Last weekend Las Vegas played host to a week of the biggest trade shows in the adult industry, attracting a hodgepodge of attendees and exhibitors ranging from businesses, manufacturers, distributors, producers, promoters, fans and everything else in between the world of porn so many of us have come to know and love. Sprinkled on top of the cocktail parties, dinners, porn stars, and decadence were a series of seminars addressing some of the most sober and pressing issues facing the online adult Industry today. Fortunately for me, I ended up at a seminar with far less threatening topics than Acacia or the War on Obscenity on its agenda.
The Business of Marketing Seminar last Tuesday morning featured an all-star line up of respected veterans in the adult online community and was perhaps the most lighthearted panel in the line up. Marketing people seem to be entertaining by nature and this year’s panelists offered up a combination of hard-hitting one-liners, pensive observations, serious advice and on occasion, stand- up comedy with seriously good timing. On deck were, Quentin Boyer from TopBucks, Rainey from XXXcash, Aly from Python, Cynthia from AEBN and Katie from AVN as the moderator.
Moderated by Katie from AVN, the seminar consisted of a Q&A session that prompted each panelist to respond to the moderator’s comments and questions. Following that session was a more intimate Q&A session that was opened up to audience members. Topics ranged from Personal Marketing, GEO targeting, US vs. International Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Branding, Online vs. Print Advertising and some ‘how to’ tips on building a brand without a budget; a question that was raised more than once. There were a few serious sober topics discussed concerning the ethics of Marketing. This topic drew the least amount of laughs and for good reason. There is a fine line that we can easily cross in marketing ourselves for position. For instance the lines could easily be skewed with legal teen niche and child pornography. There are webmasters out there who have legal content on their sites but are using meta tags with Lolita references to attract surfers and increase sales. Aly from Python beamed with daggers in her eyes when she said, “We don’t need to lower ourselves. There is plenty of money to be made in this business. It is dead wrong. I don’t care what your reasons are or if your content is legal. You are lowering the standards and are taking advantage of seriously sick people who hurt children.” Amen Aly. Preach it.
Even if you don’t have the budget to advertise like your competitors or the bigger companies, you can still effectively brand yourself. It’s called Personal and Relationship Marketing. Marketing without spending money. Rainey from XXXcash dubbed it as their #1 tool for Webmaster sign ups and offered up some advice, “You can make a name for yourself and your company by tapping into resources that are essentially free promotion. Write articles for the well-known on-line Webmaster Resources like XBiz, and post on GFY and the boards. Follow up with what you say you’ll do. Make yourself known. It’s free and it’s effective branding.” Aly reiterated the importance of this and added, “Go out and meet people. Show up to the events. Have a beer with them and be nice to people. People do business with their friends in this industry even if the cost is slightly higher to them. This is an industry of relationships.” Cynthia from AEBN commented, “Follow up in a timely manner with people. I can’t stand it when people don’t return phone calls or emails. I want to do business with people who are reachable and responsive.”
But still people wanted to know specifics - “What kind of budget do I need to brand myself?” “Where should I advertise?” “How much should I spend on each medium?” “How long should I track an ad campaign?” “What is the most effective tool of advertising, etc.?” And while none of the panelist came straight out with a plug for their favorites, some basic secrets were revealed: Spend about 60% of your budget on on-line advertising vs. print. Cynthia commented, “Print is harder to track and to know the actual value of the money you are spending on the campaign.” Track the campaign the whole way through. Give it 1-2 months to perform for you. If you’re not getting qualified traffic out of the deal move on. Buy targeted email lists if you have limited funds and spend at least half of your budget advertising to webmasters. “Let your webmasters promote the sites for you,” suggested Cynthia.
Speaking on the subject of International Marketing vs. US Marketing, Rainey stated, “I’ve seen a huge revenue stream through international traffic.” Yet there are still companies out there that have yet to tap into the international market. It used to be that the most difficult thing with international traffic was the billing issue but Aly insisted, “Ignoring international traffic is like ignoring gay traffic - it’s just stupid.”
With a host of tools for supporting international traffic such as dialers and GEO targeting tactics, there’s no reason not to tap into this market. GEO targeting, a popular tool that enables you to determine the real time location of your website’s visitors can help cater your international traffic more effectively. The panel conceded that German traffic is huge, with Italian, Dutch, French and Spanish traffic all in the mix as the top languages for International Traffic.
Any seminar wouldn’t be complete without some speculations, prophecies and predictions about the next big thing and the future of marketing. The technology prophets have been foretelling of a new medium that’s being introduced into our world: Mobile Marketing. Of course, it’s one of those things that Europe has already been on for years, which is why we Americans think it’s so hip. Mobile marketing is going to change the world, right? Aly from Python predicted, “It’s definitely expanding rapidly. It’s the next big thing in my opinion. It has to be. What else is out there?”
What exactly is Mobile Marketing? Basically more hi-tech gadgets and tools to view and download porn from just about from anywhere short of a microwave or hairdryer. Mobile Technology allows surfers to view porn on their Cell phones, or places it in everyday households as VOD (Video on Demand) on your TV. Soon household across Americas will have TV’s in their living rooms pre-wired for hardcore and every other niche in porn. While this may be the new “genie in a bottle” technology for marketing porn, some argue that the content and viewing pleasure of some mobile technology is greatly decreased. Cindy adds, “There are limitations on a cell phone with quality and with content. You can only stream soft-core.” Quentin from TopBucks downplayed the hype of cellular mobile marketing with, “I don’t find it that compelling of a medium. As far as viewing pleasure goes, it’s a big step back. I don’t know about you but if I’m watching porn, I want to view it on a big screen. Besides what’s next after that, “Porn on a pen?”
Now there’s a novel idea. Imagine how hard it would be to ever borrow another pen again…