Archives for : local

New Business… New Business Card

gulf coast virtual tours business card

UPDATE: I’m still rocking on the Gulf Coast! It’s now December 2017, and I’ve changed my mailing address and phone:

Gulf Coast Virtual Tours
2651 S. Juniper Street, Suite #101,
Foley AL 36535

Phone: (251) 304-9228
(old phone number will remain active for family & friends)

Now, back to the original post…

Although it’s been rolled out on Facebook for a couple of weeks now, I’m posting here today to announce that my wife and I have moved to the Alabama Coast! We’ve been dying to move for years, and finally made the jump less than a month ago.

As my new independent business, I’ve started Gulf Coast Virtual Tours. The goal is to help increase the quality and effectiveness of local real estate marketing using my 10 years of experience in Real Estate photography and Virtual Tour production. And make a little cash doing it! (You know, to support my gadget addiction, after we buy the home of our dreams.)

As you can see from the pictured business card, I’m keeping the MM e-mail address and phone for now:
JR (at), and (765) 210-6893.

You may wonder if I’m planning to continue my small business marketing services. The answer is a definite YES, but I’m focusing 99.999% of my energy right now on building a customer base for Gulf Coast Virtual Tours. You can have complete confidence that I will attend to any MM projects still in progress. In fact, I’ll be finishing a website this month, and have a new video client just getting started.

I’m thankful to God for safety through a hectic and demanding move, and that the communities of Gulf Shores and Foley, Alabama have been very welcoming, as we knew they would be.

Any questions?


Disaster Recovery Plan(s)?

flashlightI hope that your business was not damaged in the heavy weather yesterday. Damaged or not, you might be thinking what I’m thinking today: “I need disaster recovery plans.”

Plans? Why not “plan”? Because we might lose power for a few hours, or overnight. And we might lose power for 48 hours. Or a week. These various scenarios might all require different strategies for business continuity AND marketing!

Different marketing following a disaster? Absolutely. Let’s say that a large part of the area is affected by a severe weather event, and is without power for several days, but road access is restored. Your marketing can no longer be delivered to a portion of your audience via your website, Facebook, or e-mail (some will have mobile access, but many will not). You might have to rely more heavily on traditional forms such as radio and newspaper.

Action Steps:

A) Meet with your key employees, and maybe your vendor reps as well. Brainstorm ways to anticipate and overcome adversity when disaster A, disaster B, or disaster C strike.

B) Want to make a “brilliant” impression on your  clients right now? Get your top 50 customers a really bright flashlight, complete with a spare set of batteries. Alternatively, get them a weather radio.

Have a safe week. –JR

(I can consult with your business on marketing strategies in good weather or bad. See the “About JR” tab for a million ways to contact me, or just message me here: jr (at) marketingmercenary dot net.)

Local Fireworks Displays for 2012

Fireworks from Tipton, IN 2011

Fireworks from the 2011 Tipton, Indiana display

I’ve been doing a some quick research on local fireworks displays for today, July 4th, 2012.

From the chairperson for Walton‘s annual display:

Just so everyone knows………WALTON will have their Fireworks on July 4th. Festivities include Parade at 2pm, Booths DT Walton open at 11am, 4pm Car Show registration at Vol. Fire Dept, Fish Fry at Vol. Fire Dept. & Fireworks at Dusk. Hope to see everyone here!

Sounds like a great time in Walton tonight!

I was told recently by one of the Greentown Lions Club members that they will be having their annual fireworks display at the Howard County Fairgrounds tonight at dusk.  I’m trying to get a confirmation directly from the Lions Club, and any additional information. I’ll update this post when appropriate.

Fireworks are also banned inside the city limits of Kokomo, but the rest of Howard County may use consumer fireworks.

Miami County is still under a fireworks ban at the present time. According to WISH-TV, Peru, Indiana’s display has been postponed until Labor Day.

Tipton’s annual display has been cancelled, also according to WISH-TV in Indianapolis. has a lengthy list of Indiana towns and counties that have announced their plans to cancel or continue. It can be found here.

Be safe, and enjoy your Independence Day celebration!



Commercial Virtual Tours – Marketing Benefits

In the last several weeks, Best Property Marketing (our Virtual Tour and Real Estate marketing service) experienced a surge in Commercial Virtual Tour business. These have been strictly buildings in North Central Indiana that are for sale or for lease.

office building reflection

The main client for these VTs has been Tom Harrold at Harrold-Chandler Real Estate. Thank you, Tom, for your business and your trust in us!

Here’s an example: 1626 E. Jefferson Street, Kokomo (The “Guyer the Mover” facility)

We’ve also submitted quotes for other Commercial clients, and hope to continue to grow in this area. If you know a commercial property manager in Central Indiana, we would appreciate the chance to demonstrate the value of using Virtual Tours to increase their marketing impact.

Briefly, some of the benefits of including a Virtual Tour with your Commercial Real Estate listing:

  • This marketing tool can help show the layout and flow of a property, as well as the condition of a property, and approximates the experience of “being there.”
  • An excellent method of qualifying your prospects. If they’ve seen the Virtual Tour, then call for a visit, that means they are sincerely interested.
  • They show the potential buyer that you are serious about selling or leasing the property!
  • Their marketing impact and visual appeal is superior to a slide show of still images.
  • The web link for a Virtual Tour can easily be posted to Facebook or Twitter, or e-mailed to an interested shopper!

Commercial Virtual Tours start at $200*, which includes 4 Hi-Res panoramic “spins” (up to 360°) plus 10 still images. For additional cost, we can provide up to 30 combined images (spins and stills). Your tours can also include dimensions, feature descriptions, maps, and floor plans. For more information, contact JR via (765) 997-8687, or Thanks for your interest! (UPDATE: We now include 5 Hi-Res “spins” per basic commercial tour at the $200 rate.)

*Typical. Multiples or special applications can drive the investment even lower!

Partnership – Just Do It.

Kit Wessendorf and Greg Bell

Kit Wessendorf and Greg Bell

Marketing Mercenary was recently called upon to shoot video for Indianapolis-based 12 Stars Media. They are developing training materials for the Indiana Association of REALTORS, in conjunction with Neupath. Neupath is one of many small businesses housed at the Kokomo business incubator site, Inventrek.

I say all that to say this: It’s the complimentary nature of these various businesses that have brought them together (MM included), and their willingness to seek help with certain tasks, instead of “doing it all in-house”. The direct benefit will be some great training tools at very reasonable cost. The side benefits will be the relationships formed and renewed, that can lead to further business or referrals for future opportunities in multiple directions.

To paraphrase “Hannibal” Smith from The A-Team, “I love it when a team comes together!”

Pictured are Kit Wessendorf, producer for 12 Stars Media, left, and Greg Bell, former Kokomo sportscaster from WIOU and Z92.5 fame, on the right. They are recording voice-overs for the “non-talking-head” segments of the training videos. Marketing Mercenary supplied the audio equipment, set-up help, and comic relief, of course.

Also present was Kathy Harbaugh, Indiana Association of REALTORS, (former VP of the REALTORS Association of Central Indiana in Kokomo), and Don McCreary, Neupath.

It was great seeing Greg and Kathy again after several years. I worked at Z92.5/WIOU while Greg was the sportscaster there. I met Kathy when I first started my own business, producing virtual tours for various realtors in Kokomo and surrounding areas. We have all progressed in various ways, but are all still doing things we love and value.

Who knows? There may be room for you in the next project!

“Community of the Year 2011” Awarded to Kokomo

Kokomo Community of the Year videoKokomo City Hall in Kokomo, Indiana, October3, 2011. The Indiana State Chamber of Commerce awarded Kokomo the title of “Community of the Year 2011.” In this video, you’ll hear the announcement and related comments from Mayor Greg Goodnight. You’ll also hear remarks from Kevin Brinegar (Indiana State Chamber of Commerce President) and Jeff Cardwell (Kokomo/Howard County Chamber of Commerce Chairman).

Marketing Mercenary shot, edited, and delivered this program to you via Please click the image to watch.


Top 4 Things You Might Read Here

Ja, det er jo ikke det værste sted at holde pa...

More content is coming soon, that fits one or more of the following categories:

  • fun
  • useful
  • inspiring
  • ridiculous

I just want you to know that I haven’t quit on my blog. I’ve been mighty busy with numerous projects (grateful to God for that), but haven’t spent any of my free time right here. Feel free to post any comment you like. (Please keep it clean.) Thanks for reading! –JR

2011 Fireworks Displays for the Kokomo Area – UPDATED

Tipton Indiana Fireworks

Tipton Indiana Fireworks

Our local paper, the Kokomo Tribune, posted the following times for area fireworks displays yet to happen for the 2011 Independence Day holiday. They are accurate in that I could not find any up-to-date sources that contradicted them, except for the Kokomo Tribune itself. I was able to confirm most of these dates via other sources. UPDATE: Kokomo fireworks were postponed due to weather. Please see red text below.

  • Peru – At dusk Sunday at the town park

  • Burlington – At dusk Sunday at Burlington Park

  • Greentown – At dusk Monday at the Howard County fairgrounds.

  • Tipton – 10:10 p.m. Sunday at Tipton County Fairgrounds.

  • Walton – Monday at dusk, Walton town park.

  • Kokomo – Friday, July 8, 10 PM at Foster Park

It’s our family tradition to enjoy the Tipton County fireworks. The Tipton display will reportedly add a substantial 35% more fireworks to their 20-minute “sky concert” display. Music is provided on the FM country station, WWKI.

Enjoy yourself, and BE SAFE! –JR

11 Money-Making Ideas for a Rainy Day

Marketing Mercenary Money-Making Ideas

Money-Making Ideas

In the context of yesterday’s storms and today’s rain, Marketing Mercenary suggests that you create an attention-getting promotion for you business today!
For example:

Rainy Day Specials

  • Banks offer a bonus service or gift for opening a savings account – today only!
  • Insurance agents offer a gift card or other incentive for purchasing home-owners insurance, or adding a flood insurance rider – today only!
  • Department Stores offer a deep discount on boots (you know, not the high-heel kind – the utility kind)
  • Realtors offer to help prospective client find a new home in a higher, drier area – OK, this may take longer than a day…
  • Remodeling Companies offer a discount on shower enclosures and installation. Get it?
  • Massage Therapists offer a discount to help alleviate the jangled nerves brought on by lightning and thunder and jumbled schedules. Offer discounts to FARMERS that are stressed out from waiting for the weather to clear – today only! Offer discounts to power company personnel that have worked overtime to help the public, clearing downed trees and power lines – OK, offer similar discounts all the time.

Clean-Up Specials

  • Grocery Stores offer discounts on paper towels, floor cleaner, Lysol, etc. – anything needed to clean up muddy and water-damaged areas – today only!
  • Car Washes or Detail Centers offer a two-for-the-price-of-one deal – today only!
  • Disaster Recovery providers – OK, you’re pretty well set. Just sponsor the local radio weather forecasts for the rest of the Spring and Summer.
  • Carpet Cleaning Services offer multi-room specials – through the weekend only!
  • Landscaping companies offer clean-up specials, to remove debris from flower beds and other areas – through the weekend only! (You won’t be doing any mowing for a few days, anyway.)

I hope this got you thinking how you can help folks out, have a little fun, AND bring attention and revenue to your business in a good way. Be safe!

For help with any of these ideas, or with developing unique marketing tools and strategies for your business, contact the Marketing Mercenary!

Other Beauties In The World


Wishing Well On A Foggy Winter Morning

Wishing Well On A Foggy Winter Morning

I found an old fortune cookie message in the bottom of a drawer. It said, “You make people realize that there exist other beauties in the world.” I’m not sure what that means, but I like how it sounds.  If I can just help people enjoy and appreciate the “regular” beauties that fill our world, I’ll be happy and blessed.