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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Embrace the Nobodies

In a recent interview with Guy Kawasaki, he talks about bottom up marketing and PR, and why reaching out to and including mainstream people can have as much or bigger impact than getting the attention of A-Lister "experts" to embrace your products or services.

Stephen Denny: You're probably buried under requests for your endorsement, your presence, and just your time. Clearly, the current mindset, some recent press notwithstanding, is that influencers are greater than nobodies. And yet, you're promoting the idea that embracing the "non-celebrities" is not only smart but better. How would you counsel someone—an author, a budding startup CEO—in this area? Isn't it all about getting the big names to endorse you? Why not? What tips you over to the "nobodies" column?

Guy Kawasaki: There are two theories of marketing. One is that there are a small number of influencers, experts, oracles, A-listers, reporters, journalists, and analysts who have the monopoly on insight and intelligence. You have to suck up to them and hope that they like your product and tell the ever-attentive and compliant unwashed masses what to do. If that happens, you are assured of success.

My theory is that social media has inverted this pyramid. Now, nobodies are the new somebodies—if enough nobodies like your product, then the somebodies, too, have to pay attention to you. So now the A-listers don't make a product, they report on made products. The key is to get a lot of people to try your product because you don't know who will make your product tip.

For example, when publishers introduce a business book, they usually send out about 200 galleys. The hope is that the powerful A-listers like the book and tell everyone to read it. We sent out 1,600 copies of Enchantment—basically to any blogger who wanted it. Now, two weeks after shipping, there are 250 reviews of Enchantment in blogs ranging in topic from beauty products to dog trainers.

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