Every once in a great while, someone comes up with a stellar marketing idea. And, it's not long until that idea is copied, tweaked, washed, rinsed, and repeated. Even now, over a decade later, we still see ripoffs of the "Got Milk?" campaign. Slogans such as "Got Sand?", "Got Jesus?", "Got Fruit?", and "Got Laughs?", are still found on vehicle bumpers as they speed by us on the highway.

I recently finished a book call Pull: Marketing Secrets The Fortune 100 Use that talks about how new ideas quickly go from remarkable to unremarkable. "Got Milk?" was remarkable... until it got copied. Then it became unremarkable. Ordinary. Everyday. Old news.

That's the danger many businesses find themselves in. They are unremarkable. They started out remarkable then, due to time and familiarity, became unremarkable. That doesn't mean they aren't clever or good at what they do, but unless they are providing something new, it's just more of the same.

What's the Big Idea?

Many businesses start an online business because they can. They fail to look at what they can do that is different or remarkable from the ten other guys doing it. This makes for bad business. Who cares if you can do it well! If you can't do it better or more creatively, you might as well get out of the game right now.

But, in reality, we know there really is nothing new under the sun. If an idea is good, it's likely been done a thousand times before. But, that doesn't stop us...nor should it. It's not what you're doing... it's how you present what you're doing.

All good ideas get copied. Eventually they get run into the ground, only to be resurrected again years later. Remarkable turns unremarkable, then turns remarkable all over again. As a marketer or business owner, it's your job to figure out what works and how it can be applied to what you are doing. It's not about stealing someone else's idea, but about incorporating it into your own unique version of that idea.

How Do You Become Remarkable?

We can easily apply this to SEO. Take ten sites in the same industry. What is unremarkable about them is that they are all targeting visitors that search using the same words. Nothing new there. What is remarkable is the site that targets those keywords into a unique presentation on the site. Now that's different.

Too often business owners create a site that's simply made to sell products or a service. It's a vehicle to get people from point A to point B, but the site itself lacks character. Just as a gas guzzling car serves the same purpose as a more fuel-friendly one; it gets people from point A to point B.

Sure, many people are willing to pay more for gas to have the vehicle that serves other purposes they have. But, what if you could have both? What if there were two versions of your dream car? Identical in all aspects... except one. One version gets twice the gas mileage over the other. Which would you choose?

Your website is like that. You can choose to have the higher gas mileage website or the low mileage site. You might have to spend a little more to get it, but the long-term payoff is significantly advantageous.

Find Your Message and Own It

Anything can be made remarkable. You don't necessarily have to change your sales message to do it. Nor do you have to steal something else outright. You're just adapting it to work with what you have and offer.

There is nothing wrong with taking good ideas and making them yours, as long as you don't just flat out steal them. The higher profile the idea is that you adapt, the more likely it'll work, but at the same time, you have to work harder to make it your own. The trick is to take an idea and turn it into something new, something different enough to be yours, but similar enough to still be effective. Don't get caught being obvious...that's so unremarkable.

September 23, 2010

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Excellent point. Getting people talking about you and your brand is vital in this era of social networking. Netflix is a remarkable concept and people are talking ... the latest must see Youtube video gos viral, big ideas travel fast.

So true about turning it into something new, something different enough to be yours, but similar enough to still be effective. Do this by adding your own angle to something.

The Magic Ingredient in anything we do is is our take on it. By using our life experiences and skills we make it unique; we bring our company; our product; our service to life! Nobody does what we do because our take on it is different to everyone else's!

I think if we do things genuinely this too can help. There is no point trying to be something we're not.

Just be yourself and add your take on it and own it!

Great post Richard; very thought provoking

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