Denise (Denny) Knox, OBMA’s executive director, asked participating merchants to identify themselves, then pointed out the broad cross-section of businesses represented made OB a “one-stop shop.”
Recapping accomplishments from 2017, Knox described it as a “busy year.” She added the farmers market, one of the beach community’s signature events, celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
“It really put us on the map,” said Knox of the market held year-round on Newport Avenue, Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. featuring locally grown produce, art and live music.
Of the gathering’s purpose, Knox commented, “Our mission is to promote and support local business and economic vitality in the Ocean Beach community. By putting on events like the marketing breakfast, we’re able to provide the members with free tools they can use to enhance their promotional efforts and help them succeed.”
Knox stressed the need to draw out-of-towners to OB’s business district. She cited the draw at the weekly farmers market as one prime example.
“About 50 percent of the people that go to the farmers market are visitors,” she said adding, “We have a population that is very static. You can’t really grow. So we need to push to get visitors to come from outside the area to support these businesses.”
The business improvement district chief noted there’s one other big anniversary upcoming.
“This year is the 40th anniversary of this organization,” she said adding, “Someone told me when we started, ‘It will never work.’ It’s been a great run for 40 years. We’ll have a lot more years to go.”
Knox said a promotional passport program encouraging guests to visit local businesses on Small Business Saturday, offering a chance to compete for a raffle prize, was a big success. Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to promote small businesses.
“American Express pays for all the advertising, and we’d like to make it bigger and better this year,” Knox said of OBMA’s participation.
Along with Knox, presenting at the OBMA breakfast Jan. 9 was Shannon Brown, president of Brown Marketing Strategies. Brown talked about the overwhelming importance of using all the various vehicles — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Linked In, Mapquest, etc. — available on social media to cross-promote business.
Brown cited web roaming, researching an item online before actually going to a brick-and-mortar store to check it out in-person, as one of the latest marketing trends.
“During Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend, 69 percent of shoppers surveyed said they were web roaming,” said Brown adding, “Content is still king,” when it comes to what shoppers are looking for in website ads.
Brown added other growing marketing trends include the increasing significance of mobility, content, outsourcing, reliance on websites for information, data and authenticity as important considerations in promotional marketing.
Brown said the top five most-searched business types were clothing lines, restaurants, food trucks, record labels and daycare. She added the most common small businesses searched were bookkeeping, computer repair, car repair, web design and restaurants/cafes/bakeries.
The 39th annual OBMA Awards Celebration will take place Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Point Loma Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., from 6 to 8 p.m. The celebration is for OBMA member businesses, their families and special guests.