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  • Writer's picturegpillajr

Marketing underwater

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Doing anything underwater other than swimming, scuba diving or cleaning those hard-to-reach areas would seem a bit crazy, right? The title of this blog, Marketing Underwater is a metaphor referring to promoting a company that makes exotic edges and waterfalls for pools.

I’m Gary, a 30-plus-year advertising veteran and Creative Director for Great American. In my career I’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the world; Nike, Microsoft, Mazda and Kay Jewelers have counted on me to enhance their brand, products and services. No easy task but a fun one for sure. Who wouldn’t want to work with household names with huge budgets and the opportunity to get noticed? It’s a creative person's dream. That world however, has changed considerably over the time I’ve been doing my thing. Advertising and marketing in general has taken on the role of “commodity” on one’s business plan. Yes, it’s still essential but it’s seen as something that almost anyone can do today. I guess anyone can do it, but do it effectively?

There was a time when I was producing one-million-dollar commercials. We would have a crew of 50 people and the greatest equipment money could buy. With the advancements in technology and a crew of 6, you can shoot beautifully with your iphone and edit at home. And the visual results can be fantastic. Seriously. The problem is the one thing that will never become a commodity is ideas. Those don’t come off the shelf and the business of advertising and marketing sometimes loses sight of that.

Great American's beautiful Zero Edge System

The space that I live in is coming up with ideas to help a brand get noticed. Right now that is indeed underwater. Great American doesn’t build pools but they make products and systems that will make the pool better. A lot better. Waterfalls like sheers, spouts and rains are just magical to listen to and look at. Zero Edge, our exotic-edge system will take nearly any pool design and give it that million dollar look, for a lot less than a million dollars. Sounds like an easy sell, right? Once builders and designers learn about our products, absolutely. The challenge is getting noticed in a world where everyone is vying for your eyeballs, 24/7. According to a recent study, we humans on average see between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements per day. Insane. 90 percent of them we are most-likely unaware of as they come in so many forms. The evolution of smartphones has invited the advertisers into our hands and there’s no turning back. Once we complained about commercials during Seinfeld but today we see roughly 200 ads per hour and most of us welcome them with open arms as it’s now part of the content experience.

Great American's Incredible Aqua Spout Pros

So my job is to rise above the clutter and get all our great, Great American products noticed. A real roadblock, just like the ad business is what we do and sell can be seen as commodities. But this is far from reality. I have learned much about the pool industry in my time here but I am still no expert. I’ve learned that all pool waterfall products are not the same, not even close. One of our current messaging successes is saying our waterfall products are “America’s Favorite”. That’s not just some tagline that I came up with. Even though I did ;) It embodies everything about the company. For example, we build standard units up to 8ft, while our custom fixtures can be built to any desired length plus, we offer different flow options. This is a uniqueness that takes us out of the commodity game. We have superior lead times. We offer specials and shipping incentives all year long. Plus here’s something that can put the icing on our cake – we’ve got a guy that knows more about the pool business than practically anyone else in it – Chris Walton. Commonly referred to as Zero Edge Guy, Chris is one of the thought leaders in the industry. Chris has worked in nearly every phase of the pool-building process; from install and crew management to currently leading ideas and innovations for Great American. Chris created our Zero Edge system. Yes, that’s big. Zero Edge provides a high-end exotic edge for pools at 50 to 80 percent less than anyone else. So clearly I’ve got lots of stuff to help keep our head above water. It’s up to me to get the word out and for it to resonate. If I fail there will be more time for swimming, scuba diving and cleaning my hard-to-reach areas. Stay tuned for updates on how we’re doing soon.

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