I’m putting together a new marketing push these days, which consists of a range of traditional to non-traditional approaches.
The most traditional is a series of ads for ShipIndex.org in several maritime and naval magazines over the next few months: Military History, Power Ships, Sea History (I have been writing a column in Sea History about ‘Maritime History on the Internet’ for many years now), and Naval History. Personally, I like print ads. I know there are reasons why they might not be a great idea, but I like ’em. I may add some online ads, as well, but (despite my previous work with electronic journals) I do love me a good print serial.
I am thinking of doing some ads in genealogy magazines next. Any suggestions on which you think would be most relevant?
The first non-traditional marketing tool is underwriting my local NPR station, WSKG, and I’m writing this now because I heard the first on-air acknowledgement spot earlier today, at the end of “On The Media”, which is a show I very much enjoy. The other spot is at the end of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”, which everyone in my family enjoys. I will look forward to see if they have any impact at all. It’s really not that non-traditional, though, is it? I mean, Ancestry.com has been doing it at the national level for a while, and I have heard national underwriting spots for library database companies that individuals can’t even purchase, like EBSCO, ProQuest, and even for Summon, from Serials Solutions. (I’ll admit, hearing the last one was pretty cool.)
The totally non-traditional marketing move is to sponsor collegiate cycling teams. Now, in this case, I expect essentially no financial return from the move, just good karma and psychic positivity. (Plus a cycling jersey with the ShipIndex.org logo on it…) At first, I wanted to sponsor TeamType1, which is now Team Novo Nordisk, but they limit their sponsors to cycling and diabetes products and services. Also, they’re a professional, international cycling team, so I probably couldn’t have afforded it, even if they had accepted me. Then I thought about the local collegiate cycling teams, but the Cornell guy never got back to me, the Ithaca College team seems dormant at the moment, and I wondered why I was thinking about them, and not my alma maters.
The folks on the Carolina Cycling Team know what they’re doing. They put together a great proposal, were quick with the information, plus offered great information about the team and its current status, and were quick and accurate in requesting actual payment. I hope my jersey from them comes soon, and I look forward to keeping an eye on how they’re doing. I’m also going to sponsor the Oberlin College Cycling Club, though they haven’t yet asked for the actual money. I guess I should bug them about that soon. I would gladly sponsor teams at East Carolina University (they’d be especially appropriate, since their institution also subscribes to the database) or Binghamton University (well, SUNY Binghamton, as my wife, the graduate, still calls it). If you know someone there, have them contact me. My research suggested that both are dormant at the moment.
(Since cycling is not an NCAA-approved sport, they don’t have limitations on accepting sponsorship. They also don’t get any [or much] money from their athletic departments, so they need the sponsorships. My wife suggested I try to sponsor rowing teams — at least they’re on the water, after all — but since they’re NCAA sports, they cannot accept any sponsorships. Also, I love cycling, and that’s where I wanted to start.)
So, that’s where ShipIndex.org marketing is going right now. If I’m doing it wrong, tell me how to do it right.