5 Examples to get you thinking about Better Marketing


If you’re like most business owners, you didn’t start your business because you really liked marketing (unless of course you started a marketing business…).

But if you’ve been in business for any time at all, you’ve probably realized that it’s pretty important to find ways to get people to hold up their hand and say “I’d like to learn more about your stuff.”.

That’s marketing.

And it can be really challenging (even for marketing professionals) to find a consistent, viable way to get people to hold up their hand and approach you.

In Jay Baer’s book Youtility he makes a lot of great points, but it all starts with the observation that we are all being buried by promotions coming at us from every possible angle – the marketplace is really noisy and it can be almost impossible to be heard…especially if you sound just like everyone else.  The central point behind Youtility is that you have a choice when it comes to marketing in today’s environment.

You can either be amazing or you can be useful – and it’s really difficult to be amazing, especially on a consistent basis (just ask those companies who are spending millions on clever ads or trying to go ‘viral’).

Useful however, is a lot more straightforward. If your business solves problems (either as a product or a service), then you are already useful.  The question is how can you extend that usefulness and turn it into free marketing?  Side note – if your business isn’t really solving problems, you’re not going to be in business very long anyway…!

Here a few examples that might get your mind moving towards how you could develop some Youtility type marketing:

Taxi Mike’s Dining Guide

If you ever go to Banff  (beautiful ski resort area in Canada) then you’re going to want to check out Taxi Mike. Although Banff is fairly small, it’s really busy and there are a lot of taxi companies you could choose from. However only one of them has created a really helpful dining guide to help you figure out what bar or restaurant you should check out while you’re in town. It’s a comprehensive listing that’s updated very few months and distributed out to places all over town (and on his website). So whatever you’re looking for, Taxi Mike’s guide can help you find it.  And if you’d like a ride to get there, his phone number is conveniently listed on the helpful guide as well.  Simple, useful and something any traveler will appreciate (which happens to be the group that Taxi Mike wants to be friends with).



Kleenex Cold and Flu Predictor

Obviously Kleenex knows a lot about cold and flu season – it’s a big driver for their primary product line. Using that expertise and data from the Centers for Disease Control, Kleenex has created a web app that can help you get ahead of when the next outbreak is coming to your area.  Check out My-achoo.com and enter in your zip code to get the forecast for your area in terms of how likely colds and flu are to be in your area over the next 3 weeks. On top of that, the site is loaded with tips and ideas to help you weather cold and flu season as well.  This one is a bit more gimmicky and it’s hard to say how useful it is in terms of predicting the flu for your family, but it is helpful and it’s a creative way to share their knowledge.


Client Kudos Sunday Snippets

Over the last couple of years, I’ve told everyone I know that they need to be signed up for John Stevenson’s Sunday Snippets. John is the founder of Client Kudos (and a friend of mine) and I don’t know that I could find a better example of how to add a ton of value to your potential clients (and lots of other people as well). Every Sunday John sends out a snippet…a short article that highlights great ideas that business owners and professionals would benefit from. They’re quick, easy to read and add a lot of value. They also highlight how John and his team think and indirectly illustrate a lot of the ways they help out their clients. Could your business have your own version of a Snippet like service that you could offer?



Ikea Montreal Moving Day

Another Canadian example (maybe they’re just inherently helpful…).  I’m not sure why, but in Montreal a large number of people end up moving to a new place on July 1st – those crazy Canadians call it Moving Day.  Over the last couple of years, the Ikea stores in Montreal have jumped on this bandwagon by giving away moving boxes to the 225,000 people who are moving. The boxes are 85% recycled material and printed with clever moving related phrases and also offer a discount to the Ikea stores. People who move are also likely in the market for new furniture and a good group for Ikea to make friends with.



UTEC – Billboard that makes water

This one is really cool. UTEC is a University in Lima, Peru that specializes in Engineering and Technology and they constantly need to be attracting smart students who want to learn to do cool things that matter. Lima is the capitol of Peru with about 7.6 million people…but it also happens to be located in a coastal desert region…they’re right on the ocean but they only get about 1/2 an inch of rain every year.  However because they’re right on the ocean, it’s incredibly humid there – close to 100% a lot of times. The end result – a lot of people struggle to get enough drinking water.  Enter UTEC and their new billboard – which is engineered to act as a water collector and creates drinkable water (with some electricity needed) and sends it to a faucet at the base of the sign.  This one sign has created 2500 gallons of water in just 3 months…according to UTEC that’s enough to support hundreds of families with drinking water.  There’s a much more in-depth explanation in this article. Or check out this great video:

Click here if you can’t see the video.

Unfortunately there’s not a silver bullet when it comes to marketing, but a little creativity and a goal to make something really useful can take you a long way.  What useful marketing have you seen…or developed?  Share your thoughts below – we’d love to hear from you.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach

Rock City Barn picture from Brent Moore via Flickr

1 thought on “5 Examples to get you thinking about Better Marketing”

  1. Ron Kroeger says:

    Great read Shawn, lets reconnect soon

    Ronnie K

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