Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Why Leave a Hole in Your Marketing?

One Christian Louboutin shoe

Everyone’s got something to “sell.” It might be a product, like a book. It might blur the lines between product and service, like a blog. It could be a new process in a workplace setting. Or maybe even a bowl of green beans, to a fussy toddler.

What’s a writer, a manager, a parent to do?

Matthew May, in his book In Pursuit of Elegance, suggests that a good “salesperson” will leave a hole in his marketing—some missing piece, some mystery, a space for others to add their voices and creativity.

About a week ago, I decided to try May’s idea for myself. I was getting ready to “market” this series, and instead of simply announcing it, I engaged people in a missing-pieces game.

It worked.

Between comments at the blog posts where the game was played, and comments on Facebook, about 100 game-related comments were generated altogether. Not only did the game create more response than usual on my blogs, it also increased traffic and, most importantly, it created a space for readers to make their own meaning— resulting in delightful jokes, banter, poems, and philosophical musings (no one did a Cheetos sculpture in response, but Cheetos did eventually enter the conversation, as they are wont to do when Duane is nearby).

The challenging part of leaving a hole in our marketing is that we can’t find one “game” and continue to play it. Mystery resists formulas. Still, there are some principles to help guide the way. What are they? I probably shouldn’t say, ‘til next time.

(Got ideas? I’d love to hear them.)

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Blogger Kelly Sauer said...

which reminds me... I have an email to send you.

love this.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ said...

My idea is that you should wear those shoes and take a picture of your feet. :)

And then the next day, have one of your other blogger friends wear another pair. We can play "guess who" with shoes. This would be a great opportunity for Bradley to show off his new shoes.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ said...

P.S. -- Klout says I have Klout in shoes. So maybe I could direct some traffic your way. :)

3:02 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Lol, Jenn! Maybe between my friends and I, we can raise the $5,000 to buy the shoes. Or one of us can distract the shoe-guard-guy while the other plays Cinderella at Christian Louboutin :)

(Does Brad have dragon shoes too? :)

3:31 PM  
Blogger Louise Gallagher said...

Personally, I'd pour champagne into the shoe and drink it -- that's without ever wearing the shoe mind you.

Or, vodka.

The mystery is -- what would you pour into the shoe? What would James Joyce? Flaubert? Elizabeth Browning? Cinderella even!

Love this post.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mystery resists forumulas."

6:09 AM  
Blogger Marcus Goodyear said...

Louise's comment cracks me up. I think the bigger question is this: who are you trying to reach and what would THAT audience pour into the shoe.

How do we create mystery that appeals to our target audience? Each audience probably has a different "mystery tolerance level." Which is just a weird phrase.

5:51 PM  

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