There are so many facets and levels to marketing, that one often doesn't know where to begin. We often start with the basics which are getting a website, getting social media, having a phone number and email address, business cards, and maybe some flyers to post around town. Not to mention telling everybody you run into to get the word of mouth going. Have you ever told a bum on the street about your business and get that crazy look from a potentially crazy person? Yeah, maybe that was a bit too far. Thankfully, my wife pushed me out of that awkward situation. Honestly? Maybe I wasn't too far off with the homeless person...
Not too many people know about the marketing genius of P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus. One of my favorite stories of his marketing genius is how he used a homeless person to help market his circus at one of the tour stops. As the story goes, he gave this homeless person a couple of bricks and told him not to say a word to anybody, but to walk a certain path that Barnum designated. When he returns to where he originally began, put the brick down, pick up another brick and continue that circular path again. As you can imagine, it started piquing people's curiosity. People asked the homeless person, "What are you doing?" Following directions, he said nothing to them and continue his circular path.
That piqued people's curiosity even more! So they started following this homeless person to see why he had a brick and walking this circular path. Unbeknownst to them, the homeless person's path leads them right into the circus. Imagine that! THE CIRCUS! Barnum may have paid this homeless person a few dollars to get crowds and crowds of people to the circus. Talk about a return on investment.
Another favorite story of mine of P.T. Barnum is when he came into another city and hired a band. He had a stage built for them to play on and made a sign that read "Free Music For The Masses". When people saw the sign, they thought it was a thoughtful gesture, however, when the band played, they were so bad that people would go as far as they could to get away from the terrible music. But guess where the people ended up going to get far away from the terrible music? Barnum & Bailey Circus. Trust me when I tell you, if I could market on that level, things would definitely be different for me.
The guest professor I am bringing into the class to teach this lesson on Marketing is not P.T. Barnum. Mainly because he's dead and gone, but this guest professor I believe has some similar characteristics to Barnum. He comes from a place of TRUE GENEROSITY and AUTHENTICSHIP. I don't recall ever...EVER meeting a person whose true heart is for the people. I've learned that his compassion for people came from him being a social worker for 15 years before making a name for himself in marketing. Welcome to the classroom, guest professor Paul Zelizer.
Guest professor Paul Zelizer is one of the first business and marketing coaches to focus on the needs of conscious entrepreneurs and social impact businesses. He's also the founder of Awarepreneurs, a social enterprise best known for their popular podcast and a dynamic community of 300+ conscious entrepreneurs who support each other in growing their businesses and increasing their positive impact.
Make sure you check out everything Paul Zelizer got going on, by connecting with him at: