learning marketing from local media

So your {insert local media outlet} is offering a free seminar that will “teach you how to market your business”.

How benevolent of them to offer such a community service.

I’m amazed at how many small businesses are suckered into attending these events and don’t realize the true motivation behind the “seminar”.

If the radio station is sponsoring this knowledge fest, I’ll bet you my hat that they will try to convince people that radio is the best option. The newspaper seminar will tell you the printed word is the way to go. The TV station’s seminar will tell you why radio and newspaper are a waste of money. And now added to the mix, you have agencies that have a small social media following teaching the way to Facebook and Twitter bliss.

Think about this: Would you go to the “How to choose the best place to buy a car” seminar hosted by the local car dealership?

The truth is that every advertising medium has strengths and weaknesses. It depends on what you’re trying to communicate and who you’re trying to reach.

Just because a salesperson has the words “marketing consultant” on their business card doesn’t mean you should listen to them about your overall marketing strategy. They’re doing their job trying to capture as much of your marketing budget as they can. You should never let someone sell you advertising; you should buy it.

The only reason to ever go to the local media outlet’s seminars is that they typically offer some really good deal to the attendees. If you’re planning on buying from them anyway, it’s a good way to save some money. It’s like going on vacation and sitting through an hour of a timeshare pitch just to get free theme park tickets.

And shame on marketing speakers who lead biased events like this.

Reality Check

Recently, I spoke to a group of late teens/early 20-somethings about online media. These students were in an honors class in one of the top journalism schools in the country.

In all, they threw me for a loop on what “the online generation” is doing.

Granted, it was only about 90 minutes with 18 people. But perhaps before you invest heavily in online platforms, you should get your head out of the blogosphere where “everyone” knows all about the potential of Web2.0 and you should drop in on a few of the people out in the real world.

Dancing Machine

I blogged a few months ago about the instant infatuation and total media coverage that could come up about any particular thing and then blow away like it was never there. This idea as it deals with marketing has popped up again with a summer “hit”. I’m fascinated with the adoption curve for ABCs Dancing with the Stars. It feels like I’m watching something from the late 70s/early 80s…(Circus of the Stars, anyone?)

Barring Kelly’s wardrobe malfunctions, what is the public seeing in this? If you had announced early this year that America would become obsessed with ballroom dancing, everyone would have laughed at you….and everyone would have been wrong.

What other trends could you introduce with your business that people will laugh at now…but could become very successful down the road?

And because I can’t resist (and wanted John O’Hurley to win)…

The harsh beam from the dance spotlight cut like the sun in the Gobi Desert. Villagers clamored around for a taste of the refined movement of the dance. It was the perfect moment for my Nepalese Dance shirt…sizes small, medium, and large…$187 – J. Peterman catalog

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