Monday, June 06, 2005

Michael Jackson and eBay -- How to Get BigTime Publicity

There's nothing like hitching your wagon to a soaring or plummeting star. Case in point -- Michael Jackson. He seems to accomplish both trajectories in grand fashion. One way to turn the fortunes or misfortunes of others into marketing buzz is to engage them via eBay. You can buy something of theirs, or create something original or funny that plays off of their position.

These puppets that Keith Olbermann used to re-enact the Michael Jackson trial, for example, fetched a pretty penny on eBay and generated a lot of attention for the charity, personalities and buyer involved.

Celebrities are open season for this type of satire. Or, you can get into the kitchen and try to make something that has a biblical image on it. Better yet, design a product that piggybacks onto such a craze, like this, or this, or this.

Some words of caution, however. Make sure your store or listings are positioned in a way that factors in humor, and make sure your audience/customers/prospects can handle your humor or unique offering. There's no sense alienating the bulk of your business for the sake of a few laughs or a well positioned news story. Once the joke is over and the bright lights dim, you'll need to sustain sales the way you always have -- filling needs and offering excellent service.

"The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" discusses humorous marketing tactics as they relate to driving traffic and creating viral buzz. Read more when the book hits shelves this July. Or order it early on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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