Every time I drive up one of our main drags here in Spokane there are multiple inflatable things waving or towering over me as I pass next to every car lot on the strip. "What is the point of all that?" I ask myself every time. Thanks to a good friend of mine, I now have the answer!
Advertising - duh?! One might wonder how a hysterically waving tube of air is considered good advertising and then I realized that I take note of them every time I pass. The hope of the dealer is, of course, that I will remember his wavy thing more than the next guys the next time I'm in the market for a vehicle. Nobody knowingly buys a car based on the quality of the waving eye catcher on the curb but in a way we do. When we are thinking we want to look into purchasing, the first places we think of are the ones with the crazy waving things we've driven by or the ones with the house sized inflatable bears, eagles, and other things sitting on their lots - for no other reason than that we remember where they are!
Not everyone is willing to debase their businesses or themselves enough to put one of those things out in public but there are other forms of this kind of advertising. We just did a movie night at a second run theater and people were able to see Harry Potter 7 for $1. I don't personally read or watch Harry Potter at all - I'm told it's my loss but it just isn't my thing. We gave away gift cards from our current clients as well as a free tax return from a drawing. everyone there was glad to see the movie, mostly glad to give enough information to enter the drawing, and glad it only cost them $1. Seems like great advertising for the theater and Harry Potter, right?
Not so fast. We were able to introduce ourselves to nearly 500 people who may not have heard about us in any other way. We were able to give them something they already valued at a great price. And we able to have a little fun with the giveaway drawing. All of these fit into our business style - not your typical, boring, accounting firm. While this event will typically NOT create instant business for us it will put us in the minds of the people who came and they are most likely to remember us the next time they are ready to open a business, file their taxes, or re-organize. It was a few hours of fun for us and gives us the opportunity to represent something about ourselves the general public may not know. It's likely everyone in that room will need our services sometime in the next 5 years and this event was another way to ensure they thought of us the next time they decide to make that call.
So, as much as I despise the wavy thing on the street corner I get them and what they do. What is your potential inflatable that you're not putting out there? I say get on the stick and secure your future customers by being the right kind of different in the right kind of way. Oh, and if you're in the Spokane area I can hook you up with the guys who got our movie night set up and maybe you can do a show of your own!