The Marketing Switch Is On


Sunday November 27th, 2011 – Kenosha, WI

Marketing, marketing and more marketing. That has to be my focus if I’m going to have more than a donut’s chance at a fat farm of finding financial and/or creative freedom. I’ve slugged it out way too hard for way too long in life to still be a no name ham and egger.

If I want different and better results, and I absolutely do, I’ll have to apply different and better tactics and strategies than the ones I’ve been using all this time. They’re not getting me where I want to go, and I flat out will not accept that. I have much higher standards.

It’s time to take an honest look at where I am, why I’m there, and what I can do to move to where I want to be. I’m glad I bottomed out with that benefit show last weekend, as it’s forcing a radical change in me just as my diabetes diagnosis sparked a complete change in my diet and exercise habits. The fire is lit, and I can’t go back. I’m SO sick of struggling.

I’ve paid my dues and put in my time, and I’m not happy with having to struggle to pay my bills every month. Nobody knows who I am, and that’s hurting my business. I need to develop a core of fans who come out to see ME. Period. It doesn’t matter who the ‘me’ is.

It could be Dobie Maxwell, the standup comic. It could be ‘Mr. Lucky’, an exaggeration of me put forth as a comedic caricature. That could be manifested as a live comedian or in a comic strip, or both. It could be ‘The King of Uranus’, a completely made up character.

Who or what really isn’t important, it’s cultivating that draw. I need a significant group of fans that I can service by providing entertainment they want to see. I need to enter into a segment of public awareness that attracts people to sample what I do so I can hopefully get them to buy the concept I’m selling and make me a solid revenue generating entity.

This has nothing to do with art, or anything that resembles art. I’ve tried that, and it isn’t working. The public doesn’t know what’s good, and I doubt if they ever did. They won’t put out good money for something they haven’t heard of, and I guess I can’t blame them.

Some people would say I’m selling out. Those people would be correct. Year after year of hoping someone will ‘discover’ me and ‘make me a star’ has taken a significant toll on my psyche. It’s not going to happen, and if I want to make any real money I need to put a marketing plan together and find a way to execute it. I’m now in show business. Finally.

I don’t have an answer as to what I’ve been in until now. Maybe it was a quarter century of spring training. Maybe it was fantasy camp. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t a show business career. I’ve had a job, but it’s never been a career. This all has to change. Today.

No longer am I going to piss and moan about the past. It’s over, and I did what I did. It wasn’t all bad, and in fact a lot of it was very good, it just hasn’t allowed me to end up at a point I’d like to be. I guess I didn’t really have a crystal clear picture in my mind of the results I wanted, but I know it wasn’t this. I’m going to shift gears and reset my course.
I know I’m not the first entertainer to do this, and I won’t be the last. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of other people who have decided to be commercial and done it. One of the best examples is George Wagner, who transformed himself  by becoming ‘Gorgeous George’.

He revolutionized professional wrestling, and was a national sensation in the 1950s. He wasn’t particularly big or muscular, he was just a journeyman worker – much like I am. If he wouldn’t have taken the chance and rolled the dice, nobody would know of him today.

His notoriety had NOTHING to do with his ability to wrestle. Well, maybe a little, as he had to have some level of competence to make a living at it. But there were a lot of others struggling along exactly like he was. He used showmanship to break away from the pack.

Kiss is the ultimate example in music. They took my generation by storm. I tried to like them, but to me their music was so horrible I never could. I thought they were spectacular showmen and I still do, but their music stinks worse than ever in my opinion. Does what I think matter? Hardly. Zillions of their rabid fans worldwide have made them filthy rich.

Their music doesn’t matter, it’s the total package. They took a little from Alice Cooper, and a little from the glam rock scene in the early ‘70s and shaped their own identity out of it all. They sold it extremely well, and there were more than enough buyers who ate it up.

Just because I’m not a fan of someone’s product doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of them as marketers and entrepreneurs. I recently bought a video documentary of Kiss’s comeback tour in 1998 on DVD called ‘The Second Coming’. I watched it today and I was riveted.

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley might not be setting the world on fire being musicians, but they’re as brilliant of marketers as I’ve ever seen. Their customer service skills are up there with anyone, and I learned by watching them work. They listen to their fan base, and give them exactly what they want. They’re also magnificent merchandisers. It’s a brand.

Gene Simmons said they wanted to be “The band we never saw or heard on stage,” and that really resonated with me. They wanted every part of their show to please the fans that paid to see them, and how smart was that? Why please the peers? They don’t buy tickets.

I don’t care if their music stinks, I’d still go see them in a heartbeat now. I’m not sure if they’re even touring anymore, but I seem to recall them doing a ‘farewell tour’ more than a few times. Brett Favre came back less times than Kiss, but so what? Their fans love it.

I want fans that love what I do too. I want to sell out top venues and have people line up to see me and go crazy when I walk out on stage. I want to give them a fantastic show and exceed their expectations, then I want to personally thank them as they purchase products.

I was and am a fan of a lot of people, and I want to have a chance to have group of fans of my own. Gorgeous George did it. So did Kiss. So did a lot of others. Now it’s my turn. What’s the gimmick that will make this happen? I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to find it.

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