The Revenge of the “Be Different” Zombie

How to Wake Up and Start Marketing on the Internet

I hate to say it, but your customers are zombies too.
Every day they are bombarded with advertisements.
They become numb to the marketing.
Every once in a while they sit up and take notice, but for the most part they walk around, arms outstretched, chanting… ”must avoid ads… must mute TV… must ignore banners…”

That’s why it’s so important for you to become known in your field, to brand yourself, and to build relationships – both with JV partners AND with customers and potential customers.
Then you aren’t just another marketer peddling your wares.
Instead, you are a friend who also happens to have a solution to their problems.

Being different means really setting yourself apart from the crowd in a memorable way. If everyone kind of “likes” you, you probably aren’t that memorable. Look at Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern – they’re controversial.

They’re either loved or hated… but it’s this polarization that makes them so popular and successful.

So first off, don’t be afraid to take a stand… even if it divides people. Indeed, division can be good! It will draw customers to you like white on rice. If you have an interactive feature like a forum, blog or newsletter, use controversy at every chance you get.

For example, let’s suppose during the Atkins craze you stood up and provided proof that eating carbs helped people lose weight. During a low-carb craze, you would be going against the grain. Taking this stand would get you noticed… and probably get you tons of free publicity!

Here’s another example from the marketing forums: the people who are promoting so-called “gray hat” SEO techniques get noticed because the techniques are so controversial. They get publicity just because people are constantly discussing them.

Another way for you to set yourself apart and become memorable is to develop a “character” to go with your business. Just think of some of the characters you know: Mickey Mouse, Aunt Jemima, Cap’n Crunch, Charlie the Tuna, Mr. Clean, the Bounty Man, the Marlboro Man, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Tony the Tiger, the Energizer Rabbit, the Maytag repairman, Smokey the Bear, the Geico Gecko… and on and on.

The same applies online. The search engine Ask Jeeves is based around the fictional character Jeeves. The Rich Jerk is just an online persona. The Travelocity Traveling Gnome narrates their commercials and is featured on the site.

Let’s take this report as another example. Which is a more memorable tile: “The marketing zombie”… or, “How to Make Money Online?”

Of course Marketing Zombie is more memorable – and it got your attention, didn’t it?
It’s not only a different title, for some people it’s also visual.
You can IMAGINE a zombie.
You remember it because you can actually picture it in your mind!

Tip: Creating and naming your character can and should be a publicity event!
Here’s a great chance to send out press releases and hold a contest.
Or think outside the box a little – send out press releases, create a publicity event, and then offer up “naming rights” to the highest bidder on ebay. The winner gets the benefit of all the publicity created around the event, PLUS you can offer them some sort of advertising package (newsletter ads, text links or banners on your site for an agreed upon time, etc).

Yes, you can have people pay YOU to help brand your business!

If you’re going to go the eBay route, your job is to get plenty of publicity for your event well before you even put it up on eBay.
The publicity is what’s going to drive the bids up! Make it worthwhile for your bidders. Remember, your bidders aren’t paying you for naming rights, they’re paying you for the publicity.

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