Marc Ecko's 10 Rules for Getting "Influencer" Attention

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The dream is simple: get your product in the hands of celebrities or “influencers,” and they create a ripple effect that skyrockets you to fame and fortune.

What if Kim Kardashian tweets about you?

What if Hugh Jackman wears your custom shirts on the red carpet?

What if a top blogger includes you in a top-10 list?

What if you got a mention on The Office or another primetime show?

Sadly, sampling to “stars” seldom works out.

People who move the needle get a TON of stuff sent to them. The pic below is just part of my mail, and I’m not even a real celeb! Blurb and blog promotion requests received in one day, with the exception of one book:

One day's blurb and blog requests

So…how do YOU break through the noise?

This guest post will teach you. It’s written by Marc Ecko, founder of Marc Ecko Enterprises, a global fashion and lifestyle company. I wanted Marc to write this post because — in my opinion — he’s an expert at selling yourself without selling out. As CNBC put it, “Marc is living proof that you can be a marketing and business whiz and still be a true artist.”

Once a graffiti artist with no connections, Marc left the safety net of pharmacy school to start his own clothing company. Using hustle and creativity, he turned a $5,000 bag of cash into a global corporation worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

He created a lot of this success by repeatedly getting his products to impossible-to-reach icons (e.g. Spike Lee, Chuck D) and planning elaborate PR stunts (e.g. Air Force One graffiti hoax; buying Barry Bonds’ homerun record baseball and letting online votes determine its fate).

This post will explain his 10 rules — the do’s and don’ts — of his unique “swag bomb” approach to getting influencer attention. I agree with all of them.

Enjoy, replicate, and prosper…

ALSO: Marc will be answering questions in the comments, so leave your thoughts after the end of this post!

Enter Marc Ecko

Before Ecko was Ecko, it was just me, a suburban kid in New Jersey airbrushing stuff in my parents garage. In terms of hip hop, I was the quintessential outsider. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have any connections. All I knew was that I was passionate about my art, and that I wanted to make a business out of it.

In other words, I was in the exact position that basically every entrepreneur, author, and creative person in the world starts in. I had to make a name for myself–I had to crack in. I could only think of one way: giving stuff away for free to people who would like it. Taking action.

Over the years I perfected this strategy, using it to launch and build countless brands from Ecko Unltd to G Unit to Cut & Sew, Complex and Zoo York. Ecko, alone, has done billions of dollars in revenue since those days in the garage twenty years ago. Our collaboration with George Lucas and the iconic Star Wars brand was a direct result of this strategy. I’ll go to my grave proud of the fact that George Lucas actually said–and this is a quote–“No one has made STAR WARS cooler than ECKO.”

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A lot of people think that mailing samples is just that–throwing some crap in the mail and hope it works. Well, that couldn’t be more wrong. A Swag Bomb, properly executed, is a work of art. When done right can generate massive amounts of PR, connections and access.

When done improperly, it ends up here…in the pile of orphan books at the New York Times. Or worse, it ends up in the trash can or lays their unopened. You’ve worked too hard to let that happen, to throw that work away because you made some simple mistakes.

So let’s go back to that garage. I’ll show you how swag bombs were instrumental in building the Ecko brand and then the lessons I’ve learned–trust me, I made a lot of mistakes–along the way.

The first person I ever tried to send one to was Kool DJ Red Alert.  Back then he was one of, if not the, most dominant DJs in hip-hop, and Rolling Stone magazine would name him as one of the fifty most influential people in music. Every weekend night, in an era before iTunes and Spotify, everyone listened to Red Alert on the New York radio station 98.7 Kiss-FM, the audio bible of hip-hop.

I couldn’t wait until his Friday-night show. Red was famous for doing shout- outs. I had no patience for waiting on hold and doing the dial-up thing, so I went to my strong suit of communication: my art. During his radio show, I camped out at the Kinko’s and straight-up spammed his fax machine with “Echo Airbrushing” promos. Black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations of MCs standing encircled in a rap cypher. Or images shot from the floor to the sky, showing MCs jumping across the stage. All the images were unapologetically self-promotion- al—self-referential—and clearly branded and signed “Echo.” (I actually have a photo of one of the hats still–check it out)

And then one Friday night I’m listening to 98.7 like always, drawing in my black book, and I hear something on the radio.

“I gotta shout out my man Echo for blessing me with this fly gear! Yo, he got the fresh airbrushed gear, the craze snapback hats! My man Echo Airbrushing, yeah, yeah, Big Up Lakewood, New Jersey, and my man Echo, artwork is crazy.”

Whoa, what!?

The shout-out tasted good. I wanted more. I didn’t get complacent and didn’t let it fizzle as a one-shot thing; I had an instinctive grasp of the power of inertia, so I doubled down and sent him more.

I knew that I was on the verge of something. I knew because it felt authentic. I could sense that the timing was right and that I needed to take it to the next level.

I hope these rules–many of which I learned the hard way–will help you do the same with your own efforts.

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TEN RULES FOR BUILDING A SWAG BOMB 

1. Never Send Directly to Someone’s Home

I’ve had that happen. It’s fucking creepy. Everyone has a business address, and in this day and age, they’re sufficiently accessible. No one likes to feel like you’ve violated their personal space–and if you do that, that negative feeling is associated with your product, thus defeating the purpose.

Even creepier? Sending actual bombs. Look, I know it is a “swag bomb”, but there is no swag in sending unsolicited items to a personal address, particularly when the items are disguised to look like explosives.

For example, if you’re sending out a book (as I did; more on this shortly), don’t send them to reporter’s homes. That would be creepy. I sent mine to their office address, through my publisher, like normal people would do.

The same goes for email addresses. Don’t find every single email address the person has ever listed and blast them all at once. Don’t scour for the “private” or “personal” email because you think they don’t check the main one listed on their contact form. It makes you seem desperate–and weird. Find their public email and make your pitch. If you do it well, it will work. If it doesn’t, the problem is your pitch…not where you’re pitching it.

2. Never Expect Your Intended Audience to Even See It

So make it good enough that even if it gets to only his or her lieutenant—which will often be the case—you still make a material impact. In other words, if you’re in the t-shirt business, don’t send one shirt. Send an enormous box fill. Make the delivery a big event.

My friend Ryan Holiday did the marketing for American Apparel and instead of sending some small package, he sent a crate. One of the bloggers uploaded a video on YouTube and it did 125,000 views. That’s crazy. Look at Pepperidge Farms, which overnighted a box of “Milano” cookies to a blogger who wrote about the cookie. The act was memorable enough that the resulting post on reddit scored Pepperidge Farms over 500,000 new views and fans. But even if that had never gone public, it was still a cool way to hook a fan up–and all they would have been out was a couple bucks.

Me, I seeded my brand with the bona fide artists and instigators of pop culture. The motivation wasn’t as simple as “I hope they wear this”; it came from a desire to educate them, to land on their aesthetic radar, and to build a literacy of who I was and what I was trying to accomplish. So even if the package doesn’t go all the way to the top, it’s still making waves where it matters.

3. Never Send Just the Stock Shit

Think deeply about what you will send them, and work hard at customizing the content so that the end user will recognize this as an amazing, highly personalized gift. And it’s just that—a gift—so…never have expectations beyond giving a gift.

Back in the day, I could quote Do the Right Thing and Mo’ Better Blues backward and forward, so I sent Spike Lee some gear too. I heard he had a new movie out—a biopic of Malcolm X—so I sent him a sweatshirt with a meticulously painted portrait of Malcolm X on it. Personalization is crucial. I must have spent two days on that one.

Spike Lee graciously sent me a thank-you note—an actual signed letter from Spike! Fucking! Lee!—and that felt good. “Ya-dig? Sho-nuff.”

Take HBO sending custom bags to promote premiere of “Liberace”. They featured items tying into the biopic of excess living and luxury to relevant journalists. Custom Moet & Chandon bottle, engraved necklaces, the works. They went crazy over the top because that’s Liberace. Something stock wouldn’t have made any sense.

Another fun bit of inspiration. Remember Woot.com’s “bag of crap” deal? The reason it was so fun? Every once in awhile somebody’s bag would be full of cash. You can bet the internet blew up every time that happened. You can create that reaction with your own products too. You can blow people’s minds with a surprise every now and then.

4. Never Have Expectations, as It’s Just a Gift

The joy and purpose has to come from the confidence that you did it; you took action. Not everyone will acknowledge receipt. That’s okay. The point is the send out a lot of these–eventually you’ll get one or two big connections that subsidize all the misses. After all, I didn’t just send to Red Alert, but also Public Enemy’s Chuck D. Q-Tip. KRS-ONE. Essentially, I sent packages to all the cultural pioneers who inspired me.

For my book Unlabel, I hand-packed 15 Ecko-branded white shopping bags with red paper inside. Inside each was a big white Ecko branded watch, an Ecko fragrance, the super sweet wireless speaker that looks like a black spray paint can, plus Ecko earbuds. The reporters I sent them to were likely expecting a t-shirt (or just a book in a plain envelope and instead got a Swag Bomb that said Ecko was much more than that. Even though we invested a couple hundred dollars in the package, I’m not going to be upset if they don’t write about it.

A swag bomb is not a contract, there are no guarantees. Even when it is a $50,000 swag bag at the Oscars. It’s all about the hope that if you send the right stuff and hit the right chord, magic will happen.

5. Never Handwrite Your Marketing Materials

It’s one thing to send a handwritten cover note (preferably a 6” x 4.5” stock postcard) that’s less than twenty words. Fine. But it’s something else to send an all-handwritten business proposal that looks like it came from Son of Sam. I don’t care how legible your writing is. Type.

Don’t think of this as sending “fan mail.” This is a professionally produced, hyper-customized presentation. When you send me (or anyone) a solicitation of your idea, or your product, or the marketing materials of who you are and what you’re trying to sell, work backward from the experience of cracking open the box from its taped seal.

6. Never Use Second-Hand Packaging Materials

A used Trapper Keeper folder— with maybe a sticker over the dents so that you pass it off as new—ain’t cutting it. Why should I take your idea seriously if you’re not even willing to make a quick trip to Staples? Presentation is everything.

For example, early on I helped my best friend Cale (an aspiring R&B singer) get a meeting with Michael Bivins (Biv) with one of my jackets. Biv, a member of New Edition and Bell Biv Devoe, was the Simon Cowell of early-1990s R&B; he had a knack for discovering young talent, taking chances, and making stars out of nobodies like three Philly kids who became Boyz II Men.

We went all out. I made the jacket in the Blue Room of my garage, using a canvas of Swarovski crystals I had copped from a rummage store. Black, pewter, red, and clear. I bedazzled the hell out of that thing, one crystal at a time. Then, I tucked the cassette of my best friend Cale, along with a note, in the left chest pocket. That’s what we really wanted him to see.

Same goes if you’re more established–don’t just have the warehouse or your manufacturer (or Amazon.com) send some package on your behalf. Be legit, handle it like it’s a work of art. Someone complained to Old Spice recently, so they unsolicitedly hooked the guy up. But look how professional it looks–it wasn’t a couple sticks of deodorant in a box. It looks legit–like they actually care.

7. Never Stalk

If you have a phone number or email of an executive assistant, fine, it’s okay to call once in advance and then again once in confirmation of receipt. (You can also send it with a certified receipt, so you know who signed for it, and when.) But don’t call repeatedly like some psycho. Not cool.

Look at all the gift bags they give out at SXSW each year. Can you imagine if taking one was an implicit contract with the companies to follow you on social media or beg you for favors? It’d be a nightmare. People would be afraid that taking a t-shirt was akin to signing your life away.

Treat handlers (assistant, publicist, manager, associate) with respect. Not only is this the right thing to do, but this could be the hand of the king—and they’ll later whisper into the king’s ear.

In fact, after you confirm the receipt, consider the ball to be in their court. Don’t do anything until they make the next move. Got it?

8. Never Forget to Include Your Name, Email, and Phone Number

 Don’t presume that anyone is going to read a long letter. If the visual impact and the overall wraparound isn’t there, you’re dead. So make sure it looks good, feels good, and that it emotes your goals. And make it as clear as the sun who sent it. God-forbid you make a connection and then they don’t know what to do about it.

After we gave the jacket to Biv, we sat on pins and needles waiting. At three o’clock in the morning, the phone rang.

“Yo, is this Marc? This is Biv.” Biv’s signature gravelly voice.

“Hi, um, yeah, this is . . .” I tried to remember my name.

“I want to hook up with your man Cale. Tell him to be at the Sheraton in Red Bank in thirty minutes.”

Three thirty am. Cale didn’t chicken out. Cale jumped on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Cale took action. Two weeks later, Biv signed Cale to his newly formed imprint on Motown Records called Biv 10 Records.

When you get, The Call, be ready to go. No matter the time of day.

9. Never Send a Picture of Yourself Fan-Boying Out

Again, creepy. Let the content and the high concept speak for you. Don’t send some weird headshot.

Don’t be the guys and girls in these photos. Don’t! Look how miserable (but patient) the celebs are. But that would immediately stop if the people followed up with “Now let me tell you about my awesome business idea.” That chance was blown.

If there ever was someone to fanboy over in my personal life, it was George Lucas. However, instead of sending strange photos of my star wars collection, I waited until I was near Lucas, and casually showed him my geeked-out Yoda BlackBerry case I had personally made, and we instantly had a good vibe. There is a time and place for fanboy-dom, and pre-pitch isn’t it. (Here I am with George–see how calm I am being? It was hard but I made it.)

10. Never Gush

Notable figures don’t like being fawned over. Be careful to whom you say—and how often you say— “I love you.” (Good rule for life in general.) Don’t tell them, “You are my idol.” Speak matter-of-factly, and acknowledge the traits or practices that you respect and admire.

When Barry Sanders scored a touchdown, he would casually toss the football back to the ref, shrugging, and living by the credo “Act like you’ve been there before.” That should be you.

 Leave the gushing to them. After all, if you do it right, they’ll be so grateful or impressed by the gift that they’ll give you the treatment.

 CONCLUSION

There is one reality every entrepreneur has to face. You’re always pitching. You never stop auditioning. Even for Spike, even Mark Zuckerberg, even for the president.

The Swag Bomb is part of that. Get your stuff–because it’s great–in the hands of as many important people as you can. Sweat and bleed and innovate to make that happen.

 An authentic personal brand is more than just an idea. It’s not static. It’s not enough to say I have a brilliant idea and then lock it in your laptop. And it’s not enough to just talk about it, tweet about it, blog about it. Talk is cheap. An authentic, unique voice is a doer.

You will always keep pitching, and you will always have to deal with rejections. This doesn’t mean you should give up; it means you’re human and you have a pulse.

It’s tough to find famous examples of companies, artists, or individuals who didn’t get there in some way with excellent presentation and artistry in bringing in important early influencers and adopts.

The more telling example is the thousands of companies and millions of people you haven’t heard of: the artists, entrepreneurs, creators, and would-be instigators who talked a good game but never put themselves or there or did the work to get noticed.

Afterword by Tim

The “Swag Bomb” approach has many applications. Instead of customization, you can choose a unique venue, as I did when I gave away 500+ copies of The 4-Hour Chef at a TechCrunch Disrupt event, knowing that bloggers and other media would be there. It was unexpected, and the copies disappeared within hours, leading to tons of social media chatter when it mattered (during launch).

Last but not least, it often pays to NOT go for the most popular celebs, Twitter accounts, or otherwise. Remember the bar scene in A Beautiful Mind? On a 1-10 scale, 10 being the most trafficked, three or four 7 bloggers featuring you is far better — and easier/faster to achieve — than you obsessing over landing one 10 blogger.

For more tips and tricks for how to jump from niche to mega-mainstream, I highly recommend you check out Marc’s first book, Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out.

Marc will also be answering questions in the comments, so please share your questions below! If you have any sample-sending success stories of your own, I’d love to hear them.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

252 Replies to “Marc Ecko's 10 Rules for Getting "Influencer" Attention”

  1. I give other people advice that i see on this blog. They think im an expert but i say i just play one on the internet. Im about to start a blog on the 80/20 of different activities similar to what you did in 4 hour chef. What do you think?

    1. Please do, I was thinking of doing the same thing. Or it could be a collective movement of some sort, where everyone could post different 80/20 subjects that would then allow you to search through a given database. Definitely something that needs to be put out there, but something rather difficult to really implement.

  2. Hi Marc, thanks for the details about how to properly get your name out there.

    Would these tactics still apply well to startups in the B2B world? Consumer facing products tend to have more identifiable influencers than business to business does. Would it be something as simple as identifying target customers/bloggers/etc. that would be willing to not only check out your product, but also tell other people about them?

      1. Hey marc thanks for the advice I have a clothing Brand that is really really dope I read your story about you in da garage MAKIN shirts I can so relate to that da steps you took to get were your at is. Literally doin the same thing you did but Iam doin it on my own I was already doin or on da process of doin exactly what your TAlkin bout Iam at the level were I need the right people to wear my brand an talk about it I Desighns everything my self ok ONLY PROBLEM I HAVE IS SALEIN MY CLOTHING AT A PROFITABLE AMOUNT FOR PEOPLE LOVE MY WORK AN I KEEP GETTIN BETTER BUY MY PRICES IS SCARING THEM AWAY AN THE PRICE IAM CHARGING IS NOT EVEN MY PRICE FOR EXAMPLE ITS 50 $ just to make da item now I have to make a profit so I charge 75 $ which means Iam only makin 25 $ profit an Iam scarin da custermers away when they hear 75$ for a shirt from me that’s up & coming not like Iam balmain or a high end fashion yet so they feel like they should pay cheaper cause Iam up & coming but that’s mh only problem other then that Iam a monster at designinh I have a real passion an I love it it nothin for me to put the foot work in an hustle cause I love to hustle its nothin to sale a item but it’s just my price now we no rappers lie in they songs about havin money not sAyin this rapper is liein but I made a shirt for troy Ave an he loved it but soon as I told him da price he said it was too high an I have to bring the cost down to make it profitable which I agreeed wit him but I even scared away a well noin rapper cause my price I really need help marc try to check out my Desighns [Moderator: company info. removed]

  3. This is great advice in a world that just wants to take the easy and non creative way out by spamming or cold calling strangers. This is totally legit. Lazy tactics come off slimey and get ignored.

  4. Are there applications of this method to non-physical products such as websites? Any best practice methods for engaging potential influential users who can accelerate the spreading of the word? Obviously, sending them a link in an email is about as powerful as a spud gun!

    1. The business of “impressions”. Meaning– “first impressions”. Think of those instances in your life, when someone made them on YOU. When they just stuck.

      I have countless instances and anecdotes (Including how I befriended George Lucas, in the book)– that express the idea of a STICKY emotional impact.

      My point is that this sort of hand-to-hand marketing is crucial, and far more intimate than splashing in/out.

  5. (I clearly missed the rules…my apologies. Feel free to remove my previous post)

    Been following Marc for a long time now. I even wrote a blog based on a video I watched of Marc speaking about how mentorship can come from the most unlikely of persons. Definitely a brilliant businessman, and indeed an influencer. Thanks for posting Tim.

  6. Solid points. Can’t wait to use these on Tim. Muahahah.

    Might I add one thing. Make sure you’re reaching out to the right person. Your outreach can be perfect but if you’re aiming in the wrong direction it doesn’t matter.

    (Pssst. Tim. I think the byline may be wrongly attributed to mr holiday)

  7. Great post! Mark has been one of my favorite entrepreneurs since I was a kid especially since I am from the Hip Hop generation. This was definitely a good read.

    It was also cool meeting you in SF a couple weeks ago Tim (I was the guy that lost 40lbs with the 4 hour body).

  8. Hey Marc, this was really super helpful, I always thought it strange that fans would go into raving-fan mode rather than try to connect with their celeb on a more personal level.

    Quick Q for you: Do you have ideas on how to apply this to digital products? I’m sure bloggers receive “Hey check out my e-course/e-book” emails all the time, the same way you and Tim get sent real things. Any tips on how to really nail the pitch. (My only thoughts thus far are to establish a relationship with them beforehand, which can be difficult in itself)

    1. Establishing a “relationship” first, is near impossible.

      One suggestion is practice patience. Create the wedge, or the opening…and wait.

      wait still.

      Re-affirm your presence, BUT DO NOT POUNCE.

      When the time is right (INTUITIVELY), and “trust” or “recognition of your attendance” is garnered…POUNCE.

      The SWAG bomb need not be deployed all at once. The point is, when it blows up…it had better leave an emotional impact.

  9. Props to you brother. Its good to hear of somebodies roots when they have grown so big. Definitely a passion I can relate to. Have you ever experienced a disconnect in an industry that you had to overcome. I created the first individual cleaner for microphones and musicians love it. I’m finding out that corporate buyers for the retail side of the industry are not musicians and so can’t relate to the need for the product.. Any suggestions?

      1. Reed, Great “why didn’t I think of that?” products! I run one of the top concert arenas in the world. If you want to send some product, I’d be happy to put them in lockers rooms of top acts and also give to stage managers. You could consider sending packs to other arenas and venues so they can “regift” to the acts that visit them. Rock on!

  10. Nice post. I was expecting some over the top/expensive ideas. These seem like good common sense. I like the part to give just to give and not expect too much. Many beginners try to reach out to one, two or three people, get rejected and give up. If you don’t expect anything, then reaching out to ten and having one respond is a great start.

    Thanks for the solid piece.

  11. I appreciate the details Marc shared from his start, I hadn’t heard his story before. This sounds like a way to get visibility for your products but are there any tips for how to do the same for services?

    1. Same rules apply.

      Don’t ask yourself about what’s in the box– but rather how you can create a deep emotional impact/impression in the shortest amount of time– and with the greatest exhibition that you can think in a BESPOKE (CUSTOM 1 for 1) fashion.

      To do this, you can send another product, that creates the emotional state that your service aims to produce. Time savings? Money savings? There are ways to express those concepts– that only need be SYMBOLIC of what your services can do. Make sense???

      1. Thanks so much Marc and Tim!

        this TOTALLY makes sense

        “To do this, you can send another product, that creates the emotional state that your service aims to produce. Time savings? Money savings? There are ways to express those concepts– that only need be SYMBOLIC of what your services can do. Make sense???”

        It seems like the biggest take away from this is the “personalization” aspect. It’s the most powerful way to evoke a FEELING (emotion) from the recipient. It’s the classic “How To Win Friends and Influence People” theory. >> MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SPECIAL.

        Just out of curiosity Marc, if you were to launch a web based or SaaS startup….. what ideas or space might you be looking into?

        -@Aronado

        thanks!!! awesome post.

      2. I also offer solution to problems and couldn’t relate to my industry. Yet your comment of expressing the final result with something tangible….expressing what the service is about and the result they can get by offering something related opened my eyes. THANK YOU

        I GOT IT

  12. Hey Marc,

    I absolutely loved your post. (Thank you Tim for sharing) I am a 19 year old aspiring entrepreneur, and more recently I have come up with a way to reinvent how we use/perceive search engines. My plan is to start a company, and I have been working on concept designs. Along with some concept designs, I have been working on a business plan, but one thing that I know is that I am slightly deficient in the ability to get the word out on what I am up to. (Market myself/acquiring that “influencer” attention)

    I was wondering if you had any recommendations for a web based startup that is trying to gain exposure. I can definitely see applications of the techniques you’ve already outlined, but I was curious if there would be anything specific you could recommend in my situation. I am very big about staying unique and absolutely different, so any advice would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Ali

    1. Ali, you may appreciate Dane Maxwells’ insights into starting a web-based software business. I learn a lot from his free videos. From that model, you want to pre-sell whatever service you’re providing. Talk to the prospective customer and really find out what they’re pain is and how your product or service can help. Then offer them a discount if they pre-pay for the service. Then build/create/refine it. This way you know you have a viable market for your product.

    2. Ali, I’m round 19 as well, you wanna catch up and talk?

      It’s pretty hard to find people at our age which are into entrepreneurship (I only know 5 or 6 from my personal contacts), and it’d be fun to rub heads.

  13. Hi loves!

    GREAT post. Incredibly inspiring. The whole time I was reading My thoughts were wandering to how I might be able to apply the Swag Bomb idea to what I am virtually creating. Ended up with a SWEET thought flash- exactly what I am going to do! Thank you so much for taking the time to inspire and share.

    Much love,

    Tatum

  14. Insightful—and yet very common sensical—post, thanks Tim & Marc! It’s interesting how so many of these points can be put into the very simple terms of, “How would you feel if you were this person and receiving this swag bomb?” Empathy, and the ability to understand another’s perspective, are such crucial tools, even in the game of self-promotion!

    Two questions for Marc:

    1. How do you determine who is the best audience to send your products to? I read that you sent to many of the people who inspired and influenced you—which seems to me to be a great start. Any other suggestions for how, and who, to position swag bombs to?

    2. What about swag bombs for service-based enterprises, as opposed to product-based businesses? If I don’t have my own branded products to offer (and no way in hell am I going to send a t-shirt with my logo on it!), is it sufficient to send a beautiful package of relevant products from other companies?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    1. my answers:

      1.) It’s mostly a qualitative judgement. The key is not to always send to the obvious folks– and deliberately pin-point some of the OG’s in the space. Red Alert was not the most famous in the music scene back inthe day, but he was deeply RESPECTED.

      2.) see MY reply to—>> Sean Oliver — September 29th, 2013, 10:33 pm above in the comments.

  15. I make electronic music and this gave me a good idea. I could pass custom designed thumb drives containing my music to dj’s after their shows. Is there anything more I could do?

    1. Hey David,

      I work full time in music A&R and publishing for one of the big firms (you can prob guess who) and you can definitely work up a bigger and more interesting bespoke package than just USB sticks. Think about what some of the more creative indie bands are doing: custom wooden engraved thumb drives, weird chip-board dynamic pulses, musical greeting cards, anything is possible. Think about ANY situation where music is, and get creative!

  16. First of all I had completely no idea that the correct term is a “Swag Bomb”. Thanks for the enlightement. In my native language the literal translation is a “Creative Shipping”. Now I now how to google the heck out of the topic 🙂

    Second – great post. I’m slowly finishing my book (fiction). Pitching it where I aim to get a connection will require a great deal of smart actions. Without the help of a huge publisher I’ll be there all on my own.

    And also a question, if I may. How would you recommend to assemble an effective swag bomb if you want to pitch a product that is a “standalone”, without the other branded products around? In other words: you pitched your book in the cool Ecko-pack, but on what basis would you prepare the pack for a book that has no connection with other brands?

    1. 1st of F@#K big publishers, or big anything that have the Hubris of the Titanic running into glaciers.

      2, see MY reply to—>> Sean Oliver — September 29th, 2013, 10:33 pm above in the comments. The products can be VIRTUAL, and the notion still applies.

  17. I read this and wonder how can this be applied to “services” swag bomb?

    I design blogs and websites, what can I send in a way that can catch the attention of you, Marc? Or Tim?

    1. Sam Ovens has a great video about this. He cut out ads of businesses in the phone book that had low quality websites and sent them a package basically saying, “what do people do when they see this ad? here’s how you could improve your website–>link to video online giving free tips.”

  18. Thanks Tim for sharing Marc’s rules. I’m a ‘gusher’ by nature, but I can see why holding back is more appropriate. It’s business, not a date! 🙂

    Marc, I do agree with the value of personalizing and not cheaping out. After reading your article I came up with an idea and I would appreciate your feedback. I will be sending something exclusive to each of my clients to remind them of their uniqueness. While the items are not expensive, they are one-of-a-kind and carefully chosen with each person’s essence in mind. Would a nicely packaged swag bomb like this be effective too in your opinion or is it not enough?

    Thank you.

  19. Hi Mark and Tim!

    I do photography and want to intern and learn from a sucessfull fashion photographer. How do i get there attention if i am still learning and my work is not the best?

    1. express the idea that you will do ANYTHING. Sweep a floor. Clean a toilet. Express that the only currency that matters to you— is being in the presence of greatness and mastery. Do this…but do not come off creepy. be sensitive to an artists (photographers) natural disposition to be alone, or marginally anti-social. Good luck!!!!!

  20. I can attest to the fact that sending care packages works!

    With my clothing company in high school we mailed to media & retailers which got us a bunch of interviews and a 9.5 million dollar licensing deal with Starter Apparel when we were 18.

    Then with my energy drink company under the same brand would send cases out and ended up getting featured in Maxim from a care package and TV shows, music videos by supplying for their sets. Ultimately sold the drinks into 55,000 retail stores and the best store we were in was Costco due to them asking us to fly out to meet with them because the secretaries & security guards would always drink them since we sent cases to the front desk every month just hoping someone important would see, and it worked!

    Moral of the Story: Marc has lived & breathed every word and obviously Tim is Tim so this article is extra awesome.

  21. Great tips, Marc and Tim. I’m an unknown author with a freshly self-published book – with all the competition out there, this post has definitely inspired me to come up with a whole new approach to pitching to bloggers and reviewers.

  22. Awesome post Tim and Marc! Funny timing.

    We just launched a new premium off-field apparel brand for elite athletes 2 weeks back… we were able to get our shirts and gear on dozens of major league baseball players mainly through hard work networking w/ athletes… heck, even got a ton of pics w/ them wearing it (including big names like Mike Trout)… and a full on write up on mlb.com and a 15 second mention live on the TV broadcast of the Astros game 2 weeks ago complete with our damn domain name plastered on the tv screen. Ha, was cool.

    So my question Marc… this first rollout of a limited edition “cause” t shirt went decently well… so we’ve got a good start and some momentum… but we want to take this brand big and have it be THE clothing brand elite athletes wear off-field (on the way to games, travel days, heck… even everyday wear) and have that trickle down to the larger market.

    … but, whats your ask when you send these big names your gear?

    Are you just asking for a meeting when you send the gear or are you putting the full ask there in the “Swag Bomb”? I’d assume the full ask… so you’re not wasting the persons time wondering why they need to talk to you. Right?

    We’re excited man. But want to really leverage these relationships we’re building more than we currently are… without going overboard and hurting the relationship w/ them. Like you said, even if they don’t respond to us we want them to say… “this gear is friggin’ awesome”… and start wearing it and respecting the brand.

    Much appreciated guys!

    – Trevor

    1. Sometimes — them just wearing it, creating the evidence for your potential relevance is ENOUGH. They get tons of free shit. Free alone is not good enough to be worn.

      Collect that evidence. In photography, etc– and share it with your buy side.

      To the extent that there is MORE there, than pounce. But I would not spoil a great user acquisition strategy with other motives of a potentially less likely ASK. Make sense?

      1. Awesome. I love it. Makes total sense man. That’s the approach we’ve been taking… just getting people to wear it… then leveraging those pics on our social media, in our store, etc. One of them went on to design our first “cause” shirt w/ us (raised a couple grand for charity) which was cool.

        Thanks for the advice Mark!

        – Trevor

  23. This is a good and informative post.

    btw, Tim, just want to ask is there a way to contact you directly, I sent a few emails, but without response.

    I want to ask you an advice on one topic, will you please let me know on the email I’ve submitted.

    Tnx

  24. Hi Marc,

    Where do you believe the best art comes out of? Pain? Love? Have you ever had long periods of time where you didn’t want to create? What did you do to start creating again?

    Cheers,

    Biggie

    1. Pain.

      And love.

      All deep emotional states. You harvest your creativity in the REST zones, subsequently after those big great emotional instances. It’s in that quiet, when you can process it that the best ideas/solutions are generated.

      Expect the pain. Live for the love and the heart break. You are not alone—

      especially if you know how to harvest it.

      +me

      1. 1) I just saw a talk by Seth Godin and he was adamant about fusing art and marketing, suggesting that originality and balls are general– and thus pertain to many areas of activity. I have always struggled with this dichotomy…you seem to have found a way to solve this problem. Staying “real” and producing commercially viable art is quite a puzzle to most artists, it seems.

        2) Your comment on art coming from ALL deep emotional states was very inspiring to say the least…I’m over the persistent notion that art must come only from pain… although it seems it often does (Elliot Smith etc…)

        I know these are not questions but I needed to get that off my chest…

        thank you for sharing your experiences….

        It helps to hear the voice of someone who speaks honestly and has actually done shit, not just talked about it.

        peace

    2. Hi Biggie,

      You might want to check out ‘The war of art’ by Steven Pressfield. It contains some interesting thoughts that relate to your question.

      Take care!

  25. Marc, great post. I think you covered it all for this topic so that people really understand that if you spam and stalk a celeb with your products, services, etc, it will have the reverse effect. I think that making yourself heard is really important when growing a business because it’s all part of the marketing mix.

    People dont realize that the internet gave them one of the biggest window of opportunity ever. A creator needs to focus mostly on the quality and serviceability of their creation because as people become aware of the great creation, it will speak for itself.

    My point is, focus on your stuff. Make it better. Service it better. It will then serve as your signature.

    1. Exactly right.

      Here’s the thing: if you send a letter with a product that implies an expectation (e.g. “Hope you love it. A tweet would be great!”), then many people feel like shills or wh*res for helping you. In other words, they feel like a cheap date or a hired gun.

      On the other hand, if you just send an awesome product with “Hope you love it as much as we do!”, the influencer can promote/share it and feel clean and good about the it.

      Hope that makes sense,

      Tim

      1. Marc hit on this perfectly. We’ve done our job in the targeting, personalizing, and sending. Our actions and integrity are in tact and complete. Seems to me that the if we truly invest the time and energy into learning about our prospects and really personalizing these things….. our odds for a positive response are much, much greater.

        Great post dudes. Thanks!

        @Aronado

      2. A good point of reference would be how AMA’s are conducted on Reddit. Give, give, give and THEN soft-sell your product (or movie/service/etc).

      3. Tim,

        I had a question in regards to a reply you posted after a comment from Chris on 09-30-13 @ 1:51 AM.

        You basically mention the recipient should be free to share the gift at their own discretion…Are you insinuating that if the gift is good enough, it will be endorsed without a requested call to action?

        Please help clarify… Thanks Tim!

      4. Tim,

        I like it. Well said. I once sent a tithe check (monetary biblical gift) to author Dr. Wayne Dyer with a simple thank you for his inspiring books. Apparently I touched him because he sent back a full page handwritten note and a whole collection of more of his books and tapes. Totally unexpected.

        Unforgettable.

        Thank you Tim and Marc for your contribution to Lifestyle Design.

        Alexandra

        PS Excited about discovering/creating my muse.

  26. I remember seeing your early art advertisements in SLAM magazine back in the day. Back then, I think you were just getting it going. Who are usually the most approachable? Magazine editors? Newspaper editors? Agents?

    1. I’d be cautious with “editors” & “agents”. That said they are often the gatekeepers. To that extent, find the ones who seem (qualitatively) to have deep respect amongst their peers.

      +me

  27. Hi Marc

    Thank you so much for a really valuable and insightful post!

    A question: I am in the process of preparing to launch our product/service (disruptive website). Would you recommend I start trying to reach out to Influencers now, or should I wait once we’ve launched?

    1. My two cents: wait until you’re launched. You can’t control the fire; you can only start it. This means you can easily end up with influencers telling the world… while no one can buy your product. Make sure it’s available before risking broadcast.

  28. Tim,

    I did it!! My family and I left my 70-90 hour job to move to Taichung, Taiwan. We are all studying Chinese and loving it. We rented a beautiful apartment for a fraction of the cost of living in the US. It took me about a month to relax after working like a crazy man for 20 plus years. I love your book as it gave me the inspiration to take the dive. I have an accountant running all finances and a manager running the business back home. Next month my family and I are doing a family picture shoot that will pay for language school.

    Thank u man!!!!!

  29. Great advice. Give respect to people that they deserve. They worked hard to get where they are. But most did have humble beginnings and are willing to assist with the right connection.

  30. Reading this post was the best part about today’s 5am wake-up. Thank you!

    I’d like to know how you decide how much is too much in regards to money, time, and product sent in swag bombs. I’m a traditionally published author who isn’t seeing the promo I’d hoped from my publisher, and I’d like to do something special to reinvigorate my series after the third book comes out. Considering its coming from my own pockets but is tax deductible, what’s a reasonable percentage of my advance to spend on this sort of gamble?

    Thanks!

  31. @Marc. Thanks for your time and effort in the above posting. Very inspirational. How would the above apply if you wanted to offer a service instead of a tangible product?

    Kind Regards,

    Niall

  32. Having just done my first successful kickstarter, my PR friend who didn’t know my industry spent time building lists from some public database and contacting them with little success. With a poor first week, I went through the places I wanted to be covered reading tonnes of content trying to find the journalists that would be interested.

    When I finally got through to a journalist at GigaOM, we had a skype conversation where she started “I’ve been waiting for somebody to build this.” Applying the same strategy of finding journalists that already love what I love, I got extensive coverage and the campaign was successful.

    For celebrities, I must presume the same is true, they need to love what I love already. I am trying to reinvent the furniture design industry and know that Brad Pitt loves furniture as he visited where I used to work several times. http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2334/2439483974_0c8bb3cda0_z.jpg?zz=1 I know Pharell loves contemporary furniture design as he designed some of his own (which is really cool too http://api.ning.com/files/MkUHX1iAVHFDbl0E-47tebOmFJHVvN0CmTovdmY3gdkBWdmCo8jcwFqALcxQEc8d1XV4eqgAeyn8alDKNA2NJIrIRvNNObAt/pharrelltankchair.jpg). I know Ice Cube studied architectural drafting before he became a muscian.

    The problem is I have no idea how to find their addresses and no idea how to pay for the swag which can get pricey which I guess means I have to be far more selective. Although, it’s quite easy for me to personalise everything, in a way that’s what the Kickstarter was about, personalisation for everyone. I am going to do personalised standing desks for my next campaign and thought it would be good to send Shaq a standing desk that is the just right height for him…with a superman logo.

  33. SInce a few people are asking about digital products, I’ll chime in with a couple ideas, though I’d like to hear Marc’s thoughts.

    When you’re sending anything, whether it’s t-shirts or a post card, what you’re really sending is an idea or a message, hopefully an offer.  The purpose of the swag is to get that offer delivered, which is the hardest part of marketing.  The bomb is designed to hold their attention long enough to get that message delivered.

    So if you have a digital product, your goal is still only to grab their attention long enough to deliver a message and hopefully impress them.  It doesn’t matter what you send as long as it meets that goal.

    A classic example is Dan Kennedy’s brief case direct mail.  When he wants to sell a $100,000 product he might put an old school tape recorder in a nice brief case with a note that says hit play.  When you hit play there’s a carefully tailored sales pitch which ends with a call to action (pick up the phone).

    When you mail this there’s 99% chance it’s getting opened. When they open it, there’s 99% chance they are going to listen to the pitch.  Even without any swag, the goal has still been met, delivering the message.  At its core we’re talking about direct mail.

    The rules of direct mail math also apply here.  As long as you’re spending less on swag than your conversion rate * revenue generated, you’re campaign is profitable.  Tim might make you a few hundred thousand with a single tweet, so spending a few grand getting his attention could be easily worth it.  I think most people under estimate how much they can spend on effective marketing by a lot.  /rambling

    1. well said!

      For more —>> 2, see MY reply to—>> Sean Oliver — September 29th, 2013, 10:33 pm above in the comments. The products can be VIRTUAL, and the notion still applies.

  34. Tim,

    regarding the bar scene scene in A Beautiful Mind and your blogger analogy, it seems it can go either way.

    For example, if everyone thinks the high-trafficked bloggers or the 10 at the bar is too difficult/time-consuming to get, then it can be easier/faster for us to get it because of the lack of competition. This is one of the big points I took away from the 4HWW.

    I guess we have to play this case-by-case.

  35. Recently, my blog subscriptions numbers have slowed (halted), my Facebook talking about’s have dropped drastically, but I’m remaining consistent in my writing.

    What is the number one recommendation you have for building a community that shares your work?

    I’ve given T-shirts, built a collection of free stuff on the internet and I even a free eBook for subscribers. The initial momentum is good, but it drops off to a baseline that is basically unsustainable.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

    1. Inspect the product. Whats your differentiator?

      You have to be intellectually honest, brutal even— if the “there is there”? Who helps call shit on you?

      Is there an alternative MEDIUM to express the product? Beyond “text”? Video? Etc.

      +me

      1. I did a version of this during a raffle I held a month ago. I asked for improvements, finding buttons that don’t work, what my audience would like to see more of, etc. I made these modifications but they were more superficial and layout based.

        In terms of a differentiator, I’ll do an overhaul and repaint the walls and get people I trust to provide honest opinions.

        Would the addition of an outsiders opinion be weighed more heavily than those close to me, to skew for bias? Or should they all be weighed equally, including my own opinions for my site?

        Thanks Marc.

        — Benny

  36. Many thanks to Marc (and Tim, of course!).

    QUICK QUESTION #1: Did you ever struggle with pricing your products appropriately? Swag bombs are one thing, but did you ever lack the confidence to price your regular products the way you did?

    QUICK QUESTION #2: With all this promo activity you did, did you ever get people asking for freebies? If so, how did you handle them?

    I agree with a lot of what you said about how to interact with celebrities. Having been lucky enough to meet a lot of famous people over my lifetime, the number one rule that I learned is to ‘be cool’. Regular people might like to feel like celebrities, but celebrities just want to feel like regular people.

    This came a great time, since I’m trying to build my own following right now.

    All the best!

    1. #1: Hell yes. Pricing is always an issue. No one bets enough on the winning horse. Or too little on the loser. It’s a persistent and iterative challenge.

      #2: Hells yes. Worst is having to say NO to family/friends- who often feel entitled. I talk about this, and NEPOTISM in my book.

      Best of Luck!!!

  37. About targeting, I would add :

    – make sure people receive the right product for the person they think they are, more than who they actually are. EGO

    – see what they could do with your product and what it can possibly bring to them.

    For example, I sell diet products and these things are very touchy !

  38. Marc,

    Thanks for writing. This was exactly what I needed and what I need to learn and hone.

    I do comprehensive spiritual advising/support, providing a concierge-like service that includes coaching calls on-tap, recorded guided meditations, and more. I’m working on getting on the radar of people who could afford this and would be interested in it–someone who’s having a midlife crisis and wants a deeper connection to God (either from a religious or nondenominational approach) or someone who’s been seeking for a long time and never got the support that they needed.

    I’m going to get your book.

    In the meantime, do you have any ideas?

    Thank you so much and may you be blessed with everything that you want for yourself, that is in the Highest Good.

    Jacob

  39. Hi Marc,

    Love your writing style, thanks for sharing!

    It’s often difficult to find a proper email address, business address or telephone number of the people you want to talk to. At the same time Twitter and Facebook have become legit communications channels. Would you count that as stalking already? What’s the best way to use these channels to get in touch? How do you put a good catch into 140 characters?

  40. This post was the bomb!

    It’s like Seth Godin’s purple cow. Be memorable with class.

    I got on E Entertainment TV this way as a health expert. I had a super creative way I made my resume. Kinda hard to explain, since so many details. Anyway, everyone was storming this E’s Casting Director at a mini publicity summit. They practically needed hooks to get people to leave talking about themselves and fawning all over her.

    When it was my turn, I took like 10 seconds, gave her my resume, (which she loved), said what I can do for her, and left. The next day they called and sent over an entire film crew (10 people), huge TV truck with huge disk on top, to shoot me.

    Hey, how would you swag a book to make it stand out? I have a new book coming out next week, 101 Awesome Things to Do for Someone Who’s Sick.

  41. I’d love to know how to use this tactic for a service business, like a web design or marketing company. When you make products you can give them away, but in a service business is requires something else.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  42. Marc….As usual, you are right on point with your suggestions. What are your thoughts on asking the influencer for a picture or shout out after you have confirmed they have received your product? Sometimes we know the product has been delivered to the influencer, but we still would love to have that “money shot”. Is it too forward to follow up by asking for them to take a photo with the product?

  43. The common and crucial idea that runs throughout this entire article is that you need to remain authentic and put great care into what you do when you reach out to someone. One of the tragedies of the internet, and email, is the lack of authenticity in what a lot of companies do because they see social media and the like as a check box, not an opportunity to stand out.

    Thank you Marc – I’m curious to hear what has worked on you in terms of someone trying to reach out and make an impression? (that you didn’t touch on in your list)

  44. This is such an inspiring post. Thanks Marc and Tim for sharing. I am a writer/cartoonist, so right now my product is not a tangible object, but my website that features my work.

    I think a good way for me to do digital “swag bombs” is to create artwork for people I admire in the digital space and place it in spots they and their fans will admire.

  45. Hey Mark, awesome column, and this advice to me is really good right now & I will be ordering your book. My clothing company is starting to make waves over here in the UK and we’re only a year in, I have thousands of questions, but what is the thought process when choosing whom to send my Swag Bag too? By this I mean, did you send out literally hundreds or did you look for open opportunities and acted accordingly?

  46. Thanks Marc. This amazing. I’m planning my first conference and I’d been thinking about some of the details of creating an unforgettable experience for that attendees. I’ll be referring back to your post.

  47. What if it’s not a hardgood product, but a service…I have had over 50 guys in the NFL…have used my service. But I relocated to a market where I have no name recognition….I am very unique…one of a kind in my approach..or so I believe. By the way as a ” gift” , Mark I will let you know founded your lower back adjusted at the 4th lumbar. Any lower back issue should be resolved with that simple adjustment!

    Thank You

    Lionel Martin

  48. How would you approach doing this for books? How would you navigate the production costs of a hardcover? How would you approach this with ebooks or something like that?

  49. Hi Marc,

    This was a very informative and fun to read article. Thank you for sharing it and congratulations on your success. I am a manufacturer of Energy Healing aromatherapy sprays and jewelry. I have gotten close by ways of an order from a celebrities prop manager once and was wondering if it is appropriate to send more products to her without an order or the best way to handle that. I recently signed up with a celebrity baby swag bag gift company too. As far as customizing products I am not clear on how to do that with the sprays or how to find the people associated with the celebrities to send to. I appreciate any feed back. Thank you . Robin

  50. This is David again. First, mad props for answering almost all the questions. Second, what would you recommend your average cost per “swag bomb” be (given the low probability of success)?

    I have a fashion-oriented startup. I was thinking about sending in-store (cheaper) items that look like the items on the runway (with pic of runway ones) to prove a point that one could fashionably for less (with the help of my website, of course). Not sure what my expensive per package should be and whats the best way to optimize that cost.

  51. This is a great post Marc. Detailed with what to do. My main question is when do you result to doing the “pitch” of wooing potential fire starters compared to “wooing” the actual end users of the product. My main concern is sometimes i have noticed that it is better to woo the potential end users and get iterative feedback versus focusing energies on one individual who may or may not make a catastrophic difference in product placement. What is your experience on that?

    Thank you Marc and Tim for the wonderful content you post!

    Asante!

  52. Hey Marc, First wanted to thank you for the great tips! I am actually in the exact place with my brand at this moment. We need more hype generated and coming up short. I was wondering what you thought of my products and if you think they have the potential to sell to an international market. I have followed much of your work and would like to present my brand to you and see what you think. I have had much hard times finding the funding it takes to make this brand work. I have everything I need now only lacking the “Hype” and being able to share it to a larger audience. If its at all possible I can send the link to my site and blog so you can take a look. I understand if you are not able to do to your busy schedule. Hope to hear back soon. All the Best!

  53. Hey Marc,

    Do you think there is a point when celebrity “endorsements” actually send the wrong message for a brand? Such as if a celeb is shown in bad light or is it true all publicity is good?

    1. All is publicity is just that. Publicity. Good & bad is in the eye of the beholder.

      This piece above is not about publicity, per say, it is about influencers. Theres a distinction.

      1. Would love to send you and Tim these babies in 11.5 —https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.630891176951229.1073741831.117353868304965&type=3

        To-go athletic footwear— ever hear of the concept?

  54. Amazing post and great timing!

    I recently watched a famous actress fall on her high-heels, so I sent her a cheeky letter and samples offering my FlipSlips, which provide a solution for high-heel pain.

    I cc’d the media as a satire piece to publish, which they said they would only do if she agreed. So I’m leveraging the media’s response to let the famous actress know that there is “an interesting media opp” is she agrees. Let’s see if this works.

    Marc, would appreciate any advice on maximizing publicity once the attention is grabbed–and if this is a good strategy to leverage the media opportunity.

  55. Awesome post!

    Ive been thinking about this idea – without having a name for it – for my startup.

    Im wonderin how to get sizing info for influencers without comming off like a nutjob. Nothing is less custom than saying “Here is a pair of shoes that are two sizes too small for you.”

    How did you get Biz’s jacket size?

  56. Marc, I have followed you for years. Thank you for your expertise.

    When I launched my first tee, I sent it to a popular blogger, who is also president of a local chamber of commerce. Several months passed, but my she eventually wore the shirt and posted it on Facebook. I was so thrilled. Authenticity is key! I’ll definitely get your book..it’s a must have.

  57. God damn.

    I organize experiential marketing campaigns for a living and we always say it’s about creating fun and memorable experiences that make you stand out and really resonate with your audience.

    I hope everyone realizes that ideas and tactics like the ones Marc mentions in this article DO NOT come around every day. This is marketing gold that really works.

    Also, just pre-ordered the book based on this post alone — can’t wait to see what else Mr. Ecko has to offer. Thank you for sharing!

  58. Hi Marc

    Great post and great timing! I am just putting the finishing touches on my Kickstarter promo / PR campaign.

    I will be using the Swag Bomb approach, and after reading your post I am re-thinking the packaging for more impact – any creative packaging thoughts?

    Best

    Mark

  59. Great inspiring article. and Thanks for the sharing Tim. The ten steps gave massive momentum for us in London to operate in one of the most competitive markets in the world and Digital Publisher and Design Agency.

  60. Thank you Marc and Tim for this post… i have read “this” material before but not until now do i see the importance in it. I have the perfect vehicle to do this with, ART!

    I will implementing this with great force

    Brent

  61. Could I ask a little about settling, and avenues to “perfection”?

    At your early years of growth, how far would you say that you reached for perfection in your product, vs. time and money constraints?

    As an artist, I’ve started to think a lot more about the quality standards and the most efficient ways to create the end product so that I can grow in my reach as opposed to my price. As a designer, affordability, ingenuity, and sustainability are main goals, which lends to the DIY aesthetic a lot.

    What advice would you have from your experience?

  62. I’ve noticed something after reading this blog for a good 3 years. Each time I read a blog post, I feel I come away better (more knowledgable, excited to try out a bit of advice I read about, discover an idea I never would have been exposed to). I think that Tim, you have a genuine interest in helping out your audience. I think that’s a great quality and why people (myself included) keep coming back to the blog after all of these years.

    Marc, my question is:

    – What advice do you have for keeping the conversation going after you get a “shout out” from a reputable person in your industry. Should you even try to foster a connection or just be thankful that you were mentioned by them?

    -Also, how would you thank them for giving you a shout out in a respectable manner?

  63. Thanks Marc for your timely post! I run an online tea shop focused on loose leaf wellness teas. I’ve been reaching out to bloggers, did a press release and I’m growing on social media, but would love to mix with some celebs.

    So I’m super excited to share my tea and love your ideas! Do you recommend sending samples (smaller amounts then what I sell online) or sending actual full size bags?

    Thanks again!!

    Shana

  64. Hey Mark,

    Great post thanks a lot for sharing! I’m just curious as to where your desire came from to start Ecko? Like was there a turning point in your life where you just said “screw it I’m gonna make this happen”?

  65. Awesome article, Mark – fantastic insight and easy to see how much thought you’ve put into it. We’ve done so much with celebs from Beyonce to Rihanna and still each week we take time to personalize and really THINK about what that person might want and like and how to further that relationship.

    Having a single success with someone is great but building on and nurturing that relationship will ensure lasting success.

    PS: Just a note, In Section 3. there are a couple of links to Woot.com’s ‘bag of crap deal’ that don’t go anywhere…

  66. Pay attention to the recipient for a period of time. Listen. Take mental notes of likes/dislikes, an event that moved them, a triumph. As Marc points out so well — with discernment, gifts can be so well-tuned to someone that an impact is almost certain. This is so damn much fun to do, whether or not they respond is not important. It’s only icing on the cake if they do.

    Marc, thank you — your advice is priceless. I have been eating up your recent interviews, in some cases going in for thirds. Awaiting “Unlabel” with much anticipation:)

    Alicin

  67. Hi Marc,

    Likely the best article I have read this year, thank to yourself and Tim.

    I am new in the world of starting an artist agency and I have a group on my roster where we are wanting to get into the Asian markets, Japan and Korea.

    Do you have any experience in these markets, what they go for, what they appreciate?

    Thanks

    Phil

    from New Zealand.

  68. Thank you guys for the awesome info with

    the post and the comments.

    I’m still in development stage, but I found this

    incredibly helpful 🙂

    Marc, I’m more interested to know

    how was the transition from your garage to

    out the wwww. Are you covering this in your

    new book?

    Also, boxers or briefs? & what size?

  69. Hello from Spain! very interesting article. But… how to send a swag bag with no money? most of the entrepreneurs have not cash…

    I will wait your article about how to send a novel to editors…

  70. Great article on how to do swag bags, it seems an art in itself. I don’t have any questions about that approach as it seems well covered in the articles itself, but would like to ask if you used this approach to get your clothing line inside the Grand Theft Auto game? I think it was San Andreas.

    I remember being able to choose to dress a character up and was surprised to see a brand in there, unless my memory is playing tricks, so wondered what sort of approach you had to pitch Rockstar or did they ask you to licence your designs for in game clothing?

  71. I am sick and tired of reading all these great posts with so much useful information I’m 50 miles ahead of where I was before reading it.

    You’re making the rest of the internet look bad!

  72. Great blog post, Marc. Your methods are very much in-line with the 80/20 rule. Simple, straight-forward manners go a way and it doesn’t take too much effort to yield big results. Thank you.

  73. Aha!

    Such great advice in this blog.

    Wish I had a question, just to start some dialog…

    stoked about your book…and thank U

  74. Marc,

    Great advice. We make packaged products, so I often wonder the following when doing a press push/swag bomb:

    Is it generall ok to send the product with customized packaging, packaging that the average consumer buying our products online or off the shelf wouldn’t see? Packaging that goes beyond just displaying what the product is–since that will hopefully be communicated anways through the swag bomb–but presents it in a special, more premium way?

    Also, do you think express mail like FedEx is more likely to actually make it into the hands of the person you’re trying to reach, and of them taking slightly more interest in your company/product?

    Thanks for the great post and advice.

    Noah

  75. Great advice man. Thanks for sharing, I’ve been a fan since I got my first rhino sticker. Quick question a little off topic, will we ever see a sequel to Getting Up?

  76. Does anyone have any experience with swag bombs for digital products?

    Previous app startups I’ve worked with resort to the traditional spam bloggers technique and for a new app we are trying a personalised landing page for each influential blogger.

    How else can apps offer swag bombs besides offering discounts on the app or clothes?

  77. Hi Marc and Tim

    Here’s a Swag Bomb: you’re both invited on an African safari to a country of your choice, 10 nights fully covered on an epic adventure to the best wildlife viewing regions and lodges Africa has to offer. I’ll design your itinerary and personally guide your safari myself – if it’s not one of the top 3 travel experiences you’ve had – EVER – you get to come back the following year on the same terms.

    Let’s get planning!

    Richard Anderson

  78. Marc and Tim: thank you. This is the best thing I’ve read in a loooong time. i can’t tell you how many a-ha moments I had reading this and thinking about my startup decal business. May you live long and prosper.

  79. What would be your best suggestion for legalities to look for when putting together a partnership deal with a funder? I’ve invested all I have, and even left professional baseball to start up my brand and am currently looking for a solid partner to help fund our startup.

  80. Sexy.

    I’ve been thinking about the best way to deliver a “swag bomb” (I call them “care packages”, but swag bomb hits it nicely), so this post is like kerosene to the ideas going round my head.

    One thing that’s been keeping me up at night is hardware interactivity. If you watch a movie and there’s something valuable, it’s in a box, you walk up to it, the box comes alive and exposes whatever is inside.

    Toy motor (2$-20ct), Li-On cell (2-5$), 3d printed parts (4-5$), LEDs (20ct-50$, depending on quantity, backlit button to burning man lightshow), Microcontroller with Capacitive Touch (4$), Cardboard (uhmmm…don’t have cardboard quotes in my head), etc.

    You can go crazy elaborate on it (Nike has a nice comercial on that), or simply have a box that opens itself when you touch a button (Abra Cadabra).

    If it’s nicely packed, it won’t even look like a bomb (hopefully).

  81. Hi Marc,

    First, I love your brand!

    Second, if you have an iPhone app you want to promote, how does it fit in your strategy?

    There is no physical thing to be sent to influencers.

    Emailing them = spam

    What are your tips?

  82. What awesome ideas! My husband runs a nonprofit he launched a little over a year ago that works to educate the public about ocean conservation and marine mammal issues. He’s also a big Trekker and has tied (and yes, I cringe even using that word as a verb, but what the hell) his mission to the theme of “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” Remember the two humpback whales the Enterprise crew was trying to save and bring back to their time period? (You had to see it to understand.) The whales were named George and Gracie. Hence, my husband’s org is Friends of George and Gracie.

    Anyhoo, he spent weeks designing a t-shirt for the nonprofit and wanted to give some away to a few eco-conscious, marine mammal-loving celebs who were attending the local Comic-Con. We ended up only giving one to Richard Dean Anderson in person (who was wonderful and gracious) and another to Shatner, but we had to go through Shatner’s handler. We never actually saw Shatner himself, so I have a sneaking suspicion that he never received it.

    We’re going to try again the fall as we save up more funds and will try some of these ideas. Thanks for the great tips!

    Cheers,

    Marjorie

  83. I run into many visual artists who are sick and tired of their gallery relationships (one of the biggest downsides being the artists have little or no contact with the people who buy their art). However, some of the biggest (art) influencers are galleries. What’s your 80/20 for artists who want to go directly to their audience/buyers?

  84. Hi Tim,

    I remember you highlighting in 4HWW that the “blonde in the bar” strategy was actually the right way to go, as competition is fiercest when we consider goals that seem unreasonable, and you encouraged students of your “High-Tech Entrepreneurship” class to be audacious and try to get the attention of CEOs and celebrities. Do you find that this isn’t the case any longer, or is the case with landing media / PR / attention? Not trying to be hyper-critical, just want to learn and see if there’s any reconciliation or nuance that I’m missing out on.

    Thanks – would love to know your thoughts!

    Jay

  85. Hey Tim,

    I was wondering in your book you talk about getting old pants remade in Bangalore. Do you have any more info about this? Exact places? Thanks, Gabby

  86. Hi Marc and Tim!

    Thank you so much for the great post. I loved reading through the comments here and I hope that you are still answering them as I have come a bit late.

    What advice would you have with getting your product into the hands of an influencer, but not necessarily wanting to “blow up”?

    I think that if I “blew up” with the general public, because of a celeb/influencer, it would devastate my business and I. Ha! I know most businesses would love it, but I would rather stay low key and sell a higher end art to celebs/influencers.

    I love putting my heart into my product and making it personal to those who wear it.

    Thank you again for the post! I am off to buy your book Unlabel!

    Jonathan

  87. Impressive list of actionable items Marc. Thanks for sharing! And as for Tim, I learned as much from the QA thanks to your huge list of inquisitive followers. Great read!

  88. Thank you for a great post!

    I came across it while I was looking for a blog post for self-promotion/media image and ended up with great new ideas to promote my business. But I still need some advice on redirecting the media and creating a positive image on media. Tim or Marc, or whoever like to help would be much appreciated.

    Long story short, I opened a Pole Dance Studio mainly focusing on female empowerment in ?stnabul/Turkey. A Muslim country currently run by a conservative government. Everything is going great, we ended up even getting head scarf wearing women attending our pole dance classes!! BUT, that much attention and acceptance lead me to false security feeling and I entered a “Talent Show” on National TV. Just for the sake of getting pole Dance out there as an Art Form. I performed what I thought would look artistic, an acrobatic contemporary pole dance piece, and got accused by most media (and a looot of tweeters) for performing striptease on tv and being morally very nasty! Followed by a lot of unwanted attention I had to even change my name on the social media that I use and had to deal with a lot of fake accounts.

    ANYWAY, I admire Tim giving just a hint of what he does as an entrepreneur and a business man even when interviewed about how to get a girlfriend, and leaves you with the underlying idea that you want to read his books if you want to be better at what you do! That is just amazing.

    What I want to achieve is, to take that unwanted/unexpected attention and twist it around so it will be positive and working for me. And be better at expressing myself when interviewed. I think it is a skill and every skill can be practiced and learned. Any helpful push in the right direction is much appreciated.

    Thank you very much

    Sevinc

  89. Hi Marc and Tim!

    Great points. I made a swag bomb in the form of a website to meet Rob Dyrdek which basically just shows a bunch of my invention ideas and why I want to work for him.

    http://www.robhirerob.com

    (5 minutes of video showing light up energy drinks, shirt designs, and other cool stuff)

    It has already lead me to a lot of great unexpected connections, but my question for you Marc is how do I get Rob Dyrdek’s specific attention when I’ve tried reaching him by email, twitter, facebook, and a mail address I got from Contact Any Celebrity? At what point does reaching out to someone come off as being spam no matter how creative the products or ideas being pitched?

  90. Hi There~

    I was so inspired by this post. I recently read the four hour work week book, THREE TIMES! I was so excited as I work as a freelance fashion designer as well as a part time fashion instructor at a college. I’ve been working on a business idea that I’ve had to help so many students/people (guys especially) to sew, make patterns etc for their fashion ideas.

    The four hour work week book, blog and Mark Ecko’s post has inspired me to keep going when I get overwhelmed.

    Thank you again for posting this. It really helps. 🙂

  91. Hello,

    First i want to say Thanks Tim and thanks Marc for this GREAT POST, its full of great tips.

    Here is a little back story of where i’m coming from, I’m a starting entrepreneur and an artist(painter/photographer), i have only been painting for a 1/5 yr, and already had 4 small gallery showings and a published book called “NYC FUZZ”.

    but i have a couple quick questions that i have not found the answers to.

    what would be the best way to have the “Swag Bomb” for a artist like myself.?

    i usually paint abstract work, who will be the best people to reach out to, and how to get their attention?

    in terms of exposure what would be the best way to “Make Noise” in a more professional manor?

    and what would be the best way to market besides social networks and word of mouth, for a starting artist.?

    Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to read this.

    Jose De Olio

  92. Hi Mark! hello again from Spain. We are a lot of people waiting for your answers! you did not feedback from September the 30th!

    Please read our messages we need your comments,

    Thanks a lot 😉

    María

  93. Man, this is awesome. I really like how approachable and light the matter it, if you are looking to be an entrepeneur, there’s more than enough anxiety stress around. The positive and enjoyable style of his writing is really great as it motivates me to get up and started. I also I love how inexpensive, clear and systematic the advice is, it makes much less intimidating to pick up and try out, stumble, refine ect. I also love how replicable his advice is, I think it’s so important to have more than one idea and be confident in your ability to replicate success, I think having a system when you can really refine your approach to a systematic science is so important

    thanks, this is a great article, I don’t know why it took me so long to get round to reading it.

  94. Hi Mark, and Tim, of course,

    I have a specific question:

    Is your tactics will change. if I wants to become with a medical product in a closed society, not drawing the attention to health, even if the product is designed especially for this group and is effective?

    Salute

    Jaroslaw

  95. Marc

    You have enlightened me to keep going with my cultured butter business going. Even though I am without manufacturing plant at the moment I have kept my butter business alive by going to the city and giving the chefs gifts of butter until I can get a plant going on the farm. I have given away hundreds of pounds of handmade cultured butter as gifts and thank you gifts to those who wanted to try it. At times I think I’m crazy to be working for nothing but it has led me from one potential client to the next. Your post has validated what I thought I should be doing at a down time. Ive decided to use this time to keep the relationships alive until we can build a plant. Thank you Tim always for such great posts. It helps so much!

  96. I love how you always bring it back to gifting and authenticity. I am not growing a business at the moment but you have inspired me to gift something this week, just to build relationships … and show the influencers in my life that I appreciate them.

  97. I am young Nigerian, entrepreneur living in the UK. I have read loads of books on businesses, entrepreneurship etc.

    I lost value for Tim’s four hour week book.

    l believe each country has different problem attributes but I don’t share the sense of naming any country.

    what if you(Tim) were offered to speak to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria? What will be your response.

    I thought you had a large mind and don’t criticize but I was wrong. I wouldn’t even go pass page 214 and dash it out to charity as you think genuine business are never done in Nigeria.

    1. It’s not entirely unfounded though. Of course, there are legitimate businessmen in Nigeria, but of all the African businessmen I know, one was a drug importer, and the other one was doing credit card fraud.

      So even if there are legitimate businessmen from and in Nigeria, just compare the prospects of doing a well paid talk in Europe, where everyone in the room is planning on starting a legal business, to doing one in Nigeria, where you might get robbed on the way to the Conference center, don’t know whether you’ll get paid, and half of the people are just there to get their drug operation running more efficiently (It might be an overstatement, but you get the picture, right?).

      So yeah, Pg. 214.

  98. If you art was your inspiration, who was your ideal customer early on? (and had that changed over the years?)

    Sometimes the best art is the art we create for ourselves that we share with the world.

    Other times, it’s the art we create to impress our people.

    So my question is really about who your favorite person to impress is.

    I find it’s tough to get specific on who to serve, although I definitely prefer to help smart people, underdogs, and people with a passion for more from life.

    And, I especially enjoy it when I can help somebody rekindle their lust for life, they may have lost long ago.

    It sounds like you used the Jersey advantage well, by keeping it real.

    Way to go.

  99. Marc,

    Amazingly, you did what Steve Jobs did.. You ensured that their was an art to the approach, an art to be delivered and an art to “Waiting”. I am hopeful that the readers realize that the key take away is Execution.

    Tim,

    I can’t thank you enough for the investment you make in the success of others!

    Marc & Tim,

    Would you advise practicing the art of execution with lower hanging fruit ie, using your network and 3 degrees of separation?

    Thank you and thanks to all the great questions posted!

  100. Ok..so I’m posting this to get some ideas for like minded creative folks. I just developed a new sports supplement with the help of one of the top pharmaceutical labs in the country. I’m a fitness guy and have been taking sups for years and thought it would be a great opportunity to actually do something I enjoy. I’ve formulated a 3 phase delivery system that just isn’t found in the marketplace today. I’m about to go into production on this thing with my Lab, but needed some advice on getting this marketed correctly. There currently isn’t a system like this in the supplement world. Mostly a bunch of stacks….but I’ve made it an all in one system. Really excited about this. I either need an angel investor who can back this project or some real cool ways to get this product out into the marketplace to generate buzz and orders. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas? Thanks so much!

    One Ambitious Dude

  101. Glad to learn the rules to “swag bombs.” I have a couple of celebs in mind to send some to. My son and I co-authored and self published a MG UF entitled Mason Davis and the Rise of the Storm Makers. After reading your post, we’ll start to thing of items to include aside from just the book. Thanks.

  102. Marc:

    Great guest post. I would only add that the old saying “It takes money to make money” rains true when dropping loads of your branded items or what you do with a Swag Bomb.

    For small businesses or early start-ups, I like the idea of giving away FREE items to maybe a small amount of major influencers or better yet, giving away, especially in a service oriented business, TIME or SERVICES like free classes, or free tickets to a seminar, etc….

    This way you can, if done right, generate leads. Also, in the above example, if you give away Swag or services to your clients who bring in referrals, this is a great incentive to your clients.

    A term I have heard years ago is called WOMO (word of mouth opportunity) means ever time we come in contact with a potential consumer, client, etc… we need to be able to convey to that person or group why our product or service satifies their “needs or wants”, but how much value or company gives them either tangibly or non-tangibly. If we miss out on this WOMO, then we risk losing that ability to send that Swag like in your case to reach the masses and create a WOW moement for our brand to be learned by many.

    Although I believe timing is everything and I agree with being ready whent that time comes, I believe you need to have the financial backing or at least figure out a way to inexspensively give out those freebies or swag when first starting out….then as time goes on, your Swag Bombs can become legendary and the amount money you put into those give aways are not a financial hinderance to your company.

    Once again, thanks for the great post and tips and keep up the great work.

    Regards,

    Tom

  103. Hey Marc,

    This whole article is dope and very informative. I represent a rap duo out of Toronto named OSIYM and we will soon be getting to the point where swag bombs need to be dropped on labels, blogs and radio. A big part of their brand is #cupinhandgang which includes them and any of their supporters. It represents the party lifestyle for those who want to get drunk, forget their troubles and maybe everything else that happened that night lol.

    Any suggestions on things to include in a swag bomb to draw attention to their music and brand?

  104. Hi, Mark!

    Thanks for that insightful post. I learned a lot and, more humiliatingly, I figured out that I was making some terrible mistakes, so thank you again.

    I do have one question: I am an aspiring writer with no credits to my name ( i do have a lot of interesting ideas, however) and I am trying to get an article I wrote into GQ magazine. I know I have to write a query letter, but how can i be sure that they’ll read it? Any words of wisdome?

  105. Awesome blog, man. I really want to implement something like this for the app we’re promoting. Even though it’s free right now, getting people to stand up and take notice is hard. Maybe someone has an idea of a cool, cheap, tangible object we could send out that isn’t lame like a keychain or a coozie?

  106. Tim and Mark,

    Thanks for passing along your insights. One thing I can take from this post and from my experience is that in order to be heard in a noisy world you have to communicate differently.

    If your influencer has never received a phone call then a simple call to his office would be a pretty exciting thing, but that scenario isn’t likely. If you’re going to mail something it better be something that will immediately get their attention. If you’re going to send an invite to an event it should at least be something your audience wouldn’t have access to otherwise. If they receive letters all day then send the biggest fedex box you can….if they get packages all the time go on task rabbit and hire a limo driver and courier to hand deliver your swag bomb like its the Cullinan Diamond. Go over the top (while staying professional). If you think it’ll cost too much or take too much time then don’t expect your audience to notice you. Putting a book in a box and dropping it off at fedex is easy, and lazy, you aren’t standing out.

    Tim, you could run an entire course on why we need to update our communication tactics and how….maybe even do a segment on upwave.

    All the best,

    Andrew

  107. Hello there Marc, great post.

    How might one apply this approach in the fashion and design business? The thing is, i have a friend who is into the fashion business, she’s quite good at what she does but she is really having a hard time making that desired break. But now I’m thinking how do we try the swag bomb on someone we don’t know what size she wears?

  108. Tim,

    This is Steve in Taichung from US. I’m in Chinese full time. The characters are killing me. Do u have any faster ways to memorize characters? Whatever advice would be great.

  109. Mark Echo,

    Its an honor to be sending this to you. I appreciate people who nevergive up on their goals and bring creativity to the table well all else fails. We need more like you.

    I am writing you this comment because I just got done reading this segment and its not enough information for me. Ha. I am the owner of a clothing line called “Fallen-Not-Forgotten (FNF)” and to receive advice or to get your opinion on my line would mean so much. Once I returned home from Iraq I took all my savings and started FNF. It was very hard for me to make the change and finding something that I could put this energy and motivation into. FNF sells a quality product, designed by me, and donates to special causes we find. I’ve donated hundreds of care packages and am currently donating business licenses to veterans so they can start their own businesses once they return home. Is there any way we can speak? I would love to pick your brain.8ve done this all by myself and I’m so close to receiving the bigger contracts and I don’t want to mess anything up. Please contact me if possible brotha and thank you for your time.

    “Together we can, together we will”

    [Moderator: Phone # removed]

    1. Brian, I’m totally sympathetic to your cause (after all, entrepreneurs solve problems), but your site is downright horrible. I mean that with as much respect as possible, but clicking through the store, I found no products, clicking on the donate button put me back on homepage, the news section was scrappy at best, and clicking on the top image led nowhere.

      Your appeal is great, but it isn’t expressed on the site in a way someone who has never been in the army would understand. I’d reccomend you look over resources on web-design, graphics design, copywriting, general marketing, and facebook marketing especially. You have a cause to rally behind, and that bodes really well on Facebook. Then, tone down the military speak a little (I have similar problems), so average Joe can understand what you’re talking about.

      Right now you’re trying to move from the recruiting table directly into a Tank rolling down the Streets of Baghdad, without as much as reading even a field manual on armored vehicles. You’ll get butchered by the first guy with a couple of pounds of explosives.

  110. Hi Marc/Tim,

    Great article. It’s motivated to purchase Marc’s books. I started a 100% recycled clothing brand focuses on simplicity and targets sustainability and active enthusiasts. So my question is do you still recommend the swag bomb method for being on a limited budget? What other methods would you recommend with a limited budget?

    1. The beauty of the swag bomb is that it’s extremely targeted. That means you need to use 80/20 to reduce the number of people you send swag bombs too. You’re looking for:

      x People famous in your field.

      x People that your prospective customers look up to

      x People who are easy to reach.

      x People who will use the items in you swag bomb.

      which is really just aspects of:

      x Who will get everyone else interested?

      If you only have the funds for sending 2-3 Swag bombs, hit the people who will have the most positive impact on your bottom line (due to your limited sending ability, you’ll have to infer who that is).

  111. Marc and other Artists,

    Thanks to all the voices and comments on this stream, it was very helpful. I thought this post was very good and will be looking into using some of these opportunities that are very real with what our company is trying to do. In regards to the post, it seems as though the good feedback about your brand or company idea gives you momentum but the “no’s” that some people give you become the fuel for getting you more focused.

    Although sometimes the let downs or closed doors can challenge your determination, its about taking action and doing like Marc mentions that leaves those moments behind and you moving forward. When your vision and purpose are about a greater cause than yourself for something great and innovative, I don’t see any “no’s” or closed doors as challenges, they start becoming guide posts of where you need to be heading with needed learning experiences along the journey.

    There were some great tips in here and I’m looking forward to getting the book. Maybe someday we can capture these stories on one of our 3DARTwear items for others to connect with on a personal level.

    Best,

    Kevin

  112. Marc, how do you handle the “no” wall? So many people are stuck in what is considered “realistic” and “normal” they are scared to take that leap of faith into pursuing there dreams. When you finally decide to follow your dreams and you are ready to take chances and make mistakes how do you get people to follow you and believe in you? How did you get past the “no” wall?

  113. Thank you Tim Ferris for opening a world I never thought was possible to achieve and thank you Marc Ecko for this inspiring advice !!! I had one question for you Marc and that is how did you go about getting funded ? Did you consistently contact investors or did you work for the money ? Thanks in advance 🙂

  114. Really nice ideas. I was simply inspired. It always helps to go another mile from the typical things that people are doing. It can make you some sales and may even get your brand established.

  115. Mark, Tim

    I recently launched a healthy, organic, gourmet coffee, tea and hot chocolate through Organo Gold. May I send you all a few boxes of your favorite flavors as a gift( black, latte, mocha, green tea, red tea, black(ice)tea, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Café Supreme, King of Coffee

  116. Marc – thank you for taking the time to write such a concise, inspiring article about your time tested and valuable strategy. You are an inspiration as a designer and an entrepreneur.

    What would you suggest for a start-up clothing company with limited finances? (by limited I meaning my closet is the warehouse) Is it more important to stock my shelves and market before reaching out to influencers or should that be the foundation? I don’t want to half-ass it and send one or two shirts and miss an opportunity but don’t want to blow a limited bankroll chasing influencers down.

  117. Marc ,

    I am a Glass Blower Living in the Tampa Bay area . While Coming up on the torch in the Philly area I put in my dues , dabbeling in Jewelry , Sculpture and my Main income Tobacco Pipes . The Pipe Industry in America has changed Greatly since individual states have started legailziing .

    The reason I am writing you is because after reading this , I am Influenced by you , once again .

    Years ago I was given the opportunity to work in Your Home for a year , meet your family and Create Hand Painted Artwork in Northern N.J.

    I will Never forget the day that I asked You about a particular section that I was working on , Your Response was ” Chad , Your the Artist ” .

    That changed the way I looked at Everything as an Artist .

    Another instance was when a Gentleman was in your home talking about Hand Made Metal Door Hinges , with Female figures on them ( it sounded like he was going for the Sex Appeal of your Cut & Sew Stores ) . Your response was ” Not in My House ! My Wife & Children Live Here ! ” .

    These were Some of the things that I needed to hear in my life to bring me to where I am today , with a Home Based Rep & the Skills to Soar , I am Prepared to Swag Bomb You , Marc Ecko .

    I appreciate Your Time ,

    Chad Piece.

    You Have to Remember that God Awful Tan & Brown VW Bus in Your Driveway 😉

  118. Is it just me…. does this sound just a little sad. What happened to exploring great ideas/product based an quality and creativity?

    Doesn’t this amount to bribery? It makes me distrust any comments or exposure given by an influence. I mean, if one can be bought for a package of bad cookies……what’s an endorsement worth?

    I’d rather be sought out because I’m fuck’n good, not because I sent a box of cheep T’s.

    Just say’n –

  119. Hey Mark, my name is Berniel and the artical is very helpful. My question is how can I contact you about a ideal that could change the face of your company.

  120. Totally blown my mind on this one, until reading this article I really knew nothing about Swag Bombs. I get what is impressed upon me most is the insatiable desire to succeed and think outside the box. Something I will be considering more for my own business.

  121. Nice of you guys posting this kind of simple and very useful knowledge for all of us, the curious, ambitious and inexperienced.

    I’m currently trying to get funds from the European Union to start my own Bee farm. Since the Bee populations are decreasing at an alarming rate (world wide), they are promoting and funding Beekeepers to combat deflorestation. My question would be, in these kind of “partnership” where most of the situations you only have a project, the space or realstate and the will to produce (but don’t have the actual product), is a “Swag Bomb” still effective or even feasible? I mean, by the looks of it, the “Swag Bomb” seems to me more of mid-game strategy, not to be used to lure potential investors. Or am i wrong?

    Thank you in advance for your time, and thanks again for the very useful information and advice.

    Daniel Lourenço

  122. Hey Mark,

    I was wondering about the beginning stages. I work a 9-5 and am currently trying to find my niche as an entrepreneur. I love real estate investing but honestly am looking to find something that i can pursue that will eventually allow me to quit my 9-5 and be my own boss. Any suggestions on how to find the business idea, product or service that i could do part-time to supplement my income.

  123. Hello Tim! I was amazed reading your books and saw a similarity in myself I would like to address: I have thousands of skills and inventions, also a serial entrenpreneur on small levels. I am too creative for my own good, and not as good at basic things, in fact I don’t think I will make it at a job. I can compress most books into 3 pages for one. I am making a website based on this. I have not gone very far in life and maybe at a serious dead end. If you would like to say anything or anyone else would like to, great! [Moderator: email address removed]

    Thanks, Joel.

  124. Hi Marc! This is Absolutely Fantastic! I am impressed by how you embrace people with disabilities and get them more exposed rather than staying home bound. Are you still doing the models with disabilities photo shooting? I would love to take part of your venture projects. I do have a great creativity mindset and would like to be in the know, “how to” in spite of my own disability. Perhaps, networking or meet-up events. Since the disabled communities are so small and I would be more than happy to show my creativity skills. All I know what I need is to find a manufacturer(s) who can produce my ideas into reality and go from there. Let me know how you can help and what I can contribute my creativity assets on your behalf. Thanks for all your great steps to success!!

  125. Hey Marc. I came across this blog today and it’s pretty interesting. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and advice to many readers out there. Continue to do so. You’ll never know there’d be one soul out there who’ll get touched or enlightened with your piece.

  126. FANTASTIC information! I’ve been in the music business. have watched, and/or have been personally associated with every phase of “pitch” since 1952! Current time is the hardest/easiest time ever! Hard in the sense, that it’s a whole new type of “wow” because of the changes internet has provided; and,easy because of the same. Thank you so much for the post! I plan to buy the book a.s.a.p.

  127. I was always amazed how companies like apple or BeatsByDre could see that it is crucial to use influencers in their campaigns and companies like Samsung were totally blind to this.

  128. Hello Marc,

    I am a freshman in high school and I am currently doing a project about you. I would just like to know a little bit more about what you are aiming for in 2016 and what you might be doing in the near future, either artwork wise or business wise. Thank you for your time and please email me back as soon as you can. [ Moderator: email address removed.]

  129. Really sound mindset advice i’ll be using in my own business and a great accomplishment by Marc. I have lots of ECKO clothes myself and there big in the urban market in the UK so hope to see lots more in the future.

  130. How about food? Would sending Steven Colbert a Scone Swag Bomb be cool? He mentioned on his show awhile back that he thought scones tasted like “sawdust with raisins” and I’ve been trying to figure out how to get him to try one of mine ever since!

    I’m thinking of overnighting a very large box of assorted scones!

  131. Haha! I can’t believe a company actually sent a “real” fake bomb promotion to people. Crazy shit, good way to get A LOT of attention very quickly though.

    Nice article by the way, Cheers.

    David

  132. It’s always a challenge trying to manipulate these examples into models for the film industry. But this gave me some great ideas. We got a waiver for our feature film into SXSW 2017, where we’re planning our simultaneous streaming launch and now that’ll be coupled with some swag bombs!

  133. I’m just listening to your podcast and its brilliant!. Thanks for the sharing your ideas and thoughts Tim. The ten steps have really pushed me to make my magic business bigger and stronger in an already extremely competitive world. I’d been on here before to check out your 4 hour work week calculator, so am really enjoying exploring the other elements too……

  134. Thanks for a great reach out strategy. I’ve taken a fair bit from the article for future influencer influencing. To try and keep it memorable I’ve paraphrased it a little since my memory is awful.

    Keep it public

    Make it special

    Keep it humble

    I guess this may seem like a watering down of your own brand’s strength but doing things right is not necessarily a cheap option so has anyone had any experience of a joint reach out with another complimentary product or service?

  135. Wow, what a great write-up. It was worth the effort. Truly, influencers have become a gold mine to marketers irrespective of whether they are on social media or not, the fact remains true that influencers and well-known individuals out there with a lot of connections have become game changers. Excellent and succinctly well-presented write-up. Thanks

  136. Is Marc Ecko (or Tim) still commenting on the reaching influencers post? I’m building my organic chia beverage brand – looking for all the creative inspiration I can get.

  137. Im a respectef fan of the marc ecko line of mens watches iput them up there with Lucio picar n e n marc namier even movement wastches are sweet any way i aquired amar c ecko watch n icant findn it on any of his ilineups of mens watches acouple come close but this is a beauty n heavy has the name n rhino on back squa re with crystal or diamond chips all around it going down two links of thr bandsweep movement with name plate top of inside of watch all numbers are like gold oval pieced. Round secound had dail at bottom of watch has rhino stamp on a two button clasp its like stainless steel with gold electroplating in the center

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