TDW #013: Different Marketing Is Better Marketing

Different Marketing Is Better Marketing

Back in 2013, I ran the world’s simplest marketing experiment.

It went like this:

  1. I emailed Gary Vaynerchuk with a picture of me next to a stack of his books I just bought.
  2. I asked him if I could spend the day shadowing him at his NYC offices.
  3. I bought a plane ticket after he said yes.
  4. Built the connection in a genuine way.
  5. Ask if he’d help me launch my new business somehow.
  6. Gary replied with a, “u can come.” So I went. And he did, in fact, end up helping me launch my first business after leaving my job at the church.

The launch brought in 100 new clients paying $97/month in the first 90 days of my business. It set me and my family up so I could confidently step into full-time entrepreneurship. That was over 10 years ago now. I’ve never looked back.

But that plan…that was it. It was my Hail Mary. That’s all I had. 

But it did work. Because it was different. And different gets noticed.

(Super important side note: this is one success story from hundreds of experiments over the years. Most experiments have totally bombed. Like, it would've been better if I hadn’t done anything at all. Negative results. But that’s what the experimentation mindset requires–tons and tons of reps!)


  • building and selling multiple businesses
  • consulting with global nonprofits and mom & pop shops alike
  • spending over $2m of other people’s money on ads

…I’ve learned something:

There’s no single right way to market your business.

There is, however, a wrong way. And that’s to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing.

You can run a massive Facebook Ad campaign. Or you can stand on a street corner twirling signs in a chicken costume. Or you can write sincere thank you notes to current & past customers, just because.

It doesn’t matter.

Because there’s no “magic” marketing tactic that will work for everyone.

It’s more of a choose-your-own-adventure situation :)

Every single day, you have to make non-normal decisions on how to get the word out about your business.

Decisions like:

  • How do I measure the return on the investment of my marketing dollars…like, for real?
  • Am I comfortable depending solely on word-of-mouth referrals to grow my business?
  • How do I get the attention my business deserves without feeling spammy, scammy, or awkward?
  • I don’t want to be a “best kept secret” or “invisible expert” anymore — how do I fix it?

There’s no magic answer for any of these questions. But if you’re looking for a practical way to get started, I got your back. Follow these three simple steps:

Step #1: take note of the “best practices” for marketing in your industry or niche.

What does everyone else seem to be doing?

What platforms are they on?

What words or phrases are they using to create opportunities for themselves?

You’re observing here. Nothing more. Think of it like a scientist watching a test subject. Or you’re an alien from a different planet–you want to see how this new world operates.

Step #2: write down the complete opposite of everything you took note of in Step #1.

If everyone is using LinkedIn posts, maybe you’d write down TikTok.

If everyone else is using Facebook Ads, maybe you’d write down direct mail.

If everyone has product shots in their Instagram feed, maybe you’d write down photos of real people.

You’re not committing to anything. You’re simply listing out the opposite approach most people use. We’re priming the pump for opportunities. Zig-while-everyone-else-zags type stuff.

Step 3: pick the ‘opposite’ approach that resonates most with you.

I want you to try literally doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Give yourself 30 days. Try not to make any judgments before then. Observe what happens. Tweak your approach as-needed.

This isn’t necessarily about finding the “next big thing” as much as it is getting you to think different than everyone else. This is the key to getting noticed.

Final Words

Literally anyone can fire off an email to a guy like GaryVee and ask him to do something for them. But when it got flipped around–all it took was sending a photo of something I did for him to get noticed.

The best part about this story? It didn’t take an MBA, investment money, or even intelligence to execute. This same concept—doing different—applies to every business in every industry. Even yours.

What happened when you “did different”? DM me on Twitter and let me know and you might be featured in an upcoming Different Weekly.

When you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

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