MOD Journal

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They Never Grow Out of It

By Hal Miller
Published: July 7, 2010
People love big things that move. Men especially can’t get enough of them. Ever.

Case in point: Kalmbach Publishing Co., our publisher, recently had its parking lot replaced. And when I say replaced, I don’t mean just repaved. I mean torn up and completely redone.

Frankly, I can’t wait to get a new on-road R/C car in for testing so we can get it out on that sticky, smooth new asphalt.

As usual, I digress.

Throughout the parking lot rehabilitation process, there were spectators — primarily men, but some women, too — lined up at the windows watching the machines rip up the pavement, the dump trucks carting off chunks of the old surface, the rollers compacting the gravel subbase and pavement layers.

Sometimes, there were three or four guys piled into an office, watching, commenting to nobody in particular how the construction workers needed to level a spot here or put another layer of asphalt there.

You might well ask, what does this have to do with hobbies?

I couldn’t believe how many times I heard, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have one of those?” referring to the equipment working in the lot. But even if the spectators could bring them home, I don’t think the neighbors would be very happy.

The point is these machines and what they were doing captured an audience that was relatively captive and would keep coming back to see more between fits of frenzied work.

In return, I ask, what are you doing this summer to get your products in front of a crowd to capture some attention of your own?

In most places, summer brings about a plethora of outdoor activities sponsored by a variety of community organizations looking for things to draw and entertain crowds. How many of these organizations have come by your stores asking for a donation of a door prize or to be a sponsor? Probably at least a few.

How many of those organizaions have you told that you’d do them one better, by offering to demonstrate radio-control trucks, or set up a model railroad layout, or do a booth where kids can make and take model airplanes?

Are you taking advantage of the fact that there’s a ready-made audience? Do you want to capture their attention and, by simultaneously promoting your business, their money?

Like I said, people love things that move. Give them something to watch and let them know where they can get it. The cool thing is, they can take the stuff you sell home, and nobody will complain.
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