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Generating leads by the thousands

I have recently started a tourism promotions business. In short, the idea is to increase tourism in my local community and to make the effort self-sustaining such that it need not be funded with public dollars. In order to create and maintain this market, it is necessary to sell a large number of vacation packages to a market that does not exist. A previous effort to generate business in my community was attempted by a government agency who spent a million dollars on television advertising with very little success. So what does one do to convince the tourist business community that there is a viable way to bring business to the area without wasting a million dollars and risking failure?

In order to win the hearts and minds of my fellow merchants in tourism, I have turned to something that I have heard described as guerilla marketing. The idea is to get a lot of value from an inexpensive, targeted approach. In this case, we will have a drawing and give away 50 ski vacations to members of the target community. This drawing will generate nearly a million leads which will be followed up with calls from a professional call center. The following paragraphs will describe how we will carry this out.

We have chosen a large city in the northeast as our target market, largely because of its proximity to our center of tourism. We will find a local sponsor who currently services all of the convenience stores, restaurants, bars and grocery store in this city who will distribute the marketing material for the drawing. The marketing materials consist of the boxes that the entry blanks will be deposited into as well as the entry blanks themselves. We will distribute to at least 1000 businesses and each location will have at least 1000 entry blanks, hence over 1,000,000 potential entries. Each person who enters the contest is likely to be someone with an interest in skiing and therefore a good prospect for our ski packages. After obtaining the names, addresses and phone numbers of these prospects, we will employ a professional call center to offer each participant a discounted vacation.

The cost of this promotion will be primarily the cost of printing the entry blanks, entry boxes and a small amount of radio advertising. By inviting the radio station to be an additional sponsor, the amount of advertising can be multiplied by an additional factor over simply purchasing radio time from the station. The cost of the priniting and air time on the radio can be offset by advertising on the entry blanks which can be sold to the local hotels and tourist attractions. In the end, this promotion can be executed with little or no money invested other than the advertising dollars of the the tourist businesses who will benefit from the promotion. The vacations themselves can also be provided by sponsors in lieu of actual cash sponsorships. The call center can be paid a per sale commission so that the per sale cost can be guaranteed.

This approach offers a greater opportunity for success than can be offered by general PR programs or individual efforts of the companies who will participate. Another benefit if this approach is that the leads generated can be used on other promotions. And yet another benefit is the advertising value of the 1,000,000 entry blanks that will be distributed all around the city. This advantage can be further exploited by putting the web address for the region and many of its businesses on the entry stub that the participants will keep and take home with them. This idea can also be adpated to other types of businesses or products.

Good luck with this concept and I hope it will prove usefol to many of you. - by rlabston
Is this like what the fitness companies do in restaurants and coffee shops with the drawing boxes at the cashiers? - by Marcus
I do not know how the fitness centers market themselves, Marcus, so I can't say for sure. Certainly this concept is not a new one. I have seen other drawings for prizes spondored by various companies to obtain prospects for their products or services. Many times, the participants in the contests will be added to a mailing list for catalogs from the company or will be called afterward and offered a free gift to visit the place of business where a sales pitch will be presented. I have seen time share companies in tourist areas use this approach.

In our case though, Marcus, we will be enhancing this approach by