Today: “You want to do what?”

 > The Situation:

“You want to do what?” he asked. “I think we should hang price tags from the chimneys,” I repeated. And. After a few moments of stunned silence, he replied, “Why not—I guess?” The scene was a real estate development near Edmonton, during the deep recession of the 1980’s. I was having a ball, working with realtors and developers—and people in many other industries as well, who were hit hard, and in serious trouble—across the continent. My clients (and those who referred clients to me) gave me the nickname, “The turnaround guy,” and I wore that handle with pride. Now, as Yogi Berra would say, it’s déjà vu all over again.

 > The Idea:

Two ideas today: First idea: Fresh, wide open, out-of-the-box (what box?) thinking. In the case of the Edmonton development, we needed to “merchandise” the homes. Hanging 4’x8’ plywood price tags (with the old prices crossed out, and the new prices prominent), just seemed logical—to me—while it seemed other-worldly to my developer client. Second idea: Cross-pollination. You probably aren’t a realtor or developer. But don’t skip or dismiss today’s article for that reason. Because. Learning to look for and use ideas from other industries is one of the most powerful recession-proofing strategies I know.

 > The Risk:

Dangling 4’x8’ plywood price tags from the chimneys could “cheapen” the look of the homes, my client worried aloud. I responded with my own worry: “If we don’t convey the message that people are buying at bargain basement prices—we may not sell any homes.” And, I added, “Nothing would cheapen your image more than bankruptcy.” We hung the price tags. The houses sold.

 > The Reward:

By taking an old idea (from one industry) and applying it as an out-of-the-box “new” idea in another industry, we looked like geniuses.

 > The Call to Action:

During a recession, “the usual” approaches usually stop working. The real estate price tags were just one among dozens of unusual we used to get attention—and action—when business was flat-lining. Now it’s your turn. What can you do that would normally be unheard of in your industry—maybe even shocking (remember, we call this “Marketing Dangerously”)—to get attention and action in your business?

PS – If you’re in the Vancouver area, and want to receive a barrage of recession-proof marketing ideas, plan to attend our February 17 public seminar. Seats are going fast. Click here for details.

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