Nikki’s Notes:  Marking Milestones and Marketing Madness

Avant Marketeer Nikki Alvin-Smith Offers Timely Insights For Your Marketing Delight

 “English born American Founding Father, part philosopher and part political activist Thomas Paine, is attributed with saying,

“Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way.”

This is a phrase a marketing mentor in my life quoted to me more than once. A phrase that General Patton, Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca and many others have also coined to express their perspective.

It was useful advice that I keenly stashed away early in my career, and whenever I’m deciding about a future project or helping clients with their plans, I hear myself repeating.

Twenty years ago, these sage words led me to develop an international equine transport division for the international freight forwarding company I worked for, and it was a very successful endeavor. With my experience traveling with my own horses internationally and decades of freight forwarding know-how in shipping everything from chartered aircraft full of turkey poults to Saudi Arabia to importing multi-million dollar clean room machines for the technology industry, attention to detail on paperwork and putting the best team together possible to get horses safely from A to B was in my DNA by that point.

Eleven years ago, these same words of advice led me to put together the equine magazine Catskill Horse, initially as a niche community resource. It was my vision to bring together the disparate equestrian community in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York, an area I had moved to several years before.

Today, “The Merry Band at The Catskill Horse,” is still a group of dedicated volunteers. The magazine is free of the cost of subscription. Thanks to the help from I.T. work (thanks to hubbie and his multi-media hub, The Horse Studio), to the in and out contributing writers, to those wonderful ardent advertisers that support the effort and of course, the loyal readership, the magazine has been a success story and the results for all, including the advertisers, have been fruitful and rewarding.

The magazine will publish its 100th Edition late 2023. A big milestone in its history. Currently it reaches over 124,000 views per month. These span the entire U.S.A., with an emphasis in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S.A., plus a small international readership that crosses the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

At the time I embarked on the start-up of the publication, a couple of friends and had tossed the idea of starting a regional magazine around together. But as time progressed it was clear that just wasn’t going to happen, and if it did, our little area of the Catskills would be a sidebar. So, I took the lead, and got on with it.

For my PR/Marketing clientele, my taking decisive action and driving their marketing bus and following a route with proven successful marketing strategies, is an endeavor I tremendously enjoy.

Creative ideas with original angles and thought leadership have passengers waiting at the bus stop, longing to get on board and enjoy the experience of getting them from where they are now with their horses to where they yearn to go.

It doesn’t matter to me whether you market medical devices or services, sell tack and equipment, manufacture nutritional products, retail horse trailers, or build barns. Sure, the target audience demographics vary wildly from equestrian discipline to discipline, but people are all fundamentally the same. They all want what they don’t have.

If you are a business owner and know that your marketing is stale, perhaps because you are burned out from all the multiple hat wearing activities you do every day or can’t see the wood for the trees, then consider letting someone else lead the marketing effort. This doesn’t mean you have to completely let go of the reins or get out of the way, or that you have failed. It just means you realize that doing the same thing you’ve always done is going to produce the same result, and that you want more than that.

Collaboration at the top of the corporate tree builds success. Surround yourself with people that are successful and draw on their strengths. The benefits of cross-pollination are many when it comes to brainstorming new approaches, and bringing in professional expertise in specialist areas is fundamental to growing your enterprise.

Building a brand marketing strategy is part creative process and part mastering and remixing what is already on the table. The execution of the strategy will be folded and weaved as time progresses and yes, it may take time to reach fruition and mature into the ripe fruits you want it to produce. But once you’ve developed the right hybrid approach, it will just be a case of keeping the growing medium well-fertilized with excellent original content.

Engaging professional marketing and content writing help (particularly on a remote basis), is not that expensive, and the return on investment (ROI) will obviously depend on the strengths and weaknesses of the entity you choose to employ.

Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way. The equestrian and equine marketplace doesn’t care where you are in the herd, but of course you do. If you choose not to pay proper attention to its ever-increasing diversity the decision to ignore market changes can devastate your company’s profitability. Leadership always needs to look at the big picture in their marketing efforts.

While being cognizant of what your brand’s competitors are doing is a savvy activity in moderation, tilting at windmills is not helpful. When focus shifts to what your own brand is actually not just offering, but also consistently delivering in terms of consumer or client experience, there will likely be gaps that need to be filled. A customer’s feedback is your most valuable tool to help determine where these holes exist.

You get the idea. It may seem like marketing madness at times. There is much to do and much to learn and it is an ever evolving and involved process. But don’t let that daunt you. I’m here to help!”

You are invited to visit Nikki Alvin-Smith, Horse in a Kilt Media Inc., to learn more about Nikki’s stable full of marketing skills as an artful content writer, equestrian blogger, columnist, and marketing specialist. As a British/American professional Grand Prix competitor/coach/clinician she brings a unique experience/angles and thought leadership/authority to her wordsmith wizardry.

About Nikki:
Internationally published writer, content creator, PR/Marketing specialist, photographer and equestrian Nikki Alvin-Smith offers “Engaging Content that Engages Riders to Read,” with unique and fresh material for your horse or pet related business, magazine, website, newsletter, blog, and email blast sales machine. Her portfolio of works is extensive and includes equestrian and pet features that have been published worldwide in over 250 different magazine titles. Her clients include do/have included: equestrian and “B” list movie celebrities for whom she regularly ghostwrites and provides PR services; manufacturers of equine and pet related medical devices, feedstuffs, supplements, grooming supplies, fencing and barn equipment, horse transport, horse structures and professional equine service providers; profit and non-profit initiatives and organizations; and non-equestrian related businesses/publications in the pet industry, investment, real estate and international travel and rural lifestyle.

Nikki Alvin-Smith is a British international level Grand Prix dressage competitor/trainer/coach/clinician. Together with her husband Paul, who is also a Grand Prix dressage rider, Nikki operates Willowview Hill Farm , a private dressage yard and organic hay farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The duo provides ‘team’ clinician services to clients worldwide to riders of all levels and many riding disciplines.

Contact: Nikki Alvin-Smith: Content Writer; PR/Marketing Specialist
Cell: 607 434 4470