Are you a fan of “outcast” companies not afraid to think different? Companies like 37signals, Balsamiq, Copyblogger, and Apple? I don’t know about you, but I’m always wondering what makes these companies so successful and how I can copy their formula for marketing success.

Often times, I ask myself, what marketing strategy are they really using? Sure, you can visit Balsamiq’s website and even sign up as a paying customer. But this won’t help you figure out how Peldi went from $0 to $5 million in sales in just a few years.

How these companies appear on the surface, to the naked untrained eye, is much different from the underlying marketing strategies these entrepreneurs are using.

But I think I’ve finally figured out a key aspect to their success. It’s called “the crossroads” strategy:

Basically, you take two ideas that don’t seem to be related, but you find the intersections and you build a business around that. Copyblogger is a crossroads blog. It’s a combination of social media and direct response copywriting. Most people think those two things are quite different. In fact, when Copyblogger started, people thought they were mutually exclusive. So, it’s how to use traditional direct response advertising technique with social media, which is traditionally very resistant to commercialization… there are a lot of places of connection there, but no one’s really done that before. No one’s combined those two before. They’re a very good combination.

Sonia Simone, CMO of Copyblogger

Copyblogger isn’t the only company using a crossroads strategy to make millions. 37signals is doing the exact same thing. They’re at the crossroads of multiple ideas that don’t seem to be related, and are sometimes even thought to be mutually exclusive: bootstrapping a high tech company, writing software that is not downloadable, and building a super profitable company selling software without many features.

We’re using a crossroads strategy too. SwagLove is part high-tech internet startup, part low-tech promotional merchandise. Neither idea is unique, but combined it’s a novel concept.

So the trick is, now that you know the strategy other entrepreneurs are using to grow their businesses, how can you leverage a crossroads marketing strategy to grow your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so don’t forget to leave a comment!