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THERE’S A PHRASE I’VE USED over and over, throughout my years in marketing: “Go big or go home.” It embodies my die-hard philosophy that marketing should stand out from the crowd, and that you have to be willing to take risks to get the most out of a limited marketing budget. It is far better to be remembered for using a marketing message or communications channel that’s interesting, funny, edgy or even a little risky, than to be forgotten because of lackluster “me-too” design and messaging. Las Vegas is a city that makes it clear that they fully embrace the “go big or go home” concept, and a trip to Las Vegas reminded me of that. Standing at the airport’s baggage carousel alongside hoards of other travelers, I waited for my luggage. Our flight’s luggage was late. Despite the fact that I had fully investigated the only piece of luggage moving past us — a nondescript black roller bag — at least 25 times, we still stood there staring at the carousel trying to will our luggage into existence. We were a captive audience to say the least. Suddenly, I noticed a commotion moving like a wave around the luggage-belt; one traveler after another reacted. Then the cause of the commotion made its way around the corner to me. It was a small, red trunk with a pair of women’s legs protruding from the side, as though she had been cut in half. The trunk was simply labeled “Lance Burton, Master Magician, Monte Carlo.” Like all big casinos, the Monte Carlo has a hefty marketing budget, especially compared to most small businesses — but even though mass media advertising, like network TV, is an option, the Monte Carlo chose to dedicate resources to guerrilla marketing in an effort to stand out from the crowd of other casinos vying for travelers’ attention. My guess is that this guerrilla marketing effort cost them only a few hundred dollars to execute, but generated an exponentially higher payoff. With a little ingenuity, “going big” doesn’t have to equate to a big budget. Sometimes the “go big or go home” philosophy means just sitting it out. One CEO of a small business recently told me about his intent to rent a trade show booth, but after the booth rental he wouldn’t have money for a display and giveaways to compete with other exhibitors. My advice was to wait until next year, when he could “go big” and stand apart from competing exhibitors. I recommended that he simply attend this year’s event as a guest to network and conduct a little competitive espionage. What will it be? Will your company go big, or will you go home? Next time someone in your business has an unusual marketing idea, go ahead and laugh — but if you can find the resolve you need to try it, you might just discover some marketing magic.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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