Next time you play ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ try it this way:
- Have someone draw a bulls-eye one millimeter in diameter on a tennis court
- Stand in the middle of the court, blindfolded, with a pin in your hand
- Ask someone to spin you around so you don’t know which direction you’re facing
- Walk across the court until you think you know the spot
- Drop the pin.
84-year-old Florida widow Gloria MacKenzie hit the bulls-eye in May 2013 when she won the $590 million Powerball lottery.
It was a 1 in 175,000,000 chance.
Despite these odds, about one out of every three people in the United States think that winning the lottery is the only way to become financially secure in their life!
There’s more chance they’ll die from a lightning strike, car crash, plane crash, flesh-eating bacteria, snake bite, bee sting, in a bath tub, in a workplace accident, by execution on death row, from murder, being crushed by a vending machine or even in an asteroid collision in 2029!
They’re more likely to get a hole in one, pick a perfect NCAA bracket, be seriously injured mowing the lawn or riding a pogo stick, win an Olympic gold medal, become a pro athlete, a movie star, the President, date a supermodel, marry a millionaire, get audited by the IRS, give birth to a child genius or identical quadruplets or find a four-leaf clover on their first attempt.
Yet each year they spend over $78,000,000,000 on lottery tickets.
(That’s 78 trillion dollars!)
How would you market such an impossible dream?
Could you do it in a few simple words?
Using ‘What If?’ To Generate $10 Billion Every Year
As the ‘Michael Jordan of lotteries’ Rebecca Paul has almost singlehandedly revolutionized mass marketing by inspiring average Americans to imagine living the life of their dreams.
Rebecca Paul sells hopes and dreams to hundreds of millions of average Americans every day, to the tune of over $10 billion each year. With one of the most interesting sales and marketing minds in the gambling world, she’s the undisputed queen of the lottery.
Regardless of your view of the lottery, creative marketing it is an art and science that Rebecca Paul has revolutionized by using vivid imagination to connect with lottery players like no one has ever done before.
In 1972 Rebecca Graham won the Miss Indiana pageant. In the following year, she finished fourth runner-up to Miss America 1973, Terry Meeuwsen. She went on to spend nearly 10 years as a TV weather girl in Indianapolis and Springfield, Illinois and got involved in politics, rising to Illinois Republican State Party Chairwoman. That’s when the governor gave her the nod to head up the state lottery.
Rebecca Paul is now a 20 year veteran of the state lotteries. Having turned the Illinois lottery into a multi billion dollar enterprise, she has since built the Georgia, Florida and Tennessee state lotteries from the ground up into three of the most successful lotteries in America. According to Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor she is the ‘premier lottery executive in the country’.
While many people express concern about the appropriateness of state-run lotteries, Hargroves is adamant that the money provides a massive benefit to education. Her unfailing energy is undoubtedly one of the keys to her success, but she has also been responsible for some of the most insightful and attention-grabbing marketing campaigns ever attempted and has launched hundreds of successful products.
Hargroves has developed an uncanny insight into lottery customers, especially working-class Americans and she displays unique high life/simple life behaviors, boasting that she’s as comfortable with the governor as she is with the butler, maid or janitor. Perhaps this is one reason she knows her customers so well.
Hargroves has also been instrumental in the direction of lottery slogans, which have become increasingly synonymous with our highest ‘hopes and dreams’.
These slogans are highly emotive and tap into our deepest emotional fantasies and also our fears (think ‘You’ve gotta be in it to win it’). Emotion is the key.
Logically, the probability of winning a Powerball jackpot is so infinitesimal that it’s equivalent to impossible. Logically, even one dollar spent on odds so long is a dollar wasted.
Inspiration! (The Power Of Imagination)
Have you ever had an ‘ah-ha’ moment? It’s what happens when inspiration strikes and you’re able to envision something beyond the scope of what presently exists.
Moments like these take you out of reality into another world entirely, but at the time it doesn’t seem unreal. It’s tangible. You’re experiencing it. You can touch, smell, taste, see and feel ‘it’ as if you’re a part of ‘it’.
Imagination is the construction of mental pictures of something that doesn’t actually exist – something you may never have experienced.
Vivid imagination is not only constructing an image in your mind, but experiencing something – sound, taste, smell, a physical sensation, a feeling or an emotion.
I know you’ve had a nightmare or a vivid dream.
Sometimes when we wake up from a dream like this we can take a while to adjust to reality. It’s as if we’re caught between two worlds – both as real as each other – and yet, one isn’t.
But these visions don’t have to happen just when you’re sleeping. You can invoke them in your own mind and in the minds of others through words.
Stories are a prime example of how this is done.
In the stories of the ‘Arabian Nights’ (think: ‘Aladdin’s Lamp’, ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ and ‘Sinbad the Sailor’) a Persian king determines that he will only marry virgins and then kill them the next day. He makes this decision after discovering his brother’s wife, and then his own wife, have been unfaithful. Eventually there is only one virgin left in the land, Scheherazade.
On their wedding night Scheherazade begins telling the king a wonderful story, capturing his imagination and then refusing to end it until the next day. So eager is the king to hear the conclusion to the story that he postpones her execution.
For 1,001 nights Scheherazade completes the previous night’s tale and then begins a new one until the King falls in love with her and spares her life.
You are Scheherazade and your market is the King.
You Can Create And Expand Your Possibilities
Do you sometimes fall into the trap of ‘either/or’?
Doing this is a sure-fire way to corner yourself into limited opportunities.
Imagination is the key to innovation – that is, creating and expanding your possibilities as a marketer. It enables you to see beyond ‘what is’ and discover ‘what is possible’.
Imagination is the world of the hypothetical – a world where a story is born to navigate through complex problems or systems and find the solutions.
Using imagination you can explore ideas and experiment with the impact they could have on your customers. Then you can use it again to create a fully integrated message, capture your audience and push the right buttons.
Vivid imagination takes the story further than just the idea. It’s the ‘so what?’ discussion that follows, boldly exploring hypotheticals within hypotheticals.
Vivid imagination can realize true differentiation and ignite explosive buzz.
Unfettered and unconstrained questioning thought is the key.
Who are your customers today?
What do they really want?
Who are your customers going to be tomorrow, next year, next century?
What might they want then?
It’s hard work and it’s ambiguous. It’s seeing patterns within patterns within data that don’t make sense the first time you see them. Or the second.
More Than Just Make-Believe
Napoleon Hill (bestselling author of Think and Grow Rich) said:
…imagination is the most marvellous, miraculous, inconceivably powerful force the world has ever known.
Are you using it?
It costs nothing.
You can’t be prohibited from accessing it.
It’s there anytime, anywhere and can create anything.
It suspends reality.
It takes you on an adventure.
Imaginative marketing immerses your customers’ own imaginations. Once captured, they can wander freely – roaming past their constraining reality – further and deeper into your message. Do it right and they’ll lose themselves in your creative, your copy, your campaign or your brand…
…until they connect with you deeply and crave hearing what you have to say.
Imagination bridges the canyons that separate ‘what is’, ‘what if’ and ‘so what’…
Larry Page and Sergey Brin once asked themselves,
What if you could search the internet and find relevant results instantly?
Not only is Google the undisputed behemoth of search, on 6 July 2006 ‘Google’ was added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, immortalizing the brand itself into a verb the same way Xerox did.
Steve Jobs once asked himself,
What if you could enjoy cutting edge technology and appealing design in the palm of your hand?
In a few short years the iPhone has completely altered the telecommunications and mobile computing landscape, devastating traditional brands Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and even Blackberry and fostering a new technological ecosystem: apps.
What If You Started Asking Yourself ‘What If?’
Are you open to the possibility that your marketing campaigns can be improved?
Could you usher in a fundamental shift in your customers’ belief systems, behaviors, expectations, hopes and dreams?
What if you could not only see the ‘big picture’, but also describe it, design it, redefine it, expand it, condense it, mold it, shape it, filter it, and promote it?
(And get your customers to touch, taste, smell, see and feel it)
Because of your words.
Ideas can be brought to life – literally – through imagination.
It’s the starting point of unlimited success in marketing.
Insight. Understanding. Attention. Engagement.