3 thoughts for the week of September 21, 2009 (impact with the unconventional, newspapers & hanging your shingle)
September 23, 2009//Last Updated January 6, 2013
- Been driving to Maine a lot in the past couple of months, and every time I take a trip up 93 into Boston, I am so happy to see the giant, blow-up pad lock on Fortress Storage. As a kid, I thought it was cool, and now working in advertising and marketing I think it is brilliant. With one bold, eye-catching marketing device, Fortress is able to communicate their strongest selling points and create an enduring image in the public mind. Every business strives to have this kind of impact with their marketing. To get it, you need to stand out and be memorable.
- This week (on the same day actually), I received two mailers from Newspapers each offering me 50% off home delivery (one national-the New York Times, one local-the Old Colony Memorial). This made me stop and ponder the state of newspaper publishing. The discussion isn’t new. Circulation is declining, ad revenues are down, and online advertising is not bridging the gap. I, personally, do not subscribe to the physical newspaper and cannot see paying for information that I (and many, many people these days do) get for free online. For this reason, many papers are exploring the possibility of charging for access to online content. And I know, if they did, I wouldn’t pay for that either. I would seek out alternatives that were free. However, here’s where I get conflicted – I want the newspaper to exist. I like knowing that those trusted institutions on out there. I like being able to seek out printed copies when a friend gets married, or a loved one passes, to cut out the announcement. Those scraps of paper are important and I want them to be there. How many people still have the front page of a paper from 9/12/01? Pardon the corny reference, but the newspaper is part of the fabric of our lives. And given all that, I won’t pony up a couple bucks a month to help keep them going. Feeling very conflicted about the whole thing. What do you do when something has intrinsic value but other values (practicality, innovation, etc.) seem to impede saving it?
Read more on this topic and the future of “content” by Paul Graham
- I worked in a sign shop while still in high school. My boss there had a favorite slogan that he would employ all the time: “A business without a sign, is a sign of no business.” This statement is very true, not in an absolute kind of way, but think about it – if nobody knows you are there, how are they ever supposed to buy your service/product/doomathingy? Now at 3thought, we have virtual offices, so we have no “sign” (though I can promise you that if we had an official front door, our name would be on it), but we have “hung out our shingle” in nearly every other way. We have a website, a Twitter account and a Facebook page. We have business profiles on Google and LinkedIn. We’ve had articles in the newspaper and a local business magazine. We’ve gone to networking events, joined boards and talked to people (everyone we know and all the new ones we’ve met). We have handed out hundred of business cards. Consequently, we’re seeing some name recognition and people are calling to hire us. Cool, huh? We’re pretty happy about it. So, how have you “put up a sign” lately?
Don’t be afraid to think unconventionally (or un-think conventional, if you will). The best ideas are usually found that way. That said, a giant, blow-up anything is probably not going to solve all your marketing problems. See exhibit A.