Seven Marketing Strategies
we can learn from
"Dog--The Bounty Hunter"

So, ‘fess up—you have seen “Dog: The Bounty Hunter”, right? When I saw the teasers for this show, I thought it would be a testosterone-laden, he-man, tough guy growl-fest. And while the show does get rather macho at times, it strikes a balance with family life, spirituality, and comedy.

If you haven’t seen “Dog” yet, you must watch it. Of course, the show is about catching the bad guys, which is always fun. But, it is also a lesson in how to build a brand of one into a marketing machine. Watching Duane Chapman, AKA "Dog", in action, you can see how he has mastered the art of marketing, and by using methods that many small businesses can adopt.

Here’s how Dog has climbed aboard the Andy Warhol train and how I think it might just be his knack for promotion which got him to the station and just might keep him there longer than 15 minutes.

1—Storytelling. The “story” in marketing is very often a key factor in business success. Our favorite commercials, ads, TV shows and movies always tell a great story. Companies pay dearly for good story tellers, also known as highly-paid marketing executives, copywriters, screenwriters and so on. On my best day, I could not have created Dog’s story. It’s too good to be fabricated!

Imagine trying to come up with this: an ex-con turns bounty hunter/he has 12 children/one son works with him, one son is in jail/we’ll give him a huge can of mace since he can’t carry a gun/we’ll put him in Hawaii-it’s beautiful there/we’ll get Ozzy Osborne to sing the theme song! You’d never get this story past your inner critic, would you? That’s what makes Dog’s story work.

Look around your business and find your story or stories (you may have more than one). Write your stories down. If you get stuck, find a Public Relations expert or a copywriter. They can help you see the stories in your own business and help you weave them into good marketing.

2—Passion. This guy loves catching bad guys. The entire team gets downright “fired-up” when they are chasing someone. It is always affirming to see that kind of drive and determination. No matter what your job, if you feel the same way about it as Dog feels about bounty hunting, half your work is done.

3—Confidence: He is not “a” bounty hunter, Dog is “the” bounty hunter. He knows he is the best at what he does, and I don’t think they have official Bounty Hunter Games to crown a winner. He just took the crown, and he has the track record, expertise and attitude to wear it well. He tells his story well, he’s passionate about it, and he’s confident in his own abilities—a well-worn recipe for entrepreneurial success.

4—Know your Customers. Actually, Dog was convicted and sent to prison in the late 1970’s, so he knows all about those folks living on the wrong side of the law. That’s a rather drastic step for market research, but his background does enable him to look from his customer’s eyes. He knows what they need, knows what they want, and knows where they are. Again, this knowledge is something large corporations pay dearly for, because they are no longer as close to their customer. Dog is still a small business—he’s still out there every day among his customers, and most important, he still remembers when he was exactly where they are.

5—Customer Service. Dog arrests his bad guys (or bad girls), and while hauling them off to jail, he almost always gives them a smoke, lets them call home, and gives them a motivational talking-to on the way downtown. Once he believes they really are going to do better, he tells them to call him and he’ll see if he can get them out of jail again.

Dog’s wife, Beth, says that he never collects on about half his earned monies. Most of his clientele just don’t have it, and Dog, being a sympathetic soul, does much of his work for free. In order to survive, he has to build up volume to cover those losses and feed the family. His knack for creating repeat business with great customer service keeps his business in business!

6--Multiple Income Streams. A quick glance at Dog’s website lists some of the other things he does to bring in additional revenues (Another not-so new, but still great marketing idea—create related product!). He provides security services and training, does motivational speaking and sells “Dog” logo’d t-shirts and hats, among other things. And, now, he has a TV show. All these related products help create awareness for the bond company as well as creating their own revenues.

7--Creative Advertising. I have been preaching low-cost, creative advertising for years, and when I saw Dog and his crew handing out “Wanted” flyers, I knew this was pure marketing genius! Sure, it helps them catch the bad guy (or girl) featured on the flyer. But guess who they are handing the flyers to as they canvass the neighborhoods, looking for their fugitive? Their future customers! People who might someday need to get out of jail, or know someone who needs to get out of jail. They are networking with their target market, making friends with potential customers, and creating recognition for their company. Beats the heck out of cold-calling!

“Dog—The Bounty Hunter” is a TV show—a clever mix of “superhero meets reality television”. Duane “Dog” Chapman is a businessman who has integrated who he is into his business. He uses good ole’ boy, Texas-style charm and street-wise smarts to build and sustain his business. And, he does it without a huge marketing budget, or high-priced advertising campaigns. He is not only an icon for bounty-hunting, but for smart marketing, as well. So, the next time you review or update your marketing plans and actions, make sure you throw a couple of Dog-bones in there.

For more information on the Dog, or to buy DVDs, books and more, check out these Dog "the Bounty Hunter" products.

Dog: the Bounty Hunter Homepage

Click here for Dog t-shirts, pants & hats