When it comes to marketing (and self promotion) very few people throughout history have done a better job than P.T. Barnum. if you mention his name to just about anyone today people will know who you’re talking about, which is remarkable considering he died in 1891. How many people can you say that about excluding US presidents, and a few other notables. He is one of my favorite business ‘characters’ of all time.
When you consider marketing or advertising remember this; Every ad or piece of marketing material you create should tell a story about someone or something. You have to decide who or what will be the subject of your story and I understand that you only have a few lines to accomplish all of this. Writing great pieces of advertising or direct mail pieces should be about the customer. Get them involved in the ad and speak to them directly. Tear a page out of old Phineas Taylor Barnum who was the master of getting the public involved in his traveling show of fun and excitement. If you’re a small business and you have a story to tell, tell it! Your customers love a great story and want to be part of it.
P.T. Barnum created stories that were nowhere close to being true and he knew it and didn’t care. It made no difference at all. General Tom Thumb wasn’t a real General and he wasn’t the size of your thumb, but that didn’t matter. “Jumbo” wasn’t the worlds largest elephant, “Feejee” wasn’t really a mermaid, Anna Swan wasn’t really a “giant”, and the flea circus wasn’t real either, however, people swear they saw fleas performing in a tiny little circus. LOL. P.T. Barnum was a genius.
Everything Barnum did was to attract a crowd of curious onlookers and promote the hell out of it. He even invented his own words to describe his freak show attractions such “jumbo”, “bandwagon”, and “humbug” to name a few that you would recognize.
“Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.”
The above quote sounds very much like Facebook, doesn’t it?
In addition, when marketing your business add some people and some faces into what you do. There’s scientific data out there that show songs with words are remembered much faster and with greater accuracy than songs without words. Likewise, pictures with people in them are viewed more often, and longer, than pictures that have no people in them.
“Words are electric and people are magnetic. People attract people.
~ Roy Williams
If you had to choose between two corporate images of Häagen-Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream who would you choose. Most people would choose Ben and Jerry’s. Do you know why? It’s because of Ben and Jerry. Two boyhood friends who in 1978 scraped together $12,000 and opened an ice cream shop in an abandoned gas station. Today, they’re a household name with thousands of shops around the world.
Häagen-Dazs has a similar story and was founded in 1921, but nobody knows it. They never told anyone and it’s a great story. Reuben Häagen-Dazs is an eight year old boy living with his widowed mother when they arrive in America. Together they squeezed lemon juice into test tubes to create popsicles and sell them on the street to people in the Bronx. At age nineteen Reuben launches Senator Frozen Products and at age forty-eight he launches Häagen-Dazs, a product which took him forty years to perfect. A great story but unfortunately very few people know about it.
Consequently, Ben and Jerry are far more recognizable with their laughing faces on every carton of ice cream. That get’s me every time and I have to add that I love ice cream and I can’t tell a taste difference between the two. An ice cream connoisseur would be able to tell the difference, I’m sure, but I just don’t care. It’s all good to me.
Remember: People attract people!