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Marketing Tips from a Marketing Agency: Be disruptive

June 6th, 2007 · 12 Comments · Agency Life, Branding, Customers/Clients, Marketing

It would only stand to reason that a marketing & branding agency would be pretty good at branding and marketing itself.

So I thought it might be fun to explore some branding & marketing concepts using our own agency, McLellan Marketing Group, as the guinea pig.

Be disruptive

Voicemail Marketing isn’t always about the big campaign.  Sometimes it is taking something simple or expected and turning it on its ear.  Earlier in this series, we talked about how we approach business cards.  Being disruptive seems to be an MMG given. It’s certainly what we do with our voice mail.  If you call our office, while we’re transferring your call — you’re going to be asked a question.

So, let’s say you hit my extension (17 by the way) and you expect elevator music, silence or a sales pitch. Instead you’re going to hear me asking…"while we transfer your call, ponder this.  What tagline best describes your personal brand?  Be ready to tell us why…"

Not only do we  learn quite a bit about our callers, but the Q&A helps define our brand.  We ask a lot of questions, so we might as well set the expectation now.

But the biggest value in our voicemail tactic — it’s disruptive.  It surprises people and it’s something they talk about.  It says, "these people do things differently."

Now maybe you can’t mess with your company’s voice mail system but come on, you can be disruptive some place, some how. 

How can you cause a buzzworthy disruption?

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Dan Schawbel

    Being disruptive really works with buzz marketing, especially when your creative and can disrupt a major event with a marketing attempt.

  • Brett Trout

    Being disruptive is quite effective. Intelligence, wit, marketing savvy and empathy with your audience, however, delineate the difference between a rose and a f*rt in church (sorry about the disruptive language).

    If you can pull it off, it is highly effective. If not, the disruption can do more harm than good. There are so many great people out there like yourself who help people do it so well, I would never consider a “disruptive” campaign without seeking professional help.

  • Designer Mike / Mike Pearce

    That’s a great idea!

    Maybe this could be an idea for a future blog, but I’d like to get hear your thoughts on agencies that care too much about being in design annuals. Just because the design community thinks your great doesn’t mean the piece helped the client. In the book “Your Marketing Sucks” the author says to fire your agency if they enter design contests.

  • Katie Cummings

    It’s pretty simple really. You have to get their attention and even more importantly, you have to keep it and it has to resonate.

  • Drew McLellan


    One of the cool things about disruption is that it doesn’t have to be elaborate or big. It just has to be noticeable.

    It’s an important element to include in the plan, for sure.


  • Drew McLellan


    Now don’t sell yourself short. You know your audience and what their tolerance is. Much of disruption marketing is about understanding where the edge of tolerance is…and pushing yourself to that limit.

    Or, in our case with the voicemail — does it align with your brand. We ask a lot, and I mean a lot of questions. So it makes sense that we’d begin every interaction with one.


  • Drew McLellan


    Thanks for the comment and the post suggestion. I will tackle awards and agencies fascination with them.

    As you know — all too often awards shows are based on pretty, not results. That doesn’t mean the piece served the client.


  • Drew McLellan


    The resonnate part is the area where most companies suffer, I think. They can get someone’s attention but then what?

    And all too often, how the tactic interacts with the brand is not addressed.

    So simple to us, but as I am sure you’d seen — not so simple for most companies.


  • Singapore Increase Web Traffic

    It’s been really long since I started reading your posts and today I just want to say that your blog is great!

  • Drew McLellan

    Singapore –

    Thank you very much. Glad to have you here!


  • jeff paul

    well i must say the tips you shared up there are really informative and i am looking forward to see more stuff like this in future form your side . great post

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