Marketing/Promotion - the Key to St. Lucia's Future at all Levels of Industry

Listening to the early morning newscast on Friday, 12 July, 2002 I couldn't help but reach for pen and paper and began writing this article.
The big news was that Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony is willing to get into the marketing act to promote the sales of our banana whenever he is visiting the U.K. I do hope WIBDECO will respond positively to this offer. I always contend that our politicians are the movers and shakers when it comes to promoting the well being of our nation. They are the ones to lead, to motivate the people and most of all to give the people hope.
The Prime Minister in his gesture has given all St. Lucians a clear signal that Banana is important to our survival to the point that he is prepared to put on his salesman hat and meet the competition head on with Integrity Selling.
Once again the need for collaboration among agencies comes to the fore. The linkage between Tourism and Agriculture is very necessary, beginning with joint promotions. Every Tourist Board sponsored advertisement should carry a beautiful young lady eating a banana. All Bill Boards promoting Travel, Hotel, etc. should carry a banana insert.
Every flight in and out of St. Lucia and the other Windward's banana producing islands should serve a banana to each passenger. When they are in St. Lucia they must wake up to a breakfast served with banana included. Key tourist attractions around the island must have a well decorated vendor's stall offering bananas.
We are not doing enough at the local level to promote bananas, after all banana is our business - promote it!!
While we seek to promote bananas, we must not forget our exotic fruits. Other more developed Caribbean countries have fruit juices depot at the cruise berths. It may be a good way to introduce Tourist to our island to have similar booths offering banana and various beverages which are made with the inclusion of bananas.
Let us get all visitors to our shores hook-ed on bananas so that on their return to their homeland, especially the Europeans that they will demand Windward banana from their green groceries and supermarkets while introducing it to their friends and families. For many, it is a discovery. They never realised that banana could be so sweet.
Our tour guides should be brought into the action to promote bananas in a positive manner. Not just casually pointing out to tourists that they are in a banana farming area. A stop at a farm should be included in their itinerary.
Looking at the further implications of promoting banana in flight, all airlines flying the Windward Islands route, especially BWIA and Air Jamaica should be requested to show short promotional informercials on all aspects of the banana industry. In the field, at the wharf, on the shelves, in the homes of consumers. Some market research can also result from the in-flight consumption of bananas to provide information on the acceptability of the fruit.
I am ready to debate - that the messenger is just as important as the message when it comes to salesmanship in general and marketing of a destination in particular. I get the feeling that in many instances, passion is absent. How committed are you about what you are promoting. There are many sales people who promote products and do not use them. There is a rule in salesmanship - you must apply empathy. Will you do what you are asking the consumer to do?
It is like mirror reflection though you may be beating you chest recommending a product when you do not have faith in it - that reality cannot hide. Sincerity is vital. The client always sees the real you unless he wants to ignore it.
St. Lucia needs a team of trained investment warriors, preaching the gospel (the good news) of St. Lucia and its place in the English Speaking Caribbean as a premier destination for business and pleasure and the many good things it has to offer including bananas.
Although, I have about 40 years experience in salesmanship, I availed myself of the opportunity to participate in a sales course sponsored by Suncrest Realtors Ltd. earlier this month . Mr. Roger Sutherland, Director of M&C Group of Companies presented a three hour lecture on "Integrity Selling" which directed participants including myself to a new path of selling, applying a technique that is guaranteed to get results.
In closing, may-be, it might be a good idea for government officials who have to market St. Lucia to expose themselves to a sales porgramme designed by leading sales and marketing professionals on the island.
Get on board the sales/promotion train and set St. Lucia on the road to prosperity as never experienced before. Keep the Faith - God is in control!!
Dated 19/7/02