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MARKETING

Marketing Lessons from the Sea

Rule one: Sell where the people are. Rule two: Create a strong sense of urgency.

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I recently took a trip on a cruise ship off of the South of France and Western Coast of Italy, where I witnessed pure marketing genius on behalf of the jewelry store's staff.

Every evening, the main theater would let out a show, releasing about 1,500 to 2,000 passengers into the main shopping area. One night, a barker standing in front of the jewelry store asked some of them to sign up for a drawing. The drawing would be held in 15 minutes, but passengers had to be in the store to win. You wouldn't believe how good she was at packing people into the store. Within minutes you couldn't bend over and tie your shoes!

Prior to the drawing, she explained how her company's Mediterranean cruises carry higher quality jewelry than boats with more tropical destinations. She also explained that what was on display was all the store had to sell. Also, this would be the only exclusive sale for passengers aboard this ship.

Once she assembled the massive crowd, she finally performed the drawing. The prize was a discount coupon for one or two pieces of jewelry.

After the drawing was over, I sat back and watched as the store continued buzzing with customers. Did some people head out in the direction of treats and snacks? Of course. But most stuck around and kept shopping.

In a store that typically has one to three customers, the barker's perfectly-timed marketing pitch boosted potential sales prospects from 1,000 percent to 1,500 percent. Not too shabby. Here's what you can learn from her.

Sell where the customers are.

The jewelry store barker knew exactly when 2,000 people would appear in front of her store -- and she was ready. Likewise, you should know where your potential consumers are and when to pounce.

Create interest in your product.

Once you know where your customers are, you have to create interest in your product. Give-aways are always a great idea and fit most business models, as people love scoring free things. Sale signs are another good gimmick, although nothing beats a well-executed raffle for free merchandise.

Create a strong sense of urgency.

You must infuse urgency into every sales pitch in order to turn on-the-fence shoppers into buyers.

The barker did it by warning customers of the store's limited stock. She then one-upped herself by telling them, "Tonight is the only night these items will be on sale for the entire trip." Before I knew, it my 12-year-old daughter was running around that store like a beast hunting prey. Now I am reminded of these lessons every time I see her cupcake-shaped earrings.

Like I said, the barker was effective.

Last updated: Jul 8, 2013

MATTHEW SWYERS is the founder of The Trademark Company, a Web-based law firm specializing in protecting the trademark rights of small to medium-size businesses. The company is ranked No. 138 on the 2011 Inc. 500.
@TrademarkCo




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