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Opportunities for promotion - Horseflicks & Horse Illustrated

I have been informed that Horse Illustrated will be featuring SM's in their May issue.

I also found out the there is series on endangered breeds in the works with Horseflicks and the ALBC.

I found out that if we pulled together for $3,800 we could have a 1/2 TV show filmed about the SM (professionally put together) that would be aired on TV a minimum of 18 times in 3-5 years. It would also be available in DVD form for promotion as well as available to link to online.

Here is a copy of an email I received in regard to promotion of breeds. I did call and get more information after receiving this email.

Hi Andrea-

Is there a phone number I could contact you at, or you can call us at 940-594-0000? We just put the wraps on a new program with the American Livestock Breed Conservancy (ALBC) to highlight the plight of endangered breeds, and I would like to discuss that with you. You are right about the Spanish horses being fragmented, within the ALBS list they have:

Southwest Spanish Mustang Association (Choctaw)
Bryant Rickman
PO Box 948
Antlers, OK 74523 USA
Office phone: 580-326-8069
Home: 580-326-6005
Office email:

Spanish Barb Breeders Association/ Wilber-Cruce Mission Horse Registry
Steve & Jane Dobrott
PO Box 241
Hillsboro, NM 88042 USA
Home: 505-895-5158
Office email:

Spanish Barb Horse Association
Silke Schneider
PO Box 1628
Silver City, NM 88061 USA
Office phone: 575-388-1023
Office email:

Spanish Mustang Registry
Wesley Thompson
11790 Halstad Avenue
Lonsdale, MN 55046 USA
Home: 509-744-2704

Much like the Gypsy horses (Vanners, Cobs, Tinkers, etc.), there are 4 registries. Every time someone disagrees with their group they go off and start another registry, certainly not for the benefit of the horse.

As for returns, that is always difficult to measure, and I'll explain why. We basically create "tools" for breed associations, individual members, businesses associated with horses, etc. But if you don't use the tool properly, you don't get maximum benefit out of it. Then of course, it is the tool that did not work, rather than a lack of using the tool, for maximum benefit.

As an example, we created an 18 episode TV series on Great Western Dude Ranches which is airing now, to help the dude ranch industry get back on people's radar screens. Many of these we have produced have been award winners in competitions. Some ranches send out their episode on DVD to prospective guests who are considering their ranch. Other ranches give a DVD of their episode to departing guests to take home and show their friends and neighbors the place they spent their vacation at. Some put it on their web site. They use it for all the utility and marketing and promotion they can, and they measure results. When guests book a vacation, they ask how they heard about the ranch. They make an effort to qualify their marketing.

And then, you have ranches who have an episode and it's broadcast, but they don't attempt to qualify guests, they don't put it on their web site, they don't send them out on DVD to prospects or give as a thank you to departing guests. So to ask them their return on their production, they don't know.

So some use it to the fullest extent possible, others don't or don't know how to market.

It's much the same with Breed Registries. Many don't have much of a marketing budget, and if there is no budget, typically there is no real marketing person- marketing is left up to a committee of people who think they know how to market, and that often is limited to putting out a newsletter, and calling it marketing. If a Breed registry has a marketing budget, typically the marketing person is not getting paid much, so they can't attract top talent, and they have high turnover, so nothing ambitious ever gets put into place.

Take the American Morgan Horse Assn. which has about 8,000 members and has not had a marketing director for over 12 years. Members would not let the last one do his job, so he left saying "Who needs this?" The Executive Director gets $185,000 a year, but they have no Marketing person, and think their breed journal is marketing. Here's a breed that's been around for over 200 years and people still think it is a draft horse. So much for marketing. We did an award winning production for them several years ago showing the versatility of the breed as demonstrated at their National Show. They ordered 1,000 DVD's which we suggested sending out to anyone who sends in a new membership, or giving them away at regional shows to interested parties to encourage new memberships, and they sit in a closet somewhere in Vermont. (I get to make these comments because we've been Morgan owners, breeders and competitors for over 30 years, and they have never had any single marketing initiative, despite creating some tools for them to use. We also have Gypsy Vanners, so I understand fractured breed representation all too well!)

There was also a draft breed association for whom we produced an 8-hour epic on the versatility of their breed from their National Show, with fascinating interview, history, etc., woven into the production. With some multi-DVD set packaging for this production their actual cost was $4.00 per DVD set. (A single DVD can be as little as $1.00 depending on packaging but this was a multi-DVD project and case for it all). First, they decided they did not want to make it available to the public (?) but only to Members. Did they price it at $39, $49, $59 for the set, which would have been a handsome profit margin, given that it cost them only $4 to produce. No...they priced it at $179.00. So naturally, members balked, especially people who already know about the breed and were there at the show anyway- but they held the price for over 2 years, before dropping it to $99.00. So you can imagine how few copies they sold. And to not offer it to the public? I don't know how you create new interest and new awareness in a breed if you are only showing things to existing members. And draft breeds in particular have a glaring problem in that their average member is 65 years old, they do not have the next generation of stewards coming into the breed because the 30-somethings see an 8 horse draft hitch as more work than pleasure. You wonder where these breeds will be in 25 years. Many are already on the ALBC endangered list.

Most Breed Associations are very guilty of marketing to themselves. They can have the best breed journal on the planet, but if it only goes to existing members who already know about the breed, who does it benefit?Certainly not the horse. Most breed associations do not know how to outwardly market, because of limited budgets and limited experience within their ranks. They may put ad an in something like Equine Journal, it comes out once month and then it's gone, and they say they didn't get any response to it. Most organizations will spend money for a 1 column, 3 inch ad in the back with a zillion others and complain about no response to it, therefore the magazine did not help their marketing effort. They could have gotten a better response if they wrote an article about their breed for submission, and put some sort of call to action in the ad they placed. But most "marketing" in magazines is a small ad that just sits there and does nothing. Of course the magazine bears the brunt for no measurable results.

So the point in all of this Andrea, is that marketing is what you make of it. We can build and provide the tools, but if people don't use it, and leverage it for all its worth, you won't get as much from it as you could. We have done some TV productions for some groups, who use it on DVD to leverage something else. They go to expo's and exhibits with a stack of DVD's and hang out the offer. Spend $20.00 to become a Member and get a free DVD. That grows the membership for them. Instead of standing in a booth smiling at people all day that walk by with no results or returns, everyone who walks by is presented with the offer, become a member, get a free DVD. For about $1.00 for the DVD at cost, that's a big return to bring someone in as a member and have a year to educate and endear them to a breed, or a preservation cause.

We belong to one group that every year would spend a small fortune to exhibit at Equine Affair, and after the event they would always proclaim that it was a rousing success. But if you asked, how many new members did we get, how much did we raise in shirt sales to offset the cost of participation, the answers weren't there, and no metrics to measure by, but it was always rousing success. It would have been better if they had tangible results by using the right tools to get something for it, but again, it gets back to the fact that few breed organizations really know how to market, and know how to get maximum use out of the tools that can be provided. I don't mean for that to in an way be unkind, it's simply a fact that most breed organizations do not have much in a marketing budget, or have the expertise to market effectively.

What we do is provide exposure, giving them access to the broadcast airwaves on satellite, cable and Internet, but they have to capitalize on this exposure. It doesn't have to be expensive either, when a particular breed episode is going to air, we send a notice to the liaison for the association to let them know. But they have to take the initiative to post and notify members or other interested parties that their episode is airing. If they don't tell people their episode is going to air again and where to watch it, that is something we don't have control over, but its not the fault of the production because we do our part. We produce, edit and broadcast to a global audience and give groups the exposure they so desperately need, but they have to utilize what we can provide and turn that into results.

So that, in 25 words or less (lol) is my perspective on marketing and achieving results with the tools we can provide.

Unlike most programming which may air 2-3 times during one week and then goes into a vault never to be seen again, we look for long-term broadcast agreements, 3-5 years. With HRTV each episode will air a minimum of 18 times over a three year period, and with bonus airings could air as many as 30 times over a 36 month period. That's exceptional reach and longevity. The best part is the Client does not pay for broadcast placements, licenses, syndication, etc. All they do is contribute a small portion towards the production to offset travel and related hard expenses involved in the production.

Anyway, if we can talk by phone, I can provide some more suggestions and we can talk about some possibilities. Maybe the multiple registries can put aside their differences for the benefit of the horse and collaborate on a production to benefit all.

• One last quick story, we developed a TV series on the Friesian horse (which was nearly extinct 60 years ago...) but there are two very distinct factions, the Dutch Friesians and the German Friesians. The Dutch are purists, the Germans will out-cross their horses with other breed to make excellent sport and dressage horses. We received a lot of "Well if there are German Friesians in it, I won't be in it..." and vice-versa. We spent a lot of time sharing with them, that if people are attracted by "the Friesian" its versatility and excellent temperament, and want to learn more, they will learn about Dutch Friesians and the German Friesians, and they can make their own determination which group they feel most at home with. BUT, if we don't attract them to the Friesian in the first place and create interest and awareness of the horse, none of this Dutch/German issue will mean anything anyway. You have to first attract them to the horse, and then let them decide their preferences, otherwise the horse remains in obscurity, and that benefits no one- particularly the horse.

Anyway, let me know a good time to call, or feel free to call us, we are typically in the studio 7 days a week until midnight, so if evenings or nights are more convenient, please feel free to call.

Jon May
Jo Ann Marble
Executive Producers

HorseFlicksTV •••
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Re: Opportunities for promotion - Horseflicks & Horse Illustrated

Thanks for sharing this e-mail Andrea. It contains a lot of food for thought. He sounds a lot like our Nevada Tom.

I am one of those members who does not have any marketing expertise, but I think this sounds like it is worth looking into.

Re: Opportunities for promotion - Horseflicks & Horse Illustrated

I received a call from Jon May about the possibility of getting a DVD made. I plan on introducing the idea to the SMR this year at the annual meeting, hopefully generating enough interest there could be a collaborative effort developed.

Jon sent me a copy of the videos he produced on the Cleveland Bay and Akhal-Teke. All I can say is we in the CS/SM world would benefit tremendously having this as a part of our organizations. It's informative, well produced, and gives a perfect picture of the breed without playing into politics.