I remember my mother saying that no matter how old her children got, for her own peace of mind, she needed to see where they lived. More and more, since mother’s passing in February, I feel I’m walking in her shoes.
Case in point: I left last Thursday to visit my son Jack and see where he will be spending the next 5 years — “The” Ohio State in Columbus. I always dread traveling. It can be so burdensome. So, for the first time, I decided to pack light and carry on my luggage. With the monies saved on baggage fees, I decided to treat myself and applied them to an upgraded business-class seat and early boarding. What a game changer! I am a convert and will never travel any other way (though this may mean I can only travel in warm weather because I’m unsure of how to pack boots and sweaters in such a small bag).
Columbus, Ohio is a fantastic city. I had no idea how big it is! Almost a million people with about 10% being college students. With so many young people and it being so flat, there are lots of bicyclists. So much so that the bike lanes have stop lights. That’s right, stop lights on the bicycle lanes!
Leaving town, I felt elated at getting away for a few days. Although in the 21st century you’re never really away. But a change of scenery is good and seeing new places is especially important for an entrepreneur’s continuing education. I hardly got off the ground before I was making notes of new ideas to implement once I returned.
Once in Columbus, I began noticing street pole banners (force of habit) and mentioned to son Jack that I’m always harping on affixing our FlagandBanner.com labels on everything we sell. That little label ensures that when a flag or banner inevitably wears out, the customer will know just who to call to place their next order. We all want purchasing made easy. But, alas, when my employee is in a hurry to make a shipping deadline, labeling is an extra, time-consuming step. In the rush to get the package out the door, this step sometimes is overlooked. It’s hard to think 6 months out and how that little label will create another sale and job security. From a marketing viewpoint, keeping a customer is always cheaper and easier than finding new ones.
This got me thinking: what if we offer a discount to all our custom street pole banner customers for installing one advertising banner for FlagandBanner.com with my picture and a caption that says “Banner Program sponsored by FlagandBanner.com.” Businesses like discounts. Humans are attracted to faces. And not only does that customer know where to repeat their order, it’s also a cheap way to accomplish national advertising. The customer, of course, would be required to send us a picture of the banner once installed. I think a game of some sorts could be forthcoming!
I can’t wait to take my new ideas back to my marketing department. Too often they have to rein me in, but it is still fun to brainstorm. And every once in a while, you strike gold!