What a World-Class Promoter Looks Like

5 min read


ron_burgundy_dog_fancy_cover_mediumThere’s an ongoing saying in the marketing world — or maybe it’s just a saying I heard at some networking event in a drunken stupor — “everyone is a salesperson.”

When you really think about it, it makes a ton of sense. You don’t have to sell a physical product or service to be a salesperson because you sell yourself every single day. Whether you’re selling your skill set in a job interview or you’re trying to pick up that hot chick at a bar, you’re trying entice others into wanting your company.

Promoting your best qualities is no easy task, but some people are simply better at it than others. From my observations, comedians have always been particularly good at promotions — and it isn’t just because of their winning talents. Many comedians are willing to take outrageous risks and that makes them driven enough to really focus on making people notice them. These prized-promoters possess characteristics that some not-as-successful promoters might not possess.

So, what exactly does an outstanding promoter look like?

They Give Offers People Can’t Refuse

Setting your dealership apart from your competitors can be quite challenging sometimes. After all, you and your competitors are in the same prime location, have the same inventory and have similar prices and financing. Obviously, it isn’t exactly easy to change financing policies and pricing on a whim, so what can you do to set yourself apart?

Now, before you even attempt to answer that question — remember when I mentioned how comedians were inherently great promoters? I didn’t just throw that in there! Let’s take a look at actor and comedian, Louis C.K. If you observe the latter part of his illustrious career, you’ll find that Louis C.K. is a perfect example of a promoter who goes above and beyond to please his fan-base. Back in December 2011, Louis C.K. decided to conduct a little experiment.

Instead of investing time into physically distributing and advertising his latest stand-up performance, he simplified the process by selling it digitally on his website for $5. By cutting out all the middlemen and being the sole promoter, Louis made a whopping $1 Million in just 12 days; thus proving that if you sell something of value for a very reasonable price, people will buy it! If that wasn’t impressive enough, Louis provided more incentives to buy his performance by promising to donate the bulk of his profit to charity.

About a year later in August 2012, Louis showed his promotional dexterity again; only this time it was for friend and fellow comedian, Tig Notaro. Leveraging the power of his influence, Louis sent a heartfelt letter to fans (via email list), encouraging them to download Tig’s latest album, which he had put on his website for $5. His endorsement helped Tig garner critical acclaim.

Ultimately, the point is that Louis’ way of promoting himself and others is unique. In an industry that normally consists of elaborate and expensive promotions, Louis set himself apart by keeping it super simple.

They Surround Themselves with Like-Minded People

Running a successful event sale takes a tremendous amount of hard work — and it can’t be done by one person alone. Given the number of different cogs moving during the actual event, you need every team member to be completely on-board. If one cog stops moving, the event sale could slow down — or worse — fail altogether! To ensure your team members are doing what they should, they need a strong leader to a) run the promotion and b) associate with people who care.  The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has shown time and time again that he’s a remarkable promoter with a knack for corralling a team of like-minded individuals.

Every two years, New York Collaborates for Autism collaborates with Comedy Central to put on a benefit aptly called “Night of Too Many Stars.” Acting as both producer and host, Jon Stewart gathered some of the funniest and most conscientious comedians, actors and musicians to perform and help raise money for programs catered to children and adults with autism. The event was entertaining, heartwarming, thought-provoking and financially beneficial. By getting precisely the right people to come together for one sole cause, they managed to raise $3.7 million in 2012 for autism education programs.

Did I mention that Conan O’Brien donned a spray tan and cornrows after raising $100,000 for said charity? It was pretty frickin’ sweet.

They Stick to the Plan

When it comes to running a promotion, consistency is crucial to its success. Once a promotion has begun, you can’t lose momentum. It’s rare that promotions suddenly come to a halt, but you might find that your event sale numbers are slowing down — in which case, this should be an excuse to push even harder.

One comedian that has truly exemplified this momentum is the one-and-only Will Ferrell. Throughout the latter part of 2013, Will Ferrell went on a full-on promotional spree for his latest film “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” as the main character, Ron Burgundy — and he didn’t break character once.

Ferrell, as Ron Burgundy, made appearances on every outlet you could imagine: college campuses, local news stations, magazines and even car ads. By saturating those outlets, Ferrell got in front of as many types of audiences as possible. Not only did his consistent promoting help “Anchorman 2” to gross $173.6 million worldwide, but he helped the outlets he appeared on.

As you can see, great promoters are NOT a dime a dozen. While some folks are just inherently outstanding promoters, the rest of us have to work really hard at honing these traits. Some of the comedians I mentioned may strongly possess a key trait, but keep in mind that they’re also well-rounded promoters because they happen to possess the other traits in one way or another. Focusing on your stronger traits is certainly a good idea, but the key to success is to not lose focus of the others.

A great resource for learning how to really develop those key traits is our e-guide, How to Run an Event Sale Like the Pros, which can be downloaded here!