Cute sock puppet isolated on white“My Father Was A Tailor… Down in New Orleans.” Really he was a tailor in New York City. When I was a little kid he taught me how to sew. Some may say that sewing and dolls are for girls (not really), but puppets are for everyone! I loved making sock puppets, then I made stages and put on shows.

We recently lost the son of Jim Henson, John to a heart attack. The Muppets are an American gift who have taught via Sesame Street, and entertained millions in movies and TV shows. What makes them special is the creativity of the puppets, but the voices and personality of each. Most all of us know Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Bert & Ernie, Big Bird and so on.

What makes puppets so enticing is the same thing that makes magic so entertaining. It’s the illusion. You know there is a person behind the puppet, and a person behind the voice, but you almost believe they are real.

The Difference

If you think about it, all marketing is (or can be) an illusion. It’s really about putting what you have to offer in the brightest light that will attract customers. We polish messages to make them shine. We pump up the volume to get heard above the noise. Then we put on a show that makes what we have to offer as pleasing and entertaining as possible.

Some of us can afford to hire teams of experts to create Muppets, while others have to do it themselves and make sock puppets (do it yourself marketing). Are you enjoying what you are doing, or is it a chore? Either way, marketing and selling is essential to generating business. You have to be proactive, creative, and different to attract attention, and that’s just the beginning. Just like a carnival “Barker”, you have to convince people to pay for and come into the show (without being overbearing or annoying).

Becoming A Puppetmaster

Here are three tips to make your marketing more effective…

Stay In Your Lane – Are you trying to do Muppet Marketing on a Sock Puppet Budget? More importantly, are your messages matching audience expectations. I have learned the hard way, that looking bigger and more in demand has actually turned off clients. They want me to be smaller and accessible, not so in demand that they feel like they can’t count on service when THEY need it!

Be Entertaining – You don’t have to try to put on a production when you are playing in a one man (or woman) show. Authenticity can not be overvalued. Let your personality (or brand) show by being yourself and let your customers know who you really are. Even huge companies can benefit from being more human and accessible and approachable. That’s why most companies assign one person on Twitter to deal with complaints (even if it’s done via a collaborative group).

Pause For Applause – Good entertainers know how to pause to let the audience react. If someone talks too much and does not give their audience a chance to react it becomes annoying. Give your marketing and it’s messages time to breathe, and then see what the reaction is from your audiences. Measure it, but more importantly encourage feedback. Your audience will tell you what they like and what they don’t. Then adjust your methods and messages to do more of what works, and less of what draws silence!

iStock_000004977480_ExtraSmallFinal Thoughts

Some people like to make sock puppets, and some like to put their hands in them and put on a show. If you know your strengths and weaknesses, you are much more productive when you know where you are more effective. Don’t be afraid to supplement with tailors or puppeteers when you need help. Finally know your audience, listen, react and bow to the applause!

Did you ever make toys or games as a kid? How does that resonate with you as a business adult? Comment away!