Charting a New Course

By Jim McCloskey

Almost from the day I decided to suspend publication of the printed version of WaterShapes, I had a vision of what was coming next.

Reaching all the way back to my earliest days with Pool & Spa News, I recall impassioned conversations about the pool industry’s perceived need to reach out to consumers.  Although studies were done, committees formed and advertising campaigns plotted and executed, there was never any sense that the pool industry had the resources or ability to move the needle to any significant degree.

Companies with the wherewithal reached out directly with advertising campaigns in those distant days – and continue to do so today.  But even now, I don’t think consumers understand they’re dealing with a multibillion-dollar industry rather than with networks of local builders, dealers and support services.

The time has come to change all that – and not just for the pool industry, but for every craft, product and service related to watershaping in all the forms we’ve defined it through the past 13 years.  It is time, in other words, to put consumers front and center by building a new Web site called AquaticSpacesNetwork

Think of it as WaterShapes on steroids.

Coming in 2012, this new site will be built on the foundation of all we accomplished in 13 years with WaterShapes:  the emphasis on quality, on the value of professional education, on the thoughtful and detailed telling of watershaping stories in words and images.  From the start, everything we did was consumer-friendly, and now we will reach out to millions of them with information and resources they can use to make the best decisions about their residential backyards, commercial properties and institutional campuses.

From my perspective, this is all so cool that I’m ready to burst.  I feel like a kid again, learning new ways to communicate, build audiences and fulfill the mission of clear communication I’ve always pursued – but on a scale that so far exceeds anything I’ve ever attempted, I never would have dreamed it possible.

Watch this blog and WaterShapes EXTRA! for news of our progress.  It’s all coming in 2012! 

And please share your own thoughts on this concept:  It’s being developed not just consumers, but also to help watershapers on all levels – so do let me know what you think as we move through our formative stages!

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3 Responses to Charting a New Course

  1. Suzanne and Ron Dirsmith says:

    You always were a visionary and this one tops them all. Don’t quite visualize how you will reach your goal and extraordinary market but the dream is wonderful.

    Incipit Vita Nova.
    Suzanne and Ron Dirsmith

  2. Jim,

    I can’t wait to see your new project. If you do half of what you did with WaterShapes, it’s going to be awesome.

    It’s remarkable how much information and knowledge our trade needs to share with consumers. I agree that much has been done over the years through the associations that hasn’t quite hit the mark and it has cost an enormous amount of money.

    I have often said that a consumer knows more about the car they are driving than about the pool they are about to purchase. Nobody would even think twice about researching a car to the extreme before they made a purchase, yet most pool consumers will shop price and sales pitches without knowing what they are truly getting or comparing.

    I can see so many facets within our products that can be dissected and revealed to the public, it’s enormous! I venture to guess that you could integrate web page marketing from the manufacturers right into your format, possibly getting some ad revenue.
    I can picture honest evaluations of equipment, comparing energy savings and features. Links to rebates by manufacturer and utilities. Concice information about pitfalls within the building process, local building practices and techniques and materials.

    Wow. I can picture this being incredibly detailed, I can see the need for a pretty good sized staff putting this all together. Videos of projects from start to finish, aimed at not only the consumer but also the trade. What an asset to be able to see a tradesman put together one of Tisherman’s spillways. Or see the whole concept of calculating the flow requirements of a project backed up by a video of the plumbing installation. For a consumer to hear the rationale of why a builder chose to upgrade from 2-1/2 inch pipe to 3 inch for the sake of energy efficiency and safety over the few dollars in extra cost. Why some equipment sets and how they are plumbed are more efficient than others.

    I can really see this developing as “THE” site for water-related projects. From your extensive network of industry professionals you would be able to provide correct unbiased information.

    This is really exciting! So much so that I want in! I could clean computer screens and empty the trash!

    Stan Zielinski
    Zee’s WaterWorks

  3. rtchafey says:

    Great concept, obviously look into the existing poolinfosite, poolfyi, poolprofyi etc, and take their best ideas, eliminate the worst ones, keep it unbiased (though tough with the need for advertising etc. and use your existing network to get it out there. Still a tough road to haul, consumers know more about their cars because there is something sexy about that, no one seems to see the sexy in a backyard pool construction project.

    I am in if your looking for contributors!

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