Sometimes, we lose sight of the core traits that make us great and distinguish us from our competition. It’s human nature to get caught up in what we do and lose sight of why it really matters.
I once worked for a company that changed their tagline just about every year. By doing so, they unknowingly demonstrated a lack of focus and left people wondering what they really stood for. By chasing the shiny objects on the hill and declaring, “Us, too!” they risked losing their unique identity and authoritative voice. A business that should have taken off and changed their market floundered instead.
It’s always a good idea to take a step back and be more introspective about your unique qualities and strengths. By looking beyond short-term distractions, we often discover that we still have a place to fit in.
Try taking an unbiased view of your brand promise and what it means to your clients and prospects. If your message is high-level (think 30,000 feet), you can withstand lower-level market change and still have flexibility to adapt. If you find yourself constantly retooling in reaction the latest trend, then, perhaps, your message isn’t broad enough. If even a small amount of change risks confusing your audience, then you have most likely marketed yourself into a corner (think 10,000 feet).
What is that deep-down characteristic that makes you the expert? Why does it matter to your audience? What makes you the go-to resource? How can you build on your marketing without creating confusion? Can you do it yourself, or would you benefit from the objectivity an outside consultant brings? How about surveying your best clients to see why they’ve stuck with you over the years? Sometimes, we find that the best way to see our own business is through the eyes of others.
It seems that market dynamics are constantly shifting. That’s the reality of today’s fast-moving world. But, with it comes huge opportunities. Those who fail to embrace change and seize the moment to reinforce their role will quickly be marginalized.
Even if you’ve been able to put a check mark next to that spanking-new website on your marketing to-do list, get out your eraser. Your work has only just begun. A successful website is never once-and-done.
Evolving technology keeps all of us on our collective toes, makes us more aware of our competitors and presents more opportunities to distinguish ourselves than ever before. Moreover, it adversely impacts those who fail to embrace it.
Your circle of influence should not be confined to your immediate sales prospects. That’s not what marketing in the 21st Century is about.
To succeed in marketing, we need to avoid the distractions and focus on the fundamentals. We need to pull ourselves out of the bubble in which we live to see ourselves the way others see us. It’s this uncluttered view that helps bring the clarity and objectivity that lead us to a sound strategy.
Never Make Assumptions about Your Audience. That seems like an obvious rule, right? But, we all do it to some degree. It’s human nature. We follow our gut instincts. We proceed without having the data to back up our actions. Remember New Coke?
As the calendar year winds down, it always a good idea to take a step back to revisit and refresh your marketing. We did it last year and it resulted in significant changes to our market positioning. And, we’re better off by doing so. How about you?
You seem to be great at what you do. You have a terrific product. Your media coverage has been impressive. You’ve been serving the industry for decades. But, what does it mean to your customers? What’s in it for me?
Business naming is the hardest part of what we do. Aside from the creative challenges, there are three major hurdles we have to leap. For every name we present, there are, literally, dozens of candidates that never make the cut. The client never sees any of those.
If your brand cannot adapt to change, you could end up burning cycles recovering what you lost instead of spending your time building on what you have. As Ben Franklin once put it, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”