Tag Archives: horse

Monday Morning Quickie – You Can’t Beat This Kind Of Exposure

Last night, the unbeaten Thoroughbred racehorse Zenyatta was profiled on CBS’ 60 Minutes show. Asking the question ‘Is Zenyatta The Best Racehorse Ever?’ the show followed the mare for a week, covering her every move from grooming time to morning works to meeting with her fans..

Image courtesy Guinness.com

But one of the ‘omg moments’ of the segment brought some of the best publicity you can get: An unpaid product placement for the Guinness brand of beer, which Zenyatta gets occasionally as a treat from her trainer John Shirreffs. And, apparently, no other beer will do, since it’s the only one she’ll drink!

This is the kind of third-party recommendation that PR folks dream about. Zenyatta is at the zenith of her career, unbeaten in 19 races and with her 20th, and final, being the prestigious Breeder’s Cup Classic that she won last year, the eyes of the equestrian and sports worlds are upon her.

Since win or lose she’ll retire after the race, she’s a sentimental favorite, but she also has a real shot to win and take home a $3 million paycheck despite being six years old and the oldest horse in the field. There were also a record-setting 184 entries in the Breeder’s Cup races, which will be run this year at Churchill Downs, home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby.

Combine all that with the cachet of being in an excellent segment on 60 Minutes (that you can watch here if you didn’t see it when it aired), and with that type of unsolicited endorsement and primetime publicity – it’s like capturing lightning in a (beer) bottle.

I wonder if the Guinness folks will jump on this? Hmmmm…she could be the fastest, biggest, hairiest female to ever be featured in a beer commercial.

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Another touching equestrian moment occurred in the same 60 Minutes show; loveable curmudgeon Andy Rooney talked about seeing the Secretariat movie in his show-closing segment. Apparently he’s visited Saratoga annually since he was a youngster, seeing some of the greatest racehorses of the 20th century such as Man o’ War, Citation, Whirlaway, and War Admiral. And yes, Secretariat.

You can watch Mr. Rooney’s clip here, or read the transcript. I thought it was amazing that he’s seen so many of the racing greats in his lifetime. While he’s not a big fan and only goes to the track occasionally, he points out that a movie isn’t a substitute for actually being there…but that the Secretariat movie comes close.

I would agree – if you haven’t yet seen it on the big screen, catch it while you can. The action sequences are spectacular, Diane Lane does a fine job in the role of Penny Chenery Tweedy, and while there are some glaring continuity errors that a horse person will catch, it’s a movie that kept me engaged and that I felt was well worth paying premium to see it at the theater.

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Monday Morning Quickie – Is Your Equine Business Telling Stories?

This morning one of my Twitter followers tweeted the following:

from Twitter.com

 

 

 

In case the image is too small on your screen, it says ‘My most valuable class in college was creative writing. Storytelling matters so much in marketing.’

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about just this topic. I think so many good horse professionals get hung up on the terms ‘marketing’ and ‘public relations’ and don’t realize that at the very heart of good marketing is simply telling your story, to an audience that will respond to that story.

In a story, you want to know the ‘who, what, when, where, and how’ – it’s like in the game Clue, where you learned that Colonel Mustard did it in the library with the candlestick. That told a story, and gave you information you needed.

Several years ago, a friend of mine, executive coach Barry Zweibel of GottaGettaCoach! Inc., gave me a book titled ‘Not Quite What I Was Planning – Six Word Memoirs By Writers Famous And Obscure’ – it’s a play on the legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words. His story?

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

According to the book ‘Not Quite…’, Hemingway said it was his best work. And in modern times, sometimes six words is all you get to capture someone’s imagination and get your message across.

I recommend seeking out the book and at least flipping through the pages. It’s not only inspiring to read what people write about their lives in six words (and enough people thought so that it became a New York Times bestseller), but it’s a good lesson in storytelling.

If you had to sum up your marketing message in six words – what would they be? If you want to take on that challenge, send it to me via the Comments and I’ll post the six-word marketing messages here.

Make it a great week!

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Monday Morning Quickie – Are Online Horse Auctions A Fad, Or The Future?

You might have read my article about the high tech/high touch Al-Marah Arabian Galleries that opened this summer at the Kentucky Horse Park; if you’re an Arabian lover who’d like a piece of Al-Marah history and breeding for your own pasture, an upcoming online auction of Al-Marah stock might be just the ticket. Still, do you think buying a horse through the computer beats buying one in person?

Online horse classifieds and Web sites have been around for years; many riders have found their ‘dream horse’ through these resources, and many horses have found new homes across the U.S. and elsewhere. But what happens to a horse purchase when you add in the high-pressure atmosphere of an auction?

The Al-Marah online auction, through Addis Equine Auctions, is set up with an eBay-style online bidding process that starts October 28, 2010, and ends November 2nd at 6 PM CST. Then, two hours later at 8 PM CST, Addis opens up live bidding, where bidders can hear the auctioneer over their computers just as they would if they were present at the auction grounds, and submit their bids over the computer. I guess having the live portion prevents that ‘last minute swoop-in’ and losing your desired item to someone who had a faster Internet connection than you did.

Do you think online auctions of horses are the future, or a fad? Would you buy a horse this way? Send in your thoughts via the Comment link.

Make it a great week!

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Haven’t Gotten Enough WEG2010? Here’s More!

Earlier this week I recommended Marti McGinnis’ WegWag blog, as one of the multitude of different perspectives on what many are calling a ‘very successful’ first-ever-on-American-soil World Equestrian Games. One of my readers said she wanted more, so here are some additional online ‘voices’ to add to the overall mix.

Why more, why here? If you’re burned out on WEG, then take a pass. But, from a marketing point of view, I find it interesting to see what others experienced in Kentucky, how they’ve perceived the Games, and what they’re saying, and writing, about the event. That’s part of what makes up a ‘brand’ – the sum total of what others are saying, and thinking, about something.

A ‘brand’ is sorta like your reputation – it includes not just what YOU say you’re about, but also what OTHERS say about you. For WEG2010, I heard some grumbles while I was there, but I also heard plenty of stories that will be lifelong, happy memories for those that were fortunate enough to be a part of this historic event.

So here’s the ‘more’ – some sites where you’ll be able to read up on what happened, see images and video, and assess for yourself the ‘brand’ of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010.

The official site: Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010

Dressage Daily

Horses Daily

Horses In The South

YouTube – official promo video, and links to other WEG2010 videos

Have another WEG-related Web site or resource you want to share? Send it to me via email or a comment!

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Monday Morning Quickie – If You Missed WEG, Here’s One Place To Catch Up

I’ve been in Lexington the past few days, catching a small taste of the first-ever World Equestrian Games on American turf. The vision was grand and the actual scope even grander, not to mention the acreage of the Kentucky Horse Park!

Telling the story of a particular event is a multi-faceted task, much the same way as telling the story of your own equine business – it’s different things to different people, who have different experiences and therefore different perspectives. Whew!

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games had significant televised coverage on NBC – that’s one perspective. Both mainstream media and equine media were there to provide coverage – more perspectives. If you’re interested, a simple Google search will turn up all kinds of information, and perspectives.

However, one resource I recommend is the WegWag blog, written by Marti McGinnis of Studio Mudio. Marti lives just outside Lexington, so she’s been here to see the lead-in and preparation, and she’s been blogging all the way through. One of the videos she did for WegWag even won an award! For an insightful, humorous look at WEG happenings, I think WegWag’s just dandy.

Hope you have a lovely week!

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Construction – Being Under It, And Getting Through It

The 'horses' most frequently seen around Chicago in the summer. (image by Lisa Kemp)

In Chicago, there’s a saying that there are two seasons – winter, and construction. That’s because as soon as the winter weather breaks, construction on roads and projects starts, and continues up until the big snows hit…and then maybe even a little bit longer. The construction is also loud, messy, and frequently uncomfortable, with unexplained delays and traffic jams. Argh.

While Chicago’s construction season started early in the spring, it appears that my own ‘construction season’ hit me this August – and has gone on longer than I had anticipated. So this is a bit of a check-in.

I’m currently reviewing and fine-tuning various projects and directions; I was finding myself busier than ever, but strangely not feeling as satisfied with work as I’d like to be. So I decided to make some mid-course corrections. Not easy, frequently uncomfortable, and fraught with delays – sorta like Chicago construction.

Have you ever heard that saying about ‘when you love what you do, it’s no longer work’? That’s the sweet spot I’m aiming for, when I have cool clients and projects that we love so the hard work we do becomes a joy. I plan to work together with fabulous horse professionals to ramp up everyone’s marketing and get even more people involved with horses, strengthening the overall industry. And for all of us to have a good time doing it, in a way that’s in the best interests of the horse.

I hope you’ll stick with me, because there’s some good stuff coming….as soon as I get through this dang construction season!

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Thanks to Bob M., one of my subscribers and a good guy, who checked in with me via email to say he hadn’t seen a post in a while – thanks for the nudge to let people know what was happening on this end, and I truly appreciate the check-in.

And, welcome to the new subscribers that have hopped on during this lull, too! I hope you’re all enjoying some good weather and maybe the last little bit of summer, and I look forward to connecting with you sometime soon. Feel free to send me a comment or email, I’ll respond.

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Monday Morning Quickie – Do You Have Permission To Send Emails For Your Horse Biz?

This morning I received an email from someone I barely knew at a job I worked at long, long ago – they were ‘reminding’ me about their new music venture this week, using a commercial email marketing service. Not only am I not going to this event, I opted out of all future emails from this person. Why did I unsubscribe from this person’s email list? Here are my Top Two reasons:

  • I haven’t heard from this person in years
  • I wasn’t asked if I wanted to join the email list

Now let me say, I’m all for responsible email marketing; heck, I do it myself, and have done it for clients. I’ve also used the exact same commercial email marketing service this person used. But, you can damage your business reputation and your brand by using this tactic thoughtlessly and carelessly.

    You might have heard about a little concept called ‘permission marketing’ that author and marketing guy Seth Godin came up with a few years back; here’s an excellent explanation about permission marketing from Seth’s own blog.

    Basically, when someone is ‘paying attention’ to you and your horse business, they are giving you a precious commodity – their time and attention. Just because you have someone’s email address doesn’t give you the right to clog up their inbox with things that are important to YOU, but probably aren’t to THEM.

    How could this person have done things differently and perhaps converted me into a fan? It’s the same way you can grow your own permission-based email list:

    • Send a personal email first, saying ‘Hi, I know it’s been a long time but here’s what I’m up to and I’d love your support….’ and invite them to opt-in, or join, your email list.
    • OR, if an email list is too long or there’s too much of a time crunch to send individual personal emails, send two emails through the email service: One to give a heads up and invite the recipient to subscribe for future announcements, followed 1-2 days later by the actual announcement.

    It’s something to think about if you’re pursuing email marketing as a strategy for your horse business. While it takes more time and effort in the beginning to get someone’s permission, in the long run you’ll have more credibility, gain your audience’s trust, and have the opportunity to build your audience instead of losing them to the competition.

    What about you? Have you experienced receiving unsolicited emails? Tell me what you think!

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