Monday, November 9, 2009

Clever Marketing, Fun Promotion

First, I apologize to all of my friends who were totally unaware that La Masters was dropping boxes of jewelry off at different locations in Temecula for the past 21 days. It was their "21 Gifts of Giving" thank you for 21 years of being in business.

I don't know what is in each box - but I do know that La Masters had under 100 fans on their Facebook page before the promotion and finished with super activity and ended with 275.

That isn't the best part. What happened was crazy. Box hunters stalked the store, watched Facebook for clues, called stores and businesses where they thought they would find the box, and shot video of themselves on their hunt. Videos were posted on facebook, photos of the hunt. A camaraderie as well as competitive kinship formed with the box hunters who became customers and excitement filled their Anniversary Party as many of the box hunters were also competing for a 42" flat screen television.

It wasn't my idea. It was Leah's, co-owner at La Masters. She handled the program herself, on Facebook and Twitter. Yes, there are companies that can do it for you but Leah, not afraid to try new marketing, figured she could do it herself and did.

It's why I've always enjoyed working for La Masters. They are always innovative, a step ahead of most marketing firms. They do spend money on research and development of their customer base. They do hire consultants to help them design campaigns. But they learn, absorb and adapt what they are taught to take things up a notch better.

About three years ago I had told one of my event clients that things were changing in the marketing world so rapidly that our normal way of selling tickets was changing. We needed to develop a web community of attendees. I call them fans and guests. Radio would produce ever diminishing returns as more and more cars were sold with MP3 and Satellite hookups. Cable television had gotten way too expensive for the small market share and print media was slowly failing into obsolescence.

Many would fear this dire prediction. Instead, it becomes a call to action. Think 2012. While some say the end of the Mayan Calendar is Doomsday. Others, call it the end of a cycle - and in fact say that the Mayans saw time and the world as cyclical not linear. Therefore, 2012 is a time of rebirth.

And so it is with marketing. New marketing, Marketing 2.0, 3.0 whatever you want to call it takes time. Make no mistake. Currently event marketing takes about twice as much effort as the good ol' days of sending out a press release to 100 pubs and following up with pitch phone calls to get printed. That's because newspapers and magazines have folded, merged, consolidated and laid off staff by the thousands.

And blogs, web marketing, social media has taken the lead. This is where writers losing jobs on newspapers should be moving. All marketing companies, all companies with marketing departments, are going to be looking for the company voice to be embedded on the net. Yet, the best part is it doesn't cost thousands for television production and millions to air. For local advertisers - that equates to hundreds for production and thousands to air on cable or local radio.

Don't forget College Marketing 101. You still need to know your customer, what he or she wants, and where to find that customer.

Some sobering facts for old media addicts: There are over 300 million active Facebook users, 50% of the active users log on to Facebook any given day. The fastest growing demographic for Facebook is 35 years old and older. Myspace 110 million users, and as of September 2009 Twitter now has 5,301,915 users
with 31% of the users ages 25-34.

Marketing 2.0 - Web marketing, requires a step up in your game plan. You can no longer get by by shouting your product or service, or event at your customers. You have to engage them, entertain them, bring them into the fold and they will be your ambassadors. It is the tricky part. Too many folks are jumping on the web band wagon with their advertisements. Some of my Twitter pages get a "tweet" ad every 10 minutes - abusing the entire thought process behind Twitter and I'm sure alienating anyone who follows them. On the other hand, I get some great tidbits from Tech marketing gurus like Brian Solis, Larry Weber and Deirdre Breakenridge.

The key with everything - is always moderation. Abuse what's free and eventually it's going to cost you in one way or another. With the transparency in Social Media that translates to loss of credibility.

With blogs, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Flckr, Youtube, Blogger,Linkdin, and Wordpress... (just a few of the venues) it's all free. Free Marketing, Free Public Relations. Not really. It takes time, ingenuity and an eagerness to learn. It also takes respect for the reader - who you want as a guest or customer. Respect is not shouting over and over again - "Look at my great new book!"
"Sell Us Your Gold!" "Sign Up Now for My Incredibly Free Seminar that will sell you on my incredibly Expensive Service." Respect is answering the question we all have on our mind when we open a blog or read a tweet. "What's in it for me?"

If you are in business and have followers, fans, and/or friends; give your fans a reason to keep following you. Take a Page from the La Masters Fan Page - Engage them, entertain them, teach them. And they will pass your tweets and comments on to their friends while you enjoy an ever-expanding customer base.