Sunday, March 06, 2011

Two Ways to Get Noticed

A story about my days as a radio advertising sales guy.

A few years ago, I used to call on a home remodeler who focused on windows, doors and siding. And every spring he would use the same lines, " Where do you rank?", "You don't have any listeners." "That's too expensive." "Go sharpen your pencil."

It was a game he played and I thought that he could become a good client. I was wrong. He was a pain in the ass and after playing this game a few times, I stopped calling on him. I had better things to do.

Last month I had a conversation with a guy who repairs computers.

Been in business 16 months.

Tried radio, didn't work he said. All he got was other salespeople wanting him to buy advertising. Advertising sales people can be vultures. They listen to the competition and try and grab those businesses as clients instead of cultivating new business.

Anyway, the common ground between the home remodel guy and the computer guy, is they didn't know what they were doing when it came to advertising.

Using radio as an example, all radio stations have listeners. Some have lots of listeners, others have lots and lots and lots of listeners. If you have unlimited resources (money) you can advertise on the big station.

If you have limited resources, then advertise on the the smaller station.

The concept is to not be heard by lots and lots of people, but to become "known about" by enough people to make it work.

I have more details on my other blog, The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo, Click here.

In the meantime, Seth Godin wrote about this concept recently:

Two paths for successful group events

I'm talking about trade shows, SXSW, street marketing...

There are two ways to be glad you went:

1. An overwhelming show of force. When you have the biggest booth, when you are the buzz of the event, when you are everywhere people look, you reinforce your position as the leader.

2. Powerful personal interactions. Not with everyone. Just with people who want to talk with you, who will benefit from a powerful exchange. Not mass, but high in value. Even better, designing these interactions (and your product) so that this small number of people set out to evangelize their peers on your behalf.

The mistake almost everyone makes is to do both. Or to believe that they know a cheap shortcut on their way to #1. Or to get too busy chasing (and failing) at mass that they don't have time to do the personal.

Years ago, the company I worked for spent millions at various venues of the Consumer Electronics Show. We were there, we were sort of big and we sort of won. But not really. Too much noise, too much competition, we were neither. By trying to reach as many as we could, we were never intimate enough to generate conversations that mattered or ideas that spread...

Once again, it comes down to scale. If you staff and invest appropriately, you don't have to 'win' the show to make it worth the trip. On the other hand, if you're setting out to win and investing at the appropriate level, you better win.

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