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December 18, 2012


What Colour is Your Tent? A Marketing Exercise

by mark mclean

As many of you know, I’ve been off work for the last couple of weeks. A near death experience (bike vs car) tends to knock the wind out of your sails and even a too brief trip to the islands to recover can only do so much. Luckily for me, lying on the beach can be inspiring so when I returned to Toronto I was excited to put a few of my new  ideas to the test.

3 tentsLast week’s meeting was not only the last of 2012 but our best by far so I’m excited to share this one with agents and managers across the country. Here is the set up. While I was lying on the beach in the sunny Caribbean there were a bunch of different coloured tents selling the usual touristy wares; shark teeth necklaces, shell frames and magnets, tie die t-shirts, and lots of home-made chachkas. With each tent essentially selling the same thing it got me thinking…what makes Joe Tourist buy something from one tent and not the other? If the owner of each tent had unlimited resources what would they do to market their business differently? It’s a question that we, as agents, ask ourselves at least once a year. If we had unlimited resources, would we have the wherewithal to make our business even better? I decided to put our agents creative minds to the test so at our morning meeting I broke up our agents into three groups and gave them each a tent and asked them to take 15 minutes to develop a marketing plan designed to attract more tourists. There were only a few things they needed to do. First, they had to develop five ideas or strategies, come up with a logo, website, and tent name.  I appointed our General Manager, Ann Bosley, as the judge even though she thought the idea for this meeting came to me in a rum punch and painkiller induced hallucination.

pink teamThe Pink Tent with team leader Jesse Boyer settled on the name and website and their tag line was “no shoes, no shirt, great service!” Among their offerings were outdoor demos held every couple of hours with free give aways, an on-line discount card, well displayed and organized stock. They felt the key to their success was being cleaner than the other tents.

green teamThe Green Tent with team leader Mark Jestley called their tent “Jabba Hut” and their tag line was “bottoms up”. Their tent offered complimentary rum punch and free daily world news flyers, a big screen TV playing the 24 hour hockey channel while a trained monkey put sunscreen on the guests (remember there is an unlimited budget). At night  a DJ spins Gangham Style in front of a roaring bonfire.

yellow teamThe Yellow Tent with team leader Larissa Doherty took a decidedly different approach to their marketing strategy by taking their tent experience to the people. Their tent acted as the head office for an upscale, VIP style service that offered a menu to guests to choose products from as well as the ability to pick massage and spa treatments.

This was an excellent team building experience for the agents and the results were often hilarious.  I don’t want to spoil the fun and tell you the results. I will let you decide, but If you email me I will tell you. All in all the whole meeting took about 45 minutes. All the agents and managers had a great time. A perfect way to end the year!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 1 2013

    I have to say I’m loving the green tent.


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