Marketing Lessons from Antiques Roadshow

harrison campaign buttonsA friend has a large collection of campaign buttons, dating back to William Henry Harrison (US president for only 31 days in 1841).

When Antiques Roadshow came to town, she eagerly brought some of her collection in for appraisal, hoping to be told her treasured buttons were worth lots of money.

It turns out that they weren’t.

Why didn’t this work?

Because collectors want something very particular.  Not all campaign buttons, but campaign buttons for Republicans from Pennsylvania.  Or, buttons from Barack Obama’s campaign for president.

If you’re an Obama guy, Clinton buttons won’t do.  Certainly not George W. Bush buttons.

Her selection was too broad to interest avid collectors who want one thing and one thing only, and will buy anything and everything that fills that need.

How does this apply to marketing?

Be specific

Try aiming your marketing and your services toward  your own collectors: the people who want exactly what you do (accountants who need web sites, dry cleaners who want flyers designed, or musicians who want web videos).

Build anticipation

People are drawn to Antiques Roadshow by the possibility of finding great riches from something they bought at a yard sale for $5.  Give out little snippets about what you’re up to.  Make people curious.

Demonstrate success

Show other people succeeding after following your advice or  using your services.  Include testimonials and case studies.  Make a video or two showing happy clients.

Fill a void

I came across someone who collects old Burry’s cookie boxes (a company that went out of business years ago).  To a cookie box collector, the price doesn’t matter.  What does matter is filling any possible hole in his collection, or finding something really, really rare that other collectors can’t get.

Give people something they can’t get elsewhere; like idea generation consulting or a project progress dashboard.

What do you think?   Is there something you’re doing that nobody else does?  What is it?  Share your story.

Photo thanks to:  Cornell University

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