ComiCon Marketing Lessons

See the cute baby, tardis, and subject matter experts!

I spent last weekend at the annual Comic Convention–ComiCon or simply “the ‘Con”. A favorite event of my husband’s for years, it’s one of mine. It was three days of comic books, science fiction, celebrity sightings, people-watching and  junk food. Overall, great entertainment!

A good friend of mine had a booth at the event to promote his website that serves as a channel for podcasts. (If you’re a fan of sci-fi or high concept drama TV shows like Doctor Who or Fringe, this is the place for you!) In my prior life as a marketing representative for an insurance company, I attended lots of trade shows and “manned” my company’s booth to meet insurance agents. My ComiCon experience wasn’t too different–but it was way cooler and more fun!

Naturally, as I worked the booth, I thought a lot about marketing and how regardless of your industry or target market, the same basic tenets hold true:

Wearing Costumes Gets You Noticed 
This is obvious, especially when you’re dressed as a Storm Trooper, Wonder Woman, or an evil Gumby (no kidding!). If you’re sending a message or looking for attention, dressing the part is important and definitely sets you apart. We could say that having an attractive, easily navigated website or a direct mail package with a great tagline accomplishes the same thing. You want to stand out, look good, and appeal to the people you’re trying to attract. If they don’t buy something from you, they might at least take a picture!

Carrying a Cute Baby Makes Them Come to You
No matter where you are or who you are, if you’re trying to get to the right people, it helps to have someone supporting you–and that person should be really cute, small and engaging! We had no trouble meeting celebrities at ComiCon because they were literally calling us over to them so they could meet our daughter. If it’s not practical to market yourself using a baby, think of something else you can dangle in front of your target audience. If you’re a subject matter expert, offer up some free information or advice; have some cool swag to give away, sponsor a raffle; selling a unique product, give away some samples.  All in exchange for contact information, of course. Put your assets up front and people will come reach out to you.

Being a Subject Matter Expert Gets People to Listen to You
My friend with the podcast booth was phenomenal with his visitors. They’d wait in line to talk to him and get his opinions about the plotlines and characters of their favorite shows. My friend’s enthusiasm and love for the shows and the fans was contagious, and he easily sold interest in his podcast empire to those he took the time to engage. So if you’re an expert on anything…talk about it, share it, promote it. You’re credible and people want to hear what you have to say.

Appealing To Your Target Market Attracts Them to You
This is such a no-brainer, but so true! One example should be sufficient: placing a Doctor Who tardis on your table brings Doctor Who fans to you in droves. You don’t even have to look at people and smile (this helps, though) and they’re bowing at your feet (practically!). The lesson is simple: you’ve got to display the goods your audience is going to value and not have to think about.

I had a blast at ComiCon this year. I promise I didn’t spend too much time thinking about marketing. I was also planning my daughter’s costumes for next year, preparing to launch a Twilight Zone podcast, and making arrangements to borrow my friend’s Doctor Who DVD collection.