Garage Sale Wisdom

20120727-072517.jpg

It’s that time of the new move where we finally realize we don’t need all this junk! What’s our motivation? Reclaiming the garage where it all accumulates into piles blocking the one thing that belongs in there, the car! I see it as the last stop before the “junk” goes on to live in someone’s new house or a thrift store. And for us, it’s the first real step to letting go!!

As I sit out here in the sweaty, sticky, dog day of summer, I had some revelations about garage sales. I call it wisdom, while others will probably laugh and call it stupidity. Here goes a fun Friday top 10:

10) Garage sales are the only antidote to hoarding.

9) The only time you really step towards letting your stuff go is when you finally put it on display in the garage with a price sticker.

8) Lemonade stands are to garage sales what flies are to food…always hanging around when the “stuff” finally comes out.

7) If you haven’t seen, touched, or thought about it in a year…put it in the Garage Sale!

6) Eventually everything ends up being reduced to 1/10 of its original value.

5) Put your junk out…make some bad signs…and they will come.

4) When in doubt say, “it’s a dollar.”

3) If you’re garage sale takes up the garage, driveway, and into the street; you’re long overdue!

2) When you say, ‘I’m having a garage sale,” expect at least 3 vicarious garage sellers.  These are the closet garage sellers who wait for their friends to have one, so they don’t have to.

1) They say, “You can’t take it with you when you die,” and I say, “You will lug it around with you until you die…and probably store it in the Garage.”

So, there you have it. Some wisdom from the Garage sale trenches. Come on over and get some of my junk!

Breathe In & Smile Out,
Chris

Karaoke Marketing

I had an epiphany about good marketing tonight at band practice as Josh Pepper and I shared karaoke stories between songs. Come to find out Josh and I both have the same amount singing time vested in it, a whopping twice! His claim to fame was “Dead Or Alive,” by none other than Mr. Bon Jovi. My, not-so claim to fame, is “Southbound,” by my fellow southerners The Allman Brothers.

In fact, my not-so claim to fame song comes with a pretty funny story that hails from the land of karaoke, Japan. I was there on business years ago and was fascinated at the shear volume of these karaoke establishments. I can’t really call them bars because they were simply a bunch of neon-light clad buildings with dozens of cubby hole rooms where people sang in small groups. On the sidewalk outside, people could watch these karaoke attempts on a large multi-screened preview of the rooms. It was a little cheesy and creepy all at the same time.

I made the mistake of asking the Japanese business partners what it was all about. They quickly took the inquiry as an invitation to show me personally. Flash forward about 30 minutes and three dudes are sitting in a small room with low-sitting couches and a TV screen. Now, I was part of the cheesy and creepy scene. The funniest part of the whole experience was listening to the president of the Japanese company sing his karaoke version of “Moon River.” I almost hurt myself trying to hold in the laughter as he sang in a typical Japanese accent, “Moon Liver, Moon Liver.” They just can’t quite get those “r” letters to sound like anything less than an “l” in Japan!

Okay, back to the point of this post. As Josh and I were having a laugh at my Japanese karaoke  story, we started talking about what it takes to do karaoke well. We surmised the best strategy falls into three key points.

  1. Know your audience
  2. Know your range
  3. And sell it baby!

The main problem with people attempting karaoke is they’re drunk. Just joking, well…maybe not so much in some of the establishments around the U.S. Seriously though, most people don’t know their range and just jump into what they like emotionally.  Then they try to sell it.  And as you can see in the video above, it’s a disaster!

Before I pull this blog back to the new term I’ve coined, “Karaoke Marketing,” I have to give some props to my man Kurt Miller who absolutely killed it in a Levi’s Karaoke competition.  As you watch you’ll see he hit these three strategic points out of the park. He took the grand prize and some cash back home just in time for their next baby to arrive!  Check it:

So, what is “karaoke marketing?” Well, if done right it’s some key ingredients to success.  If it’s not done well, then it can end up a disaster. The biggest problem companies, brands, and products face in marketing is the same as a karaoke environment.  There are way too many choices! Just like that 1,000 song book that you choose your song from in the karaoke bar, the world of marketing has hundreds of tools.  It doesn’t mean that every tool needs to be used.  It certainly doesn’t mean that all the marketing tools are appropriate for your audience.  It does set the potential for wasted time and effort as the wrong tools amplify bad marketing.

When approaching marketing with a succesful karaoke strategy, the critical steps are the same.  You have to know your audience.  Every marketing technique does not apply to your audience.  Use the wrong tool and watch the time and effort fall as flat as some of the singers in the video up top.  If you chase too many tools outside of your audience’s attention span, and watch your efforts fall in the wasteland of no one listening.

You have to know your range.  What is your voice? What is your message? How is that best communicated in a way that nails who you are? Some great brands that market well in their range: Chik-Fil-A, Zappos, Nike (several ranges for several brands), and the list goes on.  The point is to know what that range consists of then honing in on how to maximize it.

Of course, if you have all of these aspects and don’t really execute on the “selling it,” part then it’s just more noise in the market space. Why? Because there are a dozen more of “you” out there trying to do the same thing.  What unique way are you “performing” the karaoke song of  marketing? What sets you apart from the pack? That is where the “sell it” meets the road of success…just as my man Kurt can tell you in his performance!

There you go, the keys to success at karaoke and marketing…and the new “karaoke marketing.”  I hope this stirs up questions and encourages you to do your best in both spaces!

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris