Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ideas that "Pop!"

In my “What is Marketing?” blog entry, I discussed “the 4 Ps” of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement (distribution).  The fourth P, Placement, seems straight forward and unexciting.  It generally gets me thinking of logistics and product delivery methods.  (Yawn.)

But when I thought a little harder, I was led to an outstanding example of what modifying a traditional distribution channel can do.

Robert Reed, Executive Director of the Corpus Christi Symphony, is an enthusiastic and “outside the box” thinker.  When he moved to Corpus Christi just over a year ago, one of his biggest goals was to take the Symphony to the public.  And boy, did he do it!

Most people expect to see the symphony in a performing arts venue.  Robert took the Corpus Christi Symphony outdoors.  He took it to Whataburger Field! 

“Pops in the Park,” was an enormous success.  More than 4,500 locals enjoyed a military fly over, patriotic symphony music, dancing lights on the Harbor Bridge, and a massive fireworks display.  The Symphony reached out to the general public and brought a community together for a fun and affordable evening of music and family entertainment for all.

“Pops in the Park” gave Corpus Christi an event to be proud of.  It literally left people begging for more.

Most businesses think in terms of advertising and promotion, when sometimes, thinking creatively is much more appropriate.  In this case, the Corpus Christ Symphony modified its traditional distribution channel, expanding their audience, increasing publicity, and easily exceeding fundraising goals.

Bravo, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Is the (Prospective) Customer Always Right?

A contact of mine referred a small business owner who needed help registering to work with the government.  He was overwhelmed with systems and unsure how to write a capabilities statement.  I was thrilled for the opportunity.  Nothing is more fun than helping a small business owner!

When I picked up the phone, my bubble busted.  The harsh tone of the individual on the other line was short and curt.  Without hearing a word from me, he seemed convinced I was going to dupe him.  He asked my billable rate.  I told him, and he suggested I think about it and call him back. 

I called him back and again detailed costs and requirements of his project.  He wanted a guarantee he would win government work.  And a 50% price discount.  And for me to cover his company’s risk as a contingency to getting paid.  He admitted it appeared he was getting a better deal, but said there was no way he would work with me any other way.

As a new business owner, I want to put my best foot forward and help other small businesses.  I do not want my clients to feel taken advantage of, and I seek the same for myself.

With a smile and well wishes, I let this prospect know I was sorry but unable to accept his proposal. 

Although I’m one client and one project less, I am proud for having the courage to defend the value of myself and my company.  It wasn’t a paycheck, but it definitely feels worth something.