Sunday, November 21, 2010

Alternative Marketing Approaches

“ORIGINALITY is unexplored territory. You get there by carrying a canoe – you can't take a taxi.” ~Alan Alda

So many marketing consultants believe there is only one way to advertise. Some feel that face-to-face interactions are the only way to make sales, building trust first then convincing the client to buy the product. Other experts swear by advertising on social networking sites. However, there are so many other approaches deserving consideration that are simple and just as effective.

We were helping a renowned sculptor, Nilda Comas, whose sales appeared to have stalled because of the shape of the economy. However, she had a database full of over 4,000 former customers and serious inquiries. These contacts were her low-hanging fruit. We suggested that she call these clients and tell them she had some time free if they would like to take advantage of it.

Artists are notorious for not wanting to push their own products, so she was a bit skeptical about this approach at first. But she gave it a try and had tremendous success. On the first call alone, she was able to sell three high-end sculptures.

A small plumbing contractor was having serious difficulty in the current economic climate. She was hemorrhaging cash at a rate of $10,000 a month. Because of her cash flow trouble, traditional advertising was not an option, and even repeat business from existing customers would not have been sufficient to turn the problem around. We had to think creatively about how we could drum up business.

We suggested that she use door hangar advertisements to offer a special price reduction on the first service call. She hired some very inexpensive workers, and for two weeks, they hung 2,500 hangars a day. After just the first month of this promotion, she watched her cash flow go from negative $10,000 a month to positive $16,000.

My co-author, Tim O’Brien, and I have just published a new book entitled, “If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book.” A very meticulous entrepreneur, Tim spent days and days researching the best ways to market our book. He knew that if we were going to be successful, the book had to be an Bestseller. We would need that stamp of success.

Tim discovered that in order to be an Bestseller, it had to be the top-selling book during a one-hour period on any given day. Tim quickly figured out that we could make this happen by encouraging all our friends and acquaintances to buy the book at a designated date and time. We sent out an e-mail blast to all of our supporters, asking them to buy the book on Wednesday at 11 a.m. If they did, they could go to our website at and get three bonus items. One of these items was a video of me talking about customer service, and a second was an e-book that Tim had written.

This was an innovative marketing effort that brought us great success. At the end of the day, we did become number one in our category at, and we did not have to spend very much to get it.

These are just three examples where alternative approaches to marketing products and services were customized to the entrepreneur’s circumstances and worked brilliantly. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other ways that can work for your unique set of products or services.

Now go out and make sure that you are considering alternative marketing techniques and not getting stuck in a rut with traditional methods.

You can do this.

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