Look around you…there are plenty of examples of bad marketing. The photo above is a prime example. Would you go to a strip club if this guy handed you a postcard?

From the deli daily special sign written in pen and barely legible, to most of the coupons in ValPak, there are so many examples of bad marketing by small businesses that it could be a daily blog.

Fortunately, I have the benefit of walking the streets of New York City five days a week. There is no better marketing lesson than the hundreds of street marketers that you come across on a daily basis.

The problem is, most are doing the same thing as each other; handing out postcards trying to drive you to their deli, clothing store, copy shop and, yes, their strip club.

Look at this picture of a “gentleman” handing out postcards for New York Dolls Gentlemen’s Club to everyone who passes by. Every evening, there are at least a dozen guys like this downtown handing out these postcards.

While I am sure this does drive some foot traffic to the club, I am equally as sure that it could be 10x more effective with a little creativity.

Here’s my advice for New York Dolls.

First, stop having men that are barely making minimum wage be the first thing that potential customers see that represents your club. They definitely don’t make me fantasize about what awaits back at the club…they make me cringe.

Where are the ladies that dance at the club? If you want me at your establishment to spend my money, you better let me see what I’m going there for. By using your dancers, or even female non-dancers, you will get plenty of men to take a postcard even if they weren’t interested at that time. You may not make the sale then but you just got past the first barrier.

Next time, that same guy may walk by the club. The third time he may stop in for a quick drink. The fourth time you will have to chase him out at closing.

And maybe you get a little creative (or crazy) and have the dancers twirl around light posts to get an interested crowd around them. Then, they invite them all back to the club for a complimentary drink and dance. The dancers would look like Pied Piper with the crowd following them to your club.

The lesson here? Stop being like everyone else. Get creative. Look at other businesses outside your industry/niche and adapt their marketing strategies to your business.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am on a mission to find you a good small business marketing example…stay tuned.