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Jan 29 2013

Marketing Lessons Learned in the Big Apple

new york marketing

Sydney and I in Times Square, the advertising capitol of the world

I recently took my first trip to New York City and spent the entire time in complete awe of everything from the buildings and history to the people and food. Despite the fact that I was traveling for pleasure, I couldn’t turn off my marketing brain and was constantly taking note of advertising methods used throughout the city. Amidst thousand dollar billboards and flashy window displays, the most effective marketing strategies where those that could easily be accomplished on any budget by just about any small company in the world.

Provide excellent service that people want to talk about.

During our five day stay in New York City, not once did we do anything simply because we saw an advertisement, read a tour book or were awe struck by a billboard. Every place we went and everything we did was a recommendation either from someone in the group who had done it before, locals we met or Yelp Reviews. We choose our experiences based on the experiences of others.

Our form of decision making is not rare. In a city where advertising is king, the most effective way to get business is still by word of mouth. One good experience can attract hundreds of customers. One bad experience can deter thousands.

Think outside the billboard.

Like all major stores in Times Square, the Hershey Factory has HUGE signage. But with so much going on, even the 16 story candy bar hovering over Broadway can be ignored. But walk into the Hershey Factory and you’ll probably be handed a hat that dubs you as a “Hershey Factory workers.” You’ll probably put it on because, honestly, what is a night time stroll in Times Square without a ridiculous hat? Then, you’ll become a walking talking advertisement for the infamous chocolate store.

The hats, like the billboard, advertise the store but in a dramatically different way. While the billboard can only be seen from the street, the hats can be taken right into other stores. Potential customers can ask the hat wearers about their experience and, if Hershey followed the first lesson in this article, the hat wearer will enthusiastically describe their experience and persuade others to have their own delicious chocolate adventure.

Cross Promote to Gain Repeat Business.

This last marketing lesson wasn’t technically learned in New York, but somewhere between Colorado and Nevada when I watched the only free in-flight movie.

At first, there wasn’t anything to suggest that this was an ad. Yet as I continued watching, I realized the entire movie takes place in the First Class section of various flights on this particular airline. Almost every scene subtly shows off a swanky first class feature. And wouldn’t you know it, all three flights are to and from the three continents where the airline does business.

This movie commercial was not only a brilliant example of purposeful product placement, it also demonstrates the power of cross promotion. I was already on a flight with that airline so I didn’t need to be convinced to buy a ticket. However, I was sitting in coach and when my bum started to go numb around hour 4, I was really wishing I had the extra stretching room that the movie characters had in first class. Also, I had purchased a domestic flight ticket. The movie showed me that this would also be a great choice for international flights. Companies often focus so much on getting new customers that they forget to sell to their existing customers. Up selling and cross promotion will not only generate repeat business, but also creates loyal customers.

Whether you run a big city corporate company or a small town business, you’ve got to come up with compelling, unique marketing techniques to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. Hopefully, these tips have helped spark your imagination and given you ideas on how to most effectively market your business.

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