Local business makeover: Radio show offers advice to marketers

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Mike Daniels had a problem. The owner of Junction Lanes in Newnan, Ga., had been trying to build business on repeat bowlers, but there weren't many. The Lanes had no identifiable brand-save a beer or two-and Mr. Daniels was having difficulty debunking the stereotype of a blue-collar, smoke-filled hangout that's not particularly kid-friendly. And he had to do so without alienating league bowlers, a shrinking but loyal audience.

So, naturally, Mr. Daniels called on radio hosts and self-professed "Marketing Scientists" Dave and Tom.

Tom Klein and Dave Sutton, both marketing and consulting refugees, host "Marketing Make-over With the Marketing Scientists," a radio show that was just picked up by Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting Corp. with plans to run this fall. Mr. Sutton was CEO of Zyman Marketing Group, and Mr. Klein was a Zyman consultant. Now founders of Atlanta consultancy Marketing Scientists, they are planning a book based on their marketing makeovers.

`hungry' "While the Fortune 500 companies are huge and receive the majority of publicity and coverage, there are more Americans employed in small business and working for themselves. They are really hungry for information and knowledge," Richard Lobel, exec VP of Infinity Solutions & Beyond, the program's syndicator. "It's like `Queer Eye' for the small-business guy."

Mr. Lobel envisions "Marketing Makeover" as a punchy 30-minute show. A break date, however, is contingent upon the show's ability to attract national and local marketing partners such as banks, shippers or supply stores.

At the suggestion of Messrs. Klein and Sutton, Junction Lanes' Mr. Daniels licensed SpongeBob SquarePants for birthday parties. On his own, the alley owner launched loyalty programs, turned the Lanes into a Special Olympics venue and spiffed up the bathrooms. The result: Mr. Daniels said revenue rose 10% to 12%.

While entertaining, the show is designed to give real-world practical advice. After, all, said Mr. Klein, "these are people's lives."

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