Fri, Nov 05, 2004
Networking To Send Out Message Of Hope
Neither Lorraine Ball nor Suzanne
Schwartz works for ATA Airlines. They're not even "unofficial
employees" like the guy in the Wendy's hamburgers commercial. But
if they have anything to do with it, ATA will not go the way of the
When Suzanne heard about ATA's financial dissolution and its
merger with AirTran Saturday, the Indianapolis Star reports she
wrote to about 25 friends, lamenting the loss. Lorraine was one of
them. She wrote emails to another 1600 people, including a link to
ATA's website where they could buy tickets.
But Lorraine wasn't finished there. She wrote to both Rainmakers
and the Entrepreneur's Alliance of Indiana. Together, those
networking organizations are sending out almost 12,000 more emails,
hoping they can stave off ATA's demise.
"This is grass-roots marketing," Lorraine says. "Tell a few
people and they tell a few more, and so on. It is what I do for a
living. And I thought if I could apply the same principles here, it
might have a positive effect."
But will it help? Perhaps, some
speculate, it doesn't have to.
The email campaigns do show that ATA has some support from the
hometown fans in Indianapolis. "It's kind of like the Pacers or the
Colts. It's a legitimacy factor, in having a home-based airline,"
says Tony Scelzo, executive director of Rainmakers. His is a
two-year old networking group with almost 300 members.
The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce is watching. Chamber
President John Myrland has been talking with Mayor Bart Peterson
and his staff, but the Star reports no actions have been "firmed
up" at this point.
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