I was reading some of the blogs I like to read earlier this week, when I saw a blog post by Seth Godin. Seth Godin is a genius marketer. If you do not already read his blog, do yourself a favor and subscribe to it. He has brilliant ideas about marketing. One of his blog posts was called Why we prefer live. It is about why people come to a live event instead of just watching, or listening to it in the comforts of there home. I agree with Seth on some points and disagree on some points.
To explain I will use the case study of the Mirror Lake Jump.
I go to Ohio State university, which has an intense rivalry with Michigan University. Every year before the football game, thousands of students jump into Mirror Lake. This is not really a lake; it is more of a pond. This event happens at the end of November, and Ohio November is bitterly cold. I have done the jump twice. I can tell you that the water is freezing, so it is not a pleasant experience. So why do I and thousands of other students jump into freezing water for no apparent reason at all? Some would say, because large amounts of alcohol go into making this happen. This is indeed part of it, but I go in sober, as do many other people. I believe there are three reasons why this is such a large event.
- Shared Energy – This is where I agree with Seth. I was not planning on jumping last year, but I went by Mirror Lake and saw all the craziness. I saw and heard all the excitement, and I wanted to get in on it.
- Social Proof – This means people want to be part of the crowd. If everyone else is doing it, there must be a good reason. On the flip side, if no one is going to it, there must be a good reason. The Mirror Lake jump is such a big event that not doing it means you’re left out.
- To Tell a Story – Every once in a while I get asked if I have jumped in mirror lake before by someone. They ask me what it was like, and why I was so crazy to do it. Everyone wants a story to tell. We imagine ourselves as the main character in a movie. As such, we need exiting things to happen, or else our lives seem boring.
So how do you use these 3 motivators to get people to your event?
- Shared Energy – Make it fun. If your event looks boring, no one will join. If it looks fun, people will be excited to come along. It does not even have to make logical sense why it is fun; it just needs to look exciting.
- Social Proof – Make your event look bigger than it is. If you have a small group, do not meet in a large room. It makes people think something is missing. Meet in a small room. It makes it look like your event is bursting at the seams.
- Tell a Story – Make something in the event memorable. Something people can tell others about. When you advertise, make your event sound like a trailer to a movie.