Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Life in Marketing, Part 1 . . .

A long, long time ago, over 25 years now, I embarked on my First National Tour.

Having worked as a canvasser for Clean Water Action and League of Conservation Voters, and having worked door to door for Fuller Brush, and yes, even Avon, I saw the door to door model as one that suited my skills and services perfectly.

Unlike your average street corner troubadour, I couldn't play much.

But my songs and singing were right entertaining if I do say so. And I do. That's the marketing.

marketing: letting people know what they can do with their money or resources, and why they should

So, after learning how to reach out door-to-door for support of safe drinking water and environmentally visionary leaders, I sallied forth on my First National Tour, selling performances of such legendary tunes as "Dogs in Durham," "Movin' to LA," and She Didn't (Want My A** Like I Wanted Hers). The last listed reminded listeners that "sushi" rhymes with "Belushi."

And so, stranded in Middlebury, VT, where my dog was surviving a run in--literally--with a '65 Buick LeSabre, I drove up the road to Burlington, natal home of the door-to-door guitar tour, and knocked on my first door at 6:30 pm, June 26, 1983.

My rap went something like this:

Hi, I'm Jay Hepner. I'm a singer-songwriter working my way to California by playing songs I've written. I'm asking a dollar a song, or three songs for two dollars. May I play you one?

And if they liked the one, I'd always repeat the three for two offer.

Made $44 dollars that evening and the next day in Burlington, VT, and a marketing mode was born.

Now did I max out this marketing technology?

Sadly, no. I did not secure a record deal. Nor did I find a band to support my singing and songwriting, even though that is what I'd advise anyone in similar circumstances to do today.

But I did manage to play my way from Vermont to California, with a couple stops here and there to work for Clean Water Action or the League of Conservation Voters.

Point is, at every front porch or living room venue, I left my patrons with a promissory note, "Good for one free concert," each one signed and dated, in expectation of my hitting the big time.

I may not have hit it yet, but that's what backing bands are for.

Who'll be my Station Wagons?

As Johnny used to say, "More to Come . . ."

No comments:

Post a Comment