Street Marketing Transcript
Season 2 Episode 11

This is a written Transcription for the episode: Street Marketing: The Old School Trick that Work

Hightower Reff Law on the Omaha Podcast

Full Written Transcript of The Episode

Matt Tompkins: What does street marketing look like today in the era of all things digital? Well, it turns out that the same basic principles to physical flyers, in-person events and networking apply just as much to today’s digital marketing as it did 20, 30 years ago.

In this episode of the podcast, we’re joined once again by Todd and Tyler Radio Empire Zone Mike Tyler, who shares the old school street marketing tactics that they used that you can utilize today to market your business online. Hello and welcome back to Midwest Mindset, the podcast that gives you the small business owner, the big Agency Secrets to Marketing.

I’m Matt Tompkins of two Brothers Creative, where we believe every business deserves affordable and effective marketing. I remember when my brother Ben and I, we played in a band. We were trying to be rock stars. Spoiler alert, it didn’t pan out. We did okay. You know, we played for a number of years around the Midwest here and every show, especially local shows here in Omaha.

I remember handing out I don’t know how many flyers we would make up these flyers and we would make up outrageous posters and even take out ads in the the local newspapers like Shout and The Reader. And we would have these flyers. We took so much pride in these posters and these flyers, and we would literally hand them out by the thousands. My girlfriend at the time, now wife Wendy, she worked at Cox Communications. She had access to a printer so she could just print endless amounts of flyers for us. And we would literally take these by the thousands by the thousand and go out and stick them in the under the windshield wiper of vehicles in every parking lot we could get access to.

Matt Tompkins: It was a old school street marketing tactic. And yes, we were the guys that annoyed you with things stuck underneath your windshield wiper when you came to your car the next day, that soggy wet flyer that because it had rained or snowed the night before. Those are old school street marketing tactics, and I think we’re all familiar with some form of street marketing. But it is interesting to look back at what worked. You know, that was just 15 years ago. It’s interesting to look back at 15 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago at these old school street marketing tactics for marketing, how they worked and what we can learn from them and actually apply directly to marketing your business today. A perfect example of this is the Todd and Tyler radio empire.

Now for those that don’t know, Todd and Tyler are Omaha Nebraska’s Howard Stern, right? They came here in the early 90s and they have since been the number one top ranked radio show in our market. They have dominated for decades. They’re in the Nebraska Broadcasting Association’s Hall of Fame, and they are now syndicated all over the country. When they first moved here, though, they had a daunting task. It was just as daunting of a task as you face with marketing your business, especially if it’s a new business. And that daunting task for Todd and Tyler was ingratiating themselves to a new city, brand new city, new listeners, new people. And they took things to new territories, new places that radio shows in Omaha hadn’t taken things to up to that point because we had to.

Mike Tyler: Do a lot of stuff to to be known. We were out every night, either either socially or for the station and meeting and greeting people and hanging out and being part of that situation. We were also younger. We could do that more often and still wake up early. But yeah, they got us here. They put us on TV, a couple commercials. They did, Uh, I know, I know that to get us known.

Matt Tompkins: I remember the one commercial we had the women talking and like, it was your voice, but it was other people talking. They did that.

Mike Tyler: I’ll tell you the funniest one. This is if somebody could find this out, they they try just ingratiate us right away with Omaha, even though we weren’t from here. And we’re going to be on the air the next day saying we weren’t from here. They put Todd in the Huskers shirt and they put me in a Creighton jersey, okay? And they had us on TV saying, Hey, join us Monday. I’m thinking I look back at that commercial. I said, What the hell? I just found out where Creighton was like a month ago. So but that was that still got us out there.

But then they started realizing when they can’t phony that stuff up and then they I think one of the best campaigns they did early on was about 96. Yeah, 96 or so. Our boss, Jim McKernan, at the time did this. He he put up a couple of billboards in town. And one of the billboards was was me and Todd as like, uh, first grade pictures, something like that. And on the billboard it said innocent or something like that. And then about two months later, they changed it and it showed us our high school senior photos, which are hilarious. And it said, uh, I forget what the word was something like going because the final one was disturbed and it was our pictures.

Now I said, now they’re disturbed. And it caused a lot of talk. And we were driving down the highway, you’d see it and it was just it just showed. Well, it just showed the progression of what people thought of us. So that helped a lot. Uh, marketing wise. They used to, they did the early stuff, the t shirts, but they’re so funny. People sent me all kinds of stuff. Now these photos and stuff about some of the other stuff we did. Urinal screens.

Matt Tompkins: Urinals is a good place to advertise. It was a great place to advertise. You’re right. You know, especially for your audience, if your target audience is dudes. I mean, bars in town.

Mike Tyler: Had your screens in all the time, you know, and pitched on you last night. Sorry, we’re not on the air. I can say that I’d say it on here anyway, but yeah, so the urinal screens were big. I think we made condoms at one point. The company did the condoms.

Matt Tompkins: I don’t know. I’d feel weird. I remember when I was starting out because I worked for a news talk station. My producer was my role there. And I remember I had a a woman emailed me a picture of herself, a very large woman, and she told me in the email that she they we had like our staff photos on the website that she would pull up my staff photo while her and her husband made love in their bedroom.

And I’m like 26 at the time. And I’m like, What? Like, I mean, probably like, you know, I’d be the the woman in the photo that she revealed. It was like, you know, okay, I’m sure she’s beautiful to somebody else, but not it was just kind of it was a lot it was like, you know, a lot a lot very older woman. And I’m like, that’s a little intense for me. I’m like, crazy. I’m like six months into my, you know, radio job here and you got this.

Mike Tyler: Old, hey, hey, Sonny.

Matt Tompkins: Before you even get to step one, two and three of the laws of marketing, the introduction to this book, if you will, is understanding this basic truth.

And that is that marketing is not about facts. It’s about feelings. And we did a whole episode about this facts versus feelings. We’ll put a link in the show notes for you to check it out if you haven’t listened to it yet. But we have to set aside the thinking brain. We have to set aside our thinking brain as hard as that is, and we have to understand and relate to the feeling brain of your customers because perception. Chin is everything.

Perception is all that marketing really is. Understanding who your target audience is is the first and the only way to understand what drives them emotionally.

And there are a lot of easy free ways that you can accomplish this from engaging on social media and Facebook groups or even just posting questions on Quora in the radio back in the day. And today they do these study groups where they actually get people in a room to find out what drives them emotionally.

Mike Tyler: It does work, too, because we have perceptual studies. Our company has perceptual studies all the time about the music or or me and Todd or the show, I should say the whole show together. And they’ll you’ll see, Well, we like this. We don’t like that, you know, So we’ll listen to that. And most of the time we know what what they might not like or what they did. It it filters you in and out. So but you’re right. With marketing, you have to market. I mean, there’s a whole business around it anyway. The whole world runs around marketing.

Matt Tompkins: When it comes to your marketing. If you’re starting out, try and identify two key components. First, who is your specific target market? Who is your ideal customer? That’s first. Number two, what are your unique qualities? In other words, why you why should they choose you and your business? This is why being authentic is so important. It’s so crucial to your marketing.

You want to be yourself and you don’t want to just do things to follow the trends. That’s being inauthentic. And we’ve seen this time and time again where companies will jump on a bandwagon in the moment and they’ll change their Facebook profile, a certain color or a flag, or they’ll represent something just to jump on what’s trending online. And we’ve also seen that backfire big time for a lot of companies.

Mike Tyler: There was a after 911, there was a lot of I think our company had America, America Rocks, billboards and stuff like that. And they which at the time I thought was probably shouldn’t have been done, but I wasn’t in charge. It was long 20 some years ago. And but at the time I said what? I said, Well, I don’t want our names on the billboard. But then I thought, we have one of our names in the billboard.

They’re always in the billboards with the with the z92. But then it didn’t there wasn’t a backlash. I think everybody was still rah rah about, but it wasn’t so much. I was afraid of it being jingoistic because we were all jingoistic. We were all USA, USA in 2001 when 9/11 happened. But it also I felt that way. I felt like a is it a piggyback? But it wasn’t a backlash. And I thought it could have been. Now nationally, it could have been, you know. Yeah. But there was so much of that at the time.

Matt Tompkins: In radio, we call them stunts, but a stunt is basically just a way to stand out and get people’s attention. In today’s digital landscape, where we are bombarded with thousands of ads every day, it has never been more important for you to stand out. You can call it a stunt. You can call it making the news. The bottom line is that you need to be discovered. And to be discovered, you have to first be seen.

Mike Tyler: We did a lot of street stuff back in the day. We’d send people out in the street a lot during the show. Beast, our original guy, the original producer back in the day, or Donny or people like we would send them out and do crazy stuff on the street corner. And that just caused a lot of I mean, it caused a lot of commotion. Sometimes we did it with our bosses at the time, our bosses. We didn’t get permission because we figured getting you were in radio, getting yelled at is better than getting permission.

Matt Tompkins: It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. And that’s basically the.

Mike Tyler: 90s was asking for forgiveness for sure because we would do a lot of stuff. And even sometimes I remember one time somebody reminded me of something recently we did, uh, we took our producer beast and put a bunch of dollar bills or stuff all over his body, like tens and 20s and had them hang out on a just a less than desirable street corner. And just with the phone, I was like, Yeah, I’m thinking, you know what? And it caused some commotion. I got some press, but it was also like, Yeah, someone could have been killed.

Matt Tompkins: Yeah, we had that when we were doing the TV show Omaha Live and we did a bit. We went down to I can’t even remember what it was. The, the Cubs or Cubs, Chubbies or Chubby. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it was down on, on, uh, I don’t remember what 16th Street it was in a neighborhood that was a Bloods neighborhood, a Bloods district. And we were doing a bit with some real they were former but real Crips gang members. Oh shit. The bit was that the we. I went out there to talk to them and found out that they’re actually they’re not this stereotype, these, you know, thugs. They’re actually really smart and really good at a lot of different things.

That was the whole premise of the bit. So and they they were on board. They thought it was hilarious. We’re doing this bit. And it literally at the end of it, they said they saw somebody drive by and they said, Oh, we better get out of here. I’m like, Oh, why? Like, because the they drove by once they drove by with the colors and they saw them, they’re going to come back around. And my friend Neil and I were sitting there going, Yeah, right. And we turn around and they’re gone. They just left. And we’re like, Oh, crap. So like we’re and sure enough that that suburb back around, back around. And it was, but it was weird too, because then like probably 3 or 4 years later, this video is up on YouTube and there’s this backlash from people who aren’t from. The community at all. Just, you know, angry over it. And it’s the same type of backlash I’m sure you saw with a bit like that where it’s like.

Mike Tyler: I’m glad there’s not I’m glad there’s actually not a lot of video. I mean, I’m glad we have a lot of the video. The phones had cameras everywhere in the 90s. Yeah, we probably there’d be backlash to this day about stuff we did back then because there’s no video evidence. We can talk about it, but it’s just no video evidence. And I think that’s made a big difference too.

But you got to push the envelope, too. I think, like you’re trying to get this to business. If you push the envelope to see where you can go. Now, we got in trouble with some of those events, uh, but and we pushed it. But we’re remembered for them. So if you’re not remembered and that helped us stay, you know, relevant. You’re right. And if we’d ever pushed, we could have faded away easily like zillion radio shows do.

Matt Tompkins: There is definitely a real risk of pushing that line too far to a point where you could put your business at risk. Having a strategy and a plan is the key ingredient here, because if you know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how you’re executing it in any aspect of your marketing, whether it’s a stunt, whether it’s something to get attention or whether it’s a a full ad campaign, you can avoid the rushed out of the gate ideas they can easily blow up in your face.

Mike Tyler: Yeah, and my business and our business, we get hate email, we get threats mean so that’s been happening. It’s happened in as much it used to I should say that we still get some crap, but nothing major. But yeah, you got to worry what you’re talking about because you forget you’re just you’ve done radio long enough yourself. You’re just in a room, you’re just in a room and you forget that everybody, at least hopefully a lot of people are listening and you’re saying stuff like, I can’t believe I just said that. But you’re just sitting around with your friends talking and you forget it’s out everywhere. And sometimes you go, Oh, I shouldn’t have said that, or, or, well, that was kind of crazy. But, you know, it just it, to me, it’s just to get people to laugh.

Matt Tompkins: Yeah. Now, Todd and Tyler on Z92 here, the local radio station where they started off their radio empire, they prove out a fundamental rule of marketing and that is to be known for one thing. If you look at any radio station, any success story in general, it doesn’t matter what line of business or industry it’s in. But if we take a look at radio as an example, this holds true. Think of the most popular stations here in Omaha, Nebraska, where we’re at or in your market where you’re listening right now.

They are all known for one thing. Here we have a sports talk station, 1620, the Zone. They’re known for sports talk. We have 1110 kfab. Politics. You have Z92, Todd and Tyler. Todd and Tyler are z92. One thing and this is important for you and your business because everybody tries to be many different things, multiple things all at once. That is a recipe for failure. Everybody started out as being known for just one thing, and then you build from that would just.

Mike Tyler: We’d never go in and just do a whole nother thing. The show is what the show is. You you get what people tune in, they expect to hear certain things and that’s what you give them.

Matt Tompkins: And it’s like any, any successful anything, any any person or business started off by being known for one thing, right? You look at like McDonald’s, they were just burgers. Right. And they started or like Dr. Drew, he was the sex phone call guy. Right. And now he does a show where he talks to everybody. You know, a lot of times we have people we’re we’re, you know, producing and kind of developing their podcast. They said, well, I want to appeal to everybody. And how do you reach everybody?

You can. It’s impossible. You can’t you’re going to end up resonating deeply with nobody. And you want that deep connection. You want that. So target one person and that’s the same strategy with a business of I’m going to market to one person, I’m going to target one person. And when I win them over and they feel like I’m like, this business was created just for them, or in your case, the radio show, they will help you. They tell other people, Yeah, that’ll turn into.

Mike Tyler: Oh yeah, word of mouth is what made our show what it is, is that when you even though there were some advertising in the beginning, if somebody else in the office heard it, somebody driving around, somebody at the worksite heard the show, you got to listen to these guys.

And especially happened when we were starting to be syndicated because they had no idea where we were at, which show had no idea who we were. And we went on a big rock station down there to 95. It’s like the Z 92 of Wichita, and they had an old show we took over for her and it was like, Oh, these guys.

And we do the exact same thing over and over again and not live there. So we couldn’t go out and about and meet the community, but we had to be known for something. So we were we said stuff down there that got us in trouble because nobody was saying that stuff in Wichita, but they stuck with us because, well, our company owned it, first of all. But they also the ratings were good and they ended up being really, really good after the year. So you have to be who you are or nobody is going to care.

Matt Tompkins: Yeah. I mean, and it’s it’s harder to it. It’s easier to say that than it is to live that of like, yes, be true. You’re risky. It’s risk.

Mike Tyler: It’s risk because you know, you’ve started a business here and it’s a risk because you could get you could get all of a sudden, then you’re out of work.

Matt Tompkins: The risk is real. And as the great poet Taylor Swift once said, the haters gonna hate, But the truth is that they really shouldn’t have any bearing on your success or the decisions, the pivots that you make with your marketing. Because they are not your ideal customer. They are not who you are trying to help and serve through your business. To close things out. Mike shared a great comment from behind the scenes of the radio show that I think is so relative to you and your business today. It doesn’t matter how much you say it or want to believe it, your business is not for everyone. My business is not for everyone. There is no business that is for everyone. And realizing that simple truth is going to put you ahead of your competition tenfold.

Mike Tyler: Craig, Our old news guy Craig always had a great line, he said, and he was off the air. He said, Everybody can’t listen to you. Everybody can’t watch you. Nope, not. Not one, not one radio. Everybody doesn’t listen to one show. They don’t watch one TV show. So to please everybody, it’s not ever going to happen. I mean, no, nobody gets all the ratings people. People find other shows better or like they like it different. So you have to find your niche and hopefully grow that in any business, like you mentioned, business because everybody can’t use your business. Yeah, even the main businesses in this country have competition.

Matt Tompkins: Thanks again to Mike Tyler of the Todd and Tyler Radio empire for joining us here today on Midwest Mindset. The first episode he was on last season, our season one of the Omaha podcast. He actually helped us win that episode, won a national award for best podcast in the country. So I guess that means this episode is going to win too, right? Right. A girl Can Dream.

Thank you so much for joining us here today on the podcast. You can find more info on Mike Tyler in the show notes. The links are there for you to click also in the show notes if you need help with your marketing. If you’d like to get started for free, we have free resources for you. We will do a free marketing assessment of your business to find out where you stand, where your opportunity, strengths, weaknesses lie to help you market your own business.

The link to get started is also in the show notes. Thanks so much for joining us. We’ll see you in the next episode.