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Monday, June 16, 2008

Boring and banal, or stable and secure

Installation art? "Playing the building?" Hmm, maybe this material from might be useful if you want to try something different. Then again, maybe experimentation with extreme creativity is not the way to go with your marketing strategies.

Sure, many mission statements (like the ones -- including our own business -- cited in yesterday's posting) are boring. So are 'standard' voice mail greetings, business letters, cards, presentation formats, and marketing brochures. Yawn, we say. But should we really inject humor and change our voice mail greetings every day? Should we, as Jeffery Gitomer does, change our business cards for a "business coin". And should we get fancy with our wording in our mission statements; breaking the bonds of normalcy with something really jazzy. Should we bring plastic puke to our presentations?

I'm sure, if you are like me, you will answer a loud and clear 'no' to many of these possibilities. A business card coin might be a nifty novelty item, but your current and potential clients could either find it awkward to handle, or if they've seen Jeffery Gitomer, say " Oh, you've been to one of Gitomer's presentations."

And on the weekend I looked up on the web for examples of creative and innovative voice mail greeting presentations. Searching high and low, I could find few if any references that gave me assurance that getting creative with voice mail wouldn't land me in the painful place of bad humor -- the joke that just doesn't work.

Banal and boring, of course, in marketing, of course, have a corollary -- stable and secure. When we observe the conventions of business practice, we don't set off any flashbulbs of marketing insight and adventure, but we also don't blow the wad on an embarrassing mistake. In any case, these ideas really only work if they flow naturally with your identity and style -- I'm sure you might shock people with wild and wacky stuff, but if you aren't somewhat wild and wacky by nature yourself, would any of it seem true, or just artificial. (Kind of like watching out-of-age 'hipsters' trying to be someone from a later generation. Its pathetic to watch.)

Within these frameworks, of course, you can observe trends and issues. Gitomer advocates e-letters and effective Internet use -- and I agree 100 per cent. Great marketers overall advocate giving generously of your insights, spirit, and expertise without worrying about the 'get' -- in other words, they don't practice conditional giving; where you read marketing materials and can only gain value by paying something to conclude the story. And everyone agrees that the way you relate to current clients handle your current projects counts far more than any adventure in outbound marketing, no matter how creative.

Does this mean you shouldn't consider some of the more off-the-wall marketing models and resources? Of course, they can have a place in your picture -- but a hearty smile, respectful sharing, and innovative recognition of your employees will probably do you a whole lot more than finding and purchasing a business card coin or creating a funny yet meaningful voice mail greeting.

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