Next time you're brainstorming for marketing ideas, peruse the calendar listings of a local newspaper or magazine. Participating in any one of the events listed could get your business prime exposure. It's called ambush marketing-or event marketing.
"Event marketing is a magnificent opportunity for you to show your wares," says Raleigh Pinskey, owner of The Raleigh Group, a marketing consulting firm in Santa Monica, California. The author of You Can Hype Anything (Carol Publishing), Pinskey believes entrepreneurs are all too often merely passive marketers. "Small-business owners need to get out of their stores and put their mission statements to work," she says.
How? Pinskey suggests participating in contests, benefits, auctions, lectures, parades, religious services, dinners, gala affairs, sporting events-anything and everything. If you own a hair salon, for instance, consider providing free haircuts and styling to those participating in a benefit; florists can provide flowers for the podium at any religious or speaking event.
Above all, if you're participating in an event, tell a local newspaper or radio station, or put a sign in your window trumpeting your involvement. However you do it, says Pinskey, "make sure somebody else knows about it."