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Marketing an Expansion


Marketing an expansion with a 3D model display may seem like a strategy you would never use, but it is worth considering if you are ever in the position to need to sell memberships to support a large construction project. Since I have had first-hand experience with this particular strategy, I thought I would share with you my newfound understanding of how to do this.

When the idea to commission the building of a 3D-to-scale model came up, we went to our architect for advice. They did not have a model maker on their staff, so I was advised to reach out to whomever I could find. I began with a Google search and came up with several alternatives both locally and in other states. I developed a general description of the project and selected some PDF files, which were renderings of the project. I then sent this off to several model makers. Our project is quite large, consisting of a 12,000-square-foot fitness center addition, a 4-acre outdoor pool complex and a 41,000- square-foot indoor athletic field house. The entire developed property would be 22 acres and is expected to be completed by May of 2013. I received several responses from model makers with requests for more detailed files to review in order to provide a quote. Our architect provided the more detailed files and I began to receive proposals. I quickly learned that I was not equipped to evaluate these proposals, so I had our architect advise me as to which one was the best.

As luck would have it, the best proposal was from a local model maker that was able to meet with me in person several times. In retrospect, this was very helpful for our project because he was able to counsel me on the best placement for the model in the building both for marketing and visual purposes. The placement also determined the eventual size of the model. Since he was modeling a 22-acre property, the scale had to be determined by the space in which the model would be located. We finally decided on installing the model in our adult member lounge. The model measures 6 feet by 7 feet and is constructed on its own dark wood stand with a plexiglass cover to protect it.

Once the model was complete and installed we knew that it would draw attention organically, just by being there. But in order to maximize its effectiveness we decided to have a model launch party and served refreshments all day on the first day of its appearance with sales and marketing staff on hand to answer questions. After hearing questions all day, we then developed a handout of frequently asked questions with answers. Most of the questions had to do with services and new fees. These answers were then communicated via e-mail blasts to members and employees and on our Facebook page, which has 2,500 fans.

The model is used on every new member tour to great advantage. We posted pictures on our website as well as a video. (See picture above.)

Since the model was quite large, it was a significant financial investment, but one that we all feel will pay off in terms of new memberships and positive public relations.

Linda Mitchell is the director of marketing, public relations and charitable giving for Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Penn. She can be reached via e-mail at linda@newtownathletic.com.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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