Hugh Hefner, as you likely know, created Playboy magazine and now runs Playboy Enterprises. He’s had a long career – the magazine started in 1953 and is still going, and Playboy Enterprises has expanded to encompass several other areas aside from the magazine. Not surprisingly, we can learn a lot about marketing and business from looking at Hefner’s career – read on to see examples.
Get People Talking About You
At the time when Playboy was created, there wasn’t a whole lot else like it on the market. And in fact, Hefner was arrested for selling obscene literature in 1963, and Playboy has been banned (and is still banned, believe it or not) in several places around the world. But you know what? People were talking about it from day one.
The lesson here is that if other people are doing the marketing for you, you don’t have to worry about it. It’ll save you time, effort, and money. Granted, being utterly scandalous might not work for your brand or business – depending on how you usually market. But a dash of scandal will do quite a bit to get people talking, as we can see from Playboy – and as we all know, any publicity is good publicity. People talking leads to word of mouth advertising, done without any cost to you.
Expand Your Brand
Everyone recognizes the Playboy Bunny. Do you know why? Because it’s plastered all over everything from purses to shot glasses to t-shirts. Playboy Enterprises now only makes a part of its money from the magazine, with the remaining two thirds coming from other entertainment and from licensing. The Entertainment division of Playboy Enterprises covers aspects like Playboy TV, Spice Network, Playboy Online, and Playboy Radio, while the Licensing department handles the Playboy trademark appearing on apparel, accessories, and collectibles like trading cards, dice, and toy cars.
Of course, there’s a lesson here. No matter what you’re currently doing, you can always expand your brand. If you don’t have an email list (shame, shame!) you should get one. If you have a website with a blog, you can add video blogs or podcasts. If you’re currently only doing infoproducts, you can start doing in-person teaching or seminars. You get the idea. The more eyes your brand ends up in front of, the more chances you have to get people to buy.
Create Your Own Rules
In the words of himself:
One of the things I’ve tried to do with my life is redefine the boundaries that I think are very limiting. …I think there are many, many options to living your life.
Hefner has never, ever worried about breaking the rules, and neither should you. In fact, a little rule-breaking can be a great way to create that scandal that we talked about in the first section.
When it comes to business online, there are a lot of rules to follow. And many of those rules are rules for a good reason – they work, they’ve been tried and tested and proven true. But some of the commonly quoted rules haven’t been put through rigorous testing, and some of the rules work for some businesses – but not all of them.
As usual when it comes to marketing, the answer is to test, test, test. Try something new for your business, and see what changes. Do you get less conversions but more audience engagement? More email list sign ups, but less conversions?
Obviously, in a business, your first priority is going to make money – and if you’re not actively testing the rules you follow to make sure that they’re logically sound, then you’re potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table.