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Free Motorcycles: Crazy Promotion?

Marty Pavilonis

"Crazy" Marty Pavilonis

As everyone knows, this is by far the busiest time of the year for retail stores.

But that usually doesn’t apply to motorcycle stores in Chicago, because it’s not exactly ideal weather to be cruising around town on a two-wheeler.

Well, Marty Pavilonis, owner of The Zone Honda-Kawasaki , is looking to change all of that this holiday season.
He came up with a “Let It Snow Promotion,” which started last Friday and continues right up through Christmas Eve.

Very simply, here’s how it works…

If it snows at least 6 inches on New Year’s Day, Marty will refund his customers for every single purchase anyone makes in any department of his entire store during the entire month of December.

Yes, that could result in well over $1,000,000 worth of new and used bikes, service, storage, parts and accessories that lucky Chicagoans will get without paying a dime (well, they’ll still have to pay the sales tax – this is Illinois, after all).

So is Marty “crazy” to do this, as his website says?

Well, on the surface, the primary dictionary definition of the word (“senseless; impractical; totally unsound”) seems to fit a business owner who would run such a risky promotion.

But in reality, of course Marty isn’t taking such a huge, reckless risk.

He simply purchased an insurance policy to cover all of his December sales in case we get anything close to a repeat of New Year’s Day 2001, when 17 inches of snow fell on our great city.

So Marty will win either way – whether it snows 6 inches on New Year’s Day or not:

(a) If it doesn’t, he gets a big boost in December sales
(b) If it does, his customers love him for letting them get all their free stuff

And either way, he’s likely to get a ton of free publicity for his outrageous promotion – all for only the cost of the insurance plus advertising.

So instead of just admiring Marty for his initiative and ingenuity, the question you should be asking yourself is: “How can I run a similar promotion in my business?”

In fact, you should be asking yourself that question about almost everything Marty does to market his business. As a private client of mine and the reigning “2010 Marketer Of The Year” of my “Chicagoland’s Sharpest Entrepreneurs” group, Marty is constantly implementing effective, fun, out-of-the-box marketing strategies in his business.

Which is why two other definitions of the word “crazy” fit Marty best of all: “intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited” and “an unpredictable, nonconforming person.”

Want to see some more “crazy” things your fellow Chicago-area small business owners are doing to grow their businesses despite the current challenging economy? Come watch the top competitors showcase their best as they battle to be named “2011 Marketer Of The Year” at “The Ultimate Entrepreneur Holiday Party!”

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