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Media Publicity StuntViews: 1102
Mar 29, 2007 5:37 pmMedia Publicity Stunt#

Denise Michaels
Almost everyone knows about media releases now. They are the stock in trade to bring media attention to your business, product, book, you, whatever. And they're great - but they have their limits.

Because sometimes you want a lot of media coverate fast. You want critical mass.

I have a marketing mentoring call tomorrow with a woman who's been in one of my teleclasses for 12 weeks now. She is doing well with her own business but she wants to help out a friend who's doing something unusual. He wants to raffle off his house. I guess it's in LA and he wants to find 500 people to buy a raffle ticket at $100 each and then one luck winner will get the house. Pretty cool.

So I'll be talking with both of them tomorrow about the media strategy they'll use to create a lot of buzz for this - fast. I told her to think between now and tomorrow about some kind of stunt that they could do that will bring a frenzy of media - rather than just a tricke. They need to create a lot of buzz fast. So I told her about a story I once heard a couple years ago.

This guy put classified ads in the newspapers that said "Cat Shooting: Monday, with the date and location at 2:00 pm. $5. each. Call 222-2222.

He also sent out a media release to everyone in town. The phone started getting ringing off the hook from media, police and other groups all upset that he was encouraging the killing of innocent felines. They asked him what it was all about. He said, "Come and see for yourself."

Anyway the day of the event hundreds of people turned out. There was a big 8-ft tall blown up cat. There was a booth that said something like: Shoot the cat: $5 (they had squirt guns loaded with water). All proceeds to benefit The Humane Society.

Anyway, they made a couple thousand dollars for the Humane Society and got front page coverage in the paper and made the 6:00 pm local news and the news on two radio stations. Pretty good

I realize that's a weird example - but I'm sharing that one because it takes something a little quirky and weird to bring out the media in big numbers fast.

Think about what you could do that would be a little quirky and crazy that would bring out media fast.

All the best,

Denise Michaels
Author, "Testosterone-Free Marketing"

PS: Visit me online at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com

Private Reply to Denise Michaels

Mar 29, 2007 7:05 pmre: Media Publicity Stunt#

Jeff Klingberg
>>Denise wrote: I realize that's a weird example - but I'm sharing that one because it takes something a little quirky and weird to bring out the media in big numbers fast.<<

I beg to differ. It doesn't take something a little quirky or weird to bring media out fast. It takes something newsworthy with a hook that is going to grabs their attention and stirs their emotions.

In the case Denise cites the hook was shooting a cat. That will immediately grab people's attention, and cause them to react. The news was the Humane Society raising money. So the 'stunt' was appropriate.

However, a stunt for a stunt sake isn't going to draw huge media attention and more than like it will backfire on the company who is attempting to gain media exposure through lost reputation because if the 'stunt' isn't newsworthy the media will no longer look at your 'news.'

There is more to marketing communications and getting the media's attention then coming up with a nonsensical stunt.

First and foremost, there has to be a goal. What is it that you are attempting to achieve—build reputation, create brand awareness or generate sales, etc.? Once the goal is established then strategy and tactics can be considered. Your strategic and tactics must relate back to the goal at hand.

Additionally, metrics have to be set so that you can determine if the program generated a return on investment. In today's marketplace, whether you are an entrepreneur or a multi-national corporation, it is essential to generate a return on your marketing investment.

All one has to do is watch NBC's "The Apprentice" every week to see how 'stunts' fail to achieve the goal that was established. The show proves over and over again that it is well thought out and conceived marketing—that delivers the right message to the right audience at the right time in the right format—wins every time.

So before you start brainstorming and conceiving, conduct some market research to learn who your audience is, what they want and how they want it. It doesn't take a lot of money or a lot of time to find out.

For example, we have a client who are trying to fill their training sessions. They are using telemarketing to following up on a direct mail piece. During the phone calls they are asking who people are using for their training, how much they are paying and what they get for the fee. Each phone call costs well under a dollar and less than 3 minutes to complete. In return, they acquired some very interesting and important information, which in turn they are using to combat their competition.

It is no longer about the 4 Ps. Now it is about the 4 Cs of marketing: customer’s needs and motivations, total cost to the customer, convenience to buy and communication.

Communication is about establishing and maintaining a dialogue with your customer. Stunts rarely establish or maintain a dialogue. More often they are viewed as, or create, noise reducing the chance your voice will get heard.

If you can't get your voice heard, how do you expect to grab attention, stir emotion and cause a reaction?

Jeff Klingberg
Konstanz Kommunikations, Inc.

Private Reply to Jeff Klingberg

Mar 29, 2007 7:46 pmre: re: Media Publicity Stunt#

Ron Sam

(ha ha - don't get mad)

Agree that there has to be established goals and ROI..

It is no longer about the 4 Ps. Now it is about the 4 Cs of marketing: customer’s needs and motivations, total cost to the customer, convenience to buy and communication.

Consumer wants and needs (vs. Products)

You can't develop products and then try to sell them to a mass market. You have to study consumer wants and needs and then attract consumers one by one with something each one wants. Author of the movie Field of Dreams, J.P. Cancilla may have exclusive rights to the phrase "build it and they will come". In most cases, you have to find out what people want and then "build" it for them, their way.

Cost to satisfy (vs. Price)

You have to realize that price - measured in dollars - is one part of the cost to satisfy. If you sell hamburgers, for example, you have to consider the cost of driving to your restaurant, the cost of conscience of eating meat, etc. One of the most difficult places to be in the business world is the retailer selling at the lowest price. If you rely strictly on price to compete you are vulnerable to competition - in the long term.

Convenience to buy (vs. Place)

You must think of convenience to buy instead of place. You have to know how each subset of the market prefers to buy - on the Internet, from a catalogue, on the phone, using credit cards, etc. Lands End clothing, Amazon Books and Dell Computers are just a few businesses who do very well over the Internet.

Communication (vs. Promotion)

You have to consider the communication instead of promotion. Promotion is manipulative (ouch!) - it’s from the seller. Communication requires a give and take between the buyer and seller (that's nicer). Be creative and you can make any advertising "interactive". Use phone numbers, your web site address, etc. to help here. And listen to your customers when they are "with" you.

Roy McClean has a great site full of marketing info/intel


Private Reply to Ron Sam

Mar 29, 2007 7:51 pmre: re: Media Publicity Stunt#

Mark Buckshon
I agree with Jeff.

Stunts can work in certain circumstances, but as a rule they either need to be very carefully planned or linked closely with something that is not seen as commercial self promotion.

The house raffle is not a new idea. I think there may be all kinds of legalities here that need to be verified before anyone thinks of doing this. (Lottery, real estate trading laws, etc.) It is not a project to enter into lightly or quickly. And it has a whole lot more chance of success if it is associated with a community/charitable not for profit situation or some other aspect or relevant news component. (Is the person desperate because of an imminent mortgage foreclosure -- that could be a story in light of current national news. But making a story out of this involves quite a bit of personal risk and 'exposure' -- is the person doing the raffle willing to take that risk?)

Media publicity arrangements are a combination of careful planning and quick response to changing circumstances. Tricking reporters is rarely a good idea -- especially when there is business or commercial intent involved.

Private Reply to Mark Buckshon

Mar 30, 2007 5:04 amre: re: re: Media Publicity Stunt#

Denise Michaels
I'll be talking with these two people tomorrow and I planned on finding out if they've checked into the legality of auctioning off their house - contest rules, etc. However, I'm not an attorney and I consider it incumbent upon them to find out that information.

I know the house auction thing has been done before. I didn't come up with the idea of auctioning off the house - they came to me and said, "Guess what we're doing!?" and they want me to brainstorm with them. I've just been asked to give them one hour worth of my ideas so they can get the word out faster. I'll find out tomorrow what kind of angle would make sense. Is the guy in desperate straits? Is a charity involved? I don't know yet.

Jeff, maybe you and I are dealing with apples and oranges. I get that you may be talking about larger, more corporate enterprises - where the approach you're suggesting is definitely the order of the day. My forte is working with small and home-based businesses. The best hook of all really (and I've talked with a lot of reporters about this over the years) is if you can link together what you've got and what you're doing with something that's hot in the news right now. It's that "ripped from the headlines" thing.

I've seen press conferences with top NFL football players promoting a local charity ignored because even though a press kit was sent out - they didn't have a good enough hook or angle.

Mark, in response to what you said about getting media involved. Many years ago I co-ordinated a contest with a retail women's apparel store and the local newspaper for the "Best Mom in (name of city) Contest." This was in spring shortly before Mother's Day. The retailer was my client.

I went to local businesses and got a chi-chi resort and spa to donate two nights hotel accomodations and two spa services. I got a florist to donate two dozen red roses. I got a wine shop to donate a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and a fruit basket. I got an elegant restaurant near the resort to donate dinner for two. And several other prizes. The newpaper agreed to run the story and collect the contest entries. I got a local radio station to do some PSAs.

Hundreds of entries poured in. This was in a suburb of 26,000 people. The paper agreed to photograph the winner with her roses and champagne along with the store owner in front of the store. It was a win-win-win for everyone concerned. The paper mentioned all the businesses that donated prizes - can't count on that - but this time it happened. The result for the store - their business upticked significantly because of the added exposure.

All the best,

Denise Michaels
Author, "Testosterone-Free Marketing"
Mentoring enterprising women to real business success."

Visit me online at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com

Private Reply to Denise Michaels

Mar 30, 2007 6:17 amre: re: re: Media Publicity Stunt#

Denise Michaels
Ron wrote:
(ha ha - don't get mad)

DMM: I'm smiling over here. No biggie.
For small business owners I think there is something to be said for having the ability to move quickly. And yes, there has to be a clearly stated objective, a path and a ROI. However book publishers use PR as much if not more than any other industry and even they will admit there's really no proven way to measure the value of PR that's totally accurate. Believe me, I've talked with publishers at Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins and others and they don't want to admit it right off the bat - but buy 'em a couple martinis and it all spills out.

On a related subject...

I met someone at a networking meeting when I was doing freelance copywriting a l-o-n-g time ago. He wanted me to write a media release and get it out. He told me, "Denise, we want a feature length article in the Sunday business section on the front page - top of the fold." They were a computer training school. I got it for them. The reporter came out. Took pictures. Great articles with two pictures in four-color format. Less than a month later.

They were flooded with calls - but they were from individuals and they wanted calls from corporations. What they offered was packaged for corporations as their customers. So, in that instance - the customer wasn't happy. Because even though I got them the exact result they asked for - their objective probably should've been to be in the local Business Journal or another more corporate focused publication. I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.

All the best,

Denise Michaels
Author, "Testosterone-Free Marketing"

Visit me online at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com

Private Reply to Denise Michaels

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