Submitted by Don Doman.
Some people are publicity hogs. They submit press releases looking to grab some headlines in newspapers and online news sources. They just know that if the word gets out about them, their services, or their company, then they will magically have more sales than they can handle. It doesn’t always work that way.
A number of years ago, on a Sunday when daylight savings time sprung ahead, there was an article in the local paper about an entrepreneur in Indiana. He was offering to change all of the clocks in a home for ten dollars. He would change wall clocks, VCR clocks, microwave clocks, and presumably even the clock in your car for a grand total of ten dollars. I read the article and nodded my head in recognition of his pluck.
Two days later while listening to a Seattle talk radio program, the host announced that his next interview was the Indiana entrepreneur. I thought to myself, “How interesting.” The interview went well for the first few minutes and then the talk show host asked how many customers the man had. He answer was, “Four.” The talk show host was incredulous. I laughed.
Here this guy was with tons of publicity and he only had four customers. Of course his services were only good locally in Fort Wayne, but still . . . Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana with a population of 265,904. Both the talk show host and I were ready for some successful sounding figures, but four customers? What a joke. Later as my wife and I were driving across town, I told her about the conversation. She had read the same article, but we had never discussed it. We tried to come up with a moral for the story. We finally decided on: Customers must see a perceived value. Turning your clocks ahead just didn’t seem to offer any value . . . even with VCRs constantly blinking (remember, I told you this was a few years ago).
Shortly after the big clock fiasco I read an article in USA Today about a new website that was offering downloadable videos on a wide variety of subjects. Since this was closely related to our business training products website I visited the site. The website didn’t offer downloadable videos. They had links and buttons that said they did, but they didn’t. They were looking for videos to offer as downloadable videos. After repeated visits I saw no headway in actual selections. In fact, they took weeks to answer a query from me on email.
Here were two different services being offered. Both caught the eye of the media and received free coverage. Neither were successful. One had no perceived value and one had no product. Free publicity is hard to come by, if you get it and the public responds, you have to be prepared to deliver.
When opportunity knocks you need to answer the door and welcome it in with open arms . . . but you should be prepared with an actual product or service with value.