Brooks O'Kane thinks nothing of challenging his customers . . . to games of Ping-Pong, that is. In fact, the 39-year-old Sunpoint Products founder actually printed that challenge on one of his company's products-and he's had more than one customer take him up on it.
Such outlandish stunts have become the hallmark of O'Kane's marketing strategy for his company's two primary products, ClearVue glass cleaner and Red Cross Nurse disinfectant. His cheeky style has helped him grow his Lawrence, Massachusetts business from zero to $5 million in less than five years. (Although he's since sold the ClearVue name and automotive aftermarket business to Turtle Wax, he maintains the license to distribute the product to retailers.)
And while outrageous stunts can sometimes backfire, O'Kane seems to have hit a good balance of funny and effective. He's been known to stand in grocery lines and pay for everything in ClearVue purchasers' baskets. He's also shown up bearing gifts at the homes of loyal customers.
"Our secrets to success are developing some kind of an emotional bond with our customers, and being really different and generating word-of-mouth," says O'Kane. "I mean, who has any emotional bond with Windex or Glass Plus?"
Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates. She is currently compiling a marketing workbook titled Promote Your Business. E-mail her at email@example.com.
- Sunpoint Products, (978) 794-3100, firstname.lastname@example.org