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What a Gecko Taught Me about Marketing

What a Gecko Taught Me about Marketing

What a Gecko Taught Me about Marketing

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” said writer Charles Caleb Colton. We see that form of flattery in business in many forms.

Marketing is one of the areas where one company attempts to gain the success of another by imitating advertising or marketing efforts.

Take, for example, the Geico gecko. A humorous little character moved the company’s marketing efforts forward and took market share from other insurance companies.


Result: Humorous characters pop up in Allstate, Nationwide, and Farmers insurance commercials.

It’s easy to understand why an ad company would go that way. If it works for them, it’s got to work for us, right? Not so fast mister insurance guy. In reality none of the imitators have anything to show, as far as increased market share, for the millions of dollars spent trying to imitate Geico.

The question to ask is, “If it worked for Geico, why didn’t it work for other companies?” That’s a good question so let’s dissect the problem.

What the Gecko Really Taught Me

At Glazer-Kennedy Inner Circle, members are encouraged to keep an open mind when it comes to marketing. Look at what other industries are using and see if that marketing or business method can be adapted to mine.

A good example Dan Kennedy gives to illustrate how business methods cross industry lines is the drive-up window.

Originally found in the banking industry, at some point a restaurant owner sat at the drive through waiting to make a deposit and a light bulb went of in his head. If you can drive up to a window and make a bank deposit, why can’t you get a hot dog or a hamburger as well? History was made and now we see everything from drive through liqueur stores to drive through wedding chapels.

Imitation turned to innovation in that example, but let’s go back to the original thought of why didn’t other large insurance companies turn their ads into profits.

Innovation is one thing but imitation of ad copy can be tricky, especially when working with large companies and large audiences.

As a small business with a smaller customer base it’s actually very easy for me to see what’s working in one industry and adapt it to mine.

Here’s an example:

One of Dan Kennedy’s examples in his course called Magnetic Marketing is that of his three-letter marketing campaign for Giorgio’s Italian Grotto. In a series of direct mail letters Dan contacted prospects for a local restaurant by appealing to husbands to set up a romantic dinner with their significant others. The psychology of sending these letters that were SURELY opened by the wives was spot on.

As each letter arrived, the letter pointed out how the offer was a very small price to pay for a satisfied wife. You’ve heard the old saying, “Happy wife, happy life”?

The marketing campaign worked famously, but even more famously is how other small business owners have adapted the same technique to their industries.

So what was the difference between the gecko and Giorgio?

The difference was scope AND expertise. Dan Kennedy knew what he was doing when he wrote his famous Million Dollar Sales Letter. Dan is also willing to explain the psychology of the letter to his GKIC members.

His members don’t have to guess at what makes the campaign work and unlike the gecko’s competitors, those who work with Dan Kennedy and GKIC aren’t big, dumb companies HOPING to make an impact.
What did I learn from the gecko? Don’t do what the big guys do, blindly imitate what seems to work for other big companies. The gecko taught me to work with INTELLIGENT people, like Dan Kennedy and learn the fundamentals of marketing rather.

If you’d like to increase your customer base and do it intelligently, CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Here’s to your success

What do you think? Can you learn from other businesses to grow your? Leave a comment below.

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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