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Friday
Jan292010

The Best Thing I Ever Learned (about marketing)

Image: If it's not working, stop

It was a marketing symposium, at the Ritz Carlton Pasadena, about 20 years ago. Who knew they had a dress code just to check in (sheeshhh). Anyway, lots of heavy hitters in the marketing world, one was the VP of Marketing for Disneyland. She was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. She spoke little, and said a LOT.

 

In response to a very good question - "How do you know what will work, how do you decide?" - she gave some advice that I've carried with me for years and years. She's right.  And although it seems obvious, I watch my clients break this rule over, and over, and over again.

She told us that we'll never know what's going to work until we try it. Then she told us what they do at Disney:  They put their heads together and take their best educated guess. They set rules for results, what will mean that it's working, what will mean that it's not. They go with it. If it doesn't meet their criteria for success, they STOP. Even if they've poured tons of money into it. If it does work, they milk the heck out of it. Period. That's it.

Example of something that didn't work and they stopped: They tried a promotion where, oh what was it? Californians got a discount. Just show your drive's license and...  They set their rules for success, how many months they'd give it, how many Californian's, etc.  The results were not what they wanted, they stopped.  They did NOT keep trying to convince Californian's to come to Disneyland, they did not offer more, they did not lower the price. They just stopped.

Image: Disney's Electric Light ParadeExample of something that DID work and they milked the heck out of it: Y`all have heard of the Electric Light Parade? It started out as a temp gig to replace a parade that just wasn't ready for prime time. They figured it would be a short run, just to fill the gap. They gave it a couple of weeks. But people went WILD for it. I think it was ten years worth of wild, then they sold off the lighbulbs for $10 each when it finally wound down.  If memory serves, they even resurected the parade years later.

She emphasied, "Don't keep putting money into something that isn't working. It won't help."

Reeealllyyyy good advice. And yet I see people doing exactly that, over and over. And just like she said, it doesn't work.

I mention this because while I love supporting artists with administrative, marketing and website services, I really hate to take their money when I realize that something they're doing isn't working well for them. And lately I've seen a lot of what that VP from Disney was talking about, so, ya know, I feel compelled to say something about it.

Need marketing or administrative support for your projects and art business?  Need help just getting it going or keeping it going? Give me a shout via email - robin@artistcareertraining.com - or just call me at (310) 480-6738.

All my best to you and yours,

Image-Disney's Electric Light Parade

 

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