Zig When Others Zag

If you follow the pack, you will probably never do what it takes to lead the pack. What’s worse, you may be left way behind. The strategic remedy? Do something different—not just a little different, but dramatically different. Like the big, high-profile razzle-dazzle play in football, it just could make your market stand up and cheer.

WHAT IT MEANS: The essence of effective marketing is positioning your products or services so that they stand out above and beyond your competition. Part of the challenge in achieving this is to get noticed—to create, through your packaging, advertising, and branding, a more outstanding impression.

One way to do this is to zig when others zag. For example, look no further than the cereal box aisle in your supermarket. It’s a motley mix of one bold, colorful, eye-catching package after another—but it’s too noisy, because they are all fighting for your attention in a similar way. What if there was a cereal with black-and-white or sepia-toned packaging? Wouldn’t that make a dramatic contrast against the sea of colors? That’s zigging when others zag. There’s no guarantee that it will always work, but it’s always worth considering.

ACTION PLAN: Develop your own sense of “zig.” Look for ads, packaging, marketing strategies, et cetera, that are dynamically different. What is it about them that makes them truly outstanding? This can open you up to new possibilities—and to creating the kind of “breakthrough marketing” that can yield more dramatic results. These days, with e-mail marketing, interactive ads, and “secret agent” marketing (hired guns talking up the new product in a seemingly chance encounter), there are more possibilities than ever.

EVEN BETTER: Develop a “zig” strategy component in all your marketing planning—something truly out of the box. Maybe even something that was never in the box. You should then evaluate its potential risks and rewards against other plans, but at least give your zig option its due consideration. It just could lead to the Big Idea you need to propel your business to the next level.

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Sunday Tips”
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