Missy and I were very fortunate to take a few days off during April to enjoy one of Missy’s favorite bands. Yes, my lovely wife is a huge Kid Rock fan, and we decided to take this “themed” cruise.
We boarded the Norwegian Jade at Terminal 3 in the Port of Tampa with 2,500 other self-proclaimed “Motherf**kers” for five days on the high seas. This wasn’t like any other cruise we’ve been on. There was no shortage of American Badass Beer, Cabo Wabo Tequila and dope. Yes, there was plenty of dope on the cruise ship—Not my thing, but who am I to judge?
But, what hit me during this 5-day break of fielding phone calls from managed service providers looking to grow their business (and some desperately), was amazing.
Sixthman, the organization that puts on this floating concert at sea, is onto something. During a Q&A period with their CEO Anthony Diaz, I had an opportunity to ask him a question about why bands are doing these music cruises—Was it a revenue replacement model? You see, I’m thinking like many of you may be—Short term, revenue replacement, tactical activities, right? What Anthony shared with me was priceless and what I needed to hear.
This was the 8th Chillin’ The Most Kid Rock Cruise. Missy and I were two of about 1,040 other “virgins” on the ship. The balance of passengers was returning fans of Kid Rock. But, here’s the rub—Sure, many of them were there to see Bob Ritchie from Romeo, MI, aka Kid Rock, but that wasn’t the only reason—Most of the passengers were there because of the community—Yes, the community of friends and fans that make this annual pilgrimage each year. They get onboard this Norwegian cruise ship, drink beer, smoke dope and share the experience with everyone else.
The draw of this community spirit is an important marketing message for Managed IT Service Providers.
Here’s what I learned. Forget about the transactional every day, thank GaryVee for planting the seed at ICON 2016 in Phoenix. The Kid Rock Cruise sells out almost overnight, with crazy mother**kers who want to get on a ship and float around the Caribbean checking out their favorite singer and hooking back up with the friends they made over the years.
Did I mention that the Kid Rock cruise has been going for eight years, and 137 people onboard the Norwegian Jade where have been to all 8 of these cruises? That’s around 25K to 50K spent by each passenger simply because of this rock-star community!
How can we replicate this in the IT industry?
First off, it starts with dumping the mentality that we are all guilty of—Transactions.
Yes, I’m talking to you “Mr. Google Adwords,” who needs to know exactly what lead came from what keyword click.
Yes, I am speaking to you “Mr. I Don’t Do Facebook,” because there’s a security risk.
Yes, I am talking to all of you who aren’t plugged into “relationship” marketing and the importance of building a community.
Just ask Arnie at Connectwise. His IT Nation Conference is just like the Kid Rock Cruise, minus the dope. It’s a community of IT companies. Some don’t go there to learn about Connectwise or visit the vendors. They’re only there to meet their friends, colleagues and others in the industry for hallways conversations, drinks, dinner and personal one-on-one time.
Here’s what I suggest: Over the next few weeks, let’s work together to figure out how you can form a community of business professionals who are loyal to your brand, can’t wait for your next lunch and learn, or educational webinar—Build your community.
Anthony mentioned this in his Q&A. Kid Rock also jokingly said this during the one-on-one time with his fans. Would Kid Rock do a 9th Chillin The Most Cruise? Well, the answer drove home the importance of community. Both said, the cruise would sell out, even if Kid Rock weren’t on the cruise. That’s how powerful this community is.
Thanks Anthony and Bob Ritchie from Romeo, MI for another valuable lesson!
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Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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