Fifty Shades of Grey was all over the news. Lovers stores took advantage of all the press by putting-up banners asking “What’s Your Shade?”
They were not the first to take advantage of what’s hot, and won’t be the last. However, some do it better than others.
Keep it Relevant
Pi Day has been gaining visibility in recent years, with observances including math discussions and eating pie. What caught my attention this time was how WDLabs ran with it as a marketing opportunity.
Usually I’m Steve Case the Xerox guy, or the Dell guy, or the JoeBugBuster guy. Sometimes someone confuses me with the other Steve Case, like the person who recently sent me this thoughtfully crafted invitation on LinkedIn:
I’m getting in touch as I’m really looking forward to your insights at South by South West (SXSW) in Austin next week and I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn if that’s ok?
Good luck with all the good work!
The South by Southwest Connection
I’ve never even been to South by Southwest. In fact, when I worked for Dell and visited the Austin area a few times a year, I deliberately avoided visiting during SxSW. Flights and hotel rooms were painfully hard to come by as Downtown Austin hosted the festivities.
When people see my tweets, they often ask “why JoeBugBuster?”
My first tech job was at a now-defunct startup that offered vertical market software and systems for video stores. At one point I was doing software testing, and really took the job to heart. Apparently I did a good job, because I was nicknamed BugBuster in recognition of the number of bugs I identified.
The name stuck. I even named my first web site BugBuster’s Best, complete with a spider dropping down a web strand.
When is the last time you watched a TV commercial more than once. On purpose.
While I was skipping past commercials during a program I’d recorded, one ad caught my eye. I actually skipped back to watch this “Holiday Surprise” commercial from Kohl’s. I was touched, and checked-out the #ShowKindnesshashtag shown at the end of the video.
It hit a chord with me and I checked if the video was on YouTube. Clearly it resonated with many other people, since it had been watched hundreds of thousands of times. After watching it a couple more times, I shared it across several social media sites, like this post on Twitter:
Most people appreciated when the United States Postal Service started marketing the “priceless” Forever Stamp in 1997. This was a great “do the right thing” moment, tacitly acknowledging that if you don’t use a stamp for a year or five, the Postal Service has still had the use of your money for that time and shouldn’t charge you extra to use it. It seems only fair that a First Class stamp should always cover the postage for a First Class letter.
The compromise was that the Forever stamp was usually pretty generic, such as the American flag stamp. If you wanted a commemorative stamp (such as a Christmas stamp, or one that featured someone important to American culture, such as Rosa Parks), it was going to depreciate like any other stamp.
Let’s consider the marketing for two products you have bought. The first is your latest car. How did that automaker market to you? You probably saw TV commercials, newspaper ads, maybe online ads as well. In other words, likely a very ‘traditional’ marketing model was used by this automaker to connect with you and get your attention.
Now recall the marketing that was used to promote the latest CD or song you bought on iTunes. How did that artist promote themselves to you? Did they use commercials? Probably not. Newspaper ads? Nope. Direct mail? Be serious.
And yet, you bought the rock star’s product, despite the fact that they did little to no direct marketing to you.
The reason why rock stars can sell their products despite the fact that they do little to no ‘traditional’ marketing represents a fundamental difference in the ways that rock stars and most brands market their products.