7/19/2006

Are you figuring out where your customers are and then meeting them there? I am writing this blog entry from the balcony of a condo where my family has come to spend seven days and nights for vacation. We're at Myrtle Beach, SC (Garden City, specifically) and it's our first visit to this beach. I grew up in South Georgia, so most of my beach experience involves Florida beaches. It's amazing how different beaches can be. This one, for instance, has the highest high tide I've ever seen. The water comes within a couple of feet of most of the condos and houses. It's actually pretty cool. It has been four years since we've taken a beach vacation (we usually rent a lake house and take our boat). The very first day I was out on the beach I was struck by how quiet it was (especially on a beach that is very dense with bodies of all shapes and sizes). On past beach visits, I've always hated the dueling radios playing all kinds of music. You could never get away from them. Now everyone is listening to his MP3 player. I walked over two miles along the beach this morning and didn't find a single radio blaring, but I saw literally hundreds of people with little white earbuds plugged into their own little world. I passed dozens of runners (well, actually they passed me) wearing arm bands filled with iPod nanos, running to the beat of a different drummer, so to speak. I fully expect to see people with little tiny white lines running from their earlobes to their chins where they tanned everywhere but along the earbud route. These same people had one more thing in common. They weren't worried about getting sand on their cameras. Instead, they were snapping pictures like crazy people, all with their cell phones. All they had to remember was not to go running into the ocean without removing their phones and iPods from their pockets. (That's another thing: apparently, all men's bathing suits now have pockets, like cargo-style shorts.) My first thought was, "Thank goodness! No more radios!" This was followed by, "Oh my God! What an amazing marketing opportunity!" Here we have tons (and I mean that literally) of people glued to their cell phones and iPods, sitting on a beach with time to kill and a propensity to listen to whatever is relevant to them in the moment. Why shouldn't they be listening to podcasts about the beach community they're staying in? When they see someone parasailing or zipping by on a jet ski, why should they ever have to say, "I wonder how much that costs and where you sign up?" In other words, beach communities that aren't reaching out to these tourists through their cell phones and iPods are missing a golden opportunity. The local tourism council, or even a community of local business owners, could make it so easy for people to simply enter a code on their phone to opt in to a service that would tell them exactly what restaurants are having what specials today, or where to buy cheap boogie boards, or what shows are in town. In a matter of seconds, they can opt out as they leave town. Podcasts have limitless possibilities and can be available at several web sites. It wouldn't be a hard sell at all to find sponsors. Already, companies are moving advertising dollars away from radio talk shows to podcasts. And why not? They're reaching a more targeted audience that has to take action to get their content. Of course, the beach certainly isn't the only place where this kind of on-demand technology can benefit local business. Think of where your customers are and then meet them there. As soon as I'm done writing this entry, I'll download new content for my day on the beach tomorrow. I don't know what it will be yet, but you can be absolutely certain it won't be rap music!

20 Comments:

At July 20, 2006 3:32 PM, Blogger Carol M said...

Have you been to the KISS coffee shop yet? :)

 
At July 20, 2006 3:52 PM, Blogger Marilynn Mobley said...

Hi Carol,

No, I haven't been to the KISS coffee shop yet. I'm still trying to get over how shocked I am that I drove a full 35 miles without seeing a single Starbucks (but there are Dunkin Donuts galore).

Had one of my best meals ever at Landry's last night at Broadway on the Beach, though. What a great experience!

 
At July 24, 2006 11:17 AM, Blogger Stacy Kirk said...

I am so sad that Myrtle Beach has changed so much. I went there every summer as a child. I heard the Pavillion is no more. Tragedy!

 
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