How to Create Your Own Marketing Breakthrough


Marketing is changing fast. This year, companies began to embrace tactics like influencer marketing, brand advocates, and Facebook Livein earnest. So in a crowded landscape, how can you make sure your idea or your company stands out?

That’s the question marketing strategist and former presidential campaign spokeswoman Dorie Clark sought to answer in her book Stand Out.

Clark interviewed more than 50 top thought leaders in a variety of fields, from business thinkers like Dan Pink and Seth Godin to urban planners, genomics researchers, and real estate agents. By reverse-engineering their breakthrough ideas, she sought to develop a road map that entrepreneurs and business leaders can use to get their ideas noticed. Here are three strategies she identified that can help your business get the attention it deserves.

1 Develop Your Expert Niche.

It’s easier to succeed if you start out with a narrow focus. You probably can’t become recognized as a “technology expert” overnight, because the topic is so broad and the competition is so fierce, but if you specialize and (for instance) blog about the subject every day, you could make yourself known as an expert on self-driving cars. That benefit compounds because of the “halo effect,” a phenomenon long noted by psychologists, in which – because you’re good at one thing – you’re viewed as competent across the board.

Niching down worked for Sophal Ear, a political economist Clark profiles in Stand Out. Ear, whose family fled Cambodia when he was a baby, wanted to focus his studies on his homeland, even though it carries less geopolitical cache than China or India. He’s successfully used his deep expertise about the country to become a public intellectual who has weighed in on foreign aid, avian flu (he had developed expertise in Cambodian agriculture), and even given a TED talk about criminal justice, as a result of his knowledge of the Khmer Rouge. As his lesson shows, it pays to start small, immerse yourself deeply, and then expand out into new, adjacent areas.

2 Provide New Research.

The 1980s blockbuster In Search of Excellence is remembered for many things – its staggering sales, its pro-American narrative during a time of national angst, and the concept of “management by walking around,” among others. But what often gets overlooked about this business classic is the fact that Tom Peters and Bob Waterman broke through, in part, because they contributed genuinely new information to the public discourse.


Author: Mark Fidelman,Contributor

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