Everybody Loves Raymond….You Should Too!
Popular TV Series Provides a Powerful Marketing Lesson
Small Business owners spend a great deal of mental effort and time trying to dream up the next big marketing idea for their business. I’m all for that. It’s a good time investment for any small business owner to think about ways to promote their business. While you’re thinking, keep in mind that some of the most successful ideas aren’t new at all. Just ask Ray Romano.
Romano is the creator and star of the hit series Everybody Loves Raymond™. The show is a ratings winner for CBS, and is generally regarded as one of the best sitcoms on TV. Is it funny? You bet. Was it created using a completely new and unique concept? Not at all.
Everybody Loves Raymond is a sitcom about one family’s life in a New York suburb. The twist in the show is that Ray’s annoying parents live right across the road, and his mother’s constant meddling in Ray’s affairs is a primary source of the show’s laughs. It’s a formula that has been used in countless sitcoms dating back at least 30 years. (Remember how Fred Flintstone used to dread his mother-in-law’s visits?)
When creating the concept for the show, Romano didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. He took a tried and true concept and then fine-tuned the details to come up with a hit. He created a cast of characters that were believable and interacted with each other in humorous ways. He added the element of his parents living across the road. But he never strayed too far from the family sitcom formula that had worked for so many shows in the past.
Small Business owners could learn a thing or two from Romano’s approach. When working on your next marketing idea, you don’t have to dream up a new, out-of-this-world concept. Find a proven marketing approach and then tinker with the fine details to come up with a plan that works for your business. Here are some examples of situations in which you can apply this philosophy:
Advertising: Small business owners have all been burned at one time or another by an expensive ad that didn’t pan out. There were plenty of family sitcoms that didn’t pan out over the years, but that doesn’t mean the concept is a poor one. Don’t shy away from advertising because of a bad experience. Instead, revisit the basic advertising mantra of targeting the right audience with the right message at the right time. Then make a few adjustments. Perhaps instead of one large ad you would benefit from 4 smaller ads in a variety of publications. Perhaps you could strike a deal with another small business to share your ad space and together run twice as many ads as you had planned. Giving up on advertising altogether would be a mistake. Fine tuning your approach could make all the difference.
Publicity: Most attempts to garner “free press” by small businesses result in failure. Writing a good news release is hard work, and getting the attention of the right journalist is also no easy task. However, the upside to garnering some publicity for your business can be huge which means you simply can’t afford to walk away from your PR work due to discouragement. Take a look at your news releases, or better yet ask someone else to do it for you. Analyze why they didn’t generate any interest from the media. Take that critical feedback and build another news release, but this time make some changes to your approach. Did you go for a controversial angle and fail last time? Perhaps this time you should focus on an emerging trend in your business without putting as much focus on possible controversy. Or perhaps you could use the same news release you previously created but this time with a different method of distribution. If you used a newswire previously, how about sending the news release personally to a targeted list of journalists, one at a time. It may be that a customized approach will net you a greater result this time around.
Just like the hit show Everybody Loves Raymond, your marketing can be very successful when based on traditional marketing formula involving advertising and generating publicity. Sometimes it’s not the idea itself that brings you success, but rather it’s what you do with an existing idea that counts.
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