Graham McGregor: Contrarian marketing

6 comments
Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

One of the most interesting approaches to promoting a business is to use what we call Contrarian Marketing. In other words, you look at how other people in your industry are marketing and promoting and you do the opposite or something very different.

Here are two examples to get you thinking...

1: 'The Anti Auction Real Estate firm':

A very popular way to sell houses in New Zealand at the moment is using an auction process.

However a very successful real estate owner takes a very different approach to selling homes in his business.

His name is Paul Vujnovich and he owns Harvey's Real Estate in Te Atatu, Auckland.

Paul has declared his business an 'auction free zone' and refuses to market homes by auction.

Paul's reasoning is simple. He knows that to buy at auction you have to be in a position to make an unconditional offer on a property. And because only a small percentage of potential buyers are in a position right now to make an unconditional offer on a property it meant by using an auction process you eliminate a huge number of potential buyers for your property. Paul also discovered that many people who bought a property at an auction only paid enough money to beat the second highest bidder and in many cases would have paid more money if they had to. The problem was they knew exactly what each bidder was offering at an auction so they just offered a small amount more to secure the property for themselves.

Instead of using an auction process, Paul and his team use a 'for sale by set date' strategy for many of their clients. This 'for sale by set date' process opens up a property to a much larger pool of potential buyers and it also means that each buyer does not know what other buyers are offering on a property. As a result they tend to often make their best offer when trying to buy a property. Paul and his team regularly achieve record prices for many of their sellers and are also one of the top selling real estate offices in the county.

2: The 'Animated' Business Speaker:

Andrew Griffiths is a best selling business author and popular business speaker. He wanted to increase the number of key note speaking engagements he was getting. Now the normal way to promote yourself as a speaker is to have a video of yourself at a live event. And on this video you have lots of positive comments from people saying how much they enjoyed your presentation.

Andrew decided recently to try something very different So he hired a NZ animation firm called Animation WRX to produce a short 2 minute animated video which explained his speaking services in a very entertaining way.

You can see the video they produced here.

How did this approach work for Andrew?

He received his first booking within 5 minutes of sending his animated video out to a selected group of event planners. The value of the booking was twice the cost of developing the film and with another 6 potential jobs, in 2 days worth of promotion, that translates to a 15 times return on his investment. Would he have got the same result if he had just launched another typical speakers promo video? (Probably not.)

Keep in mind that Contrarian Marketing is definitely not for everyone and you can still be very successful by using other approaches.

However both Paul and Andrew and other businesses have discovered that using a contrarian marketing strategy can work well.

"I took the road less travelled by and that has made all the difference'
Robert Frost

Action Exercise:

Is there an opportunity for your business to market doing the opposite or something very different from many of your competitors?

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email Graham on graham@twomac.co.nz

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 31 Aug 2014 23:26:55 Processing Time: 387ms