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You Gotta Be a Little Crazy Sometimes

You Gotta Be a Little Crazy Sometimes

April 15, 2008

Dear Reader,

What's the craziest, most outlandish, jaw-dropping, stop-me-dead-in-my-tracks, attention-grabbing promise (that's also true!) you can make about your business?

This is something I've been talking with my clients a lot about lately. The economy is getting tougher. Consumers and businesses are cutting back on spending. Buyers are more cautious. And prospects are hesitant about investing in anything right now.

You need to stand out. And the successful businesses - those that prosper even when the economy is bad - are the ones that have what I call a Big Zig. It's something that separates them from the rest so while others zag through the market, they zig. The bigger your Zig, the better!

Here's a few Big Zigs that may have sounded crazy at one time but have proven to be monumental business strategies that are successfully helping shape and guide these companies.

Did he really put golf balls in a blender?

One of my favorites is from Blend Tec. They claim their Total Blender is so durable and so powerful with its 1,500 watt motor that it can blend almost anything. They even prove it in a series of videos called, "Will it blend?" in which CEO and founder Tom Dickson blends a can of Spam (the whole can!) with 2 eggs. In other videos, he blends an old TV remote controller he doesn't use anymore, an old iPhone, an old hearing aide, a stun gun, broom, golf balls and marbles.

The most famous video is the "cochicken," which is half of a cooked chicken blended with 12-ounces of a Coke (without the can this time). Another version was aired on NBC's Today show with a boneless chicken and fed to co-host Meredith Vieira.

In another video, Dickson blended a camcorder so viewers can see the video as it was being turned into dust.

No one in their right mind would put any of those things in their blender at home, but Tom proudly puts his $399 blender to the test and turns each thing he throws in there into bits and pieces. It's amazing to watch! See for yourself at http://www.willitblend.com/.

It's gained such a following that millions of people have downloaded the videos. They have a blog about it and they take suggestions to air in upcoming videos. They're now even selling the promotion videos on DVD for $9.93. People are actually buying their marketing footage!!

Has it worked? In less than a year, traffic to the website increased 650% and sales have jumped five-fold.

Every successful business must have a big, bold promise or something they can say about their business that separates them from the competition.

Is he nuts? Or does he just have guts?

Another Big Zig I love is from Todd Davis CEO of LifeLock. In every promotion and on billboards and trucks travelling through New York City he publishes his Social Security number. He's so confident that his service will protect customers from identity theft that he publishes his real social security number for everyone to see. That takes guts!

Listeners to my last teleseminar will remember the story I told about how I promoted the Harvard bookstore's book buyback program. I put an old car in the middle of the campus and anyone who turned in their books after their final exams got some cash and the chance to take out their frustration and anxiety by beating the old car with a sledge hammer! The publicity was amazing and it was the most successful buyback program ever!

Sometimes it pays to be a little crazy

More recently, I became well known as the Lumpy Mail Guy - the one who would mail marketing messages in bottles, fake dynamite sticks, in a box with balloons, etc. and deliver results that typically out-pulled all other traditional mailing campaigns 10:1. Well, I put even my own lumpy mail idea to the test and mailed a marketing piece on a watermelon! Imagine the person's face when the mailman knocked on the door to deliver a watermelon with a marketing message on it! That one put me and the Lumpy Mail business on the map. People still talk about it today! Check it out for yourself at http://www.lumpymail.com/Products/watermelon.htm

So what's your Big Zig? While everyone else is zagging, how will you zig?

What can you promise that may sound so unbelievable and so absurd that your prospects will want to learn more? The secret is to create a message that will create a crowd of prospects who want to see or hear it for themselves! Got a crazy idea you can promote? Good. You're on the right track!

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon