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More Brains Than Budget? Steal These $0 Marketing Strategies. It sounds too good to be true, and yet many companies pull it off. How? By thinking differently about who does the marketing.

This story appears in the June 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Photography by Brian Higbee
Chris Dingman, not your average moving guy.

Ten years ago, Chris Dingman launched his company on the flimsiest of grounds. It's called The Dingman Group, and it relocates professional athletes -- so, say, if a guy is traded from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, The Dingman Group would arrange to sell the house in Miami, pack it up, move the stuff and find a new home in Cleveland. It's a clever, one-of-a-kind service, but there was a hitch: The "Group" was just Dingman, and he had no experience in real estate or professional sports. Also, he was damn near broke -- and it took him almost a year and a half to find his first client. "It was gnarly," he says. "No matter how much you're struggling as an entrepreneur, you have to put a face on."

His fortunes are considerably different now. When he spoke to Entrepreneur one day in early April, The Dingman Group -- now a five-person outfit in Newport Beach, Calif.-- was in the middle of relocating 115 athletes, coaches, personnel and entertainers, plus opening offices in Denver and London. He has much to be proud of, but here's one of his biggest sources of pride: "When it comes to PR and advertising, we've never paid for anything, ever," he says. "I dig my heels into that. I really enjoy being able to tell people that."

So, yes, Dingman is one of those people. When one entrepreneur says, "We did it with no marketing dollars," 50 other entrepreneurs simultaneously gnash their teeth. It seems unfair. Also, it seems impossible. Really? Nothing? What -- do clients just show up at the door waving money?

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