I had no idea there would be a marketing lesson in store as I headed across the Mississippi River on my way to a country fair in Millstadt, Illinois, located just across the river from St. Louis, Missouri. Once there, I saw the expected: pony rides, face painting and strawberry picking … but what really caught my attention was the arts and crafts area. About a dozen or more tables and tents were set up to sell everything from country wood crafts to scented candles to hand-sewn clothing.
One resourceful woman was hawking her packages of spices and seasonings that could be mixed with sour cream and other goodies to make tasty dips and spreads. While many of the crafters sat quietly behind their tables -- some reading books, others occasionally saying "hello" to passersby -- this woman was enthusiastically inviting people to come over and sample her dips.
"I've got five different flavors here," she announced to potential buyers as she placed a dollop on a cracker. "We'll just start with this one and go down the line. Then tell me which one you like most." Needless to say, there was always a small gathering around her booth ... and a lot of dollars being exchanged.
As I walked to another section of the crafts area, I noticed a small boy peering at one of the handmade toy airplanes on the table. Mom was right behind, asking him to keep his hands to himself. "It's okay, he can play with it if he wants," the crafter offered. "Here son. You can even spin the propeller."
Not far away, a seamstress was asking an interested visitor to try on one of her vests and letting her see what she looked like in a mirror.
What was going on here with these three creative marketers? They were using a selling concept as old as the hills: Get the prospect directly involved with the product and you're halfway toward a sale.
How do most people make a final decision on buying a car? Do they make up their mind by looking at the car and listening to the sales person talk about it? Or by getting behind the wheel and driving it?
The vast majority of music CD sales come about as a result of fans either hearing a band perform live, hearing a song on the radio or seeing a music video. Simply reading a favorable review rarely inspires action in music consumers. Experiencing the music through their ears (and enjoying the sensation) is what motivates people to reach for their wallets.
So, how are you stimulating the senses of your potential customers? More questions:
Find a way to involve people in your creative product or service ... and you may soon find a line of customers waiting to sample (and buy) what you have to offer.
BobBaker is the author of "Unleash the Artist Within," "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook" and "Branding Yourself Online." Get a FREE subscription to Bob's newsletter, "Quick Tips for Creative People," featuring inspiration and low-cost, self-promotion ideas for artists, writers, performers and more. Visit www.PromoteYourCreativity.com for details.