Incredible audacity and success

Marketing guru Seth Godin  says, "You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice."

There are a lot of examples that come to mind, but Hugh McLeod is an outstanding example of someone who knows the marketing game so well that he can fearlessly break the rules when it suits his purpose.

Hugh’s irreverent attitude toward conventional wisdom in advertising and PR has never flagged. He continues to skewer Big Media, ad agencies, and stuffed shirts with equal enthusiasm. His unique combination of unflinching candor, outrageous ideas, and profane humor has made gapingvoid.com one of the most popular marketing blogs.

First, Hugh persuades Thomas McMahon, bespoke Savile Row tailor, to begin a blog, English Cut, about the finer details of bespoke tailoring and the industry in and around Saville Row that operates at this elevated level. Then Hugh blogs about $4000 suits which, of course, is far off the radar for any sensible blogger, let alone one who started out with cartoons on the back of business cards.

Now, with English Cut and Gaping Void generating so much tailoring business that Thomas could be forced to expand, Hugh and Thomas are considering reinventing the game for English Cut. The idea is basically limiting output to 100 suits a year. According to Hugh, that’s roughly 2 suits a week- less than what they’re making at the moment, but not by a wide margin.

His rationale is quite sound:

"They only make 100 suits a year" is a good meme. Creating the idea of "scarcity" in the customer’s mind is probably the best marketing move you can do, if you can get away with it. People want what they can’t have.

I think the idea will fly and will end up being another one of Hugh’s remarkable campaigns. In my opinion, the winning elements that will make this successful are:

1. The scarcity is real. Only so many suits can be made to Thomas Mahon’s exacting standards.

2. The vast group of people who might want and can afford such suits are continually kept informed of their scarcity by Hugh and people who read his blog.

3. This approach to doing business is so foreign to the "bigger is better" mantra of modern business that business media types will continually revisit the English Cut story in an effort to find the flaws or to provide their own slant on the REAL reasons for English Cut’s success.

Once again, Hugh and Thomas have pushed the envelope in another direction. This unlikely combination of masterful craftsmanship, full frontal Internet exposure, and limited quantities available are an irresistible combination.

My feeling is that his audacity will be suitably rewarded.

What do you think? Have you ever heard of output being limited successfully?

Have you ever considered how you might change your own business proposition to make it remarkable, instead of merely "sensibly" profitable?

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