It’s no secret: I have a strong disdain for Dane Cook. I think he’s an immoral comic who steals premises from funnier comedians, then waters them down for the masses.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t acknowledge that he is an OUTSTANDING marketer. Seriously, the guy is still way ahead of every comedian when it comes to marketing. He’s an incredibly savvy businessman.
What has separated Dane Cook and made him so popular? He makes his fans feel appreciated. Comedians typically come across as cynical and introverted; basically, they lack an air of approachability. Not Dane Cook. Before his career took off, he was instant messaging with his fans when he wasn’t performing. And when he was performing, he was staying after shows to talk and take pictures with people. The guy genuinely tries to make you feel like he’s your buddy; it doesn’t feel fake. Even with the huge amounts of people who go to his shows, you get the feeling that it wouldn’t be that hard to go meet him afterward.
Even though Dane will never EVER be regarded as a great comedian by his peers’ standards, he will always have die-hard fans. In the MySpace world, he literally has millions of friends. But he acknowledges each and every one and builds a relationship with them. He doesn’t treat them like customers, he treats them like friends. He doesn’t perform for an audience, he tells stories to his buddies. Dane has worked hard to create that kind of atmosphere, and his fans appreciate it. What’s even better, he makes them feel like a tribe because he’s given them a hand signal to show that they’re part of the in-crowd.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink,” the author talks about why certain doctors get sued while others don’t. It has relatively little to do with the doctor committing malpractice or injuring the patient. The key factor was that the doctor talked down to the patient. The doctor would spend less time with people, and show less concern. Basically, if the doctor was unlikeable, he was much more likely to get sued.
This is a lesson every single marketer needs to understand. If you don’t treat people like they’re human beings, they won’t like you. Customers are selfish: they care about themselves and they expect you to care more about them. You have to respect that.
Why do you think people love Robert Scoble? Why do you think people love Seth Godin? These guys are in high demand, but I could call either of them up on the phone right now and they’d probably answer. No pretentiousness. No air of importance. They’re just regular people who make themselves available to you.
Online marketing can seem so difficult because you can get an enormous wave of customers that all want your attention and respect at the same time. It’s easy to spam them. It’s even easier to ignore them. But you have to remember that there is a human being on the other end. It’s hard for them, too. They know that you are getting hit with hundreds of emails each day. Competing for your attention is hard, and they can feel insignificant if they can’t get to you easily. But you must always acknowledge that they’re not customers, they’re people.