Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

How NOT to be invisible or look like a fool!

If you want to attract the attention of your marketplace as an expert, you should use your expertise to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Many small business owners do the opposite.  They simply copy or rip-off what they see a leader in their field doing.  This is a very bad move, as it guarantees they remain invisible.

I see this a lot online, even within my own niche.  Some marketing providers really struggle to get noticed, because they are not letting us see their creativity or originality.  Instead, they emulate the writing style, ideas and even the vocabulary of other marketing bloggers and authors.

Of course, what the marketplace needs to see, is their authentic message.

The irony of a purple cow

An ironic example of this came to my attention today, which prompted me to write this post.  A business owner emailed me, to say she had been looking for a marketing firm to handle a new project.  She found one, which used Seth Godin’s phrase purple cow, to describe their creative services.  For those who don’t know, the reason this is REALLY ironic, is that the phrase “purple cow”, means to be remarkable / original.

So, the marketing firm used a borrowed phrase from another marketer, to explain how creative they are!  As the emailer said; “Do these people not realize this makes them look like fools, to be offering creative services, without the creativity to market themselves, in their own words?”

Was the emailer a little harsh?  Yes, maybe.  But why put prospective clients in that position, needlessly?  They should have shown some confidence and used their own words to encourage her to get in touch.  These guys are professional copywriters, after all.

Thankfully, with so many people happy to blend into the background, anyone with the creativity and courage to stand out for all the right reasons, has the potential to achieve life-changing results!

Learn from the best, don’t copy them

Find your own style and develop your own unique message.  Be a student of the best, not a diluted version of them.  As a student, we learn and improve.  We increase our value and make progress.

We need to let our unique self stand out and shine for the marketplace to see.

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  1. Hi jim,
    The situation you present here is more common than we think !
    The first mistake every entrepreneur or small business is doing is to comfort themselves in the idea that they will do better than their neighbors by just copying them and then merely changing some items !!
    This is pure laziness.

    To be remarkable seems to require more efforts to people.
    Too often people deny that their difference could bring them gain.
    And this is a full none-sense.
    Instead of that they kill the market by copying and adding more weakness to their marketplace.

    And you’ve mentionned exactly the point Jim : why don’t start to use your intelligence and make the difference by taking action from your own genuine creativity ?

  2. And I’d go further and say it’s not just small businesses. It’s all business. Every, single one of our clients, at some point has asked us to imitate something their competition does. I swear my job has become solely education and influence.

    • Hey Gini! Indeed – It impacts businesses of all sizes and across all professions.

      In my experience, the first thing a web designer will ask you to do, when you ask them to build you a site, is; “can you send us some sites you like the look of please?”

      Is creativity really that difficult?

      Thanks for stopping by the blog my friend!

      • Yes Gini !
        I fully agree.
        The benefit of creativity seems to disappear beside your potential of influence.
        But, don’t see anything wrong in what I’m trying to say next : in some ways, this method maintains the low market and if you’re smart enough you can make intelligent actions that would certainly be very sain for us.
        All the best !!

  3. i agree with you Jim, I think is for a lot of business everywhere. big or small business.thanks for great lesson Jim.

  4. Very thought-provoking Jim. I like the final message of ‘Learn from the best, don’t copy them’. It’s a fine line though – where learn and apply is seen by others as copying. And, for example, if one engages a copy-writer how do you ensure your own style still comes through, rather than getting diluted?

    • Hi Mark. When you hire a professional copywriter, their job is to provide you with the outcome you request.

      Usually, the client is better to follow their lead, rather than try and get them to emulate a style that’s failed.

      Any good copywriter can create the results you need, whilst retaining the general theme of their client’s business and ethos.

      Hope that helps mate!

  5. Thanks for another inspiring post! I think it’s a great point Jim, but a tough call.

    It will always be easier to lower one’s goals, follow a safe trend or established pattern, and tread middle ground in your personal and business life rather than sticking your neck out.

    Pursuing your unique path is a route fraught with potential pitfalls but I am of the opinion that every successful venture of your own design is more satisfying than ten mediocre ventures that followed the crowd.

    I wish there were more “movers and shakers”, it would stimulate competition and make life so much more fun!

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