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Marketing Lessons from the Hot Dog Guy

By Matt McFadden  |  

I was walking downtown to a meeting, and passed the hot dog guy right outside the Greenville News. He said hello to me as I was walking by. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but realized later that every time I walk by him, he says hello and asks how I am doing. I have never met him, don’t know his name, and truthfully have never bought anything from him. While delicious, I just don’t eat many hot dogs. But, if someone ever asks me where they can get one, I’d tell them right outside the Greenville News. The hot dog guy is like a human twitter feed. Strange correlation, I know, but if you think about it, he blips across everyone’s radar that walks by him, simply by saying hello. It’s pretty innocuous and it works, he is always busy. (And now he’s getting free pub from us.)

There are hundreds of ways to get your messaging out today. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, webinars. It is way too easy to get overwhelmed. I wish I had a dime for every time over the last year I have heard someone say “There is just too much out there, we don’t even know where to begin.” And then literally, nothing ever begins, they just sit stagnant.

If this sounds like you or your company, the first step you need to take should probably be backwards, and evaluate what you are currently using or have used in the past, how well it’s working, then go forward. Next, figure out what other media might be out there and if it’s a fit. Social media and webinars may not be for everyone, or maybe better put, they are not always used in a way that fits what you do. I’ve seen a lot of companies try and force it, it looks pretty silly. The most important thing is that you do something and diversify your marketing. Spend some time up front some to evaluate a new media, and then put one or two to work for you, with plans to expand to one or two more in the future. There is tremendous value in innocently popping on someone’s radar screen on a regular basis.

Bottom Line: The hot dog guy could sit hapless and hope people notice his cart and happen to be hungry, but instead he makes the extra effort to get noticed. It seems to be paying off.

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