Schmarder On 'Building Marketing Resources'
Evanne Schmarder is the principal at Roadabode Productions, a firm specializing in digital marketing strategy, consulting and education for the outdoor recreation industry and is the co-author of “Unconventional Wisdom Works.” She’s also the host and producer of the "RV Cooking Show." She wrote the following column for the July issue of Woodall's Campground Management. Evanne gets great satisfaction out of helping business owners maximize their marketing potential and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 460-9863.
In today's fast-paced online marketing environment nary a day passes without a new "must have" tool emerging, a platform enhancement that requires your attention, or a statistic or report that may hold an important nugget or two of wisdom. Certainly a savvy marketer wants to stay up to date but the reality is that you also have a business that requires your daily care and feeding. So the question presents itself, how does one keep up with it all? It’s exhausting just to think about it, huh?
An Abundance of Educational Tools
There are a number of e-mail newsletters and websites that offer a plethora of information, for free. A simple subscription will deliver daily, weekly or occasional updates directly to your inbox. For a 30,000-foot view on general business trends and practices I enjoy Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com and FastCompany.com. Subscribers receive frequent e-blasts that include a brief summary of magazine highlights.
Providing research on a number of digital topics, Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project (www.pewinternet.org) gives digital marketers concrete data on topics that may help them understand the behaviors of their customers. In fact, a recent e-mail shares findings on 2013 smartphone ownership. Here's the report teaser: 56% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind; Android and iPhone owners account for half of the cell phone user population. Higher income adults and those under age 35 lead the way when it comes to smartphone ownership.
Your job is to tease out the parts that matter to your business and figure out how to use that data to your advantage.
For pure digital marketing content, a few of the several resources I look to are MarketingSherpa.com – e-mail marketing experts; ReelSEO.com – video marketing experts; and Mashable.com – a mishmash of online info, some valuable, some nonsense.
Lastly, peer-to-peer discussion exchanges can provide you with different perspectives, new ideas and concepts, and a general sounding board for any topical situations you may be experiencing. LinkedIn.com is ideal for this and there are a few really great groups you might consider joining. One of the most active, diverse, and informative is Horizon RV Resorts president and founder Randy Hendrickson’s RV Park Biz, where folks from all walks of the industry and all across the world convene to share observations, experiences, and resources in which they’ve found value. This LinkedIn group is “closed” so you must ask to join.
In a recent “discussion” started by active group member Edward Brooker, he asked, “Why do you come to this group?” Long-time industry guru (and WCM columnist) David Gorin commented, “I'm here because I think this is the 21st century equivalent of networking in the hallways at industry meetings, across the lunch table at a convention, or in the men's room (and I assume in the ladies room although I've not had that experience). All the benefits with little or no cost in dollars or time. Takes the old park industry "cracker-barrel" to new heights.” No wonder Hendrickson finds LinkedIn delivers “lively, illuminating, thought-provoking conversation all across the spectrum.”
But Is There a Single Point-of-Reference
Resource for Outdoor Hospitality?
Because digital marketing is my business I take the time to frequently peruse each of these educational resources and many more and I very much enjoy it. That being said, I've not come across a single information-rich digital marketing resource that directly addresses the specific needs of campgrounds, RV parks and resorts… so I created one. Digital Marketing for the Outdoor Recreation Industry: Digital marketing insights, trends, tips and tricks for businesses dedicated to promoting great outdoor experiences is a monthly online publication dedicated to serving park owners, operators, marketers, and others promoting outdoor recreation. The e-magazine offers readers the latest digital marketing news, information, and food for thought as it relates to running an outdoor hospitality and recreation business.
For example, May's inaugural issue, found at http://bit.ly/18TDqL7, took a close-up look at recent – and extremely useful for marketers – changes to Facebook's cover photo rules, an article detailing the difference between social media and digital marketing (hint: one is a tactic and the other is a strategy), a nifty infographic titled 36 Rules of Social Media, and a handy-dandy 2013 marketing clock to help you plan your park's special events. Some content is original while other pieces are hand-chosen from a number of tried and true resources. Either way, inside the virtual pages you'll find each and every article relevant to our industry. It’s an easy and elegant solution to unnecessary information overload while providing news you need right now.
Seasoned marketers as well as small mom and pop parks can utilize this free resource designed for and targeted to the outdoor hospitality and recreation industry by subscribing at http://mad.ly/signups/80988/join. You’ll receive notification of each issue as soon as it’s released. Because it runs on Flash, it’s not viewable on iPads or iPhones but can be seen on all computers via all browsers.
Learn It, Live It
Notice I didn't say love it. We both know that many folks simply don't love modern marketing. It's OK to view it as a necessary evil but a less than optimal idea to forgo this important business-building tool. Instead of reinventing the wheel or spending hours sifting through non-applicable articles in search of something that applies to your park, pick the brain of this industry expert – me – and choose to use the sparkling gems I’ve unearthed to serve you and your business.