What’s In Store

Wouldn’t you like to put any worries that you might have about next season’s camp enrollment in your rearview mirror? Making your camp “the” place where campers want to be can be easily achieved if you employ some simple but effective marketing management strategies.

The Reality of Perception

So, how can you cultivate the perception that your camp’s popularity is soaring and that to secure a space in next year’s camp means completing an application ASAP to avoid being put on the waiting list?

The answer is in a concept called marketing management. Marketing management involves taking care of business with the basic four Ps of marketing in mind: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. All four of these Ps interact and complement each other.

The interrelationship between the four Ps of marketing should be the focus of effective marketing management. High energy can be created when all four principles of marketing are given equal attention.

If you look at businesses that have failed or have been slow to take off, most of their owners put the marketing principle of promotion on the back burner.

One of the mindsets that can lead to this mistake is the belief that if the product is superb, the word will spread and the campers will enroll.

Another mindset that can neglect the principle of promotion is the belief that a beautiful camp, located in an ideal setting will create demand and, in turn, full enrollments.

And perhaps the least effective mindset (usually resorted to if all else fails), is that healthy camp enrollments can be all about price. Chop the price to undercut the competition and maybe camp enrollments will improve.

These mindsets may seem extreme at first glance but think about it… It could seem quite logical to believe that having innovative programs with a dynamic staff (the Product), with gorgeous, state of the art camp facilities (Place) at a reasonable camp tuition (Price) would make everyone want to enroll and that the high quality of the camp will sell itself.

After all, most people appreciate high quality. However, consider this logic: If the marketing principle of promotion is being employed by a lot of other camps, people may never discover that your camp (as great as it is) even exists.

From this perspective, it should be pretty clear that the contribution of promotion in marketing management is just as important as product, price and place, especially when you are struggling to fill camper enrollments and long to enjoy the security of long waiting lists.

Promotion’s Secret Weapon

There are many promotional techniques to get the word out about your camp: the Web, print media advertising, mass mailings, even cross-promoting with a clothing or equipment vendor.

Most of these techniques usually require some hefty upfront costs. And since many of these promotional techniques are probably already part of your promotional strategies, you might be ready to improve a secret promotional weapon that is already part of your camp business, the camp store.

Marketing studies have shown that many campers who purchase and use products that they have bought at camp (and on the camp, on-line store) have a greater sense of loyalty to the camp. What camp owner wouldn’t want campers to return year after year and to have campers who love their camp experience so much, that each year they convince more of their friends become campers, too?

What about this scenario… Campers who can’t wait for their own kids to be old enough so that they can go to camp that they loved when they were kids. When you consider the branding opportunities in your camp store and how this can foster customer loyalty, you may decide that your camp store should be a lot more than keeping your campers happy with snacks and t-shirts.

Having your camp store transactions help promote the value of your camp with the help of your current target market is truly a marketing manager’s dream come true.

By using the some of the ideas listed below, you can not only increase your revenue stream from your camp store but you can also accomplish what is the ultimate goal of the most effective marketing managers — getting your campers on “the escalator of consumption.”

In other words, entice your campers to buy merchandise that helps them stay not only connected with your camp but also gives them the mindset of wanting more of it.

The first step on the escalator could be buying something at the camp store, either virtually (on-line) or at the actual camp store.

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  1. Steps to Jump Starting Your Brand Marketing
  2. The Power of the Postcard
  3. Camper Recruitment
  4. Community Exchange Programs
  5. Put Your Camp Store To Work
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