What’s In Store

The second step on the escalator might be the camper feeling good enough about product’s quality to wear it/use it in public.

The third step on the escalator may be when the camper responds to a person with a question about the camp logo on the product and having the camper talk positively about the camp.

The fourth escalator step could be enrolling for a second season or convincing a friend to enroll.

The marketing theory of the escalator concept is, the higher the campers climb on the escalator of consumption, the less likely they will be to jump off. The ultimate level of camp loyalty (the top step of the escalator) is when campers want to become counselors, or when campers convince their own kids to attend the camp, or when a camper who wants to be philanthropic, makes a donation to the camp with a gift in kind or a monetary contribution. Once they reached the top of the escalator, as long as your marketing management is consistent, you have loyal campers for life.

Strategies

Make it easy: Campers can feel part of the camp community even before they arrive at their first day of camp, if you offer clothing and equipment that they can purchase with your camp logo on it. Offer them the options of ordering camp merchandise on-line, over the phone and by mail.

What to bring: provide campers with a list of what to bring (including items that they can buy from your camp store). Offer a comprehensive package (don’t forget to be specific about how they can determine the best size to purchase in apparel) and give them the option of having it shipped to them or you can help them to save shipping costs (and eliminate the time you would take to ship it) by holding the merchandise for them for pickup when they arrive on their first day of camp.

Making memories with pictures: Consider the power of digital photography. This new frontier has become easier to use and less expensive to enjoy to the point where anyone can snap away. The cost of digital cameras can range from $25 to thousands of dollars but the quality of the low-end digital cameras just keeps getting better and the quality is more than adequate for campers to capture memories of their camp experience. From e-mailing their photos at no cost to sending actual post cards by snail-mail, campers can promote your camp experience to their friends, their relatives… even their hometown newspapers. Keep in mind that even some of the lower-cost digital cameras offer quality that’s good enough for publishing, but you have to make sure that you set the camera at its highest quality setting.

Also, it’s important to know if you have a digital zoom, because if you do, don’t use it. Digital zoom simply wrecks the quality of the shot. Get close, frame it well (don’t take far-away shots of the kids, unless the scenery really is the focal point), shoot at the highest quality possible and you increase the chances of the photos actually promoting your camp. Sure, the highest quality setting takes up more memory. So go ahead and invest in a memory card. Quality is well worth it, particularly when it is so readily available.

Camp annuals: You can actually work with companies who can offer your camp annuals so that they can have custom front covers with photo that each camper provides. What a great way to help campers feel that they are an integral part of the camp community by having every camper on the front cover of the annual. There are vendors who will perform this service and all the campers have to do is download their own photos and the vendor will ship the camp annual directly to each camper.

Camp photo journals: Some campers will click away and amass a huge number of photos. You can provide a great way to organize their photos and promote your camp by offering a camp photo journal that can already have old black and white images of campers from the past. This can also foster camp loyalty by helping them to feel part of the camp legacy.

Say “Happy New Year” with a camp calendar: You can incorporate a photo of the camp for every month of the year. You can also include the key registration dates and seasonal activities offered by the camp. This can be an extremely effective way to have campers keep their camp close to their hearts all year long and to help them anticipate the fun that they will be having when they return to camp. You could also use the camp calendar to promote early camp registration as a Christmas gift.

The list of digital photo applications that can become camp products that the campers can enjoy and that will promote your camp can be a long one — photos can be displayed on playing cards, mouse pads, puzzles, mugs, t-shirts, to name just a few!

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Related posts:

  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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