Made to Shtick

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A lot of people want a lot of attention…

Which leads to a whole lot of shtick. Goofy “leave-behinds,”  like squeeze balls, popsicle sticks or M&Ms with your name printed on them. Or events designed purely to get attention.

Problem is, in a world filled with attention-hungry noise, it’s not enough.

Shtick doesn’t stick.

It may be cute. It may provoke a momentary “cool!” or “cuuuute!”

But for a stunt or attention vehicle to lead to business, you need to bundle it or better yet, replace it, with an experience of not only pattern interruption, but relevance, reason and resonance.

  • Relevance – the attention-mechanism is actually intrinsically-relevant to the need or desire or the person or company
  • Reason – it gives them a reason to (a) prefer your solution over another’s, and (c) buy, and
  • Resonance – the impact of the attention mechanism resonates deeply with the recipient and provides independent value.

Anyone can come up with some kind of shticky event or doohicky that stops someone for a moment.

That’s not the challenge.

It’s what they experience and whether they’re compelled to act in a way that benefits both of you after your “intervention” that turns an attention-mechanism into impact and business.

Now, where’d I put that personalized bobble-head order form?


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18 responses

18 responses to “Made to Shtick”

  1. dave r. says:

    sometimes, what should be clear to us, isn’t…thanks for the common sense info…although i have never been one for trinkets and such, it’s nice to have confirmation.

  2. Among other things, I’m a publicist for fiction writers, as well as being a novelist myself. My authors have been talking about promo items: bookmarks, water bottles with their covers printed on in. Even “trading cards.” I dislike fiction promo items; I feel like they’re not a good investment. How would you deliver relevance, reason and resonance with something like fiction?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      So mant different things to try. One off the cuff idea – Create an online treasure hunt that draws people into the book’s world then shares all sorts of private character information, unrevevealed plots secrets and back stories that never appear in the book. Or, if they’ve done a good job of building out their digitals tribes, create a webinar of streaming video q&a about their writing process, ideas, and characters.

      • Jonathan,
        I love your reply about the promo ideas for fiction. I was thinking of a sort of treasure hunt with elements from my book. It’s historical fiction, and there are pieces from the past (tickets, invitations) that I have used in the story and can see using as visual, interactive elements on my site.

        The part about the process of the story is great, too. I’m working on a timeline to share some of the process with my readers.

        So much more fun and hopefully more engaging than schtick schtuff! Thanks for this excellent post.

  3. Irene Ross says:

    Wow! I had a similar conversation just five days ago. I was trying to talk someone out of doing something shticky for the same reasons you identified….

  4. Brent Reader says:

    Jonathan, do you have any examples of the use of such effective attention getters in the B2B arena? Thanks.

  5. Jared says:

    Well said Jonathan!

    As a professional copywriter, I think a lot of people try and confuse the attention getting part… with something that actually works.

    Yes, you must get attention. BUT most people are forgetting the rapport part. The part that connects another human being to what it is you provide. And…

    That comes with knowing what you deliver. What people respond to (and what they don’t).

    It also comes from putting yourself entirely in your customers shoes, asking tons of questions, being willing to not fall in love with an idea that doesn’t work and knowing how to build trust – among a TON of other things.

    Great post title. It got my attention (and delivered some great points)! 🙂

  6. Ever wonder what might happen if meaningful things didn’t have to compete with irrelevant shtick?

    I also think about the longer term impact to the environment if we reduced the stupid, unimportant, irrelevant stuff.

    Simplicity please.

  7. Ivan Walsh says:

    Disagree here…

    A quick glance at TV talent shows reminds us that ‘Shtick’ is alive and well.

    But, so what?

    You dont have to go down that route. Find what works for you and zero in on that.


  8. susan says:

    Promo items are handy tools AFTER you’ve already gained the business/trust of said client. My Mom is in the promotional business. She gets re-orders from companies who want little giveaway items for their existing clients.
    As a “grab-your-attention-get-new-business” tool, they don’t work so well.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      But, as an entrepreneur, I’d rather figure out how to leave people so blown away that they can’t shut up about me, rather than having to rely on a squeeze toy to remember I existed.

      And the argument that they won’t know how to find you easily even if they remember you doesn’t really fly any more with mobile ubiquity. Anyone can find you anytime with the tap of a fewnkeys. If you want to create a novelty for fun, rock on. But as a business tool that you’re spending money on, there needs to be a bigger tie in than attention or reminder.

  9. Bryan Lubic says:


    So many miss this main point that you stated so well:

    “It’s what they experience and whether they’re compelled to act in a way that benefits both of you after your “intervention” that turns an attention-mechanism into impact and business.”

    Thanks again for another great post Jonathon!



  10. …SO true. Thank you for this.

    And, not only do low quality trinkets and doo-dads not benefit us for longer than a few seconds, but our world of trinkets is becoming an ocean of plastic.

    Everyone needs to see

    Albatross are feeding their young our plastic garbage on midway island. Trinkets and crap have just got to go, not only as an inauthentic business initiative, but for our planet.
    Let’s strive for quality, authenticity, and ‘stick’.

    Thank you, Jonathan.

    • susan says:

      I’m in complete agreement as to the abundance of promotional crap that is wasted junk. However, tactile tangible physical products can still be relevant in a world that is quickly becoming a little too virtual for my taste. I paint, I create works that are authentic. I appreciate the virtual access people have to my art, however, there is NOTHING like holding it in your actual hands.

  11. BruceMc says:

    I have about 20 different pens on my desk right now with different companies names on them. So many that you don’t even bother to read the pen. If you do, you don’t even know where it came from.

    I would love to come up with a great marketing giveaway, that doesn’t get lost in the the jungle of marketing pieces, for a dental client of mine? Any suggestions?

  12. I wholeheartedly agree, Jonathan – you should not have to leave any tangible object behind. People should be talking about you for days on end as a result of what you said and how you said it.

    Thank you for highlighting this.

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