Recently I was browsing online for some web marketing information and I stumbled on an article from After reading the article and getting some value from it I was really curious as to why the website was called “Not Will Smith”. Clicking to the ‘about’ page the first thing I saw was a picture of a smartly dressed (presumably Men in Black inspired) chubby white guy. The first few lines read:

“Hello and welcome to the official home of William Smith on the web. I’ve often been imitated but, never duplicated. And, while I bear a striking resemblance to an actor of a similar name I am notwillsmith.”

You can read the rest of it here. Obviously very Flawsome, his copy is conversational and humorous. He comes across as very personable and easy to relate to. What inspired me to write this article though is the whole idea behind NOT being something.

At a business networking event recently I heard a gentleman stand up for his one minute spiel and say: “Instead of telling you what I am today, I’m going to start by telling you what I’m NOT”. Immediately I was hooked. “I’m NOT a business coach,” he started and went on to describe the kinds of work he DOESN’T do and the kind of clients he DOESN’T work with.

While this kind of marketing could be easily overdone, in small measure it can be incredibly powerful. First of all, it stands out and is certainly memorable. It’s unexpected and completely against the grain – and by grain, I mean that hypey self-promotion crap.

There are cowboys in every industry – from business coaches to website designers, builders to network marketers. There are always those select few who give a bad name to the rest of the industry. NOT being one of those people is certainly something worth telling people.

NOT Marketing (look, I just created a name for it! Let’s hope it catches on) allows you to better set your customers’ expectations and stick to what you’re good at. To make a quick buck it’s all too easy to want to serve everyone in every which way, but that only waters down our marketing messages and puts us into deep water when we say we can do something we really can’t deliver on. Stick to what you’re good at.

Lastly, it’s also a conversational piece. Carl Baron, the Australian stand-up comedian, jokes that Australian’s never tell you what they are, they’ll tell you what they’re not and make you guess the rest. “How are ya?”, “Not Bad”, “How far is it?” “Not far”, “How much was it?” “Wasn’t cheap”.

As funny as that might be, it gets people engaged and asking the question, consciously or sub-consciously, “Okay, so if you’re not that, what are you?”