If you have followed my blog at all you might have noticed that I’m a big fan of direct response marketing (DR). The kind of marketing you find in infomercials, in sales letters and the like. I’m a fan of DR because it’s systematic and measurable. There’s no guess work like with large scale ad campaigns that are meant to improve brand awareness yet cannot be directly attributed to an increase in sales. In DR everything can be tested to optimize its effectiveness.

One of my favorite experts from DR has since passed but is still an influence in the industry. His name was Gary Halbert. He would use an exercise to help his students and himself create the best ads and sales letters possible. They would pretend that a gun was being held to your head and if your sales copy didn’t generate the desired percentage of response you’d die. Either your life or the life of a loved one depended on the success of that ad or sales letter. Think about that for a second. That really raises the stakes and takes your thinking to a different level.

How high are your stakes? Are you held accountable if your company doesn’t hit its leads target? Or, are you pretty comfy in your role at the company?

How would your trade show marketing change if you knew your life depended on it? For some of you, your job might already depend on that next successful event. If you got really serious about the results of your next live marketing event what would you do differently?

What If Your Life Depended On It?

How would you insure that everything would come off as you wished? Would you change vendors, work with companies who guarantee their work? Would you lobby for bigger budgets?

Or maybe you wouldn’t reinvent the wheel for each new show. You’d rely on what worked well in the past; the things that you knew would create traffic and generate leads.

For some people this might be too dark of an experiment, but in most cases it puts you in a state of mind that you might never be in if it weren’t for that provocative question. If there are changes you would make, what does that say about your current set of choices? Are you doing everything possible to ensure your company’s success at the shows you attend?

Do Try This At Home

For your next team meeting use this question as a bit of an ice-breaker. You might be amazed at what ideas are produced in that short session. You might find members of your team were holding back certain opinions and this thought experiment gives them permission to share their ideas.

Do right by your company, make bold choices, get noticed and market like there’s no tomorrow!

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