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Marketing Lessons from the Porn Industry

Never one to shy away from controversy or publicity (pretty much the same thing, right?) Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler, has an uncanny ability to create and leverage both. Can he help real estate?

With so many businesses and jobs going under, opinions are pretty strong and hot regarding the recent bank and auto bailouts. Flynt saw a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the buzz by asking the federal government for a $5 billion dollar bailout of the porn industry.

And it worked.

Everyone’s talking about it

Check out these results:

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Not bad coverage, eh? News agencies, bloggers and pundits scrambling to post their views is bringing a lot of attention to the porn industry. Just as Flynt planned.

How porn applies to real estate

So, what’s the marketing lesson here?

It’s a great example of “entering the conversation already in your customer’s mind.”

Basically, your customer is most likely to pay attention to things that that interest them and that they’re already thinking or talking about. Talk about the same things and they’ll listen, especially if you give it a fresh spin.

Flynt found the prevailing topic of conversation – from the man on the street to the talking heads on the squawk box – and joined in, providing his own spin.

How to join in

As a Realtor, what conversations are occurring in your market that you can add your own spin to?

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A few years ago a nearby city began experiencing problems with fissures popping up in residential areas. It was a big deal – lawsuits against the builder, planners, etc. But a home inspector capitalized on it by publicizing free home inspections. It can be as simple as that.

Written By

Mark Eckenrode is a Certified Master of Guerrilla Marketing raised on comic books, punk rock, and Pepsi. He's also the chief marketing trainer at HomeStomper where AgentGenius readers can learn unconventional methods for winning with social media.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Clint Miller

    January 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    “entering the conversation already in your customer’s mind.” This is one of the reasons I got into social media in the first place…Awesome article!

  2. Marvin Jensen

    January 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Mark, Just metioning Porn in the title get’s a lot of looks I bet. This is a great idea, how to add to the talk around town as it relates to real estate. I don’t think I will try to relate porn to my local real estate market however, but I’m sure I can think of something!

  3. Mark Eckenrode

    January 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    @clint: you found the single most golden lesson for any bit of marketing, my man.

    @marvin: “porn” does tend to draw eyeballs in just about any conversation, for sure. but, you got the idea and now you can run with it.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    January 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Mark – Following on Clint’s comment about getting into social media and relating it to my article about Jeff Turner…this is why you need to use social media to “listen” first. You learn a lot just by watching and reading. Once you know where the conversation is at, you can pull a Flynt and get in the minds of your audience (some of which may not have been your audience in the first place). Well said Mark.

  5. Mark Eckenrode

    January 12, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    @matt: yeah, i’m definitely a watcher and studier. the how/why of people’s actions and conversations (and the emotions attached to them) are fascinating.

  6. Matt Stigliano

    January 12, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Mark – That’s one of the skills I think more people need in order to succeed. That natural curiosity of what’s going on in people’s heads and the how/why question always being at the forefront of your mind.

  7. Ken Brand

    January 12, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Mark, what does the word “porn” mean? I am confused?

    Seriously, nice reminder, Hitching our wagon to a thoroughbred conversation is a smart.

    Also, your post is a nice reminder that there are layers of savvy methods to amp communication, we shouldn’t lazy our way.

    Thanks.

  8. Linsey

    January 19, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I recently posted some things on my own blog that made me cringe – that crummy 60 minutes piece and CNN’s predictions for the top 10 worst housing markets (most were in CA). I’ve realized that hiding from those conversations doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. I might as well jump in feet first and put in my 2 cents. It subsequently created a huge jump in traffic as well as some interesting dialogue with clients.

  9. Mark Eckenrode

    January 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    @linsey: that’s awesome to hear. and you’re absolutely right, hiding your head in the sand is no way to align yourself with your prospects and build rapport.

    in fact, check out Ines’s post where she caught the conversation and has ultimately built a brand around it.

    great stuff.

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