A few years ago, I read a book called Purple Cow, by Seth Godin, and what I learned from the book forever changed my thinking about marketing, and about business in general.
In it, Godin emphasizes that, if you want your business to succeed, you have to be a purple cow. A purple cow gets noticed, gets remembered, and gets talked about because it’s remarkable. The take-home message from the book was this: Be Remarkable.
Being remarkable in business can mean any number of things. It’s up to you to figure out how your B&B or inn is remarkable: maybe you serve only organic breakfasts, maybe you have a fantastic Resurrection Bay or Cook Inlet view, maybe all of your decor is handmade. Whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out what it is that makes you remarkable. If you’re not remarkable, no one’s going to remember you, and no one’s going to talk about you.
Godin is widely considered one of the top marketing experts in the country, and he is the guru when it comes to new media and marketing in the internet age. I read his blog daily and always come away with juicy tidbits of information that work on a broader level. The whole “Be Remarkable” theme comes up again and again, no matter the tools he’s discussing for getting the word out or the ideas for taking your business to the next level.
From this perspective, marketing is built into your business. It’s not just a part of your business plan, it is your business plan. If your goal is to embrace social media, you’ve got to have something worth talking about. If you want referrals on TripAdvisor, you’ve got to have a B&B worth referring. It’s not a gimmick, it’s not a trick designed solely to pique interest—that kind of marketing doesn’t last and is rarely worth talking about. That doesn’t mean that trying to generate interest is bad, it simply means that there needs to be a reason for that interest to be generated.
You can’t be just another B&B—there are hundreds of those in Alaska, and not all are worth talking about. You’ll probably get bookings, but you’ll be the place people call when everyone else is already booked. What you want is to be the name on everyone’s lips, the one that, when people mention they’re going to Alaska, get the “Oh! I stayed at this fantastic B&B when I was there. You have to go there,” responses. How do you do that? You must be remarkable.