I'm reporting in from Chicago, Illinois. Today has proven to be quite the flying challenge. I'm heading out to the International Council of Airshows Convention in Las Vegas to speak on search engine optimization and online marketing. During my wait in Chicago I took some time to look at a number of airport kiosks. It is difficult to imagine how anyone can make money in an airport. Many of the sales people are pushy and the products are not appealing. There is one exception that comes to mind.
During a recent trip to Florida I had a layover in Philadelphia. There was a young gentleman performing magic tricks. Of all the kiosks and sales pitches I've ever seen at an airport this one was the best. He never came up to you, didn't need to shout, or interrupt your walk to get attention. All he did was levitate a card. You could see he was enjoying his work. He was being passively unique and allowed people to come to his booth on their own.
After watching for a bit, I approached the magic kiosk and spent some time talking with the young gentleman. I've been performing magic since I was a child and that made for a good personal connection. From our brief discussion he told me the trick was around $30. When he told me how many he sold a day I was floored! He could of been lying. But in the 5 minutes I watched him do his trick 10 people came up to him. One person purchased the trick.
Passively unique marketing also occurs in the airshow industry. All you have to do is fly a high performance airplane over a populated area and people will gather in mass. I've witnessed this in the middle of a work day. There was a jet team practicing for an airshow in Rochester, New York. The jets would fly a similar route near the downtown area. Each successive pass brought more people outside to watch. You had people in the streets and on rooftops watching in awe for over 30 minutes. P.T. Barnum would be proud.
The magic kiosk and airshow example illustrate a simple business lesson anyone can use. If you are going to market something make it passively unique. You'll sell so much more than the pushy and obnoxious sales person.