I’m always on the lookout for a great new local business marketing partnership idea. Local business marketing is tricky, and I’m convinced that the number one tactic has a lot more to do with working together in business partnerships than working against one another in a competitive stance. With this in mind – and a few other things – I return to the Bathroom Blogfest.
In my first post for this year’s Bathroom Blogfest, I explored an idea for using signage in public bathrooms as a customer experience tool.
There are two items in play in my mind today.
- I spend a lot of time helping LOCAL businesses connect with customers – I do local business marketing. And ultimately, I want to convince the public to be like me: to choose locally owned businesses – no matter where they are. For example, if I’m traveling through Mobile, Alabama – I’d rather choose a locally owned place to eat, shop, get my car serviced, etc. Of course, when I’m at home in Jackson, MS, I stick to the locally owned places nearly exclusively.
- In helping local businesses with their marketing, I spend a lot of time connecting local businesses so they can enjoy the benefits of business partnerships – some folks call them business alliances.
Yep, this applies to bathrooms…
Folks who use public bathrooms don’t usually live around the corner. If they did, they’d just use their own bathroom. The folks using public bathrooms are outsiders to the local area. They are either trade area shoppers or they’re passing through for business or pleasure. Regardless, they’re an opportunity waiting to happen for the local economy.
I say it’s time for local businesses to identify those public restrooms – in convenience stores, hotels, service stations, welcome centers, and the like – and the owners of the same. Then, band together a group of businesses and create a simple way to educate and welcome these passersby – and get them to drop some of their change in your business before they leave.
Maybe it means getting permission to post signage in a bathroom with a Twitter account or text message shortcode that will lead to local offers and invitations. Maybe it’s simply a link to a mobile friendly web site that lists several things that are “can’t miss” before they leave town. Ideally, the information would be fresh, relevant to the time of day, month and current local events. But regardless, I’d like to see local businesses seeking to offer their hospitality in that short moment of private pause. It’s local business marketing that I think might just work magic.
Tricks to success:
- Simple message – SIMPLE.
- Multiple simple offers compiled in one place.
- Technology tie-in that makes it easy to engage.
How to Earn Cooperation for this Business Partnership
In case you’re wondering how to gain cooperation from your newly identified partners-to-be? Well, it’s easy – turn them into customers and partners at the same time. Offer a sampling or regular portion of your goods or services to them in exchange for the advertising space in their bathroom…
So, I guess this is yet another bathroom signage idea, but if I were the customer, I’d definitely count it as an improved customer experience that the bathroom owner though it was valuable to show me hospitality in his/her community in this way. Of course, the sentiment will fall short if the bathroom is dirty.
Moral of this story: Choose your bathroom business alliances as carefully as you should all the other business partnerships you make.
Yes, I’m participating in a blogfest with some other bathroom experience junkies around the country. It’s one week only – but hopefully it’ll get you thinking – and doing something – to improve that all-important potty space in your own business. And even thinking about how you can benefit from such spaces in OTHER businesses. As you ponder these things, be sure to check out what some of the others are writing about, too!
Valerie Fritz from The AwarepointBlog writes about Hospitals, Bathrooms and RTLS: Bathroom Blogfest 2010. Did you know that RTLS prevents hospital patient falls and keeps track of critical equipment – all relating to bathrooms? Very cool stuff.
Bill Buyok from the Avente Tile Talk Blog came up with nostalgic images capturing Stuck in the 60s? Trends & Changes in Bath Design while also putting the times into perspective.
Becky Carroll from Customers Rock! showcases beautiful bathroom examples she has uncovered in Las Vegas. Her contrasting example makes the point of Bathroom Blogfest 2010 – Stuck in the 60s?
Susan Abbott from Customer Experience Crossroads elevates the bathroom discussion in Bathroom Blogfest 2010: Bathrooms are aspirational.
Nora DePalma from Professor Toilet unearths preposterous advertising and promotional materials in American Standard: The Groovy Years. OMG!
Arpi Nalbandian in the TILE Magazine Editor Blog offers An ode to bathrooms blue and pink, or, real ‘Mad Men’ like pink tile too!
Shannon Bilby for Dolphin Carpet and Tile writes about Creating an Attractive Universal Design Bath.
C.B. Whittemore addresses Toilet Paper, Advertising & Bathroom Blogfest 2010 on Flooring The Consumer and Real-Time Marketing & Bathroom Blogfest 2010 on the Simple Marketing Blog.