Marketing as Theatre – The Best Show Wins

Girl in theatre mask. What matters in marketing is your performance.Does your marketing entrance, engage, enrapture and encourage your customers to want more?

Because it’s not how good (or not) your product is, what matters is how you sell it.

The company or salesperson that puts on the best performance wins.

A clear reminder of this occurred the other day when I was attending the Perth Home Show at the Exhibition and Convention Centre.

I bought something didn’t even know I wanted because the salesman’s show was so good - The World’s Most Advanced Broom

Step right up folks, because of all things, he was selling rubber brooms, supposedly a technically superior alternative to the normal hair broom.

Certainly unique and different, I’d never even heard of, or could imagine a broom made of rubber; I mean it just sounds ridiculous.

But the sales guy was good; it was like watching a finely tuned performance, which is exactly what it was. I knew it, and I paid more out of admiration for his “game” than for the actual product.

It was a bit like watching a live version of late night infomercials and the shamwow guy, but I didn’t care.

Old School Snake Oil, But it Works

Snakes and apples always provide great marketingHe pulled out all the textbook sales and marketing tricks such as adding value:

“Normally $x, but today $blah;”

then even more value,

“Buy today and get not one broom but two, plus a hand brush, a lint brush and get... [something else which I still haven’t figured out how to use]”.

And then several layers of exclusivity,

“Normally we only sell to the trade (hairdressers and industrial companies) for $x wholesale, and you can have it today only for that price, plus...” and on and on it went.

I didn’t care, I was enjoying his performance, and when he finished my card was already out which he effortlessly swiped thru the machine and I am now the proud owner of the world’s most advanced brush and assorted accoutrements.

Did I believe everything he was saying?

No, but as I said I bought as much out of admiration for his performance as my need for a new broom. Even though it was text book selling 101, it was done with real showmanship.

And this is what too many marketers forget: It’s as much about your performance as it is about your product.

This is something old school marketers understand, it’s what every street performer understands and it’s what old time snake oil salesman understood:  Give ‘em a good show and they’ll gladly buy from you no matter what you’re selling. (See  also  What ZZ Top Can Teach You About Branding)

Online that translates to:  He who tells the best story wins (In other words great, well written enjoyable content.)

Even Apple Uses Snake Oil

This is also the same thing Apple does so well, albeit with much more style and sophistication. Apple understands the role of theatre in all of its marketing. 

Every new product launch is a major, global event. The actual product almost becomes irrelevant to the story and hype built up around it.

Super Broom vs Windless Guy

Are you a limp and windless marketer?The performance of the super broom salesman was in stark contrast to the guy at the wind generator stand.

I must admit when I go to trade shows, or even shopping, I like to see if the sales people have got their game on. Call it professional curiosity, or maybe I’m just being a git.

Sadly the guy at the wind turbine site didn’t have any game.  I went over to the stall and he sort of hovered behind me and looked at me. (And yes it felt as creepy as it sounds.)

So anyway, I did his work for him and smiled and said hello.

He said hello back and continued to stare, while I’m waiting for his pitch or even his opener. Sadly it didn’t come. So eventually, after an awkward silence, I said thank you and left.

(If you’re thinking this sounds like a bad dating ritual, go to the top of the class.)

Are You Windless or a Super Broom?

How to be a super broom marketerMost sales and marketing people fall somewhere between windless guy and super broom man.  Not quite as creepy as windless, but nowhere near as good as super broom.

Although there are still enough windless guys around to freak me out regularly.  You know the type, you feel like you’re being stalked around the store.

Regrettably there are very few super brooms who make me glad to hand over my money.

So it got me thinking: “How good’s my game? Hmm, could do with some work,” I thought.

What about you?

How Good’s Your Marketing Medicine Show?

  • Have you and your sales team got your performance down?
  • Have you got your game really going?
  • Is it fun and enjoyable to listen to your pitch?

Let me know if you've got an enjoyable performance pitch.

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