Friday, October 30, 2009

Scary Marketing III: The Skeleton Key

Understand, when I write these blogs, I'm really trying to give practical and tactical information on HOW you can achieve better results for your business. It's really that simple, but sometimes, the larger point is difficult to connect with the real-world question of, "How?"

If you read the original Scary Marketing blog, you found out about three tremendously cool websites that will absolutely freak out your teenager - while they earn kudos in an incredible fickle marketplace. What they all do is generate an instant relationship with a young audience and hold them enthralled for a significant period of time.

It's called DURATION.

In the Sequel, you learned of more practical ways of employing the base strategy of defining your target audience and giving them reasons to "share the ride" with you.

That's effective use of CONTENT.

Yet, no successful horror movie would be complete without it's triptych... in this case, "The Skeleton Key - a simple singular tactic that you can employ at your next trade show. I offer this up because I really want to help make the point of how you can take these concepts and bring them into a system that is neither expensive or difficult to accomplish.

So here's the HOW TO...

Trade shows are notorious for wasting everyone's time. You pay good money for the space, booth, graphics, the upgrade to the marketing materials, travel, hotel rooms, per diem AND the lost time at work. And for what? The chance at locking up that big account. Proving that you're one of the "big boys". Wandering the aisles aimlessly trying to figure out why the Sham-wow guy is getting all the good leads.

The point was supposed to be that you were going to see your good customers and vendors, that you were going to generate new sales leads and that you were actually going to sell something. How many of us have missed the mark in that regard, and still called the show, "a success"?

The Skeleton Key is a tactic that is simple to employ and typically brings people to your booth, both known and unknown. It starts with your database, a safe of some kind and a bunch of keys. Of course, there's a big prize in the safe, and to win it, your key needs to unlock it. Make the prize intriguing enough and you're sure to see folks saunter by your booth for the chance to win.

You can start by developing an e-mail with a thriller or espionage theme (I know, corny, but it works). Extend that theme to a direct mailer or postcard; maybe a Western Union letter. The more you play it up, the better. When you send out the keys in a "classified" envelope, make sure the letter is crafted with the appropriate cut out letters from the newspaper.

Is the entire booth done up thematically? Maybe, or maybe just a section. Maybe there's Roger from accounting just standing there in a black suit, black tie and black shades with the briefcase chained to his wrist. This is where your ingenuity and creativity can add to the fun. (I told you it was corny... but it still works.) It's such an easy conversation starter that you can't help but gain new leads.

Is the prize connected with the theme? It should be. Does it relate to your product? Can it be both product and prize? Maybe you get a case of free widgets AND a 3-day trip to Las Vegas and $500 in cash. Can't do Vegas... how about your local Indian Casino? It's really very easy and reasonably priced. Oh, and who gets the key/or keys? Well, you could let it be completely random, or (and you didn't hear it here) it might mysteriously end up in the hands of a client who's on the fence in purchasing that next big order.

Lastly, make sure you follow up - with everyone. E-mails, letters, calls... something. Find out how they enjoyed the show. Get to talking with them, even about how Roger really didn't make such a good Secret Agent. The point is, you just have read HOW to "share the ride", create duration in something that you do every year. How much time did your prospects and customers spend with you?

Only the shadow knows!

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