Super Marketing

Thursday October 15th, 2009 – Lake Geneva, WI/Lake Villa, IL

I’m still buzzing about taking the day to get my taxes organized yesterday. That’s one of those chore like things that looks best in retrospect, like going to the dentist for a checkup or getting the timing belt changed on a car. It’s not a whole lot of fun to do at the time but afterward there’s a proud feeling of accomplishment knowing it was the right thing to do.

After dropping off my records at the accountant’s office I went to meet with my speaker friend Todd Hunt to pick his brain about ideas for a promotional campaign. He has one of if not THE best marketing programs I’ve ever seen, at least for an act. I can’t think of one single comedian who can touch him, myself included, and I know hundreds of comics.

The only other promotional campaign I’ve seen that comes even close to Todd is a joint called Chicago Joe’s, and they’re absolutely amazing. It’s on Irving Park Road in Chicago just east of Western Avenue. When I first moved to Chicago I lived about a block from it and was a regular customer because it was so close. I became a big fan of their operation.

Someone there totally understands marketing and I am still on their mailing list all these years later. Every so often they’ll send me a coupon in the mail but it’s always supremely creative and catches my attention in a pile of junk mail. I’m blown away by their constant high level of creativity and support them whenever I can. They operate with definite style.

Todd has style too. He sends out a monthly mailing that goes to his potential clients and he includes me on the list to help him test. He creates postcards that have attention getting messages and they are all well thought out. He works extremely hard on this and it shows.

If I’m going to truly move ahead in the business I need to enhance my marketing ability and increase my monthly campaign by about 999%. That won’t take much because of the current half ass approach I use now. I’ve been able to scratch out a living mostly by word of mouth through people I’ve had contact with over the years. That’s not going to cut it.

Marketing is my weakest link, as it is with most entertainers and businesses in general. I know a lot of really good performers who should be bigger than they are but nobody on a large scale has seen them because they market themselves poorly or not at all. I’m in that category and I’m really sick of it. I sat down with Todd to start correcting this weakness.

Newsletters, mailing lists, products and networking are all part of successful marketing. The actual act isn’t really all that important. Look at Dane Cook. He’s a master marketer and no matter what other comics think of his act, millions of people pay to see it across the country so who’s right? I have an act but not enough fans. He has the exact opposite.

I’m not trying to be Dane Cook, but I am trying to be the best me I can be and that will include improving my marketing to increase my fan base. It will start with compiling my lists of bookers, fans, students, media contacts and working on building it into a network I can use to make a better living than I am now. This will require a complete restructure.

I’m planting some good seeds by getting my tax situation looked after and meeting with Todd Hunt. Todd isn’t a comedian but I can still learn tricks I can use to improve my own career by studying how he markets. Check out his website at Chicago Joe’s website is Call Todd and take him out to lunch.

After meeting with Todd I stopped at the Gurnee Mills Mall to get back into the groove of walking again. I keep starting and stopping and starting again and stopping again. With all I have going it’s not easy to make time every single day even though I’d really like to.

Last night I took a single lap and whenever I haven’t worked my way up to more it’s not an easy task. One lap was more than enough but I still was able to work up a sweat and go home feeling like I accomplished something. That was a full day of work if I ever had one but everything I did was productive. I’m thinking good thoughts and getting myself ready.

I also talked with Donna Gurda up in Milwaukee about my CD project. She hasn’t been able to work on it because her mom was sick and eventually passed away so how can I be angry at her? I’m totally not, but now it’s time to get that project finished. I also contacted Pedro Bell’s business person about my cover artwork and she said it’s almost ready to go.

It shouldn’t take long to piece together the project and I hope to have it available as near to Friday the 13th of November as possible. That’s the perfect date to release a Mr. Lucky project and I’ve had quite a few people ask me lately when the new one was coming out.

Donna will help me get my marketing skills up to par and I’m surrounding myself with as many quality people as I can find because I know I can’t do it all myself. I’m the main idea guy but I need a team around me to carry those ideas out. I’m choosing them now.

I was really tired at the end of the day yesterday but it was a good tired. I felt like I put a full day’s work in and that’s never a bad thing, especially when it’s for me. I woke up late this morning but I needed the sleep. I went right back to the mall and walked two laps so I can hopefully get back in my groove. It’s time to make it a daily habit the rest of my life.

Tonight I did a show in Lake Geneva, WI for Ron Swanson. He’s a young comic trying to get started and I always try to help those guys. We worked together last Friday night in Kenosha and this was his first crack at running a show himself. That isn’t easy to pull off.

Mel and Blossom out of Milwaukee opened for me and she brought along Jeff Lampton and a guy named Byron Beck who runs an open mike up there. I made sure I got Jeff and Byron guest sets because it was the right thing to do. They were happy to get stage time. I know how hard it is to start out and any time I can help out aspiring comedians I’ll do it.

There weren’t many people at the show but those who came were great laughers. I hope Ron can keep the show going but that’s a whole other issue. Club owners are all different and it’s a crapshoot every time a new room opens. I was just glad to be able to help a guy get started. I know how much that meant to me and now it’s my turn to pay it forward.

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