I recently brought in Gerry O’Brion (What Big Brands Know) to speak to my CEO Peer Group. He immediately grabbed the group’s attention with a few examples of companies that failed to see their own blind spots. “If you don’t obsolete yourself, this is what happens,” he said, referring to companies whose products have become obsolete because they were too attached to them. (Blockbuster anyone? Or how about Kodak? Didn’t they actually invent they digital camera? They just failed to capitalize on it.)
Gerry encouraged us to be different from competition in a way the customer values. He said too often our marketing “stops” prematurely. He encouraged us to “finish the sentence – provide your ‘because’.” Too often we say, “We’re great so buy from us.” We fail to complete the thought. “We’re great so buy from us BECAUSE our product has half the calories of the leading brand.”
Gerry encouraged each CEO to be different from the competition in a way the customer values. Not only will this help you but it will help with referrals too! If you’re going to get referrals, the people who are referring you need to know your company’s value. Clarity gives you power. The clearer you are about what customer is perfect for you, the clearer it is for your customer. When you reduce the size of your sandbox, your success rate goes up.
Gerry said, “Don’t advertise your industry, advertise your company’s unique value to the customer.” Feeling lost? He suggests making a list of key things your customers want, then identify what’s different about you. Eliminate what belongs to/identified with others.
The presentation was chockablock with great hints and advice. What stayed sticky with me are the five questions you need to be answering in your marketing. Here they are:
- Who are your people (potential customers)?
- What are they looking for?
- What’s your outcome?
- How are you different or specialized?
- What’s your because?
Simple, right? Okay, so here’s a test: Click over and take a look at your own website. Does your site nail the “because”? Do you talk about yourself in a way that makes it crystal clear why customers should buy from you? Do you talk in terms of value to the customer? Or do you say things like, “We pride ourselves on integrity” or “Industry leaders since 1942”?