Sunday, June 28, 2009

Stealth Marketing…in my own small way

Stealth Marketing has been around for years; maybe forever. The “publicity stunt” is one example. Do something outrageous to get people to start talking about you, a product, or an event. You have to wonder if some celebrity meltdowns are publicity stunts gone bad. That is always a risk when trying to generate a rapid increase in interest using non-standard methods.

Admittedly, methods of non-traditional marketing tend blur together with terms such as guerrilla marketing, buzz marketing, undercover marketing and viral marketing being variants of the same general thing.

Apple has to be the best at getting consumers to willingly market their products for them and they seldom (if ever) resort to trickery to do it. You can not exactly call it “guerrilla marketing” when Apple makes white ear buds so closely associated with the iPod that every time you see them dangling from a person’s ears, you assume they are listening to an iPod. And, even more amazing, most of the time, the person would like for you to assume they are: iPods are cool!

I earned a reputation among 1394 marketers for my own brand of “stealth marketing” but it pales (of course) when compared to the geniuses at the “Fruit Company”.

15 years ago, when you went to a seminar, the opportunities for marketing your product were limited. You could be a sponsor and get your logo on signs and on the cover of the massive binder participants took home with them, but it was rare to see company logos on lanyards or on a cart giving away free lattes.

I saw a need at seminars that was going unmet and decided to meet that need with a very basic item. When I asked my boss to fund my idea, his face fell. His marketing guy had lost his edge. His only marketing guy was talking like an “engineer turned marketer” and making boring suggestions.
I asked him to trust my instinct. With grave doubts he did. What happened next became a small legend and inspired copy cat marketing stunts among our small group of competitors.

FireWire YouTube Videos by Jeff Cat

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