• Bill Petrie

Finding the Spotlight on a Crowded Stage

Six ways to ensure your marketing stands out

In the old days – and by old days, I mean ten years ago – there was a stage and an audience when marketing a product or service. It was simple: brands took the stage, shared their message with the audience, and that audience would decide what, if any, action to take. Fast forward to today, and the landscape has completely changed as technology and social media have leveled the playing field as we now have more people on the stage than in the audience. With an over-crowded stage, brands are shouting over each other, begging to be heard.


However, if there are more people on the stage than in the audience, who is available to listen?

Delivering a marketing message that rises above the clamor of the competition to an increasingly shrinking and distracted audience is, to put it mildly, challenging. Challenging, but not impossible.


Here are six ways to ensure your marketing stands out to the point people will hear it:

  1. Embrace Your Uniqueness – Start by answering the question of why: why would people buy from you over others when the offerings are seemingly the same? Before any marketing campaign can begin, you must figure out what makes your product or service different so you can express it clearly to your audience. Remember, you won’t be the ideal solution for everyone, so embrace those differentiators and target the potential clients who are most likely to understand – and pay for – the value you offer.

  2. Clearly Communicate Value – in every ad, deliver candid, straightforward communication of the value you’re offering. Are you simply peddling products to create bigger bonuses for management, or are you genuinely offering added value or experiences for your clients? If your message is bullshit, it will be sniffed out in a nanosecond, and you’ll stand out in ways you wish you hadn’t.

  3. It’s Still Advertising – regardless of how pretty, funny, or clever, people know advertising when they see it, so embrace what you’re doing. Instead of trying to make ads look “organic,” go all in and embrace your brand and the fact you’re selling something. When you create ads that are transparent and on-brand, you’ll gain much more attention and engagement.

  4. Be Authentic – we’ve heard it time and again that authenticity is critical, and it is. The easiest path to authenticity is transparency. Build your business out in the open: share what you’re working on, the roadblocks, the triumphs, and even the moments of doubt. People love to feel they are part of your brand story and will be able to relate to you in ways that will pay financial dividends.

  5. Encourage Customers to Advertise for You – consider a small, targeted influencer campaign to have your audience advocate for you. This is where promotional products truly shine in ways we’ve already seen in our industry: the brandivate launch, the Promotions East influencer campaign, PromoCares Sleep In 4 Good, and, most recently, the launch of Promocations. When you have your audience advertise your brand out of sheer love is truly the ultimate marketing win.

  6. Be Human – your audience (mine too) is exhausted by ads selling them something as they scroll through their social media accounts. People want to feel a sense of connection to brands, so ensuring you add a human element to your marketing efforts will go a long way to finding success. Start with your personal ethos by thinking about how you like to be sold is a great place to start. When you take the approach of the first-person narrative in describing your products or services, you’ll quickly relate on a human level with your audience.

More than ever, brands need to be strategic in leveraging their marketing to ensure they reach that ever-shrinking audience. If you simply continue trying to shout louder than everyone else, you’ll be fighting for a spot on the stage instead of having the spotlight all to yourself.

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