Greetings from Sedona in the heart of Red Rock country!
As you read this, my husband and I are finishing our post-pandemic vacation.
After not driving for over 2 years, we rented a car and drove from Phoenix to visit Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. I was moved by the natural beauty of this part of our country we had never visited before.
Even our wrong turns resulted in unexpected adventures where we discovered friendly people, interesting sights and great food.
For example, we discovered the Cameron Trading Post where we met Daniel who was weaving a Navajo rug. Of course, I talked with him about yarn.
While there, we had a wonderful lunch in their historic dining room decorated with a tin ceiling and panels of Tiffany glass. I had their special Navajo Tacos. As they describe it:
“Our famous Navajo Fry Bread [a fresh, springy bread that is patted flat and deep fried to a golden brown, topped with spicy ground beef,] chili beans, lettuce, cheese, tomato and mild green chiles. We only use Blue Bird flour to make our Fry Bread. Grandma will tell you it’s the only way!”
Actionable Marketing Lesson
Share the story of your business with visitors and customers to make it memorable. While the Cameron Trading Post menu boasted “serving guests for 100 years”, it didn’t highlight their long history.
Table of Contents
Marketing Lesson of The Week
► Create Events To Celebrate Your Unique Offering
Obsessed with the study of Mars, Percival Lowell established an astronomical observatory on a mountain above Flagstaff, Arizona in May,
1894. Lowell wrote 3 books on Mars popularizing the existence of martian canals which did not actually exist.
Lowell also searched for “Planet X” , thought to exist beyond the orbit of Neptune, but died before finding it. In 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto at this observatory.
Today, the Lowell Observatory continues its astronomical research. Like any great brand, its website states:
“The mission of Lowell Observatory is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of our solar system and its evolution; to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena; and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the general public.”
“Lowell Observatory will be a place where people are happy and proud to work, and one where outsiders are complementary and respectful of its staff and volunteers and their accomplishments.”
We heard about the Lowell Observatory listening to the local public radio station on the drive from the Grand Canyon to Sedona. We learned about their 2022 Total Lunar Eclipse Party there the following night, Sunday, May 15th. We stopped in Flagstaff, had lunch and headed up the mountain to purchase tickets for this unique event.
The Lowell Observatory went all in for their 2022 Total Lunar Eclipse Party. They created both in-person as well as online activities. They kept the entire observatory open until midnight including the gift shop. The staff and volunteers had an impressive knowledge of astronomy, regardless of their position.
Real life Lowell Observatory activities extended the party beyond viewing the moon.
The main viewing event was at its Giovale Open Deck Observatory which houses one of the finest collections of telescopes available for public observing. (BTW, we got to use them at the party to view the sun and the moon!)
Heidi Cohen gets to view the sun and see its spots.
Actionable Marketing Tips
- Create celebrations aligned with your brand and your mission. Select occasions that uniquely relate to your organization.
- Extend your celebrations to people who can’t attend in-person. For example, Lowell Observatory had a live stream on YouTube that attracted 55,000+ views to date. In addition to providing a record of the lunar eclipse, they allowed people around the world to view this event.
► FM Radio Still Works
Leaving Flagstaff and heading to Page, Arizona, we flipped through FM radio stations in our rented car when we found “ TravelRadio ” or KUGO on 102.5 FM. We listened to short documentary stories about the Grand Canyon along with ads for local merchants.
In their words,
“Travel Radio KUGO offers you the most up-to-date and extensive information on Grand Canyon attractions, activities [and] accommodations.”
For example, we heard a story about the “Harvey Girls”. Idolized in a movie starring Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury, this all female workforce were the service staff at Fred Harvey’s establishments including the Grand Canyon. Famous for their impeccable service, they wore matching uniforms consisting of long black dresses with white aprons.
According to an on-air ad targeting advertisers, the channel reaches 5 million annual visitors to the area.
Actionable Marketing Tip
- Find an untapped niche to exploit. A terrestrial FM radio station dedicated to stories about the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas is very well defined. Yet it has existed since 2010.
► Sedona: Where The Golden Arches Aren’t Gold
As a marketer, I’d be the first to tell you that your brand logo must appear consistently across every piece of online and offline marketing. This includes your product packaging, supporting content, advertising and retail establishments.
While McDonald’s Golden Arches are identifiable worldwide, the city of Sedona allowed McDonald’s to open in 1993 only on the condition that they change their yellow logo to teal.
Because local officials were concerned that the brand’s golden arches would hurt the natural beauty of the town’s red rocks. [Source: Atlas Obscura]
While not totally aligned with the brand, the turquoise arches of the Sedona McDonald’s stand out so they attract tourists.
Learn more about the value of branding from McDonald’s:
Actionable Branding Lesson
While your brand stands for more than the sum total of your business, assess the long-term value of making a brand compromise. Because brand consistency contributes to your business value, don’t make this decision lightly since it may not always work out like the McDonald’s in Sedona.
NYC Marketing Minute Goes On The Road
► Specialize To Make Your Small Business Standout
As we approached Monument Valley, we pulled into a set of utilitarian looking buildings. While many of the stores were closed, we discovered Cliffrose Arts & Crafts run by Ray and a related store across the way run by his wife, Genny.
After buying two distinctive Zuni pieces, we spent time talking with Ray and Genny.
Here’s what made Ray’s and Genny’s stores stand out:
- Offered many vintage items including Native American jewelry, fetishes and weavings unlike the mass produced items available at most stores geared towards tourists.
- Knew their merchandise so they could tell you the history about any given item. These stories added value to the products.
- Had a long-term relationships with many of the living craftspeople. They told you about them and how they made the products displayed in their stores.
As a result, we recommended his shop to other people we met along our travels and they took a photo of his business card. I received a note from Ray thanking me for the referral since they used my name when they stopped by his shop.
BTW, if you’re interested in buying from Ray, please hit respond and I’ll forward your note to Ray. (And, yes, he could use better marketing!)
Actionable Small Business Tips
- Find your point of distinction so your business stands out from larger competitors.
- Give your prospects and customers reasons to talk about your business. Nothing works better than a personal recommendation, even if it’s from other travelers.
Since recycling and reuse were highlighted across the Grand Canyon and other places we visited, I was inspired to spotlight this post.
For marketers, re-envisioning your content for new platforms and devices is critical to remain visible and/or heard by your prospects and existing audience. This is particularly true for transforming text to voice or audio content.
Assess how to use your pre-purchase content to on-board and retain customers through their entire relationship with your organization.
In honor of the Creator Economy Expo (CEX), I’m highlighting how to create your content marketing plan.
Stuffed with charts, worksheets and actionable marketing tips updated over time, this article is a must-read for content marketers.
Learn from leading content entrepreneur, Joe Pulizzi, and his team at The Tilt.
New Course: Exploring Web 3.0
Use code: heidi25 for $25 off
Create your powerful personal brand with expert Mark W. Schaefer
August 2nd through August 18th, 2022
Plan Ahead: Mark Your Calendar
► Women In Voice 2022 Summit – May 23-26th (Virtual).
Hands-on learning and demystifying + celebrating women’s careers in tech!
FREE — Register Now.
► West Virginia University – Integrate 2022 – June 2-4th.
Connect and learn from the best Marketing Communications leaders from across the country. I’m speaking here. Register Here.
► Content Strategy Collective Live – June 8-9th.
Organized by MarketMuse, it will explore the strategies that content marketers and SEOs use to succeed.
► Omnichannel X 2022 Conference – June 13-16th, (Virtual).
► VOICE Global – June 15-16th, (Virtual).
Join Voice enthusiasts around the world for 24 hours of insights and interviews about the fast-growing Conversational AI market. It’s free! Register Here
► MAICON 2022 – August 3-5th, 2022 in Cleveland, OH
The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference (MAICON), returns to an in-person event this year. Check out MAICON’s schedule of upcoming webinars.
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The fine print