Day two of the Hampton Roads winter storm, closed schools and home bound children. The excitement of playing in the snow may be waning, leaving students and parents searching for something to do.
For the adventurous types willing to brave the roads there is of course the usual local haunts: movie theatres, bowling alleys, recreation centers, the mall, and perhaps even the library. However, there is a new option in town and one that has been creating quite a word of mouth buzz in the area.
Cloud9 Trampoline Park in Chesapeake opened this past November and has been building its target base steadily ever since. The facility houses “over 50 connected trampolines”, and offers customers opportunities to “play intense trampoline dodgeball, do tricks into the foam pit, audition for Cirque Du Soleil in our flying trapeze, test your skills on our aerial ninja course, … perfect your moves on our bounceboards, get a grueling crossfit trampoline workout, dunk a basketball on a 16 foot hoop” and much more (1).
The brilliance of this business is not that it offers a high tech new product, (trampolines have been around since the 1930s) or that it is offering trampoline access to the general public. What makes Cloud9 unique is that it is offering a service that provides a wide range of target customers an experience that they cannot find anywhere else.
Open jump, family night, and birthday party offerings provide families of all age ranges unique entertainment opportunities. Kidjump offers a safe jumping experience for preschoolers while also booking the facility at a period that is often a low traffic time for most businesses. Club9 and BounceBoards appeal directly to the teen crowd, while Theme Night Thursdays and trampoline dodgeball have the potential to pull in the 18 – 20 something dynamic. Finally, CloudFit classes provide an appeal for men and women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are bored with traditional workout routines.
Virginia Beach teen Tyhe H. has experienced the facility multiple times with friends. As a skateboarder and snowboarder he values the ability to learn new moves every time he goes. He stated that the employees at Cloud9 are both knowledgeable and good at performing tricks themselves.
Tyhe’s sister Aleah has also visited Cloud9 and stated that “kids, teenagers, moms and dads get out there and jump. I heard about it from friends at school, looked it up on the Internet and then my family went together.”
For the past few months customers have been trying Cloud9 and leaving thrilled and bursting to tell friends, neighbors and peers. It is the quintessential advertising ideal for a small growing business.
Advertising is a necessary yet costly factor for all businesses, and often an expensive burden for small ones. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “companies invest between 1 and 10 percent of their gross sales in advertising” (2). Word of mouth advertising however is inexpensive, effective, and a great way to expand an organization’s customer base and build the business. Unlike paid advertising, which potential customers often treat with skepticism, word of mouth advertising is believable, trustworthy, and convincing.
Repetition is critical for marketing messages to result in action by potential customers. Cloud9 is a true word of mouth advertising success story because it has created the type of buzz that is being texted between teens, chatted among their younger siblings at school, and discussed by their parents over coffee. Initial interest is then turned into excitement when individuals view the website and check out the business on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. With that kind of endorsement who wouldn't want to try it?
1. Cloud9 website FAQ page, http://www.cloud9.us/FAQ.aspx
2. The Average Advertising Costs for Small Businesses by Valerie Bolden-Barrett, Demand Media @ http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/average-advertising-costs-small-busine... (Visited 1/23/2014)