Over the last couple of days I’ve been in Los Angeles for two conferences. On Thursday I had the opportunity to present “How to Market and Sell eBooks in a Multi-media world” at PMA. There was a mix of independent publishers and authors in the audience. It was a true joy to share information about how to market and position information products for optimum results.
On Friday I attended BEA – Book Expo America. To say this is one of the most incredible trade shows I have ever attended would be an understatement. This post is not about my experience (so far) with BEA. It has been great, but I will fill you in on details over the next few days since I will be attending through Sunday.
The purpose of this post is to share with you a perfect example of a great product with very poor marketing. As I was crossing the street that led to the entrance of the conference, a young man dressed in white was approaching people about his CD. He said, “Would you like to see my CD?” as he would hand it to someone.

After the person had a moment to look at it he would then say, “It’s only ten dollars.” Not one person in the group I was on the corner with wanted to pay for his CD.
Although I have to give this young man credit for his drive, he missed one of the most important aspects of marketing; know your target market.
He was a rap singer targeting authors and book publishers. Not the best fit for what he was selling. And yet, his marketing approach is not at all uncommon. It is not uncommon for this scenario to play out with a different product in a different environment.
For all I know the young man may be very, very talented. But he missed some key elements. One, everyone he approached wanted to get into the Expo, not buy a music CD. Two, we had no idea what was on the CD. Perhaps if he had a way for us to hear the music the response may have been slightly different.
When no one took him up on his offer he used a strategy that made people even more resistant to him and his music. He began to beg. “Oh please, I really need the money. You all have money if you’re going in there. Can’t you spare a few bucks. I will even sell it for $5.”
A very blatant example of what is all too common. Wrong message to the wrong market which leads to desperation.
If he had instead done some type of music video and posted it on YouTube and ITunes and then drive traffic to those locations, he may get a more positive response. In addition, people could pass the video link around. Putting together something for YouTube and Itunes is not that expensive of a proposition. In fact, he may even have some friends that have all the necessary equipment to make this happen.
Again, I give this young man lots of credit for his risk taking. But if he took time to study a bit about how to market his music he could go a lot further.
I know this to be true based on something I saw on a morning program. Donna Summer was on a national morning show singing to a huge crowd in New York. When she was asked what she would recommend to someone wanting to get into music and succeed she said, “Get a good lawyer, a good accountant and treat what you do like a business because that’s what it is.”
It doesn’t matter if you sing, dance, write books, sell widgets or do anything that requires sales to keep your business going and growing, you absolutely must treat what you are doing as a business. And a huge part of your business success will be determined by how you market, who you market to and when you market.
And that’s no song and dance!
In Success,
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer