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Every good idea needs a marketing strategy

April 30, 2012

“If you build it, they will come,” is great in theory but in practice sometimes you need more, you need a marketing plan. 

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Caine Monroy, a 9-year-old from East Los Angeles, made the news a couple of weeks ago with the cardboard arcade he built out of boxes in his father’s shop last summer.

He used his own toys as prizes. Caine’s arcade even had ticket dispensers to be redeemed for prizes.

After finishing his arcade, Caine had one problem — no customers. At least, he had no customers until an aspiring filmmaker showed to purchase a door handle from Caine’s father and became interested in the arcade. The filmmaker used the arcade as the subject of a video, created a Facebook page for the arcade, organized a flash mob to visit the arcade and set up a college fund where viewers can donate.

After posting the video on YouTube, Caine’s arcade became a sensation and the subject of more news stories than I am sure he could have ever imagined.

What is the significance of Caine’s story to us? Caine had a plan. He had a plan to build an arcade out of cardboard boxes.

The problem was it was an incomplete plan. He knew he wanted to build an arcade. He knew what he wanted the arcade to do. He didn’t have a plan to properly market and promote his arcade (or business). What I think he learned — and what we can learn from Caine — is that it isn’t enough to have a great idea. It isn’t enough to take that idea and turn it into reality. We have to have a marketing plan.

The movie “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner had the sound bite that stated, “Build it and they will come.” That unfortunately, as Caine found out, doesn’t usually work. A good marketing plan will use a number of resources to let your target market know you are open and ready to serve them.

Seventy to 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first year. Some of this is because of the lack of a good marketing plan, or because of poor execution of that plan. We see businesses all over town that spring up almost overnight. As we observe these businesses, we can sometimes guess which ones will survive over a year based on the marketing we observe. As quickly as they spring up, many disappear because they did not have a plan for attracting their target market.

It isn’t enough to just have plan for what to sell, or where to sell. The entrepreneur needs to have a plan for promoting his or her business. They need a plan for attracting their target market and enticing them into the business.

Caine didn’t have a marketing plan, but he got lucky when someone that could market his business happened by and helped him out. For most of us, no one is going to stop and help us with marketing our business because they took a liking to us. The staff of the SBDC can help you with your marketing plan. All you have to do is call and schedule an appointment. We will be glad to help.

“Business Tips” was written by James Leavelle, Business Development Specialist of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact him


© 2012 San Angelo Standard Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

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ASU Small Business Development Center
San Angelo, TX
Phone: (325) 942-2019