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“What should we be selling, the ‘sizzle’ or the steak?”


out of the door, deliver orders and deliver on promises will probably say, ‘Yes, it is’. But that isn’t what I mean. It’s great that we have had some good weather; that pools have been opened and we’ve made sales while the sun shines. The danger is that we all sit back after a hard day’s work, rub our hands and think, ‘Great. Back to business as usual’. And that’s my point. It isn’t ‘business as usual’. The wet leisure industry is changing and that is what makes it an exciting time to be in it.


Tough times make cleverer businesses

Over the past few years we have suffered from miserable weather and a depressing economic climate, hosepipe bans and spiralling energy costs. Environmental concerns have risen up the agenda and we live in a society that is increasingly stressed and worried about its health.

And the wet leisure industry is still here. The challenges that we have faced have driven change and innovation. New thinking and new products are making pools, spas and saunas more energy efficient, more eco-friendly and more able to deliver real health benefits. Products such as LED lighting, solar powered pool rollers, digital control panels, MultiCyclone and energy-saving pool pumps. So our industry has moved forward but is that enough to keep our businesses and our industry growing and prospering? We need to make sure that our customers know about all the innovations and advances that have been made and we need to sell them to the public in a way that is relevant to them.

Building a better mousetrap just won’t do it Clever technology, break-through thinking and state of the art design won’t make the world beat a path to your door.

Advances in technology and design count for little unless they are reflected by advances in marketing; and quite often, when

42 October 2013 SPN

t’s an exciting time to be in the wet leisure industry.

Those of us working hard to get products

attracted to products that make their pool more eco-friendly or lessen the chemical use of their pool or spa.

They are going to be interested in UV and Ozone purification, water saving MultiCyclone filters and high quality pool covers. And you know that a message about how these products lessen the environmental impact of their spa or pool will be attractive to them. You might put a group of people together who simply want the very best and are happy to pay for it.

the technology becomes more complicated, the marketing needs to become simpler. Think about Apple. I have no idea about how my iPad works but I get the promise that it’s making to me; ‘whatever I want to do, wherever I want to do it’.

The new Audi R8 is certainly full of computer chips and carbon fibre but what does the TV commercial tell you? That the engine makes a brilliant noise.

That better mousetrap I mentioned earlier might have been designed by NASA and built by Rolls Royce but the way to sell it would be to say, ‘Look, no more mice.’ Your customers will be attracted to the innovative products that the industry has to offer not because they are clever or inventive but because they either address a problem the customer has, or offer them a real benefit. It’s the benefit, the problem solved, that needs to be the focus of your marketing. In fact, when you look at marketing this way – from your customer’s point of view – it might dramatically change the way you do business. Rather than looking at your products and wondering who to sell them to, look at your customers and decide what they might be interested in buying.

Taking stock of your customers Instead of pondering what product to put next to what in your showroom or on your shelves, why not look at which of your customers you can group together.

One group of your customers might be significantly more concerned about the environment than the average. They will be

A boutique range of top-end lighting solutions, stainless steel pool fittings and custom-built control panels will have appeal for them and once again, you know the essence of the marketing message that is most likely to be affective for this group. Put all the truly health-conscious customers together. For them there are top end hot tubs that offer serious hydrotherapy, swimspas and counter-current units for pools or the new ‘soft saunas’ that the whole family can benefit from. These may be ‘big ticket’ items but promote them as an investment in health rather than an indulgence and people are more likely to buy.

Immerse yourself in the business There is one very simple way of getting a real understanding of what aspects of pool, spa and sauna ownership customers would find most motivating and that is to make sure that you and your staff use them and love them. Swimmers, sauna bathers and people who take a regular soak in a hot tub become evangelical about the pleasures, benefits and sheer enjoyment of spending some of their leisure time wet.

At the end of the day, it’s that feeling that motivates people to buy our products and use our services. That’s the feeling you have to communicate. That’s the feeling that sells. SPN

Jamie Adams is Managing Director of Golden Coast, the current Chairman of Pool Industry Promotions (PIP) and a board member of the British Swimming Pool Federation (BSPF).

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