In a down economy, marketers will discover new and creative ways to sell : discounted products, free trials, and biz opp offers have worked best.
Here in Philadelphia, one of the craftiest (and shadiest) campaigns I’ve seen is actually ran by a panhandler named Jeremy Murphy.
Most campaigns setup by panhandlers are complete failures. The marketer often looks dangerous, disheveled, drugged out, or just downright fraudulant.
Meet Jeremy Murphy, one of the most prolific direct response marketers I’ve ever met. Jeremy earned a whopping $132,592.00 in 2010. How? Playing on the hearts of people in buying mode.
Here’s how Jeremy did it:
1. Placing his ad in the right place: Jeremy’s ad is positioned at a high traffic intersection right outside of IKEA. He catches people who are in buying mode. After inhaling the magical IKEA aroma and getting a “great deal,” consumers are in ultra buying mode.
2. Winning their hearts: Jeremy’s ad states “Father of 2. Need food. Just laid off. Please Help! God bless.” Conveniently located on the ad are pictures of his children.
3. Playing the part: When you pull up at the traffic light, Jeremy is donned in respectable blue collar clothing. He holds a stern look of a man with his pride and dignity in tact.
4. Strong call to action: Jeremy stands there waiting for someone to help. He is noticeable yet does not look at the cars. He just stands there tall. When you call on him, he quickly tells an emotionally driven story and states “anything you can give is a blessing,” placing the onus on you to take action.
The first time I saw Jeremy I gave him $50. This is something i just never do! Yet his story was so genuine. The vibe I got from Jeremy was so sincere. The guy really looks down and out!
Three months later I went back to IKEA and low and behold Jeremy was still there. Only this time Jeremy had moved to a higher traffic location. I started laughing to myself, son of a bitch, he got me.
I pulled over in the parking lot, took at my video camera, and put it on super zoom aimed right at Jeremy. In 1 hours time, this guy collected $82. Doing some basic math:
$82 an hour
x 7 hours a day
$574 a day
x 200 days a year
$114,800 a year – pure profit
This guy is killing it!
So I decided to approach Jeremy for an interview for directresponse.net. Reluctant at first, Jeremy eventually confided that he has been doing this for the past 6 years. He travels from city to city, positioning himself by IKEAs. This year he noted that he only did $132,590. In 2005 he said that he almost doubled that – “the economy is hurting us all.”
While Jeremy’s practice is totally unethical, it is highly effective. Position your ad in high traffic places, catch consumers in buying mode, and appeal to their hearts – not to their logic!