Do Marketing Gimmicks Work?

Debbie LaChusa

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I was on a teleconference with my mastermind group the other day and we were brainstorming to help one of our group members come up with a name for her new book. She had a title that she had been using for her ebook and that had been well-received by her clients, and she wanted to keep that title but expand on it for the next version of the book which was to be published.

She also shared with the entire group that she felt she needed a “gimmick" for the book to attract media attention. She had come up with a gimmick that she felt worked well with her book content, and that her readers could relate to.

She also felt it would generate the media attention she wanted.

All good things.

Here's where the problem came in.

As we were brainstorming we were trying very hard to tie her existing book title - and her established brand - in with this new “gimmick. ”

We were really struggling to tie the two together in a way that made sense. Every time someone threw out a suggestion it felt forced. It felt like we were trying to shove a square peg into a round hole and it just wasn't working.

We finally hit a wall with our brainstorming.

And I realized something . . . that sometimes gimmicks in marketing are good, but if they just don't fit with your product or service in a way that makes sense, they may be better left out.

In her case, the gimmick was proving to be a hurdle.

On the other hand, here's an example of a gimmick that worked.

In the summer of 2005, my business was just 6 months old. I had been teaching a 10-week teleclass series, but realized I needed to revamp the class to make it more marketable.

I turned to a trend in the marketplace to help package my program so it would generate more attention.

Extreme Makeovers were the craze at that time. And when I looked at the work we were doing in my teleclass series, that's exactly what it was, an Extreme Marketing Makeover.

So I renamed my program the Extreme Marketing Makeover Program, shortened it to 6 weeks, focused the content on the parts of my system that I had found my clients needed the most help with and started marketing it again.

And guess what happened?

It attracted the attention of Entrepreneur Magazine, and the program received a write-up in the magazine. My program received valuable free marketing exposure because it tied in with a trend.

It was media coverage I am convinced I wouldn't have received otherwise.

But you see, the gimmick “fit" with my program. It made sense. It wasn't forced.

So in the end, I guess my biggest piece of advice would be, if a gimmick works, then use it. But if it doesn’t, don’t force it. Because it will likely feel forced to your prospective clients as well.

Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to make marketing your own business as simple as answering 10 questions. Learn more about this unique, step-by-step system and get a free Marketing E-Course when you subscribe to the free, weekly 10stepmarketing Ezine at


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