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If You Can't Fix It, Feature It.

September 2007by Moshe Engelberg, Ph.D.


This is one of the most powerful marketing axioms I know. In my 15 years of consulting, I've relied on this "outside the box" idea perhaps more than any other. The underlying principle is simple: What you may treat as a "negative" - a liability, may in fact be your greatest asset. Don't hide it. In fact, do the opposite. Feature it. Disarm the potential negative perceptions by putting them on the table, front and center.

New York University (NYU) used to downplay its location in the heart of the Big Apple, thinking prospective students would associate the campus with crime, danger, and other negatives. Then they did some marketing research and found quite the opposite. Their location was perceived as one of their greatest strengths! So NYU featured it-as in making Manhattan their campus map. They recognized their assumptions, checked them out with a willingness to be wrong, and turned what they perceived to be a major liability into a huge asset.

Ask yourself: What do we hide? What do we assume are liabilities? There may be substantial marketing value in what you currently sweep under the rug. Look at these potential negatives from a fresh marketing perspective. With an open mind and creative marketing thinking, you can transform assumed "weaknesses" into significant strengths. If you can't fix it, feature it!

Moshe Engelberg, Ph.D., M.P.H.
ResearchWorks, Inc.
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