The $40,000 idea is out there

Editor's note: This corrects the prize in the Buddy Group's challenge and when the winner will be announced.

Pushing the envelope isn't a foreign concept. Most are familiar with weighing the options between risk-taking and playing it safe, though few people do it for a living.

The Buddy Group, a digital marketing agency in Irvine whose client list includes YouTube and Hasbro, is putting business owners to the test with a new challenge that awards the best marketing strategy with $40,000 worth of strategy work by their team.

The agency unveiled the idea Wednesday during an event at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, which they hosted with Bryan Elliott of Linked OC.

Around 800 people heard marketing guru Seth Godin, the former vice president of direct marketing for Yahoo! and founder of, discuss his newest book, "Poke The Box," released March 1.

Godin is widely known for his book "Permission Marketing" and "purple cow" theory, which is what he uses to describe out-of-the-ordinary marketing ideas. He's written 13 books total.

"[Godin is] always one to challenge the norm and push the envelope and look for those breakthrough ideas that make you stand out for the crowd," said "Chief Buddy" Pete Deutschman, founder of The Buddy Group. "What we do for clients is just that."

Big fans of his message — to take initiative and create opportunities — The Buddy Group wants to pay it forward with this contest.

"This book is about motivation and getting people to not be scared and to take that jump," said "Chief Creative Buddy" Bryan Boettger.

Leading up to the event, The Buddy Group posted reviews of Godin's books to its website. Boettger bought the Kindle edition of the book Tuesday, intending to post a summary to the website, but once he read it he knew they had to do something more.

"Literally, we had the idea and 10 minutes later we posted the [contest] on our blog," Boettger said. "It's sort of in honor of what he's saying."

The Buddy Group says there is no idea too big or too small for the contest. Whether you're a "mom and pop" or a Fortune 500, Boettger said, they want to help make marketing strategies a reality.

"[We want] something that makes us really scratch our heads," Boettger said. "We want someone with a challenge that we don't know the answer to right off the bat."

In the rapidly changing digital environment, Boettger and Deutschman find Godin's concepts and the contest particularly important. Without taking risks and pushing yourself, they say, you face the threat of getting pushed to the side.

"If you sit, wait and watch and you're nervous… then it's all going to change and you'll miss the opportunity," Deutschman said.

The agency specializes in marketing via multiple digital platforms, such as social media, video production, Web design and online promotion.

Boettger and Deutschman plan to announce the winner in early April.

Learn more about The Buddy Group at For more information about the contest, visit their blog at

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