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What would your customers stand in line for?

50150422 At 12:01 am last night, I escorted a gaggle of teen-aged girls into the premiere showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment of the Harry Potter movies.

We've had the tickets for at least a month and as a pre-cursor to the movie, I re-read the book to refresh my memory on all the details.  For the record....I would have been at that showing of the movie, with my daughter and her friends...or not!

Why?  Because I've been waiting to see the movie adaptation since the book's release in 2006.    No book or movie series in my recollection has done a better job of building anticipation for their product...and then over-delivering once the product is in your hands.

Apple is also brilliant at making their customers hungry for the next new phone, iPod or computer.  When Apple first released the iPhone, people literally waited in line for 2-3 days (and nights) to be sure they were able to buy one.

How does the Harry Potter franchise and Apple create that kind of pent up demand?  And more important -- how can we do the same thing for our business or product?

Give them a reason to keep coming back....before the big reveal:  There need to be updates, little teases and rewards (coupons, discounts, early adopter advantages) that keep bringing them back.

Don't give it away too soon (allow time for the anticipation to build):  The power of anticipation marketing is the word of mouth buzz.  As more and more people get caught up in the frenzy, it gets very contagious.  So don't let it end too soon.

Too much can be too much:  Don't let it drag out too long.  It's a fine art to making someone hungry for what you're teasing them with, but not frustrating them by too much time passed.  Apple's release of the original iPhone was over 6 months.  Only Apple could pull that off.

Make it shareable:  Again, remember that you want the anticipation to be contagious.  People wouldn't have hung out at their local bookstore for the latest Harry Potter book if they had to stand there alone.  Create ways for enthusiasts to infect their friends.

Be sure the show is worth the wait:  Remember, you've kept them waiting.  So when you finally reveal the goods...make sure there is plenty of sizzle in your show.   This is not the time to scrimp or be shy.  If you're going to use this marketing tactic...go big or go home!

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