The power of marketing – inspirational

A man with a goal

targetingThis story starts in May 2014 when Fabio Zaffagnini had a problem. He is a fan of rock group Foo Fighters but he lived in Cesena in the Romagna region of Northern Italy, about 90km South East of Bologna – not known as a hotbed Rock Music performance! Foo Fighters had played Romagna but that was back in 1997 when Fabio was a young boy.  He desperately wanted them to play his home town again, but what could he do? Fabio needed the power of marketing to make things happen!

Getting the message out

He needed to communicate his message to his target audience (even though there were only 5 of them!) in a way that they would take notice and, hopefully, buy in to his proposition.

Making things happen

First he needed an idea and a plan to make it happen! His idea was crazy (it needed to be!): Recruit 1000 musicians to come together to play a single Foo Fighters track and then publish the results online with his heartfelt plea to the band to visit Cesena and play a concert. In some ways, the idea is the easy bit. The process of implementation and driving the idea (particularly a crazy idea!) forward into practical action is what delivers results. Like any marketing project, Fabio had to stick at it – and he did. Over the next few months the idea took root and the Rockin’ 1000 project was born with a dedicated team all focused on the goal. There were problems, not least a lack of budget (where have we heard that before!) and a lack of musicians, but these hurdles were overcome and the project reached it’s on 26th July this year, barely a month ago. When you imagine the difficulties the team have faced in bringing this project in, the power of joined-up marketing, where you can see the path from beginning to end, really shines through. I think the result is inspirational; maybe you will too:

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Did it work?

OK, so they pulled off the plan, but here’s the question: Did it work? Within 5 days of the release of the video, Foo Fighters front-man Dave Grohl released a message on Social Media confirming they would be coming to play!

What does this mean for me?

Well, hopefully you found it an interesting story, but more than this, it just shows that if you are committed to your marketing or business idea, have a clear plan and you focus on taking action, you really can make things happen and turn that idea into reality. If you want details of the trials and tribulations of the Rockin’ 1000 project, check out their website here

Why are we so focused on selling?

stop_selling I attend quite a few networking events, and this morning we were in Central Manchester at 7:30am on the 23rd floor of the Hilton with around 130 other people attending a generally excellent Greater Manchester Chamber Action for Business breakfast event. Whilst I have to say the views from Cloud 23 were amazing on this all too rare sunny morning, some of the conversations I had were less so! All too often when I meet people at these events, they come out of the traps with a thinly veiled sales pitch telling me “This is what we do, and this is the benefit we can add to your business”! Why do people do this?

Does pitching really work? Or is there a better approach?

On one level the answer to the first question is probably “yes it does – or at least the pitcher believes it does”. As with most people, they can probably tell you the story of the networking conversation that resulted in a big order. But is this success the exception? In my experience these ‘wins’ are rare and possibly don’t justify the resources employed. Also, don’t forget most people don’t like being ‘sold to’ so what sort of impression does the ‘pitch’ leave with most people? So on to my second question…

Is there a better approach?

I truly believe the answer is yes. If we stop selling and start to build relationships, sharing our expertise, my belief is the business opportunities will come. After all, you do business with people you trust. What’s more, even if you take this approach, the opportunities that would have arisen by ‘pitching’ still come along, and the whole process is much more enjoyable for everyone. Interestingly, the main speaker at this morning’s event was Manchester Business Radio. A new digital radio station for the city, dedicated to business, and they, and put forward a very interesting model for commercial radio

  • No presenters
  • No adverts
  • Content generated by Greater Manchester businesses

Sounds great! I know there are some real personalities out there in the business community, and some great expertise. Harness these and you will have a radio station worth listening to, generating a strong listener base, which in turn will attract sponsors (as opposed to advertisers) and you have a winning formula. However there are also a lot of people who, given the opportunity of radio air time, will revert to that networking 60 second pitch, especially if they are paying for the privilege. Content like this will have listeners heading for the off button. Yet if we, as a business community, can resist this, and engage with the radio station to support them both financially through sponsorship and through demonstrating and sharing our expertise and experience rather than selling, I believe there is an opportunity to create something that is commercially sustainable for the station operators, and that is an asset to the business community and economy of Greater Manchester. So at your next networking meeting think about engaging rather than selling. Let’s get to know each other and share our expertise. You never know, we might just fond people we want to do business with!