American Idol uses the proven strategy of getting customers.
Me and Joe Bananas were sitting in a booth at the MVR restaurant, eating some stuffed hot peppers and waiting for our pasta dinners. The TVs on the walls usually carry sports only, but this night, American Idol was on about half the screens.
Suddenly, we noticed about 10 female customers searching their purses for their cell phones. “What’s going on?” asked Joe. “They calling 911?” “No,” I replied. “Something more important – they’re texting in a vote for an American Idol contestant.”
Joe got a puzzled look on his face and would have made a comment, but the waitress delivered our spicy bowties and the only sound you heard for the next 15 minutes from either of us was chewing and the occasional belch.
As you probably know, 100 million votes were sent in by text to help choose the winner of the contest. But the show itself was the big winner. Scoring a marketing and PR coup that would be hard to top.
The next day, every newspaper had the show on the front page. Radio hosts talked about it, every news broadcast mentioned it and it was online everywhere.
In my book, this makes Idol a Marketing Champion. Remember, TV shows and networks “sell” ratings to companies that pay to advertise during their shows. If I show can increase ratings, it can increase revenue. Idol not only got ratings, it added value by showing it can get millions of people INVOLVED.
INVOLVEMENT IS KEY
The lesson is as old as advertising itself. If you get someone’s attention with an ad for 10 or 15 seconds, you’ve made progress. You made an impression. You may get them to act or remember your brand.
But if you can get them to send in a form for a contest drawing or call an 800 number for free info, you may have their attention 10 or 15 minutes. That improves your branding and positioning and your chances for getting a sale.
WEBSITES WORK WELL FOR THIS
A good website will also help you involve prospects and customers. That’s why so many have surveys online. Radio stations use surveys. Office Max let’s you “Elf Yourself” at Christmas.
MORE TIME = MORE BUSINESS
The more time a person spends with your brand, the more likely he or she is to make a purchase. Remember that. It was true 50 years ago. It is true today. The only difference is the media used to facilitate their participation.
That’s why, at my agency, we try to keep customers involved with clients. Social media, such as YouTube, Facebook and Flickr, can be great venues for this. But you can create involvement many ways.
We put surveys on client’s websites, we urge there customers to upload videos and photos to special sections of our clients’ websites. In the last two years we have developed dozens of ways to create that old-time involvement using new media. It’s an old idea that works even better than before.
Get your customers vote by getting them involved. Remember, their votes mean business for you.
Stay tuned and stay smart.##