Unfortunately for us marketers, the public is inundated, deluged and bombarded, every day, with hundreds of ads, commercials, emails and direct-mail offers inviting them to buy, try, upgrade, sign on, act now and order before midnight.

The problem created by this daily assault on our senses is that we tend to tune out, ignore or question the vast majority of the advertising messages we're exposed to. As a result, two of the most formidable challenges to successful marketing—both on and off the Internet—has become (1) grabbing the attention of prospects and (2) convincing them that they have a lot to gain and nothing to lose by trying your products and services.

How do you gain entry into people's awareness when they're automatically filtering out probably 95% of the marketing messages with which they're barraged? Well, one way is to “think outside the box.”

Think original thoughts

I wouldn't be using that hackneyed cliche if it weren't for the fact that I recently had a pizza delivered to me in a box that was covered with an ad for Nivea for Men skin products.

The message on the top of the box says, “The good news? Your face isn't a pizza. The bad news? Your face isn't a pizza. (That means you can't order another one. So take care of it.)” On five different surfaces of the box, the Nivea for Men logo and the slogan “More evolved skincare” appears. The product's Web site address is also printed on top of the box.

I don't know if this is a new trend in advertising or if it was a bold experiment by an innovative advertising agency, but the bottom line is this: it sure caught my attention and made the marketing message jump out at me without being annoying. If it were a display ad, a newspaper insert, or a Web site popup ad, it wouldn't have had as much impact.

Now I'm not suggesting that advertising on pizza boxes is the way for your business to achieve a marketing breakthrough, but I am saying that promoting your company differently from the competition and carving out a distinct identity in the marketplace are among the ingredients in a successful marketing formula.

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Joel Sussman is a writer, a newsletter editor and the president of Optimal Marketing Communications. To subscribe to his newsletter, visit his Web site, MarketingSurvival Kit.com, or send an email to optimal-marketing@getresponse.com.