When to get wild with your marketing.

I was working on a show years ago . . . it wasn’t even mine, actually . . . it was a show where I was brought in to provide some marketing juice (they called it consulting, I called it juicing).  And, as you can probably imagine, the show wasn’t doing so well.  Why else would they call in a juicer, right?

I started doing what I do and suggested some ways for the show to cut through the clutter, and fan the flame of what was working (which wasn’t much, unfortunately).

And, well, the Producer decided to do . . . none of it.  (By the by, first rule of hiring a consultant – don’t do it unless you’re ready to do something with what he/she suggests.)

When I asked why, he said, “Well, things are bad enough as it is . . . I don’t want to risk anything.  We need to do what we know works.  We need to do the tried-and-true advertising/marketing that shows always do.”

“Haven’t you been doing that stuff?” I asked.

“Yes,” he responded.

“And how is that working out for you?”

It’s so easy to get paralyzed by fear when things aren’t going well, whether that’s if you’re tripping over your words in public, or trying to save a failing show.

But that’s when you need to take action.  Massive action.  Massively different action.

That’s when you need to think so outside-the-box you can’t even see the box that you’re outside of, so you’re just . . . well . . . outside.

Seriously, you need to do the opposite of what you’ve been doing.  You need to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.  You need to do the opposite of your instincts.  What makes you more afraid?  Yep, sign up for that.  Twice.

Where do you get the courage to take these wild shots?


Things are sucking, right?  Well, if that’s the case, then the fact is . . . you can’t eff it up any more than it already is!  The Producer in the example above had nothing to lose.  He had nowhere to go.  His patient was sick . . . dying . . .  which is why he should have been ready to try any experimental treatment that was offered.

Instead he chose to just watch it go gentle into that good night.

If you’re ever in the unfortunate position of watching your show floppin’ around like a fish out of water, that’s the time to do something different.  Anything different.

And just maybe you’ll discover a different outcome.


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  • Diana Bartak Lipkus says:

    Does the producer for whom you consulted ,when looking in the rear view mirror, now wish he had followed your plan??? Have you inquired on his hindsight perspective?@DLipkus dramaturg

  • Rich Mc says:

    B-way consultants are many and substantive results (i.e., staging/recouping) are relatively few. My criteria for hiring e.g., a script consultant: ok, you see so much potential; now agree in advance to Produce It, if I agree to your recommended fixes! (This serves to separate the sheep from the goats, fast.)

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