Have Fun with Your Marketing

By Ron Rosenberg

Special Message from Alyssa (and Chico)Let’s get straight to the point: most marketing is boring. There are many reasons for this, prime among them the fear most people have that they might “offend” someone if they take it too close to the edge.

And while that can happen, it’s far more common for people to err on the side of safety, and risk losing any connection they might have with the market in the process. That’s why we teach our Outrageous Marketing strategies at conferences all over the world.

A Word of Caution

A few words of advice are warranted here: you don’t want to switch overnight from a traditional marketing approach to something edgier–we can get away with a lot of the things we do because we have a relationship with our list. Most of our customers have come to us from a live event, a webinar, or by a referral, so they’ve already been exposed to what we like to do, and, more importantly, why we do it.

So let’s take a look at some things you can do to make your marketing more interesting and have some fun in the process. To make it easy, we’ll examine a campaign we sent out to illustrate these points.

While the Boss is Away...

Back in 2005, we were working with our friends at Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC). It was their 50th anniversary, and they had invited me to be the keynote speaker. They asked if I would help them with their event marketing to help them get record attendance.

One of the strategies we developed was the whole concept of: “When the boss is away...the staff will play!” The idea was that the “big boss” was out of town at an event, and left the staff in charge. They had wanted to do something really special to commemorate the 50th anniversary, but the boss wouldn’t do it.

But now, since he was out of town and left them in charge, as they wrote in the promotional e-mail, “We decided to do it anyway, but please don’t tell the boss or we’ll get in trouble! Of course, the boss was in on it; in fact, he was there as we wrote the copy for the e-mails!

The results from these two e-mails were outstanding, and they were a big part of the event’s success, which did, in case you’re interested, shatter the previous attendance record.

So, While Ron & Lorie Are Away...

We decided to take advantage of this concept on a trip to Australia and apply this approach in our own business.

The picture you see at the top of this article is of the first of two email messages we sent out to our list. This one was from our daughter, Alyssa (and our dog, Chico), and uses language almost identical to the AENC example:

It’s Alyssa (and Chico) here from Ron Rosenberg’s office at QualityTalk. (That’s us in the picture to the left!) I’m also Ron and Lorie’s daughter, and I work behind the scenes here, so you don’t normally hear from me. But Ron and Lorie are on a business trip to Australia so they’re having me take care of the dog, and they left me in charge. Big mistake! Let me explain...

She goes on to talk about an offer we had made for people who completed our membership survey. She wanted to extend it to our entire list, but we wouldn’t let her. But, since we left her “in charge,” she was going to do it anyway, but people had to respond by October 2 so she could process the order before we got back.

It’s a Dog’s Life

To make sure we covered all the bases, we sent out a second e-mail a few days later, this time from Chico. He says:

It’s Chico here–Ron and Lorie’s adorable miniature schnauzer! You may be wondering why a dog like me is writing you this e-mail. It’s because Lorie and Ron are away in Australia and I’m kind of mad that they didn’t take me with them. But I guess I wouldn’t have really enjoyed the 22-hour flight anyway...especially in those doggie carrying cases. At least I got to stay with my human sister, Alyssa. She spoils me a lot with special gifts and treats, and I kind of like that!

And then Chico restated the offer, complete with the additional information that he “writes” one of the articles himself, so how could you not sign up?!

Let’s Review What We Have...

Here are a few concepts that were utilized in this campaign:

Make it PersonalLetting people into “your world” builds affinity and rapport with your list.

Using Animals in Your Marketing - Major consumer businesses, from oil companies to cereal manufacturers, know the power of using animals– both wild and domesticated–in their marketing. You can do this too.

Multiple ContactsSending out a single piece for an offer leaves money on the table. Two is the minimum; three or more is preferable.

Measure ResultsSince we like to focus on results, let’s start there. Two e-mails and 11 new members. Works for me. Would a third and possibly fourth e-mail have added more responses? Probably.

Are You Still Running the Office?

But there’s a bigger picture here, and it has to do with the concept of “relationship with the list” that we talked about earlier. While we were in Australia, we got an urgent e-mail from Alyssa. She had gotten an interesting response from the first email:

Hi Alyssa, are you and Chico still running the office? Can you cut me a deal while the boss is away?

This message was sent from a client we had worked with in the past. She had a speaking opportunity she knew was a bit below our usual fee, and she latched onto the “Ron’s away” theme to frame her request. Since she was “playing” along, how could we refuse?

This kind of marketing is fun to do, but, more importantly, it’s fun for your customers, clients, and members!