Tag Archives: Monday Morning Quickie

Monday Morning Quickie – Kentucky Leaders Breaking Bread, Getting Down To Horsebiz-ness

There’s some potentially exciting news coming from the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) this morning. An invite-only dinner for leaders of Kentucky-based equine associations has been scheduled for May 17, 2011; information gathered at that meeting will be used at a full-day strategic breakout session later in 2011.

According to the Kentucky Horse Council news release about the dinner, it’s a step in the direction of unification to strengthen the horse industry for the future.

I think this is a key point mentioned in the news release:

In a recent letter to Kentucky equine associations, KHC Board President Anna Zinkhon stated, “As leaders in the Kentucky horse industry, we must have a frank discussion about how the Kentucky horse industry does business in the coming decade.  The Kentucky horse community has often lacked the unity to provide a cohesive message.  This separation of breeds and disciplines has hampered our ability to speak with a single voice, and has limited efforts to stabilize the industry.”

Anna Zinkhon points out that the Kentucky horse community has often lacked unity, separated by breeds and disciplines. I’d add that it’s a problem for the entire horse world, which is very often silo’d by breed, discipline, interest, activity, etc.

Hmmmm…if Kentucky is taking a lead on unifying and strengthening the horse industry within its boundaries, what effect will this have on other states? What might we see as results from this dinner gathering? We’ll have to stay tuned for this one, folks.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the horse industry for the next decade? What would YOU mention if you were at that dinner table in Kentucky next month? Share your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below.

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How Quickly A Year Goes By….

The No Biz Like Horsebiz blog started one year ago today. It’s amazing how fast the days add up to 365….

I’ve been doing a little ‘taking stock’ of where things are with the blog now, and I wanted to share some of that with you, plus a bit of the ‘looking forward’ to what’s next:

  • The blog subscriber base is small but dedicated, with site stats that are going in the right direction (that’s up, in case you were wondering) in terms of both reading and subscribing. Thank you to EACH and every one of my subscribers and readers, and especially everyone who’s taken the time to comment or share in some way. I really appreciate it.
  • I’ve allowed this blog to evolve organically, ‘finding its voice’ along the way and building a foundation for the future. The Monday Morning Quickie (MMQ) posts and 52 Fridays series are proceeding swimmingly, and being shared a bit via social media (thanks, y’all!). The one surprise is how many find my blog through an Internet search for ‘morning quickie,’ something I wouldn’t have guessed when I started MMQ and a good lesson in how you name something and what that name could bring!
  • The last year has brought positive results for readers and mostly ‘boy, that’s useful’ or ‘I enjoy reading’ types of comments and feedback. And a fair amount of s.p.a.m. – the WordPress Akismet tool informs me that it’s blocked 684 s.p.a.m. comments, and I sure am thankful for it!
  • The past year has also brought recognition for Kemp Equine that I’ve shared here, in the form of multiple PR and writing awards, and a Finalist nod in the ‘Best Use of Twitter – International’ category of the first-ever Equestrian Social Media Awards (ESMAs), which didn’t even exist at this time last year. The ESMAs show how much more of the global horse industry is adopting new media, social networking, and technology in getting the word out and connecting folks within the various equestrian communities, across not only geographic boundaries but breed and discipline boundaries as well.

As for what’s next….

  • In general, my purpose and focus are still the same as they were a year ago…

Through this blog, you can look forward to equine industry marketing news and information, interviews with relevant experts, and tips and resources to help you reach your customers more effectively and efficiently. There’ll also be links to my articles in horse magazines, plus some fun stuff from time to time.

Read the first-ever post: Welcome to No Biz Like Horse Biz, from Kemp Equine

  • Now that the blog is underway, I’ll be working to build readership and the subscriber list, including more use of social media and some fun stuff. I hope you’ll help me out by telling others or sharing links when you find something useful or valuable in this space.

If I could have a ‘one year anniversary’ wish, it would be that the trend of horse industry sharing and connecting continues and grows, that we look for even more ways to invite others into our horsey world and show them not only the beauty, power, and magic of equines, but also how horses and equestrians can, and should, have a place in our fast-paced world.

Care to join me?

Please feel free share your own wish for the horse world by clicking on the Leave a Comment link below. Thanks for reading and making my first year an enjoyable one!

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Awards, Monday Morning Quickie, Twitter, Uncategorized, Welcome

Monday Morning Quickie – How The ‘Next Best Thing’ Is Always Killing The Things Before It – Not!

Over the weekend I had some Twitter conversations (yes, it’s possible despite the 140-character-at-a-time limitations) with several No Biz Like Horse Biz readers about last week’s 52 Fridays post on static vs. dynamic websites. There were some distinct preferences and beliefs about what’s best, but that’s not the point here; the point is that the Internet, websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, yada yada yada, don’t have a magic formula that’s going to help any horse business achieve overnight success and reach staggering numbers of followers…they’re just tools. The magic is in how you combine and use them to connect to your customers.

You might have heard the term ‘app-killer’ – it’s short for ‘applications killer,’ as in ‘which application will kill off the one before it?’ There are some true app-killers, such as when VHS videotape so dominated the marketplace that Beta went away, but mostly people figure out what they like about the new method and incorporate it into their daily routine. We have smaller slices of ‘more’ and make it work for how we live.

I was reading an older issue of Vanity Fair yesterday, and they’ve been running these ‘magazines are stronger than ever’ ads with the tagline The Power of Print®. This particular one had a headline that asked:

Will the Internet kill magazines?

Did instant coffee kill coffee?

And the answer is….no. Coffee is still around, instant coffee is still around. In addition, there are any number of new ways to get your java fix, whether you fix it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.

There’s a perfect non-horse example of this ‘app-killer’ mindset in the music industry. Yes, there are any number of ways to buy, download, and share music in MP3 formats, and cars now have input jacks for iPods alongside their CD player. But is that the only way? Nawwww! CDs and even vinyl albums are still available for purchase! Did you know there’s a secondary industry in ‘vinyl to MP3’ conversion programs and equipment? You can transfer songs from your old vinyl collection into MP3 format, and burn it to a CD. Revolutionary idea! The point is, each of the delivery methods is just that, a tool for helping you listen to your music.

One of my weekend Twitter conversationalists, the lovely Susie Blackmon of Horsealicious, tweeted me a link to this New York Times article Blogs Wane As The Young Drift To Sites Like Twitter. You’d think blogs were on their way out with yesterday’s trash and that I better pack it in and not waste my time here, wouldn’t you?

However, here’s what I see in that article:

  • kids have short attention spans and don’t like writing long blog posts because it’s ‘work’ and a ‘lonely’ activity they get little external reinforcement for
  • we all want to share and connect with friends and family
  • there’s a difference between ‘small talk’ and ‘meaty’ content and preferred delivery methods for each
  • communities, and readers, form around clearly-defined and communicated subject matter

I believe a horse business must focus first on the basics as a foundation, and work into achieving the nuances of greatness, just as a rider must do. Great marketing and PR is like great riding; both require clarity, focus, dedication, and effort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the heck out of them.

So let’s take a deep breath, focus on things like goals and target audiences for the outstanding products and services we’ve developed, and build ways to welcome even more people into the horse community. And oh yes, use the various tools at our disposal, but only if they fit our needs and those of our customers.

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Monday Morning Quickie – To Fulfill Needs, You Gotta Identify Them

Horse industry customers buy goods and services because they have needs they want to fill, yes? What happens when you know your customers so well you can anticipate needs they aren’t even aware of yet?

This past week, Chicago was hit with a historic amount of snow, the 3rd heaviest in the city’s recorded history. I’ve had problems with finding some good, reliable boots for several years now, so when the blizzard was forecast, I thought ‘uh-oh’ and headed out Tuesday morning to get me some good ones.

I knew my needs were ‘easy to walk in’ (I trek 20+ miles weekly with my dog Bella, on city sidewalks AND cross-country at the lakefront) and ‘waterproof/warm’ and I typically buy black or dark brown boots. So why did I end up with a pair of ‘white with grey trim’ snow boots?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Columbia Bugaboots (in winter white with metallic silver trim) not only fit the needs I’d already identified, they fulfilled a need I didn’t even think about until I saw the boots. During winter, what color is the ‘salt line’ you typically get on your dark-colored boots? That’s right, it’s white. So a pair of white boots won’t show that horrid white salt line. Brilliant! Columbia got the boot sale because they’d identified something I was always frustrated with, but never considered there was a solution for.

As for how that applies to the horse industry:

  • A few years ago when I was doing marketing & PR at a large Arabian horse farm in Tucson, we needed to promote the riding lesson program and boost participation. We combined the Arabian Horse Association’s Frequent Rider program, which rewards non-competitive riders of Arabian and Half-Arabian horses, with a direct mail letter to past students advising them of the goals & incentives we were incorporating into the lesson program, and inviting them back to join in the fun. Within two weeks, the lesson program was full! I think because we reached out and connected with past students, plus offered them a structure, with goals and rewards, it renewed their enthusiasm for riding lessons and brought them back.
  • Another example of fulfilling a horse industry need is the Edition Boiselle calendar line, by equestrian photographer Gabriele Boiselle. Her amazing, large-scale calendars are gorgeous wall art, and sell fabulously in Europe. However, we Americans like to have calendars to write on, to list our important dates and appointments; this is different than the European style, which only lists dates but doesn’t have room for notations. For 2011, Edition Boiselle offered American-format calendars for the first time, to give American fans not only the Boiselle images they love, but also a calendar they can use on a daily basis. Need fulfilled.

How does your horse business identify and fulfill customer needs? Is it time to sit down and think about not only what your customers say they need, but what they need that they don’t even know about yet?

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Monday Morning Quickie – Is Your Horse Biz On-Board The Fitness Train?

Each year, January 1st brings the same renewed focus on New Year resolutions, such as losing holiday ‘indulgence’ weight and developing a healthier regime. Since there are many, many healthier habits that come with an equestrian lifestyle, you could be missing out on new customers if you’re not including those messages in your marketing outreach.

If you’ve grown up with horses, you already know that interaction with them can have positive effects in areas such as leadership, communication, fitness, responsibility, and commitment. But for the increasing numbers of suburban and urban dwellers who aren’t lucky enough to have that horse exposure early, they don’t realize the benefits of riding and horse ownership. It’s up to our industry to show them.

Image from Gizmag.com

One area that’s a ‘no-brainer’ this time of year involves fitness. Several articles from Gizmag.com show ‘horseback riding machines’ that were introduced in the Japanese and American markets; these machines build the all-important ‘core’ muscles, and Japanese studies showed that users increased their metabolic rate after only three months of regular use. They’re also low-impact, and the articles report they’re well-suited for those with pulmonary, diabetic, and cardiac limitations.

Now I’m not saying that you should take a cardiac patient and throw them up on a horse for a romp around the arena, but horse businesses can use this type of information in their own marketing and promotion efforts:

  • Look at the studies on this type of exercise, and include some of the relevant data points in your own communications about healthier lifestyles.
  • Include links to articles about these types of machines, and their fitness benefits, at your Web site.
  • Ask your current customers for quotes about their own fitness habits and how riding helps them stay fit, to use in promotions.
  • Offer to work with new customers (and their physicians!) to develop a fitness and/or weight loss program.
  • And, include information about how much more FUN a live horse can be!

These approaches can work for lesson stables and horse farms, but if you’re a tack & feed business, you might want to look into carrying these kinds of machines (which are now even available through Target.com!) in your inventory. They could help the ‘occasional’ rider to improve fitness and get more out of their ‘live’ rides, or even to help riders come back to riding after a physical setback.

The New Year ‘fitness train’ rolls around at the same time each year; it’s because folks have fitness needs and wants that surface during the next few months. It’s a perfect opportunity to get into the media and into the minds of potential customers, and show them the fitness and lifestyle benefits that go along with riding horses.

 

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