Do you know who said, “There's a sucker born every minute”? Most people respond with, “It was P.T. Barnum” Yet if you do some historical digging, you’ll find out that Barnum NEVER said the infamous quote most attributed to him. It wasn’t until I read “There’s a Customer Born Every Minute: P.T. Barnum's Secrets to Business Success” by Joe Vitale that I was set straight. Vitale points out that nobody has been able to directly attribute the “sucker” quote to Barnum. You won’t find the quote in any of Barnum’s writing or speeches. It was also pointed out that the “sucker” quote was out of character with Barnum’s personal and business beliefs.
So where did the quote come from? The quote most likely came from one of Barnum’s competitors. Read more about the “There's a sucker born every minute” misquote over at HistoryBuff.com. I tripled checked the misquote over the telephone with Kathleen Maher, Executive Director, of The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She empathatically insisted there is no evidence to support the supposed "Sucker" quote.
Yes, Barnum did believe in hyping the heck out of his events. He even went so far as to stage fights during live performances. But Barnum also realized that the customer was always in charge. If the customer felt that Barnum wasn’t able to deliver on his fantastic promises, they wouldn’t pay up or find something else to do. No event can afford to treat their attendees like suckers.
150 Years Later – You Have Just One Shot
Over one hundred and fifty years later, not much has changed in terms of the fundamentals of marketing and promoting events. Today you have just one shot to impress your customer with your event. Delivering an extraordinary experience is especially crucial to recurring events. If you don’t deliver a great event experience, people will find other things to do. Don't forget the competition! Talented people are creating new events to compete with your event all the time. Don’t count on the competition slowing down (even during times of economic hardship). Certain segments of the event industry have actually flourished during economic crisis. It is in your best interest to focus intently on creating events that leave your attendees satiated beyond belief. You want your attendees leaving your event saying “That was amazing – I want to do it again.”
Focus on the Customer, Not the Sucker
The title of Joe Vitale's book "There’s a Customer Born Every Minute" sums up the mindset of the most successful event promoters and marketers. There are new customers coming into your marketplace all the time. In order for your event to thrive, you must find more effective ways to market and promote your even, plus execute a truly great event.
Below is a collection of articles outlining some of Barnum's event promotion strategies that you can integrate into the marketing of your event.
- P.T. Barnum on Advertising
- Barnum & Hyping Up Your Event
- Curiosity Advertising P.T. Barnum Style
- Your Event, Stories, and P.T. Barnum
- The World’s Best Event Promoter Is . . .
- Turn Your Event Into an Experience
- Online Marketing Like P.T. Barnum
- More Marketing Like P.T. Barnum (Part II)
- The Event Promotion System
Get Your Free Event Promotion & Marketing Video Training