Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Boston Marathon First

Can’t win someone else’s race? Create a new category.

Who gets their picture on the front page of the sports section after any big contest? More specifically - after the running of the Boston marathon whose picture would the sports editor put on the front page?

If you guessed the winner – you are right. We want to know about number one. Our interest in anything other than number one is so fleeting that most people do not know who the second person to set foot on the moon was, or who was the second person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. However many know who was number one – Neil Armstrong and Edmund Hillary.

So after the running of the 106th Boston Marathon, whose picture was on the front page of the Globe and Mail Sports section April 16, 2002? I’ll give you a hint – he was not number one in the Boston Marathon. In fact he finished 486th in the race. Mathew Raizenne of Ottawa finished in a very respectable time of 2 hours 51 minutes and 55 seconds.

So why was Raizenne’s picture leading the Boston Marathon story? Because he finished first in his category. Raizenne created a new category that was newsworthy and photogenic. He ran the race then rolled across the finish line. The first one to do that!

Roll across the finish line. A new category, a unique photo finish. It was creative and fun. Compare that to “Another Kenyan wins Boston Marathon”. And yes, the Kenyans took the first four places. Ho-hum – boring.

The lesson for you:
If you can’t be number one in the big race, create a smaller category in which you can be number one.

George Torok
Secrets of Power Marketing

PS: I am a slow marathon runner - can’t even qualify for the Boston Marathon

PPS: In case you wonder who was second on the moon and Everest – it was Buzz Aldrin and Tensing Norgay.

PPPS: Secrets of Power Marketing is the first guide to personal marketing for the non-marketer. (We created the category.)

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