Advertising and asking for anything: Why they are the same.

Conventional marketing wisdom says it takes five impressions before a consumer is primed for purchase.

The same is true when you’re a producer and your job is to get people to join your team, whether they are a director, a writer, an investor, or an intern.

Translation?  Getting anyone to do anything is all about follow-up.

A talented up-and-comer was asking me for some advice yesterday and she told me how she wanted a director to read her script, but was dismayed because she had sent the director an email and hadn’t heard back.

She sent just one email.  And was praying for a positive response.  That’s like placing a 1/4 ad in Time Out and expecting to sell out for weeks.

It’s easy for us to take this kind of lack of response as a personal slight, but it’s not.  The director is a consumer just like everyone else, and you’ve got something to sell.  If companies like Apple or Altar Boyz gave up after one impression, no one would sell sell a thing.

Does this mean that you should send four more emails?  No.  Think of asking for anything just like a media plan:  Vary your media.  Email (online marketing) didn’t work?  Try another form of direct response, like a phone call (telemarketing).  Or go to a party where you know the person will be and make sure he/she sees you (billboard).  Have a mutual friend mention you to him/her (word-of-mouth).

But don’t just give up and think no one wants your product.

Instead, think of every impression you make as getting closer and closer to your goal.

And the best thing about follow-up impressions?  Unlike 1/4 page Time Out ads, they are free.

Oh, and they actually work.

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Comments
  • Ken,
    Three things.
    One: Thank you for taking the time to do this blog. I find it fascinating AND useful. Not things that go together in blogs often.
    Two: Thank you for modeling useful professional Twitter usage. ALSO fascinating.
    Three: Impressions obviously matter, but how do you propose gaining those impressions in a fragmented market on a limited budget? The demo for my shows isn’t really reading the paper (they read the alt-weekly online) and Facebook ads are too scattered. Obviously personal impressions are the best but I can’t be everywhere, and need to expand the audience base beyond the personal reach of my bubble. I am at a loss.

  • Jay Kuo says:

    Travis,
    I’m a producer out in San Francisco. When we were launching a new show, we successfully used something that we call the “show captain” model. That is, I (and my staff and cast) got our friends not only to come to the show, but to agree to bring five other people they knew. For our opening weekends, we had something like 55 show captains who had committed to bringing an average of 7 people. That filled the houses and got word of mouth going strong. It’s a great way to get new shows up and started.

  • Jay Kuo says:

    Travis,
    I’m a producer out in San Francisco. When we were launching a new show, we successfully used something that we call the “show captain” model. That is, I (and my staff and cast) got our friends not only to come to the show, but to agree to bring five other people they knew. For our opening weekends, we had something like 55 show captains who had committed to bringing an average of 7 people. That filled the houses and got word of mouth going strong. It’s a great way to get new shows up and started.

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