Monday, February 18, 2013

Box, What Box?

Lately I've been reading and writing about the wonders of marketing partnerships as they relate to timeshares. I believe that in one of my recent columns I was talking about tying timeshares into products that "fit"; such as suitcase retailers, ski shops, etc.

In reality, what you need to do is design your own potential owner base by partnering with those entities that mirror what you want your owner base to look like. Sound confusing? It's simple.

Do you want your owner base to have similar lifestyles, habits, income, etc. to yourself? Great (or not so great). What do you do for fun? Where do you shop? How do you entertain? With whom do you associate?

Example. I'm from Chicago. There is a wonderful, upscale accessory and home furnishings store headquartered in Chicago. They've been in existence for more than 30 years I believe, and I would venture to say that they have done extensive market and psychographic research to determine exactly who their customer is. I'll lay you odds, that store's customer is timeshare's customer.

So what is a marketer to do? Think outside the box. You've heard me say it again and again and again… JUST BECAUSE IT HASN'T BEEN DONE BEFORE IS EXACTLY THE REASON TO GO AFTER IT. Call their marketing department. Make some inquiries. Ask. You never know until you ask.

There are three things that stop most people in the timeshare industry from thinking outside the box and if you fall into this category, I will warn you now you will not be happy with me:

1)       Fear of the unknown
2)       General laziness
3)       Not enough belief in your own product

I'll spare you a lecture on the first two… most of my columns address these. But the third is greatly overlooked. If you don't believe in your own product, you will be less likely to tell others about it. Just like a salesperson that truly does not believe in timeshare and suffers low sales because of it, if you do not believe in your own product, you are defeated before you even start.

Marketers in general have long been guilty of focusing on the marketing rather than the product. How much do you know about your own product? How much do you believe in the product? If you had to go out and give a non-sales presentation about timeshare to the general public, what would you say? What would you know? Would you come across as enthusiastic? Do you own a timeshare of your own, or merely take the perks of the industry?

Speaking as a former salesperson/manager, I consider there to be three things essential to purchasing timeshare: a willingness and/or desire to vacation, half a working brain and a willingness and ability to spend some money. So where would you find those people? I'll bet you that some of them would be found shopping the aisles of my favorite store in Chicago.

Marketing is not a one size fits all, one try and you hit the jackpot business. No marketing source, no OPC location, no mini-vacation hits all the time. The best would probably garner a 30% success.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying something different with a small percentage of your marketing budget.

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