When 7 equals 350 million

Just got done listening to a webinar by the good guys at HUBSPOT.

I love what these guys do and what they have to say. This most recent webinar was called “Viral Marketing: How to Create a World Wide Rave”.  It was really awesome.

My favorite part of the webinar was one of the introductory stories.  It’s the story of when 7 equals 350 million.

The story was told of the lady who was tasked with the job of marketing the brand new Universal Orlando Theme – The Wizardly Word of Harry Potter.  She had an almost unlimited budget for marketing.  She could do anything she wanted.  So she thought about her options:

  • Direct Mail Marketing
  • TV Commercials
  • Super Bowl Commercial
  • E-mail Marketing
  • and, I’m sure a ton of others

So, what did she come up with?  The slickest super bowl commercial ever?  A million dollar give away?  

Nope, she set up a special – by invitation only – webinar.  The webinar was scheduled at midnight (you know – the whole Harry Potter wizard thing).  Invitations went out to a whopping SEVEN people!  That’s right – only seven.

How were the seven people picked?  Again, did she pick major news people, journalists?  Theme park revieweres (assuming they exist)?

Again, nope.  She simply picked the seven most popular Harry Potter bloggers and invited them to this special invitation event.

All seven agreed.

Her bosses, of course, were beside themselves.  I can only imagine the questions – why aren’t you buying magazine ads?  Why aren’t you buying tv commercials?  Why aren’t you hiring a super exspensive Ad Agency?

She didn’t have an answer UNTIL 24 hours AFTER the event.  

So, what happened?  Of course, we know the story.  All seven bloggers immediately wrote posts about the event.  They posted pictures about it.  They put information on facebook, they tweeted about it.  And, within 24 hours, over 350,000,000 (that’s right – million) had heard about the new park.  

And, it isn’t just a random collection of 350,00,000 people.  It was 350,000,000 people who had some sort of interest about Harry Potter – exactly the kind of people you want to know about your brand new Harry Potter theme park.

All I can say is “WOW”!  The simple truth is that you can’t buy that kind of publicity.  Literally – no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy that.

So, the question is what does a story like that mean for you and me?  Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Here’s a couple of my very short and very brief thoughts:

  • NEVER underestimate the power of social media
  • Be real – form a TRIBE – get the book TRIBES from Seth Godin to see what I mean
  • Giving up control can have AMAZING results – to do something like this – you have to be willing to give up some control.

Other thoughts?  Let me know.