Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t

(Listen to this post, here.)

I don’t know where you live, but I know this: Your airport is better than mine. 

I say this with confidence because my airport is Logan, here in Boston. 

Is it because of the decrepit parking garages? No. 

Is it because of the dark, unwelcoming terminals? No. 

Is it because of the ever-scowling state troopers who treat all travelers as if they are members of the returning British army, here to make another run at taking back our fair city? 

No, my nomadic friend, it’s because of the roads inside the airport. 

Despite my nearly 40 years of experience dropping off and picking up passengers at Logan, and even though I know where to go and what to expect, it’s a nightmare. 

Lanes disappear without warning. Signs make no sense. The need to stay right turns into an immediate need to stay left, leaving unsuspecting drivers with little choice but to circle the entire airport one more time before giving it another try.

But I do have one Logan trick that I am pleased to share with you now. One that will have you smiling like a state trooper about to ticket a mobility-impaired senior citizen who’s been idling too long at the curb: 

When picking up a passenger on a busy night, don’t go to Arrivals – go to Departures. 

At peak times, Arrivals is a zoo. Departures though – the upper level – is a ghost town after about 8 PM, when no more planes are leaving. 

I picked up my wife there last Friday night … and boy are my arms tired (I’m kidding, I’m kidding). Downstairs was bumper to bumper; I was literally the only car up above. 

Sometimes, going with the crowd makes sense. It’s tested. It’s proven. It must be right since everybody else is doing it. 

But sometimes, if you can figure out what everybody else is doing out of habit – and go the other way – you and your business can benefit.  

Consider holiday cards and gifts, for example. 

For many small professional service firms and solos, our single largest marketing expenditure will occur over the next month. It’s when many of us send gifts to clients and cards to everyone else. 

But is that really a good idea? Does it make sense to take your biggest marketing swing in the few weeks when everybody else on earth is doing the same thing? 

What if, instead, you sent the same stuff out in March, when nobody is receiving anything and your cards and gifts would be a welcome surprise? 

Or how about your book? What if you did it as a graphic novel, instead of a conventional business book? 

Or what if, instead of hiring “professional talent” to record the standing intro to your podcast, you had your seven-year-old read it? 

Or what if your Instagram posts were only done in Haiku? 

Or what if you named your company after a flightless aquatic bird? 

You get the picture. 

Marketing is about standing out. Following the crowd is about standing in (or is it sitting out, I’m not sure). 

Either way, and while sticking with the herd is easy, obvious and usually safe, it’s just not that interesting. 

Not to mention, it’s often packed with other people who are doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. 

As baseball legend “Wee Willie” Keeler said, “Keep your eye on the ball and hit ‘em where they ain’t.” 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever ticketed a senior citizen? Explain.
  2. How about tickled? Tell us about that.
  3. How do you avoid the crowd with your marketing?

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14 thoughts on “Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t

  1. Stacey

    Logan is the worst! And yes to picking up “arrivals” at “departures”. But now you’ve given away the secret…

    1. Nope
    2. Nope
    3. Personal stories. My husband did the intro for my podcast but used a weird voice so we’re going to re-record. And I keep thinking about different ways to stand out. One of these days I’ll start singing either in my podcasts or by creating a video series. I love music and would love to bring some (relevant) singing and comedy to my marketing.

  2. Kim Ramsey-Winkler

    I have never either ticketed or tickled a senior citizen.

    I have, however, had the nightmarish displeasure of attempting to navigate Logan by car–and have come to the conclusion that that, among other reasons, is why public transportation exists.

  3. Charles Alexander

    1. Does swearing count as a ticketing?
    2. Well, yeah. Had to make up for the swearing incident.
    3. It used to be standing out on LinkedIn was being in the place where others weren’t. Ain’t like that now.

    So, now I’m on the lookout for my next “LinkedIn” or whatever that is.

    Any suggestions for someone that creates Animated Explainer Videos for Financial, Insurance, and other Busy Professionals?

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Love your 1 and 2!

      I don’t know the “next thing,” although I make no secret of my love for the “last thing” – email. I keep waiting for something to be more effective for the small business than an opt in email list but have not seen it.

      Whatever you choose, keep in mind that using a tactic that talks to people you already have a connection with (email, LinkedIn, Facebook) is way more productive than starting from zero (twitter, instagram, SEO). I always look first to the people I know.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Likewise, I always try to fly out of Providence, RI which is a bit further for me to drive to, but so small and hassle-free compared to Logan!

  4. Audrey Kalman

    I used to live in Boston, now live in San Francisco, and I believe our airport situations are equally nerve-wracking from a drop-off/pick-up point of view. We’ve been doing the departures/arrivals switch trick for a while!

    I love the idea of mid-year client gifts. And in general, this piece is making me take a contrarian view of all those activities I feel I should be doing because everyone else is doing them.


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