The fights were fun…the mastermind went great….the seminar was super…and the poetry tour was a big hit.
The poetry tour?!
Yes, the poetry tour.
When I travel on business, I like to pack as much production as I can into a trip.
So not only did we go to the UFC fights at Manchester Arena…
…And organize a private mastermind of some of the world’s top Internet marketers…
…And put on a fantastic seminar on blogging for business…
…We also arranged for New Orleans jazz poet Chuck Perkins to perform at Manchester’s top jazz club, Matt and Phred’s, in the city’s Northern Quarter (it looks like Soho in NYC.)
All this took place in just five whirlwind days.
Poetry for Internet marketers
Poetry doesn’t pay well. There’s no way around that. Going into poetry for the money is not a good idea, but…
Marketers can learn a lot from poets.
Poetry can be a great promotional tool and it’s something worth paying attention to by all serious marketers.
For example, what do you think an advertising slogan is? It’s a phrase that packs a lot of power and meaning into a short, memorable phrase. Poets are experts at that kind of thing.
It’s no coincidence that Drayton Bird, to my mind the most accomplished living direct marketer, is a big poetry fan and sometimes draws on poetry to make a point in his trainings.
Poets can pack a punch too
Among their other skills, poets also excel in dramatizing situations and making them larger than life. Another skill every marketer can profit from.
The great boxer Muhammad Ali used poetry to promote his fights which contributed mightily to the huge audiences his fight drew – and the huge purses he won.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
It doesn’t get much better than that.
Manchester is a big poetry town
Folks in Manchester are huge poetry fans.
When I was Googling to find potential places for Chuck to perform and people for him to meet, I came across scores of pages devoted to local poetry groups, performance spaces and individual poets.
The other reason I decided to bring Chuck to Manchester is the city’s historical links – the back story – to New Orleans.
The New Orleans-Manchester connection
At one time, Manchester was the textile capital of the world.
Making clothes from cotton may not seem very sexy, but it was and still is a huge industry and back in the 19th century, Manchester had a lock on it worldwide.
Walking around town and looking at some of the old buildings, it’s easy to see that it was once a very, very rich city. Right up there with New York, London, and New Orleans.
Yes, New Orleans. For a while in the mid 1800s century, New Orleans was as rich as New York City.
It was the cotton that left the Port of New Orleans that fueled the mills in Manchester.
Reviving an old link to help New Orleans
As you may already know, I spend every winter In New Orleans.
I advise levees.org, the organization that’s fighting to make sure the levees are rebuilt correctly. I also work with individuals – mainly musicians and other artists – and non-profits on their positioning and marketing. It’s my contribution to helping rebuild the city.
One of the most important ways to help any cause is to keep it in the public eye. You can’t get action without attention – and you can’t count on attention, you have to create it.
New Orleans is a tourist town. Tourism is the city’s second largest industry after shipping. A lot of folks pay their rent and put their kids in school uniforms with the money they make working for hotels and restaurants.
However, in spite of the city’s many charms – its great winter weather (spring starts in February), its incomparable food, and its unequaled live music scene – not many people from the UK visit.
It’s not because they don’t like to travel. English people love to travel and spend a lot of their free time and money seeking warm, sunny places.
My thought is that if just a small fraction of the masses of people in the UK who visit Florida and the Caribbean each year were to visit New Orleans, it would make a noticeable impact on the city’s economy.
Greasing the wheels
To help this along, I’m working with musicians and poets in the two cities to help bring New Orleans music and culture to Manchester.
The Manchester people love the idea because, wonderful as it is, Manchester is a dark and drizzly place in the winter and even just talking about warmer, brighter weather gets instant appreciation.
That’s why we brought Chuck Perkins over and he’s been a hit. Just in Mancheser for a few days and he’s already won a flock of fans, especially among the city’s musicians.
Artists are trend setters and thought leaders
Earlier I mentioned that Manchester’s Norther Quarter looks a lot like New York City’s Soho neighborhood.
Well, when I was a teenager, Soho was just a bunch of empty industrial lofts. It was the artists who pioneered it and turned it into what it is today.
Now, if you want to live in Soho, bring your millions, because even a modest place is going to set you back a million bucks. Getting what people in most part of the country would consider just a basic apartment starts at around $2 million.
I have no doubt that with a little support and encouragement, a thriving New Orleans-Manchester cultural connection can be formed and that it will turn into a bump up for the city’s tourist revenues.
In fact, it’s already started.
I’ve spoken with several Manchester musicians who, as a result of Chuck’s visit, have started saving their pennies (or pence) to visit the legendary city and see it for themselves.
Where the artists and musicians go, the rest of the world is sure to follow.
So what’s the point?
Marketing is not just for making money.
It’s also a tool to make things happen.
I’ve found that doing a little bit of both is a great way to keep your skills sharp.
You see the truth is, after you’ve applied yourself to it for a while – with the right kind of training – selling things is not all that hard. It’s work, to be sure, but it’s not rocket science.
Therefore, I make this suggestion at every System Seminar and it’s worth repeating.
Every person – every normal person that is – has a cause that means something to them beyond their own personal profit. It might be your church, or your children’s school, so some social condition that needs reform.
If you’re a marketer, don’t just sit on the sidelines writing checks, helpful as that is, it’s only a fraction of what you have to offer. Consider rolling up your sleeves and contributing your skills and experience.
Yes, it will suck up huge amounts of time and energy and at times you may wonder why you’re adding further aggravation to an already busy schedule, but it can be great fun and you might find that the ultimate satisfaction you’ll get from marketing doesn’t come from “stacking it.” it comes from helping positive things happen.
For folks interested in poetry, jazz, New Orleans, and how all those things come together in a single person, here’s the first ambassador of New Orleans culture we brought to Manchester as part of our New Orleans-Manchester Connection project.
– Ken McCarthy
P.S. This year’s System Seminar will be in Chicago, April 9, 10 and 11.
For more info: The System Seminar