Jay Conrad Levinson RIP

14 Oct

I’ve just learned that Jay Conrad Levinson passed away on Thursday, October 10. He was 80, but it is still very sad.

His book “Guerrilla Marketing” was one of the first business books I read at the beginning of my career, and his “Guerrilla Marketing for Writers” is still on my bedside.

The creator of “guerrilla marketing” and Marlboro Man, he was a true marketing legend, and, more important, the one who encouraged and inspired small business owners, not big corporations, to get back to basics in marketing and achieve goals by investing energy instead of money.

I am sure there are thousands, maybe even millions of successful entrepreneurs around the world, who can thank Jay Conrad Levinson for the guerrilla marketing tools he shared with us.



Why Go to Conventions?

7 Oct

Last weekend I was at Kraken Con, a new comic, cartoons and anime convention in South San Francisco. My client, Davidson L. Haworth, was a Special Guest there so for me it was all about work but I can say I had fun, too.

Being at a convention is all about meeting new people, and Kraken Con was no difference. I was talking to an aspiring comics artist about promotion in the world of Sci-Fi/Fantasy and pop art, and thought I’d sum up and share parts of our conversation.

Sometimes people ask me, “Why go to conventions?” There are several reasons:

Targeted audience: It is one of the main reasons. Even if you are not an actor but a writer or an artist, and you do spend most of the time at home writing or drawing in complete isolation from the world, youneed to take you time and go meet people. They are your audience, after all!

Yes, you can meet people at different events, for example, at book signings. Are conventions better than book signings? I think so. I don’t urge you to stop doing book signing (I still book them for my clients, too) but think about it: how many people walking into your local book store are into fantasy? You don’t know. Maybe many, maybe none. Some might be just killing time before meeting friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant, some might be stopping by just to get their coffee from Starbucks, some are looking for a particular reference book they need for school.

People who go to book events look for books but not necessarily for books in your genre so they are just not your audience. If you write fantasy, go to Sci-Fi/Fantasy and comic conventions.  Attendees might be not all readers, but they are all into superheroes, vampires, zombies etc so your chances of getting people interested in your books are much higher.

Speaking opportunities: All conventions run panels, and very often they ask for input from guests and attendees. They will be more than happy to give a floor to someone who is eager to speak and know what he is talking about. Even if you are not talking about your book for an hour but mention it a couple of times, it still works: people listen to you, ask questions and then say to themselves, “He seems to be an interesting guy. I want to check out his stuff”. Putting your name out there in any way – and especially free or low cost one – is always a good thing.

Sales: If you are going to a convention, try to get a table. You can either get as for a fee as an exhibitor or for free as a guest. The last is what you should be after. A free table at a convention is great – you pay nothing but you have a platform for the entire day (sometimes several days if it is a longer event) to meet people and sell your books. You also make money!  Of course, not everybody who stops by your table buys your book or artwork that’s why have some free stuff with your name and contacts. Business cards are a must for everybody but you may not want to give it to everyone, and not everybody will want it – think of something fun. It might be a cool bookmark or a postcard, a pin, a poster – you are creative, you can think of something special.

Networking: Convention is a trade show for people in your industry not just fans. You never know whom you may meet. Maybe you find a new partner to work on a great new project, or a publisher, or a movie producer. Again, have your business cards on hand and your lift speech ready.

Media coverage: Conventions also attract lots of journalists of all ranks and bloggers so you may spot an interview. Even if it is an independent podcast, it still matters. Before the event look for local media people and let them know you will be at the event. Journalists love when you make their life easier. Suggest a few topics or ideas, invite them to your panel – and they will be more than happy to feature you.

Multimedia: Every convention gives you a great photo and video opportunity. Capture everything – your table, badge with your name on it, cool merchandise and awesome cosplayers.  Bring a friend (as a guest you will get a couple of free tickets among other perks) and have him or her take pictures and record video while you are speaking and signing autographs. Make sure to post all this stuff on your website (you have one, right?) and across social media. The most exciting photos you have the better – show people you have it going on. Collect program books (if you are a guest, you will be in it), event flyers and so on.

The more events you go to – the more conventions want you. Just keep going.


Chief Marketer Magazine

2 Nov

The other day I opened my mail box and was surprised to find a copy of Chief Marketer Magazine. I don’t remember subscribing to it, let alone pay for subscription. I might have just ordered a free copy. Nevertheless, I spent a nice evening om the couch reading this 48-page magazine.

There were some interesting ideas about Pinterest and such, but a good amount of materials was about email marketing. Anyways, it is still there.

What surprised me the most was the cover. A photo of Jay Bartlett, Head of Global Social Marketing at Xerox, pictures him carrying a very old-fashioned Dell laptop. Like 10 years old! I am not a die-hard Apple fan and I didn’t expect to see a Mac but why on the Earth would you have a cover story with such a lame photo? OK, Xerox doesn’t make laptops. Whay to have a photo of a top guy with a laptop then? Or is it just an old photo? Seems like someone at Xerox PR department doesn’t do her job. Bad impression overall.

Now back to the magazine itself. The subscription is $49/year. Not too bad for a niche magazine but why pay when you can read it for free online. Talking about saving some bucks and going green:) Might be reading it from time to time.

Beauty and the Beast

4 Aug

I’ve been really off this blog for quite some time. Now, when I am back, the whole world is drawn to the same location I mentioned in my previous post – the UK.  They are done with the Queen’s Jubilee, and now hosting the Olympics. Brits have been really busy lately.

I am watching the games. Not as much as I’d like too – just no time, but here I am not talking sports here – I am talking marketing. There are two things about the London Olympics that I call “Beauty and the Beast”.

Let’s start with the Beast. London Olympics Mascot. Have a look.


Do you want to have this creature at your place? Or do you want to have it at all. I don’t. I feel sorry for this poor thing.

OK, enough for the best. Here comes the beauty. The beauty of event management. Great idea and beautifully executed. Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet which I doubt. The full video is no longer available, at least in the States, so I am posting a pic.


Royal Marketing

18 Jun

Looks like we’ve all recovered from Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. Even if you are not English and not living in the UK, it was hard to miss all those Facebook and Twitter posts and almost non-stop coverage on TV. You might be excited about it or not, you might be totally anti-monarchy in all its forms or the biggest supporter of traditions – I am not talking about it right now. What interests me is the marketing tool being successfully used by the English for quite sometime – Royal Family.

England without its Royal Family is like America without fast food, trucks and pop culture. Without it the whole Englasn brand will be ruined, and over and over again it gives you newsworthy information – from weddings to a new pet, you name it.

Royalty still has this special charm that makes people read magazines and newspapers, watch TV and takes lots of pictures in front of Buckingham Palace, and better yet, buy posctards, magnets, coffee mugs and special-jubilee stuff you don’t really need. It works.

Pure marketing. Just to give you a few examples:

 Photo source: thestar.com Continue reading


29 May

I’ve been thinking about continuing my education for quite some time. I believe in life-long education and development through getting real life and work experience, reading books, networking, learning from professionals, webinars, seminars and all kinds of sources available. It is an investment in yourself, your career and your business.

When it comes to formal education, stakes might be high. First, it is expensive, takes lots of time and effort, and the application process is not something you can do in a day or two with just payment.

That’s why, I started looking into options. One thing I came across is becoming an APR (Accredited in Public Relations). This thing really interested me. It is done within PRSA, and is for now the only recognized accreditation for PR professionals in the States. Yes, accreditation in the field is not required, that’s why it is all volunteer.

I did some research online to find out the value of APR. Interestingly enough, pros and cons are the same as in the case of getting Masters. It is really 50/50: some people say “Go for it: it will boost up your career and will be good for your credentials”, others recommend to focus on gaining more practical experiences than collecting certificates and diplomas.

Both are right. I know people with no PR education and great results, people with PR education and poor results, and people with PR education and great results. It is all individual. Nevertheless, for me, as a PR professional trying to build my career in a new country a paper from a local educational institution or professional organization would be a good added value to my resume.

What’s the difference between MBA and APR? Continue reading

How To Grow Your Twitter Audience

26 Mar

Nowadays there are so many new services that it makes it not easy to keep up with them. We try though. Today I came across Twiends, a service that helps you to grow your social network, Twitter preferebly. Of course, my first urge is to try it out. I signed up my Twitter account and within my first 2 minutes got 5 new followers. The quality is another question. We’ll see how it works. I want to share another thing with you I found on that website: a cool infographic that share some ideas on how to get Twitter followers. The tips focus on ethically responsible ways, and this is what I love about it. Check out the corresponding article as well.  Continue reading