Having a little trouble grabbing some attention for your products? Well, have you considered that you may be playing it too safe to be noticeable. Let's face it, people who get attention aren't typically the shy and unadorned kind, they are the more extroverted and rambunctious crowd. So, is your product too staid to really go after the traffic on the web, and generate genuine interest and enthusiasm? Well, then you might want to think about The “Madonna” Effect.
The “Madonna” Effect
Well known singer Madonna, a marketing genius in my eyes, sold millions of videos, music and books based on controversy. When MTV pulled the plug on showing, a highly anticipated video from Madonna, millions of people could not wait to get their hands on that video the sales were unheard of. If you find yourself shying away from controversy, this is one area you genuinely need to explore. It doesn't even have to be your own created controversy, it can be someone else's controversy, and all you're doing is adding to the conversation. For instance, when eBay first came out with it's policy to not allow infoproducts on their auction listings unless sellers delivered a physical product, like a CD or DVD, it generated a huge controversy around the Internet.
While others where moaning about the collapse of their business models, there were more astute business people who exploited the opportunity to get some free publicity by offering products to help sellers transform their business model so they could continue to sell on eBay. No matter what side you were on, whether it was a bad or a good policy, the fact is that the amount of controversy that it produced provided a perfect opportunity to ride a wave of free publicity, if you can help people overcome some of their issues.
Walk A Fine Line
So, yes, you do want to constantly look out for opportunities that come with issues of great controversy. They typically have a short window, but during that window, you can get instant product and name recognition, if you play your cards right. What you don't want to do is pick a side and alienate half your customers. There is a fine line you must walk if you dare to apply the Madonna Effect. You want to engage the controversy, but you don't want your name associated with negatives of the entire thing too. And, certainly there are some controversies that are simply “too hot to handle”, even though you may think you are that hot.
Don't Light A Match In The Wind
Unless you are Planned Parenthood, the odds of a classic online business wanting to engage an abortion controversy is almost non-existent. It's just a controversy that is extremely volatile and can end up burning people out instead of creating enthusiasm and genuine interest in the topic. So, engage controversies that are interesting, have some cha cha cha, but avoid the ones that are going to cause problems for your public image or alienate too many of your customers. If you do find that you've done that by accident, retract your support immediately, issue an apology to all your customers, regardless of the issue, and move on.
So, it does take a bit of “Ba.. (wait perhaps that word would not be appropriate here, but you know what I mean) to engage in controversy, but the strategy can wake up your business overnight, if done properly. If you do that, you can try the “Madonna” effect, and learn how to position your products to profit with a wave of free publicity.