I have to be honest: last week was a hugely exciting week for me. I had the honor of seeing Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame, perform live here in Portland. I grew up with Peter, Paul, and Mary, and still play many of their songs on my iPod. I was prepared for an evening of relaxation and enjoyment. After all, how often do you get to see a childhood hero in the flesh?
But not long into the concert, a revelation struck me: Peter Yarrow is a not only a phenomenal communicator and singer, but he’s also a natural marketer.
On one level, that’s no surprise – his message and his music have been popular for the last 50 years. He believes in the causes he champions, and people respond to his vision.
But there had to be more to it than just a great idea. I talked it over with my boyfriend on the way home from the concert, and mulled over his performance the next day. Two days later, I’d figured it out.
Whether he meant to do it or not, this real-life “Puff, the Magic Dragon” had given me his best marketing secrets.
Secret #1: Be Genuine
You can tell that Peter loves to perform the minute he steps out onto the stage. He loves interacting with the audience, and he loves collaborating with his fellow musicians. Most importantly, he loves passing on his message in a way that is wonderfully authentic. You get the sense that he would be just the same if the two of you were sitting across a kitchen table eating breakfast. I’m convinced that’s why his career has lasted for 50 years – people can replicate the songs he sings, but no one can replicate how he sings them, or how he passes on his message to his audience.
Secret #2: Draw the Audience to Participate
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a concert where I sang more than I did with Peter Yarrow. He was constantly inviting us to sing along with him (at least on the chorus). It’s one thing to sit and listen to Peter, and a whole other thing to be able to say that I sang with him! It was incredible, how much difference being invited to participate made to the whole evening. I came away feeling as if Peter and I were equal partners in our mission of peace and kindness. Now if only I could figure out how to communicate my vision to my clients, I could maybe be as effective as Peter Yarrow was with me.
Secret #3: Inspire
This might seem obvious to you, because Peter, Paul, and Mary are so famous, but it isn’t. There are lots of ways to inspire people – by the message you spread, by the work that you do, or by how you do it. The trio certainly set out to inspire change, but I’m quite sure they didn’t set out to become inspirations themselves. And isn’t that how most of us run our businesses – by trying to be true to ourselves, rather than setting a goal of being an inspiration?
There are more secrets in store, but you’ll have to tune in next week to discover secrets #4 – #6. In the meantime, drop me a line on my Facebook page and let me know what you think of the first three marketing secrets!
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