Controversy has long been the secret weapon of experienced marketers. They know that word of mouth spreads the quickest when there is a developing controversy. For this reason you will see Madison Avenue advertising agencies using controversial topics and images to promote their customers products.
Movies such as Borat rely on the power of controversy. By creating a fictitious character and inserting him into the lives of unsuspecting people, the movie quicky created a debate among viewers over the ethics of the producer.
While the ethics of the producer are being debated, millions of movie goers have lining up to purchase tickets to Borat.
Clearly, creating a controversy, or capitalizing on a controversy, can be a tremendous advantage to your business.
While I am not recommending any immoral or unethical acts, I am advocating the study of this great marketing technique.
The following are steps to capitalize on controversial topics.
Controversy Profit Tool #1
Issue a new product in response to a controversy. For instance, if there has been an E Coli outburst you can release a product to help test food for the bacteria.
Or you can publish a book explaining what the bacteria is, and how it can avoided.
Controversy Profit Tool #2
Create your own controversy. Send out a press release disagreeing with an accepted idea, or publicly challenge a competitor over product claims.
Controversy Profit Tool #3
Make an unbelievable offer. Stores have had customers wait outside their doors overnight in hope of being the recipient of an expensive prize. You can offer a free DVD player or plane ticket to your first 5 customers. Sure it sounds expensive, but think of the attention your business will receive.
Good media coverage can easily bring a small business more exposure than a full year of advertising.
Donny Lowy runs http://www.closeoutexplosion.com an online wholesale and closeout business that supplies brand name products to eBay sellers, retailers, and flea market vendors. Donny can be reached at 718-389-5502