Ideas, 5¢ — The Marketer is In

In a tough job climate, one of the hardest things to do can be marketing yourself. Business cards and job interviews are all well and good, but in some cases, you’ll need to start thinking outside of the box.

In the case of John Morefield, he started out by thinking inside the box—or booth, to be precise. After being laid off twice in 2008, he set up shop in a local farmer’s market in Seattle, with a handmade booth that was based on the “Psychiatric Help 5¢” set-up of Peanuts fame.

Morefield’s version read “Architecture 5¢”, and he set up a website (now defunct) to go with it. For the price of a nickel, anyone could come up and ask for advice on their plans for a gazebo, or if he knew the name of a decent landscaper. The five cents would spark a conversation, which might lead to a new client and a potential job.

The sign could be a bit misleading. Morefield wasn’t actually offering to design a new patio for any stranger with pocket change, and he didn’t keep any of the nickels he got. Every nickel he received at the booth and the website was donated to the Ballard Food Bank. The purpose was to start a conversation of the sort you get at parties—“Oh hey, you’re an architect! Can I ask you about ________?”

True, setting up a marketing advice stand in the middle of the Boston Commons might not work out so well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with something just as unique.

— Janna Chang


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