THE HYPE: 5 takeaways from Jim Rome's Smack Off to build attendance and revenues during promotions...

 

There's this thing called the Smack Off that, depending who I'm around, I claim to know more or less about.  It's because I know I'm not the hardcore but I'm now probably looking forward to the annual Smack Off tomorro (June 26, 2015) more than ever before.

 

They do a great job at creating the build up, the hype, the adrenaline pumping that is necessary for something like this to work.  


And I say you steal it and use it when you are trying to build up your promotion.  That's a good call.  That's a VERY good cazll.


Let's step back for a second in case you aren't familiar (and this part is directly off the website which is also linked here.  NOTE:  Definitely take a minute to soak in the promo which is, I believe also created by a listener.) 

 

From (http://jimrome.com/smackoff/) The Smack-Off is an annual competition in which select listeners are invited to provide their best “Smack Talk.” The contest is a way to recognize the best callers to the show, as well as a means of determining the best caller of the year. 

 

After listening to that promo, mark your calendar for noon today (EST) so you don't miss it.  

 

It's hilarious, it's probably radio at it's best, and it also has five (5) takeaways you should remember when planning your next promotion:

 

1.) Involves the core audience:  Anybody that listens to Rome knows there's a "tribe" here.  If you've never read Seth Godin, you should (there's your summer reading or take 17 minutes and listen to his TED talk here.

 

Tribes are what the biggest brands [Tribe article in Forbes] tap into when they create their messaging and want to reach their target audience (often refered to as a "P1" audience.)

 

2.) Generates buzz:  The build up is great.  The promotional announces are enticing and often.  You should build up your events days, if not weeks, in advance in places that stand out.  

 

Seriously, if you are hyping a high school football game, put it on the calendar and reverse engineer it.  Here's a sample:  A week out you can start putting announcements over the intercom during morning announcements.  Two weeks out you can put up banners teasing the event - not giving out all the information just getting their interest peaked.  If you have a PR/Communications department, go to them and ask them to promote the event to the media or call the media yourself with a few talking points on why this event is important to cover.

 

3.) Adds value to the programming:  It's not just to "generate revenue" or "get attention" without having meat in it.  It is the meat.  The whole thing.  It is the programming.  When you find partners, halftime shows, "themes" of whatever, make sure it makes sense.  Normally this means it should be able to be, A:) Integrated and B:) Relevant.

 

4.) Established the event (aka stick with it):  Rome and his team do this every year.  It has become established.  The first year they did it, it wasn't anything near what it is today.  It's huge but ask Jim Rome (if you have that kind of access) if he knew it would be the first time he tried it.  When something works and feels like it's going to continue to work:  STICK WITH IT.  Improve it, revise it, and don't be scared to create something new.  These are the ones that work the best.  Rome didn't just white box and idea and rebrand it.  He didn't just say, hey, let's give away something... but over the years he build this up and now CBS and their sponsors are allowing him to give away $5,000 bucks to the winner.  That didn't happen in year one.  Your event will grow if you believe in it and you sell it.

 

5.) Engages and Interacts with the casual audience:  You can participate.  You can get involved.  You can tweet it or post it on Facebook or just text your buddy... either way it's promoting the show.  Find ways to allow the casual fan to get involved.  Not everybody is a face-painter or a die-hard fan but you can still get them out to your event.  I just met a marketing/pr employee at Red Lion High School (Red Lion, PA) who gives parents the chance to put a message on their video board during football games to say congratulations to seniors - that's brilliant and easy to do - and it not only brings in money (I believe he said $25 per message) but it also drives fans to the game for another reason but still stays in line with the theme of the event.  It's high school.  It's social.  It's Friday Nights during football and it's an ok place for that message to appear without distracting from the event.

 

So let the clones be clones today and may our promotions be better for it.

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