If you want to sell a used car, slice and dice cheese with your newest slicer and dicer invention, or announce your candidacy for city council, you can do it during the Public Forum portion of the Naperville city council meeting. You’re given three minutes to sell whatever you want, while the nine-member Naperville city council hears your pitch. They may not be listening, but they do hear it.
Watch and listen to Robert Morris University, Director of Admissions, Panoea Bakutis as she uses her three minutes to pitch the exciting news of a 50% discount:
You have to hand it to Ms. Bakutis, using the city council public forum as a marketing tool is really clever. It begs the question, ‘why isn’t this done all the time’. Apparently, you can say whatever you want (within good taste), sell whatever you want (make sure it’s a good price), and even stand there and say nothing, as long as you don’t go over your three minutes. But wait, it gets even better. You can have others, let’s say ten, join you in pitching your product, idea, or service and each gets three minutes. That results in a 30-minute infomercial, and it costs you nothing. It doesn’t get any better than that; free advertising.
The only downside is not many people are watching and even fewer are listening. Attending a council meeting is not a ticket in high demand. Watching it live on NCTV is always an option, and viewing the council meetings on the city website, leaves much to be desired in terms of quality. Naperville city officials were excited about improvements to the city website, but viewing previous meetings online was not one of the improvements.
The key to success for speakers making a pitch during public forum is to get one or more council members to respond. Typically that doesn’t happen, but if it does, and if it results in one of those memorable moments qualifying as a Watchdog embed in a posting, you can get your infomercial out to not only Naperville, and Illinois but the entire country, other countries, and even a small island in the South Pacific. Your pitch could be a winner. The video embed could also help define a one-term council member.