an apparent major disaster or hopeless situation.A neighborhood savvy marketer adapts and overcomes until success isachieved. The reason you have to have this approach to your marketingis because advertising just doesn’t work like it once did. One of thebiggest problems is that there is so much advertising (or clutter, asadvertising people are fond of referring to it) that most people just tuneit out. We are exposed to hundreds of advertising messages every day.One recent article suggests that we are exposed to over 50 thousand 7
  8. 8. commercial messages each month. From the minute you wake up in themorning and put on your Fruit-of-the-Looms or cross your heart withPlaytex until you go to bed at night and pop out your Bausch & Lombcontact lenses, set your GE alarm clock and jump in your Serta PerfectSleeper, you are constantly bombarded with advertising. You can’tremember all of this advertising, so your brain protects you by tuningout all but a very small number of these messages. One of the goals ofNeighborhood Marketing is to create advertising that is not perceivedas advertising and therefore provides a greater opportunity for themessage to have retention, recall, and response.This next idea was used by a car dealership in Kentucky, and I highlyrecommend that you do not use it. It illustrates a precaution: Once youstart to get into the swing of things, you may have a tendency to gooverboard. You must be aware of those grey areas as mentioned earlierand not cross over into an area that can backfire on you. At the sametime, you can’t be afraid to take a chance. You can learn more fromyour failures than from your successes.Back in the early 1990’s, the manager of a car dealership noticed thatTuesday was a very slow day for his dealership traffic-wise, and hetried all kinds of promotions for building it up, but to no avail. One dayhe was thumbing through a novelties catalog and happened to comeacross something that gave him and idea. A few phone calls later, theelements of his promotion were in place and within a day or two a hugesign promising a “Free Car Phone for Anyone Who Stops In OnTuesday. No Purchase Necessary.” Now, a couple of explanations areprobably in order here, especially for those who can’t recall a timewhen the President wasn’t named Bush or Clinton. In the early 90’s,everyone did not carry a mobile phone the size of a pack of gum, likethey do today. A car phone was something of a status symbol. Theywere expensive to purchase, to install and to operate. So the offer of afree car phone was the equivalent of, say, a free iPhone today. Itcreated quite a stir, and when Tuesday came, it was the busiest day thedealership had seen in months. The manager began to think that he mayhave gone a little bit too far as customer after customer left on testdrives. This feeling arose from the fact that what he was really givingaway was a toy car that looked like a phone, a plastic novelty item forwhich he paid $10 a dozen. To his credit, he met every one of thosecustomers face-to-face when they returned from their test drives,handed them their free “car phones” and took the heat, of which therewas much. 8
  9. 9. A similar, but less risky, idea was used in a nightclub a few yearsearlier. It was about the time when the movie Urban Cowboy came out,and the newest fad in bars was the mechanical bull. The club was adance-type place, but in a small town you compete with all the bars.Word had gone out that one of the other places in town had ordered oneof those $8000 monstrosities, and the owner knew the novelty of amechanical bull could be a serious threat. He sprung into action. Hesent out a press release, well in advance of the competitor’s bull debut,announcing the debut of the area’s first mechanical horse! Thismechanical horse was not to be confused with a mechanical bull, sincethe horse was specifically designed for the purposes of amusement,while the bull was actually a training device for professional rodeoparticipants. To the best of his knowledge, there was never an injury ina single nightclub with his particular model. The night of thepromotion, the club was packed wall-to-wall with customers, news-team cameras, and photographers. The event was co-sponsored by thelocal country music radio station, which dubbed the program “BourbonCowboy Night” because all bourbon drinks were on special. Theunveiling was planned for 10:00 P.M., and the anticipation wastremendous. The disk jockey from the radio station put on the old hitsong, “Back in the Saddle Again.” As it played, he ducked behind thecurtain and jumped on the horse as the curtain was lifted. And there itwas—the mechanical horse. Just like the kind you would find in frontof a supermarket; the kind that a kid could ride for a quarter. Everyonelaughed and had a great time with our little joke—after all they’d beendrinking half-price bourbon all night long—except one cowboy whodrove about 300 miles to practice for a rodeo. He was angry. It tookclose to a half hour and some intervention from Mr. Jack Daniels tocalm him down. The next day, he peaceably got back in his pickup anddrove off into the sunrise. It was certainly somewhat risky, but the clubwas able to pull it off. It allowed them to kick off their “Every TuesdayBourbon Cowboy Promotion” with the station that turned a dead nightinto a night of reasonable sales. Furthermore, it took some of the steamout of the competition when they did debut their “bull” some weekslater. Their promotion just never got all of the excitement it might haveif the “promotional vaccination” hadn’t taken place first. Even whenthe local newspaper did a full-page spread featuring their “bull,” aportion of the article mentioned the “horsey,” as well.Even though both of these last two promotions got their desired results,they did so under very special circumstances. You must be careful toknow just how far you can push, which rules to bend, and how far tobend them. There is a point where it’s no longer worth it. You have to 9
  10. 10. determine for yourself what that point is for you and your organization.That brings us to the next Neighborhood Marketing secret:Neighborhood Marketing Secret 5 – Never gamble, but always beready to take a calculated risk. In business, you take risks all the timewhile trying to minimize your potential losses and maximize yourpotential gains. You must take risks to develop a local store marketingprogram that really works, and you will certainly have some failures.It’s part of the game, but youll have plenty of success stories, too, andyour program will grow.There are three basic ways to increase sales: 1) get more customers; 2)get your customers to visit you more often; and 3) get your customersto spend more during each visit. The Neighborhood Marketing programaddresses all three. The following case is an example of the thirdconcept.This is another restaurant example. You will notice that the majority ofthe examples in this book are restaurants and retail stores. While thesecrets of Neighborhood Marketing can be applied to any business,from brain surgery to poop-scooping, there are certain elements of therestaurant and retail sectors that make them ideal candidates forNeighborhood Marketing; more on this later. This particular restaurantserved, without a doubt, the best banana cream pies in the world. Yet,they sold very little banana cream pie. Their dessert sales in generalwere low. So the manager ran a contest. The server who sold the mostbanana cream pies during the month would win an entire banana creampie—and get to throw it in the manager’s face! You’ve never seen sucha motivated crew in your life. These servers really wanted to push thosepies. They would ask the customers if they wanted pie for dessert. Theysuggested pie for dessert. They would bring a piece over for thecustomer to see just how wonderful it was. They were even sellingwhole pies to go!The result of the contest was that it increased dessert sales for themonth by 50 percent. Keep in mind that these are added sales andadded profit, not trading one item for another.Interestingly enough, the long-term result after the contest ended was a20 percent increase in dessert sales. The servers experienced forthemselves just how easy it was to sell dessert, and they had a lot of funin the process. Their customers perceived this as quality service, andtheir tips reflected it. 10
  11. 11. Neighborhood Marketing Secret 6 – Don’t out-spend yourcompetition, out-think them. While this particular secret is a commontheme for the entire Neighborhood Marketing concept, there are somespecific examples of battling your competition in this way. You mustlook for every opportunity to do everything better than them; you willalso often have opportunities to do battle directly with them.A video appliance store in Colorado was reasonably successful for anumber of years. It was a small family business featuring DVD playersand big screen TVs, as well as the more traditional audio/video lines.They made a nice living and never really had to hustle much until amajor national competitor moved to town. This competitor wasbuilding a big box store just a few blocks from theirs, and it seemed asif they had an unlimited advertising budget. When it came time for thismajor competitor to have their grand opening extravaganza, they sparedno expense. Full-page newspapers ads, radio and TV all promoted thegrand opening of this new store. The smaller store felt beaten. Howcould this mom-and-pop operation compete with such a major companyand such a huge advertising budget? This was a true-to-life “David andGoliath” story. What this merchant needed to compete was apromotional sling. This came in the form of a miniature helium blimpthat the small store flew above their own store the day of the GrandOpening of their competition. They put some streamers and otherdecorations out in their small parking lot, and on their reader board nearthe road you could read: “Now Open.”. They didn’t say “GrandOpening,” but “Now Open,” which was true! Half the people gotconfused and went to the smaller store by accident. It was the mostsuccessful promotion they ever ran—all at the expense of their newcompetitor.Neighborhood Marketing Secret 7 - Create an “everyone-wins”situation. The only possible exception to this rule is, of course, yourcompetition.The first time I told this next story to a reporter, I got in trouble. Thereporter insisted that I was deceiving the public, but no matter how Itried to explain that it was an effective yet harmless promotion, thereporter kept blasting me about it. I havent used it much since, eventhough I think it’s a good story.As far as marketing techniques go, I doubt if there’s much directapplication to most operations, yet it’s the cleverness of this solution 11
  12. 12. that impressed me. An account executive who worked at the publicrelations company who handled my publicity told me about a restaurantin a large metropolitan area that placed a small ad in the entertainmentsection of the newspaper. Even though it was a reasonably small ad, itwas still expensive, because in a large city, the circulation is high. Thesmall ad announced the opening of an elegant new restaurant whereyou could expect the finest delicacies that were prepared to perfectionby a team of world-renowned chefs. Reservations were a must. Noaddress was given; only the phone number to reserve your table. . .The small ad got responses; many people called, but they wereimmediately informed that the restaurant was so busy that they couldnot possibly take their reservations. As a matter of fact, the maitre’dsaid he could not take a reservation for at least three weeks and toplease call back at that time. The ad continued to run about once amonth, and people called and were asked to call back two or threeweeks later because they were so busy.After a couple of months of this, many people were talking about thisrestaurant. It was creating quite a stir, yet everyone had difficultygetting reservations. “It must be a wonderful place; I can’t rememberwhen it took so long to get into a restaurant.” After about three monthsand numerous attempts by hundreds of people, they were finally giventheir reservations… and their expectations were met. The establishmentwas everything they dreamed of and more—including being popular.Those without reservations waited hours, and this was early in the weekwhen most places are lucky to fill a third of their tables. This restaurantwas obviously a big success. What they didnt know was that it hadbeen under construction for those first three months. As a result of theirclever use of a small newspaper ad, the restaurant owners were able tocreate tremendous interest and word-of-mouth advertising long beforethey opened. To make that kind of impact with a more traditionalapproach would have cost them 20 to 30 percent more in traditionaladvertising. At no time did they lie. When they got calls, they said theywere “busy.” They were—they were busy painting and hammering. Dideveryone win? It may be a bit of a stretch, but when you really thinkabout it, everyone did. The restaurant won because they were able topack the place from the first day using a shoestring ad budget.But what about the consumer? To make this same impact, the ownerwould have spent a great deal of money in advertising. That additionalexpense has to be recouped somehow, whether in the price of themeals, the quality of the ingredients, the size of the portions, or the 12
  13. 13. quality of the atmosphere. The less the advertising costs, the morevalue the owner could actually give the customer for his money. Hedid provide a tremendous value, so in this situation, everyone won. · · ·In the PinkThere have been some interesting ways in which businesses have dealtwith competition over the years. One that comes to mind is the storyabout the rivalry between the canners and distributors of pink salmonand those of red salmon. Unlike all of the other examples mentioned sofar where I was either personally involved or knew the person who was,I was never able to trace the origin of this story to see how true it was;yet, whether it’s fact or fable (or a little of both), I think it illustrates theneighborhood marketer’s attitude of “out—thinking” your competition.According to the story, pink salmon outsold red salmon by a hugemargin. The red salmon folks were not too happy about this, so theycalled their marketing team to the executive offices for a major pow-wow. “You have 90 days to start closing the gap on pink salmon, oryou’ll be given your pink slips!”They were motivated. Three months passed, and sales began to climb.It was a definite move forward, so the executives let them continue foranother few months. By the end of the fifth month, they realized it wasno fluke, but a real upward trend in sales; They brought their marketingteam up to the executive suite for a little cocktail party, to be followedby a marketing presentation. They wanted to know the reason for theirnew-found success. After the champagne, caviar, and red salmoncroquettes, the head of the marketing team was asked to explain exactlyhow they were able to reverse their sales trends. He simply answered,“We redesigned the label on our cans.” “That’s it? You have to bekidding. You change our label and sales go up?” There was quite acommotion among the executives until a couple of the marketingassistants placed a large mock-up of the new label design on an easelfor them all to see. The label read, “Authentic Norwegian Red Salmon,Guaranteed Not to Turn Pink.” ···Neighborhood Savvy 13
  14. 14. My former landlord showed his neighborhood savvy once when he hada problem in the neighborhood where our office building is located. Itwas in downtown Huntersville, just east of the Interstate, where thebuildings were built in the 40’s and 50’s and had been recentlyrenovated. According to my landlord, when they first renovated thebuilding, some kids in the neighborhood threw rocks through all of thebrand new windows. Our landlord was reluctant to immediately replacethose windows; he wanted to wait until he found a way to protect themfrom the vandals. He finally put a hand-painted sign on the buildingwhich stayed up through the rest of the renovation. It read, “If youbreak these windows, you will go to jail. Ask Jimmie Plunket!” I askedhim who Jimmie Plunket was and he said, “I don’t know, but you suredon’t see him around here anymore, do you?”You can use neighborhood savvy to solve just about any kind ofproblem or to make the best of any type of situation. Sometimes youjust have to deal with things that happen to you. But as a neighborhoodsavvy marketer, you don’t let these little problems get in your way;instead, you turn them into opportunities.Such was the case with my name. Although not spelled the same,phonetically my name is pronounced the same as John Merrick, theElephant Man. The first time I noticed that my name was going tocause me some minor notoriety was during my freshman year incollege, just after the movie with Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt hadbecome a big hit. On the first day of class about half of my professorsread down the class roster, said my name and added, “the ElephantMan.” Under the circumstances, there wasn’t much I could do, exceptgrin and bear it, and be glad my name wasn’t Constance Simon, thepoor girl whose name was repeatedly mispronounced by a heavilyaccented professor as “Constant Seeman;” eliciting more than a grin ortwo from the class of 18 year olds. I still occasionally get, “theElephant Man” when introducing myself, but now have a betterresponse. The real elephant man’s name was NOT John Merrick, it wasJoseph Merrick.In looking back at all the crazy things that have happened, it’sinteresting to consider that the neighborhood savvy marketer in ushelps us make the most of any situation. The rest of this book isdesigned to help you get the most from your marketing, advertising andpromotions by adding a new dimension to your existing marketingstrategy—local, neighborhood-level marketing—based on the sevensecrets of successful neighborhood marketing.. 14
  15. 15. By now, you understand a little of the attitude, and of course you’lldevelop more of that as you learn the step-by-step techniques and skillsto becoming a neighborhood savvy marketer. As you begin to developyour own program, please keep in mind that to get the most out of it,you must have fun with it. This is a very serious program, yet if you doeverything you can to make it fun and exciting for those whowill be trained to use it on the local level, your results willincrease dramatically. ··· 15
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