Parade Your Company around Town Proudly
Thursday, June 24, 2010
By Pattie Baker
I have been an applauding enthusiast along the parade route of the largest Independence Day parade in my state for fifteen years now. It is a fun, everyone-encouraged-to-march showcase for local politicians, swim teams, church groups, and school bands. That asphalt is also “prime real estate” for every single local business. The undivided attention of thousands of spectators in an upscale, family-friendly city where a majority of residents are homeowners means that the local toy store, landscaping company, car dealership, junk hauling operation, painting company and more had a captive audience that would forever after remember them as supporters of the community. And did I mention that participation is free? A good marketing deal, if you ask me.
The car dealers had it easy. Decorate the cars a bit and drive ‘em down the street. A no brainer. Can you tell me why only one car dealership did it, then? And guess what? It’s several days later and I can still tell you which one. Not only that, but the neighbor with whom I was sitting told me how her garage holds two cars from that dealership and how wonderful it is. Talk about positive word-of-mouth. And the fact that my husband is car-shopping right now makes it even more germane. I wasn’t surprised when I visited this car dealer’s website to find these words: We have remained true to our friendly, family business heritage.
The local toy store had a cute float, complete with oversized toys and a bubble-blowing machine. I forget about that toy store, but as it went by I remembered how I’ve always found interesting gifts there and I made a mental note to check that store out first for a gift next time I need one.
A soon-to-be-opened miniature golf course took its moment in the sun seriously. In addition to handing out flyers, company owners gave out large foam golf balls and told a sea of potential customers to bring these in for a free game of golf. Every member of my family made sure to get one, and we’re already marking a date on the calendar. Smart, smart, smart way to get us there to check it out—and perhaps make miniature golfing a treasured tradition!
We also got free Italian ice coupons and lots of coupons for money off various products and services for a limited time. I found out about a free online resource for families to find fun volunteer opportunities. And I think I may have nailed the party idea for my husband’s upcoming “big” birthday!
I didn’t find someone to clean my carpets, fix my garbage disposal or scrub my windows, unfortunately. Those local businesses just didn’t show up—and my goodness, they missed a terrific opportunity.
What about cities in your market coverage area? What are the “big events”? Does any city near you have a community-wide block party or music fest or chili cook-off? Is there a fall festival or a holiday extravaganza or a summer regatta? Don’t miss these easy ways to connect with ready-to-buy customers in a relaxed, memorable environment. Have some fun. Give stuff away. Bring out the whole team and show enthusiasm. To use a (miniature) golf reference, why handicap yourself by not being in the game?