Wednesday, April 25, 2007

donny beaver's "trojan horse" strategy

Thee Kollecktive recently received a copy of the Spring Ridge Club's member newsletter wherein Mr. Donny Beaver lays out his current recruitment plans in the midst of what he calls, "a lot of controversy about private property rights as they relate to fly-fishing. In particular, there has been some animosity directed toward the Club and to me personally over the years."
How does Beaver intend to handle this controversy? "We have found that the best tradeshow protocol is the “Trojan Horse” approach . . . in other words, have the Club blend into someone else’s booth."
For a few years, Beaver and Spring Ridge worked with two companies, "Angling Fantasies" and "Frontier Travel," offering anglers a few days on the river for premium prices.
Three years ago, we dropped the “outfitting angle” and decided that people had to join the Club or not fish with us. Well, that really brought out the worst in the “public.” They’d say, “You’re the greedy SOBs who charge $80,000 to join and keep us poor working slobs off the water.” So, for the past few years, we just stayed away from trade shows completely. However, we discovered that ever since we dropped the outfitting “front end” of the business, our membership recruitment pace has not grown as well as we had planned. It seems as if there is this huge perceptual leap of faith from “zero to $85,000.” On the other hand, we have tested a couple of important things in the past twelve months. • Revive the outfitting business in the East — In 2004 and 2005, we began to acquire private water MUCH faster than we could recruit new members. As a matter of fact, we have about ten miles of water lying “fallow” right now and another ten miles of water that is grossly under-utilized by Club members. For the past twelve months, we have been experimenting with controlled outfitting on our “emerging” waters (Spring Farm, Willows, Eddie’s Stretch, etc.). The name of this business is Sporting Club Exchange, what we’re now calling Logan Outfitters, and we limit access to the underutilized stretches on a strictly controlled basis. This has helped the Club in significant ways: — We have brought in nearly $100,000 in new revenues, which help to underwrite these fallow properties. —We have recruited two new members who would not have joined if not given the chance to fish for three or four days. •
Partner with Gorsuch Outfitters in Colorado — This year we also realized that actively working with an outfitter who handles highend clients could help significantly with Club recruitment. We anticipate attracting at least 25 new Club members to the Colorado Club in 2007, thanks to this relationship. To make a long story short, we have decided to make Gorsuch and Logan Outfitters the “face” of our trade show booths for 2007 (in Denver, Somerset, New Jersey, and Marlboro, Massachusetts). The “inner sanctum” in the back of each booth will be our “Club headquarters” at the shows. It will be closed off from the general public and be open by invitation only to potential Club members. We will be running our DVD on a loop, we have Club literature available, and we will have a scrapbook of photos available for viewing. This is also where we can use your help. If we do have people come into the Club Room, it will be most helpful if a current member is available for conversation by potential members. We see the “front of the booth” as this busy, active, bustling outfitter face and the “back of the booth” as a quiet sanctuary where we can discuss the Club concept with folks in privacy.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER: —Outfitter customers do NOT fish our Legacy waters; only those stretches of under-utilized or emerging waters not typically fished by members.

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Anonymous Tom Chandler said...

You beat me to this one you bastard.

AHW -- kicking butt, taking names with three killer posts today.

Rage against the machine, AHW.

8:31 PM  

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