Category Archives: Articles

I write for a number of equine magazines and Web sites in addition to this blog and my work with equine industry clients. Check back here to find out what I’ve written recently, and thanks for your interest in my work!

– I’ll try to give links to online articles when available.
– If it’s only available in print, I’ll provide a link to the magazine’s Web site so you can subscribe or order a copy of that issue if you’re interested.

The print publications I write for are reputable, quality magazines, and I recommend getting a subscription when you can.

Horsebiz Marketing, The Super Bowl Way

The following is reprinted from a February, 2007, column I wrote for a Midwest-based equine magazine titled From The Horse’s Mouth, where for nearly five years I wrote each month about how to market your horse business more effectively. I’ve made a few tweaks so that links reflect current information – I hope you enjoy it!

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For the Love of the Game, the Underdog, and the Advertising Dollar

By Lisa Kemp

Big advertising dollars are one way to generate brand awareness. Another way is to be an average Joe with a cool idea.

Ah, February! Shortest month of the year, often reviled for being the coldest and dreariest here in the Midwest. Yet smack-dab in the middle of this month’s 28 days is the traditional “lovers’ holiday,” St. Valentine’s Day, often celebrated with candy, cards, and Cupid’s arrows. This year, Cupid may have an earlier chance to fire off some shots, during our nation’s festival o’ advertising, the Super Bowl. If you’re curious about how that will go down, read on….

A Unique Proposal

There’s a movement afoot, started by blogger Joe Morin (ed. note: click here if you want to learn more about Joe’s role and some of the PR and media results he generated), that’s spurring on a fair amount of controversy and buzz. A semi-anonymous football fan seeks to propose to his long-time girlfriend this month, and he wants to do it in a commercial spot during Super Bowl XLI.

The Buzz Is Ad-ding Up

What started as a campaign to raise $2.5 million to purchase Super Bowl time for the proposal has turned into a PR bonanza as “JP” makes his appeal on everything from a dedicated Internet site to Good Morning America (January 10th). Since Super Bowl ad spots have all been sold, as JP garners more attention, major companies have been approaching him about proposing to his fair maiden during their own commercial time. And, the media interest will only escalate as the “big day” nears.

Even if you don’t agree with the public proposal or raising money for the ad time (if JP gets a sponsor, he says any money raised will go to charity), you gotta admit that from a marketing and PR perspective, this is a major touchdown. It’s also an excellent example of the power of new technologies (blogging), word of mouth marketing, and using a fresh approach to implement a dream and a wildly creative idea. Powerful stuff, indeed, and the strategy endorsed and supported by this column.

It’s a Girl Thang

Another interesting tidbit is that this proposal (and the resulting worldwide attention it will generate) comes at a time when the NFL is pushing to reach out to the female fan/consumer with both advertising and merchandising. Sales of ladies-cut team jerseys and pastel caps grew by 12% from the 2004 to the 2005 season, with the NFL’s merchandise sales totaling $3.4 billion in ’05. Hardly chump change, and the NFL is wising up.

Research shows their fanbase is 43% female, and Super Bowl viewership is 40% female, yet what are typical advertisers? Electronics, movies, car manufacturers, junk food, and the perennial fave, beer (Budweiser dominates). But even if female fans are less than half of the viewers on February 4th, through direct spending combined with influenced spending we control the majority of purchasing decisions. It seems advertisers have been slower to catch on than the NFL.

Although 2005’s Super Bowl had no “female-specific” advertisers, last year’s event brought early adopters Dove (promoting a self-esteem fund for young girls) and Slim-Fast (with an ad that ranked in the 5 least popular), advertisers who are generally oriented towards women. But overall, it’s low-brow humor and topics the ad world thinks appeal to men that get the nod; the question is, who do they think they’re scoring with?

What’s Good for the Sports World…

Listen up, horse industry marketers: If the NFL, home of testosterone, good ole boys, and some of the most expensive advertising in the world ($2.5 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl XL ad time) is publicly courting women, don’t you think it’s about time you did, too?

In Summary

Whether you’re doing something for love (JP) or for money (NFL), you’ll be ahead of the marketing game when your playbook includes innovative strategies and a focus on (female) players.

Ad Alert: Remember the “young Clydesdale dreams big” spot from last year? It ranked #2 on USAToday’s Super Bowl XL Ad Meter; we horse lovers can likely look forward to another Clydesdale spot during Super Bowl XLI. Go, Clydesdales!

© 2007-2011 Lisa Kemp, all rights reserved – brands mentioned are the property of their respective owners. Linking is permitted, with attribution.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back in time to 2007, before the existence of Twitter and the iPhone (which came out in June of that year). If you’re curious about the outcome of the Super Proposal, you can read about it here.

My, how far we’ve come in terms of social media, blogging, and the marketing tools available to the average equine-related business! By the way, 2011 Super Bowl ad spots are around $3 million for 30 seconds; Anheuser-Busch plans to have 5 commercials, including a Western-themed one with the world-famous Clydesdales. Enjoy the game!

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Equine Economics – It’s Not All Bad

Last night Lizzy McMillan from EquestrianProfessional.com hosted a webinar called Rethinking The Horse Business 2010 – Succeeding In A Changed World. I would say that I agree with everything she presented, and that it’s well worth your time to seek out this webinar for a listen.

What’s great about the information in the webinar is that McMillan can back up opinions with data; Equestrian Professional did a survey of about 400 equestrian pros, on various aspects of running equine businesses today, everything from profitability to how your services have changed and what’s bringing in the revenue today. Having that kind of information is crucial to developing a sound marketing program, and keeping your existing clients as well as reaching out to new ones; it’s also helpful to learn from the experiences of other equine businesses.

As for the equine economy, back in late 2008 I wrote an article titled Stock Horse Economics for The Equine Chronicle. While this was at the height of the recession, the news wasn’t all bad then, and it’s not all bad now.

A changing world and changing economy requires that we make adjustments, and at that time the leaders in all the major stock horse associations (AQHA, APHA, ApHC) shared how their groups were retooling to move into the future. Many things are in our favor today, such as the declining cost of marketing tools via the Internet, and the wider audiences gained through equestrian programming televised on the Internet, and both public and cable television; McMillan pointed out that many equine events today are actually exceeding their prior attendance and participation numbers. We can’t expect to operate as we did in the 1990s and early 2000s, but there are many, many opportunities today for the savvy horse business professional.

In terms of greater opportunities for expanded media coverage due to the declining costs of technology, McMillan mentioned how a TV show that once cost $100k could now be produced for $5k, and pointed out the expanded equine sport programming on HRTV.com (Horse Racing Television), which was launched earlier this year, as an example of more widespread media coverage of equestrian sport.

In May 2010, just prior to the HRTV launch of expanded equestrian programming, I spoke with Jim Bates, HRTV’s executive vice president and general manager; his answers show insights into how an established equine business like HRTV.com can identify new opportunities and new revenue streams.

I believe the Rethinking The Horse Business 2010 webinar will be archived at the Equestrian Professional site, possibly free access for a while and certainly accessible to members. I recommend that every horse professional serious about moving into the future successfully give it a listen.

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Filed under 2010 Articles, Articles, Equine Industry Marketing, New Media, Technology, Uncategorized

And The Winner Is….

Last night’s American Horse Publications (AHP) awards contest had some mighty fine equine magazines and people receiving awards for editorial content, graphic design, and overall excellence. In the PowerPoint slideshow announcing each winner, I saw many articles by others that made me think ‘ooh, I want to read that one!’ and photos that I was wowed by, with spectacular color and composition.

While the evening can normally be a bit lengthy, last night seemed to fly by for two reasons – one, that I took off my cinch belt to be more comfortable, and two, that I received several awards for my own articles!

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2010 American Horse Publications awards certificates!

Yesterday I wrote about the two Finalist articles I was aware of, but the real shocker of the night was the 2nd place win for my series on the Chicago carriage horse case last year, published over a period of months at TheHorse.com. I had no clue it was even a Finalist, and after receiving the first two award certificates (a 2nd place and an Honorable Mention), I’d settled back into my chair thinking all my winning chances were done with. So when they called my name, I was stunned! Made me a little verklempt, even.

AHP has put up a PDF listing all the 2010 awards winners. Congrats to all who received acknolwedgement of their work and talent!

I’m on pages 5, 8, and 18 of the PDF; where possible, I’ll work on getting links and permissions so I can put up the articles for you to read if you like.

Since there’s no chance to say ‘thank yous’ during the AHP awards, I’d like to thank my editors here: Erin Ryder Hsu (formerly TheHorse.com news editor), Kelly Ballou and Celeste Karpf at Equine Journal, and Patty Oxendine at From The Horse’s Mouth for their belief in me and selecting me for article assignments – you’ve made these awards possible! And, I also want to thank my partner JR and our dog Bella, for their love, support, and encouragement.

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Filed under Articles, Awards, Uncategorized

Trying Not To Hold My Breath

I’ve been writing equine articles for a number of years now, and for the first time, two of my articles are finalists in the American Horse Publications annual awards contest. Can you tell I’m trying not to hold my breath as I’m typing this?

I love it when people tell me that an article of mine that they’ve read has helped them in some way. Whether it gave them useful information, or pointed them in the direction they needed at the right time, it’s always good to hear. I strive to do good, thorough work, including research and in-depth interviews, combined with fact/quote checks of my drafts to provide a great final product – so it’s good to hear the work is valued.

What’s cool for me about the AHP awards contest is the peer acknowledgement from having 2 of my 2009 articles selected as finalists, because I know there are far better writers and reporters than I, and I know the competition for these awards is fierce.  So, it’s a nice little feather in my cap to have that ‘Finalist’ ribbon on my conference nametag this year.

What articles made the cut? Two that I’m very proud of:

  • To Air Is Divine – about Lipizzans and the airs above the ground, with a bit of history as well as information from 3 top trainers, including the head rider at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna (who sent me emails from his iPhone – how’s that for ‘modern meets historic’).
  • But I Paid The Photographer! What Do You Mean, I Don’t Own The Photo? – about the issues of photograph copyright and use of images from professional photographers, including how putting proofs on Facebook can potentially damage a pro photographer’s business and career.

The awards banquet and ceremony is tonight – I hope I’ll have good news to report tomorrow and a plaque to put on my wall. But, even if it doesn’t happen, I hope to be able to have a ‘Finalist’ ribbon on my nametag again next year.

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2010 Derby Week Coverage

It’s Kentucky Derby Week! At the moment, the official Kentucky Derby Web site countdown clock says 5 days, 6 hours, and 45 minutes til the race. Who do you like?

I’ll be doing Derby Week articles all week at The Equine Chronicle’s Web site – I hope you’ll check back to see what I think are some cool resources and info about the culture and community surrounding the world-famous Run for the Roses!

Here’s Kentucky Derby article #1, Your Passport To 2010 Derby Coverage – it’s got some great links, including the Kentucky Derby archive of race info all the way back to 1875, and even video clips for many of the races. Enjoy!

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Using Online Media For Equine Event Promotion

I first saw the equine spectacular Cavalia in early 2005, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Talk about being floored! I’d seen a fair amount of equine theatrical performance, even ridden in some, but it was the best I’d ever seen. A trip that summer to Cavalia’s hometown of Montreal proved to be perfect timing, since we arrived on opening day, went to the show, AND snagged an invite to the afterparty!

Cavalia recently returned to the U.S. after an extended run in Europe (and, during my trip to Belgium & The Netherlands that year, I missed catching them in Brussels by about 2 weeks!); I was able to see the show again when it came to Chicago in summer 2009. There were some changes, but Cavalia still had many of the same catch-your-breath moments as the first time I saw it, as well as a few new ones.

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How can you maximize exposure & excitement for your equine event?

Use a little creativity and planning in your media outreach!

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I write for the Equine Chronicle (print and online), and for Cavalia’s Tampa run I wrote a series of articles for their Web site, plus organized some online contests. Lining up this kind of multi-faceted media promotion is typically a win-win for everyone, since it generates both exposure and excitement.

If you’ve got a special event coming up, how can you maximize your own exposure and excitement? Here are a few tips:

  • Get the right people onboard – publicists, editors, event promoters, interview sources, and photographers are all crucial to getting the story, and getting it out there
  • Write a series of articles for the ‘target audience’ media
  • Organize contests (with prizes) and promote the articles using social media like Facebook and Twitter (remember to consider local laws & regs regarding contests)
  • Include Internet-searchable keywords in your articles

With a little creativity and planning, you, too, can put together some good promotion for your upcoming event!

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Here are my Cavalia articles for their 2010 Tampa run, on EquineChronicle.com – enjoy!

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Filed under 2010 Articles, Articles, Equine Industry Marketing, New Media, Uncategorized