This weeks Idea: You’ve got to be visible – no matter what it takes!

with Neil Godin

Driving. On my way to work with one of my favorite clients. M&R Environmental. Here in (beautiful) Burnaby, BC. When my car came to a sudden stop. On its own (I swear). And then swerved toward the curb. And then parked. All by itself. Just so I could get out and take a picture of a truck-mounted sandwich board. Here, take a look:

An anonymous coffee shop survives because of this sign.

An anonymous coffee shop survives because of this sign.

Why did my car stop us in our tracks? Because I’ve trained it to watch for great examples of what I call “Roadside Marketing” – marketing that usually flaunts city signage bylaws – and lets the world know you exist.

Roadside marketing includes wrapping your ride; putting up promotional signage at sites where your crew is working (one tree cutting service puts a “stop” sign beside their truck – inviting drivers to stop and ask for a special price “because we’re already here in your neighborhood”) – as well as “dancing sandwich boards” (humans, in costume and not, waving placards promoting “Today’s special” at your business).  And banners. And balloons. And rows of street signs leading to your business, each sign stating another great reason to stop on by. Etc. and Etc. 

Your call to action:

Key point: It doesn’t matter how great you are – if I don’t know you exist. As I drove by the building that houses this café, I couldn’t see its location, at all.  And I swear that if it wasn’t for that car-topper sandwich board, their sandwich business would be as dead as yesterday’s donuts.

Okay, over to you. Do people know you exist? Can passers-by (and-drivers-by) see your location? Can they tell what business you’re in? Can they see that you have something special going on?  Hey. There are no excuses. If you’re a home based business you can use a car topper. If you’re in a tall building, remember that there is a sidewalk at ground level – and there is almost always a way to place a sandwich board that tells passers-by your story. (Example: One of my marketing coaching clients is a dental practice in an office building – and their sandwich board spells out their “welcome” offer to new patients).

Feeling challenged? Good. Get out there and market dangerously.

See you next week.


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  1. I didn’t even notice the Road side Coffee sign that Len had added to the Hong Kong street scene….amusing.

  2. I think this is fantastic, especially article No. 2 about how to circumvent city hall. I miss those Burma Shave signs. They were great fun when I was a kid. I wonder how many children learned to read by reading those signs?

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