Let's see a quick show of hands... who knows what
targeted advertising is? That's what I thought; many of you've heard
the words but don't know how it applies to our community.
Have you ever received an invitation to a weekly steppers class or
event in a city across the country (or at least in a location
you're not even remotely near?) Sure you have, we all have on
The person doing the advertisement has "friended" every
stepper they could find on the social site and now they are going to
advertise with the hope some of it sticks and people will
attend their set or class.
That's targeted advertising in a nutshell (even though the person
doing the advertising only targeted "all steppers")... had the
marketer taken the time to create a list of people in geographic
proximity to the event or class they would be able to tailor
their event description to that exact market.
Of course many of these would-be marketers have no idea of where you
are mainly because it would take effort to break down their friend
lists by location. Facebook knows where you are, Google knows where
you are but not the steppers marketer... they just throw the info
Facebook and Google use a lot of advanced tools to see where you are
so they can advertise directly to you and amongst the tools they use
is geotracking. It's a tool where they trace your computers
internet address to where it connects to the web. This tells them
what city you're in and that gives them an idea where you're at so
they can advertise products and services for your city to you. More Below
I've played with geotracking and I have to
say it's not all that accurate especially if you are connected using
a wireless carrier (more and more people are). There needs to be
more. Ideally an opt in list of people who identify their location
to receive specific information about stepping and its related
The key word is opt-in and unfortunately many marketers just grab
email addresses and names and start pushing stuff at us. It's spam
and one of these days someone is going to get busted but that's
another story isn't it.
People in the steppers community have an interest in what happens in
other cities but it's only a fleeting interest at best. What's
happening closest to us is what is most important to us and we
shouldn't forget that.
Advertising and promotion and party planning should always start at
home and should benefit home before anywhere else. We should support
our home community by going to the classes and events and by
building the community instead of scheming to see how we can draw
more people from other cities to support what we can't.
I'm not saying don't take that "steppers vacation" because I don't
think anyone would be able to stop you anyway... just remember where
you live. Target your efforts locally before thinking about going
If your local party has less than a thousand people attending
regularly you probably shouldn't be inviting the entire country to
gather in your city. There should be a base in your stepping
community large enough to handle (to dance with and network with) an
additional thousand or two people in order for your event to really
work as it should.
Like it or not our efforts should be geared toward building a large
and strong local market and it all starts with targeting new people
where you live along with the ones you already market to at home.
I'd love to see five thousand steppers in one place
at the same time. It's a big "grandiose" thought but I wonder what
it would actually accomplish for the steppers community.
How big should a large weekend dance event be allowed to become? At
what point do we individually and collectively say that's just too
I've seen promoters and party planners wrestle with that exact
problem a few times now over the last few years. It's not easy
trying to decide when enough is enough and being able to say "I just
don't think the majority can handle any more of what we're serving."
Do we really need to have twenty to forty workshops when we know the
only real purpose of many of the workshops is to promote the much
more lucrative private lessons? We know steppers eat and breathe the
dance for these big weekends but there are so many questions that go
way beyond the events themselves.
A large weekend event is usually promoted as a networking type of an
event but when I have looked closer at many of the events I've been
to I start to wonder how much of that networking is actually
happening on the dance floor?
Most of the time in most cases I've noticed the majority of people
at the huge events for the most part stay with those who they are
familiar with (mostly people they normally hang with at home). Then
why go out of town in the first place? Perhaps to give the promoter
the right to say theirs is bigger! I dunno!
If you're going to stay in a hotel and spend every waking hour
dancing and learning how to dance and dancing some more... couldn't
you have just brought the instructor to your city and had a weekend
of dancing and instruction at a much lower cost? But whythink about it?
Three or four hundred dollars for the weekend in the hotel or
spending that same money to bring the instructors to your city for
the same things might make more sense financially. The instructors
go because for them the large events are like the Christmas season
is for retailers.
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