Get Back in the Game!
Keep Marketing Your Business So You’ll Be Ready to Thrive
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
Pandemic or not, if you have a business, you must advertise. I realize this is a time of great suffering for many businesses, inside our industry and outside of it. All of us know that what’s been happening is through no real fault of our own. However, there are some pockets of life –– even “normal” life in different regions and businesses.
This summer, you couldn’t find yard furniture, swing sets, swimming pools or bicycles. They were selling like hotcakes. I had friends tell me that jet skis and boats were in short supply, too. Amazing. When it came to restaurants, we saw local spots somehow find or craft suitable space outside to serve customers if they could. People were finding opportunities and ways to stay afloat.
For years, I’ve been told August is a month not to advertise because “everyone is away.” Where are they this year? Most likely, they’re at home. I advertised in August and I sold product. Did you? Or instead, did you scale back and save on your marketing budget, figuring that nobody would see it or come to your business? Was that the right thing to do? Only you know for sure and time will tell.
I remember sometimes being at trade shows for the sole purpose of “being at the trade show.” You did this so people would know you were still alive and making sales. And at every show, I can remember some surprise opportunity came along and made it worthwhile. We know how much time, money and effort goes into doing trade shows. Of course right now, the industry is waiting for word on whether the IAAPA biggie will take place in November. Some think if it doesn’t go live, it may go virtual this year.
Aside from whether you’re going to be visible at this year’s IAAPA – in real life or virtually – you still need to engage with your customers and let them know you’re still alive and making sales. I’m going to make a shameless plug here, but RePlay Magazine is by far the best bang for the buck. Eddie Adlum may not let me say this but there is no better way to reach the amusement industry trade than RePlay Magazine. It’s not expensive relative to what you get and it helps to keep you in front of your customers.
Think of this: If you’re an operator or the owner of an FEC, what will drive people back into your locations? Hand sanitizer or NEW GAMES? I can tell you that it’s not hand sanitizer, which they have stockpiled by the drum. It’s NEW GAMES that they can play at your location and it’s NEW PRIZES they can win!
Get in front of your customer! I can tell you that while this pandemic is lasting longer than any of us want it to, it won’t last forever. Just make sure it does not outlast you and your business. Not letting your customers know you are alive is not going to help you survive or thrive.
Take a deep breath behind your mask and get back in the game!
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected] jerseyjackpinball.com.