So, we collected all of our stuff to head out the door and realized that my 4-year-old was not in tow. I called out to her and she said, “I’m coming. I just needed to get ready!”

That was interesting, as I had already gotten her dressed, hair brushed, shoes on … Out she comes — entirely different outfit than planned — a sun dress with a skirt underneath it, snow boots (it’s 108 degrees), a “handmade” necklace and a pink tiara on her head, carrying a snow globe and a bar of soap to show her friends.

As we were driving I was so mesmerized by the confidence and excitement she had with her outfit and saddened to think about the day that she might trade in a style that is all her own for what everybody else does.

And don’t we often do this with marketing? Our marketing activities replicate one another so much that it really takes very little to stand out from the crowd. If your marketing style is less than memorable, consider a few ways to step out:

>> Know Your Audience

If you do nothing else to energize your marketing, take the time to really consider what your audience will respond to. Take account of who they are, their age, background, lifestyle and personality. Depending on the marketing activity, you might be sending out to 100s, even 1000s, of people who differ in these qualities. One of the best investments of your marketing dollars would be to take the time to segment those people so they only see marketing that matters to them.

>> Don’t Give In To What’s Expected

I sit in on marketing brainstorming sessions that entails reviewing what competitors are doing and discussing what can be done “like that.” Challenge your team to think of messages, mediums and material that is unique to your firm. Build your brand in every marketing interaction you do. The test should be to ask yourself, ‘am I just sending this out to get our firm’s name out there or am I sending out a little piece of our firm?’

It is easy to send an Eblast with a vanilla message, but it is not memorable. An Eblast sent to the right audience, done differently to where it surprises the recipient by standing out, can have a powerful response rate.

>> Medium Matters

While we do business in an ever-electronic environment, something about touching and feeling marketing materials ignite the senses in a powerful and lasting way. As you develop the message for the marketing material consider what everyone else does, even what you have done in the past and try throwing that aside. What would make them talk about your firm after that material arrived? What would stay on their desk because throwing it away feels a little wrong?

And speaking of electronics, there is so much more to be done from a marketing perspective outside Eblasts and websites — interactive brochures, virtual tours, video integration, etc. Firms can do both and build their brand even more effectively.

>> Emotions First, Facts Last

We just sent out a newsletter (you are not thinking this is unique or well received at this point, I am sure), with nothing in it that was self-promoting — instead it was tips on marketing, upcoming events, and client profiles. But here’s what was different; we printed it on newsprint (yes, old style news paper) — almost impossible to find now by the way — and people loved it. It was the best marketing piece response we have ever had. Why? Because they liked the touch and feel of it — at first, it was emotional for them and then they read it. There are ideas like this all around us; it just takes a little time to find something that reaffirms your company character and appeals to your audience.

So, when we got out of the car, she said “Here Mommy, you can wear this crown so you don’t just look like everyone else.” … know your audience, don’t give in to what’s expected, medium matters, emotions first, facts last … what do you think I did? Said heck yes, and wished I brought my snow boots!

If you have any questions about this article or any of the topics I have covered in previous posts, please feel free to contact me at