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Funny Stuff

Laughter is the best marketing, so find your sense of humor.

Humor is central to the Babies Can't Read Clothing Co., founded in 2001 by husband-and-wife team Trevor Dahlen, 37, and Mary Little, 41. These Plano, Texas, entrepreneurs print bibs, baby clothes and even maternity shirts with funny sayings on the world of babies, such as "The diaper is either half-full or half-empty" and "Move-in special: first nine months free." They've even used that kind of humor in their marketing messages to help draw attention to their line.

Sending out a funny press release may seem a bit strange, but Debra Condren, a business psychologist and president of Manhattan Business Coaching, a coaching and development firm for entrepreneurs and professionals in New York City and San Francisco, notes that using humor in your marketing can be a good idea: "When used in a sophisticated way that's also subtle [and] short . . . it sets you apart from other people flooding the marketplace with their messages."

Be funny, but be real--if it's overdone, you risk losing your credibility, Condren adds. Stay away from crass or tasteless humor. Do it in a way that feels natural to you, and start small with a few sentences in a press release or a brochure. Be sure to run any humorous marketing pieces by your small group of trusted advisors (friends, mentors, customers) before laying it on the general public.

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This article was originally published in the February 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Funny Stuff.

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