On the Contrary


My first several years as a speaker, consultant and entrepreneur were spent focusing on what everyone else was doing. I tried to figure out how other speakers and consultants were marketing their services, what they were offering, and how I could apply their ideas to my business and niche. But I quickly realized that if I did what everyone else was doing, I most likely would not be able to do it any better. So I decided to focus on the opposite. The contrarian approach obviously doesn’t work in every situation, but I view it as an incredibly worthwhile strategy. Here are three contrarian approaches:

 1.      BE DIFFERENT.

Every speaker believes they are different, and they are! But do clients call you because they know you will have a unique approach? Analyze what your competition is offering and pick a different topic — one that is unique to your target audience.


I have a lot of competitors in the financial services niche; however, many of us don’t feel like we compete with one another. For instance, my firm focuses specifically on the highest producing financial advisors in the industry. We saw this as the best opportunity for our consulting services. We built significant experience working with this group, and fortunately, they also had money to pay for our consulting services. But it also gave me the ability to speak about marketing strategies using case studies of the industry’s most successful. This was a different focus from most marketing speakers in financial services.


For years, we hear that every speaker had to have a book with a major publisher. And every speaker was supposed to have a coaching program to generate more income. These recommendations usually lead to us spending all sorts of time feeling guilty because we are not doing it — or are not doing it as well as our fellow speakers. When a mass of talented people is doing something, contrarians think of a different way. The contrarian approach is rooted in the realization that there will always be someone out there who will do it better, and maybe a lot better, in a busy space.

At NSA, there is a fire hose of information on what others are doing successfully, and I never miss an opportunity to learn. But I no longer use it as I hear it. Instead, I take ideas from incredibly successful and intelligent NSA members so I can continue to gain inspiration to do it differently in my niche. Are you a contrarian? Most speakers probably consider themselves to be individuals who think differently and stand out with their message. However, a contrarian is someone who does the opposite of the crowd — not always, but strategically. And hopefully, endearingly.

Maribeth Kuzmeski

Maribeth Kuzmeski

President at Red Zone Marketing
Maribeth Kuzmeski, MBA, CSP, is president of Red Zone Marketing and a contrarian. She also is the author of seven books, including "The Connectors and … And The Clients Went Wild," and has appeared in numerous media outlets including USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and many others.
Maribeth Kuzmeski
Maribeth Kuzmeski
Maribeth Kuzmeski
Maribeth Kuzmeski

Latest posts by Maribeth Kuzmeski (see all)