Greetings to everyone!!! It’s been a while since we’ve given a team update and thankfully, it’s because it’s been super busy here at HQ!
This time of year is naturally our busiest because all of you are now entering your busiest months (in the western hemisphere), albeit, the weather continues to plague the US skydiving industry especially for our east coast and midwestern client dropzones. The weather trends for 2018 were bad; for some 2019 is even worse. This industry isn’t easy and if you’re a DZO, you’ve got to have a lead stomach to weather the financial challenges of running a dropzone in today’s environ of terrible weather in overcrowded marketplaces. Having spoken with many of you out in the field, I’m hearing three consistent complaints: weather and a shortage of staff.
Staffing challenges aren’t anything new, but it seems that the problem is becoming worse with the influx of tandem-only dropzones in the US and Australia; we’re not creating enough TI’s to meet the demand. The irony is that the over-supply of dropzones is repressing tandem prices which means tandem instructors aren’t getting compensated enough at many DZ’s. It’s a vicious cycle… did I mention that owning a DZ requires a lead stomach?
Since PIA, I’ve heard of many dropzones who have switched or are in the process of making the switch from contractor to employee with their instructors and packers (depending on state regulations). If you have questions or concerns regarding this topic, Jeanice Dolan at Skydive OC has been serving as a consultant to dropzones needing clarity on the topic.
We are saddened by the accident in Hawaii and offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of those that were lost. In the midst of mourning, the NTSB has offered a stern statement putting the FAA on notice for a more stringent look at skydiving operations. Hawaii Congressman Ed Case was quoted as saying “This is a culture that appears to believe that the current regulation is like the Wild West… a regulatory scheme in place for small scale civil aviators is somehow okay.”
I would anticipate Randy Ottinger has been quite busy since Monday morning, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an increase in ramp checks as a result of these statements from the NTSB. It’s my estimation that the great majority of DZ’s do a good job with maintenance, but we all know there are those out there that could do a better job. I’m hoping we don’t see a knee-jerk reaction from the FAA, as a result of a few.
Asking for Google Reviews hasn’t always been very smooth as the URL to a Google Business page has been unwieldy at best. Google announced they would be adding a feature to create a short link that you can easily share with your customers. We’re happy to see this feature is now live. If you’re a DropZone Marketing client, we have claimed your short link on your behalf using your brand name. When going through the process for our clients, we were alarmed to see that some branded terms have already been claimed by others. DZO’s: if you’ve not claimed the short link to your GMB page, do so now. Click here for instructions on how to do this.
There has been a lot happening with our team!
Melissa Harper is our Web Design Project Manager and she recently celebrated her third anniversary with us. I have to say that I’m not sure where our company would be without Melissa as she has taken our web design project management to an entirely new level. Our clients love Melissa as she’s an advocate for them as she listens intently to their specific needs. The result of that is happy clients and is why we see Melissa’s name in our Google Reviews regularly. One of the most transformative things Melissa has provided for our company is the continuous time tracking of every project she’s managed since taking on her role. The data that has resulted from that has been eye-opening!
I want to be transparent here. Anytime we bring on a new team member, it’s done with a little bit of trepidation because a new personality can change the team dynamics and internal culture. As an employer, I’m conscious of this as culture is a key ingredient for happiness and high performance. Because of this view, I feel like a gatekeeper with regard to who joins the team. Our hiring is not so much about what you know, but rather who you are. We’ve known Sara for several years and have watched the way she treats people and makes them feel. We thought Sara would be a perfect fit for our team and we were right! Sara has a great personality; she laughs easily, can speak with anyone, is highly intelligent, hard-working, and has a hunger for knowledge. We feel lucky to have Sara Elliott on our team because she makes us better!
What can we say about Melissa that you don’t already know? She’s a force and helps our team stay organized particularly when it comes to content management. You may not know, but our team of writers produces 60+ articles per month for our various manufacturing and dropzone clients to help with our SEO strategies as well as our storytelling strategies. The volume of communication and organization required to keep all of this flowing smoothly (communications with SEO’s, writer’s, edits, client approvals, topic creation etc., is an enormous task). Of course, MNL makes it look easy. Also, we’re super excited that Melissa is now one of the leaders of Project 19.
Project 19 is an initiative to accomplish three things: a). encourage women to dream big and push limits b). celebrate those that have come before them with an emphasis for those that pushed for the right for women to vote c). set a new all-women’s Vertical World Record.
Imani Belton joined us a month ago to help us with account management, client requests and social media. Let me tell you this young lady is SHARP. This world needs more people like Imani and I’d say the future of our country is in good hands if the next generation of leadership is like this lady. Imani is a Marketing Major at nearby Winthrop University and is also the Student Body President. She’s a natural leader, highly intelligent, an excellent listener, quick with a smile and has taught us some things!
It should be noted that when we interviewed Imani, she shared that her long term goal is to work on the marketing teams at either Nike or Apple. Some may view this as overly-ambitious; I believe it will happen.
Dropzone Marketing will be hosting a webinar for skydivers who aspire to receive sponsorship from manufacturers. If you know an aspiring skydiver seeking sponsorship, then this is ideal for them as it’s chock full of great info! The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24th at 3:00pm EST and will last one hour. There is no charge for the webinar. Fill out the form below and we’ll send you conference info for the webinar.
Our company offers various digital marketing services (social media management, Google Ads, SEO etc), but a lot of what we do is website design. Have a look at some of our latest work that we’re super proud of!