What I learned At Castaway Bay And How you Can Profit From It

One of my niches in my speaking & seminar business are direct mail advertising companies.

I spoke at the annual (I think) meeting of the Town Money Saver franchisees. It was in Castaway Bay (a part of Cedar Point) in Sandusky Ohio.

First, let me get a very profitable idea to you. The Town Money Saver CEO Bill Zirzow introduced a direct mail product that is a postcard, 5 " ½ X 8 " ½ inches, four color, for about 20 cents each. Frankly, you can get postcards mailed to your area for a lot less. Here's why I'm excited about this; These are addressed to names you provide" like your customer list.

The 20 cents pays for the card, printing, addressing, and mailing,

They do everything for half the cost of a stamp.

This is a product that is so new, I don't think the price I gave you is set in stone. If you're interested, I can give you my rep's phone number.

There was a speaker from Cedar Point. He was in charge of the Marketing. He looked to be about 25 years old, and said he had been doing this for about a year. His ad budget was $500,000 a year.

He talked about how they didn't advertise in the summer because " they didn't need to"  and he showed us his direct mail coupons.

He showed us how, in his ads, he took out all the descriptions of all the attractions and replaced it with Cedar Point's Logo and two coupons for money off.

Everyone in the audience agreed with what he said.

I was stunned by what I heard.

First, he doesn't want to advertise during the season when everyone would normally go to a theme park.

We sell heaters. Would we refuse to advertise them in the winter because " we don't need to" ? Not on your life.

This speaker was more concerned with having an even flow of customers all year round. He wanted to advertising in the colder month, when his advertising would be least effective.

He also said that this year was the first year that Cedar Point tracked their ad response. He said that up until this year, the ad budget was $1,000,000 a year. They just cut it in half this year.

Someone asked what training he had to get this position. He said he was trained in graphic design.

I'll give him this; He instituted ad response tracking. At least now they have the technology to test their ads.

Later, I was talking with a Franchisee of the Town Money Saver. He asked my opinion.

I said; " Good speech. Everything he said is what most people who advertise believe. You advertise when it will work the best. He should be investing his money in getting people into Cedar Point when the customer's want to buy. Then the customer will go to Cedar Point instead of going fishing. Also, he took out of his ads all the information that sells Cedar Point. Now, if the reader doesn't already know what's there, all they will know from his coupon is that they will save money.

And they have an ad budget. If the ads are generating more profit than they cost, why would you limit the profits by imposing a budget? And if the ads lose money, why run them at all? This guy has the power to save the company, or run it into the ground. But he hasn't read a single book on advertising (I asked after his talk). He hasn't studied what other theme parks are doing. He hasn't even gone to another theme park. Half a million dollars a year...down the drain" .

He looked at me " Claude. What if the park is full during the Summer?" 

I asked " Is it? Is that their problem" too many customers? If too many people show up, they can raise their prices to thin the herd and increase profits" .

He stared at me like I was from Mars.

Anyway, I gave my talk, set up a few seminars to give to the Town Money Saver advertisers, shared a beer, and left.

One key conversation I had was as follows;

Ad Rep: " Claude, one advertiser I have is not happy with the results of the ad. He says the people it brings in aren't buying. I told him that our job is just to get them to the door. What he does with them afterwards isn't my problem. Am I right?" 

Me; " No. You can sell ads that way. But if you construct the ad to attract buyers, by advertising specific offers, you'll be generating sales for this advertiser. He'll never complain & never leave you. Won't that be fun?" 

He looked at me (unfortunately, I said this in a group) and said " I don't know what you're talking about" . and walked away.

My mistake. I should have just agreed with him, and that would have been that. It was too early in the relationship. He didn't want instruction; he just wanted re-enforcement of his opinion.

What can you take from this?

The Town Money Saver has a Postcard (oversized) that you can mail to your list for 20 cents including everything. You don't even have to be in their area. It can be mailed anywhere in the USA.

Advertise when the " fish are biting" . Don't advertise a product when it's " out of season" .

Track your ad results. He easiest way is to staple the ad (or coupon) they bring in at the top of the receipt & add them up at the end of the month. You can also just write the sale amount on the back of the coupon (or ad) and put them in a box. It's very easy to add these up.

We also ask what brought them in our store and write it on the top of every receipt. We only do this on vacuum cleaner or other higher dollar sales.

On the 6th & 7th of June, I'm going through the Town Money Saver Franchisee Training program. Two days away from my store.

Why am I investing 2 days in this training? Do I think I'll learn more about advertising from them? Maybe.

But the reason I'm going is to learn more about the Town Money Saver; What they teach their reps and how they sell to their advertisers.

Remember my harping about building your Herd? (in many previous newsletters, speeches, & recordings)

I have, at present, two Herds, One herd consists of Retailers who subscribe to this Newsletter.

My next herd is made up of Direct Mail Advertising companies who sell advertising. This is a new herd. If fact it's so new, they don't know they are in it yet. Yup. You can have more than one Herd.

So why am I going? To learn more about my second Herd; to be able to align my selling (to them) with what they already believe.

I want to know my customer. After I learn about the Town Money Saver I'll have a good grasp about how to approach & sell every other Direct Mail Advertising Company.

And why would I want to do that?

Because their customer's are retailers and small business advertisers. I want these companies to let me give seminars to their advertisers to tech them how to use direct mail to generate profits and of course to sell my newsletter and other materials.

Why is this important to you? 
Investing time and money in learning about what your Herd thinks, believes, and wants, is one of the best investments you can make.

Best reason for great customer service" "  
" Why strive to make customers happy? I live in this town. When a customer waves at me" I want them to use all their fingers"  " “ Claude

Click Here To Return To More Articles By Claude Whitacre

Click Here To Return To ClaudeWhitacre.com