It’s funny what it takes to force us to change. Moreover, it’s crazy what it takes to make us “move”.
In October 2008, I was fired from my job in broadcast TV management. Rather unceremoniously, I was dumped from a job I'd poured myself into because a new owner decided the company was "management heavy." I (along with a number of other seasoned vets across the company) suddenly found myself unemployed. For me, it was the first time 27 years I hadn't had some type of job.
It was difficult; however, looking back on it now, I'm incredibly grateful it happened. If I wouldn't have been fired, I probably would have never done anything different. I wouldn't have “moved”.
LIFE "MOVES" ON:
About three weeks after being dismissed I decided to start my own company. I wasn't entirely sure what the company was going to be but I knew it would involve marketing, advertising and other similar facets. I made the decision to "move" and then I worked like heck trying to connect all the dots. It didn't take long for things to come into focus.
On day one of the new company, I knew almost nothing about the field of Parks and Recreation (P&R). Other than a summer working as a Day Camp Coordinator and Softball Complex Manager while in college, I'd had exactly zero interaction with Parks and Recreation professionals.
However, within six months after creating our company, we created a product for a privately-owned waterpark. That product (Neptune Splash Radio) quickly started gaining traction in the waterpark world, and over time it also helped open doors within the P&R world as municipally-owned waterparks started buying it from us.
At its core, “Splash Radio” was designed to help our partners control the music they played; ensuring it would be family-friendly. It also allowed them to internally promote and even sell advertising. Most of our partners embraced the idea of making extra money, but some resisted in a big way. Care to guess which ones?
If you guessed our parks and recreation field partners, you’re right. There were notable exceptions, but most of our P&R partners said they didn't want to attempt to generate sponsorship revenues. The two most common reasons given were:
Reason Number One:
"We don't have the staff."
Reason Number Two:
"We've never done that before."
The first excuse puzzled me, because at that time our company had a total of four employees (if you included my dog Suzi, who spent every day with me in the office and was an excellent sounding board to my crazy ideas). We didn't have enough personnel to do ANYTHING; however, we figured out a way.
The second (we've never done that before) excuse was a bit more understandable; it's hard to change. It's hard to move away from that to which you are accustomed. We began the process of trying to educate our partners on exactly how easy it could be to generate additional revenues through advertising sales or partnerships. Slowly but surely it started working.
WHERE WE "MOVED" TO:
Today, we have more than 50 great partners in the parks and recreation field, and many of them have experienced success at generating sponsorship/advertising revenues. Some of them have done this on their own with zero assistance required, while others needed our help to create a plan. Either way, these particular P&R partners have one thing in common: they made a decision to move away from the status quo, get creative and do something different.
In future Brand Aid entries, I'll share specific examples of P&R partners that have had great success expanding their budgets by securing sponsors and advertisers. Trust me, the money is there for the taking if you are willing to MOVE and do things a bit differently.
Affordable and Accessible Marketing Education
The concept of the Brand+Aid Conference was born from the desire to educate public-sector staff about marketing and social media.
To be successful in today’s competitive business culture, we must be open to new ideas and be wiling to evolve. At the Brand+Aid Institute in Charlotte, NC, (the day before NRPA Congress begins) and the Brand+Aid Conference in Grand Prairie, TX, attendees are exposed to an array of new-age marketing tools and tactics.
If marketing in the digital world confuses and frustrates you, then Brand+Aid Marketing just might be the right tool to get you and your staff up-to-speed.
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