If it is your job to differentiate and grow your business, you own a tall task—especially in this environment of information overload, when all of us are overwhelmed with new platforms, media channels and ways to get noticed.
Sometimes it’s the obvious things that we miss. Of course we all know to have the who, what, when, where and how of what we do up-front and center on our website and marketing. But sometimes, the most obvious gets overlooked. Perhaps it’s time to check your site and make sure you have it covered.
You are not alone.
American entrepreneurs may have a well-earned reputation for risk taking, but once we have a modicum of success, we tend to turn into a timid bunch—or maybe the better term is reluctant. We’ve figured out what works on our own for initial growth, so we start relying on that status quo experience, often refusing to recognize changes appearing on the horizon, reluctant to see what’s right in front of us.
And, yes. . . . you should do something about it.
I’ll just say it. Your positioning is weak. Most likely, if you are a B2B advisory firm, consultant, law practice or other professional services firm, nonprofit trade organization, or other organization that sells “the invisible,” your positioning is probably weak. Some of you don’t even tell us what you do or who you serve or how you help (your positioning) on your website’s home page, making potential clients dig deep (and lose interest) as they try to find out if you can help them. Unless you are a marketing-savvy emerging tech company touting a unique new service, you are probably coming off as one of many in a sea of sameness. How does your brand set you apart? How does your organization position itself? How do you express it? And why does this matter?
We’ve all experienced it at one time or another – that uncontrollable urge to spend time or money on the latest gizmo, app, online tool, trick or offer. Remember Dug, the adorable talking golden retriever from Pixar Disney’s movie, Up, who in the midst of conversation would become distracted and exclaim, “Squirrel!?” You may chuckle, but Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) occurs all the time, including in our marketing.
Hard to believe the first month of the new year has come and gone. With one twelfth of the year over, are you following the vision you set out for the year, holding to your resolutions, meeting your goals? Actually, this year in the onslaught of posts about planning, predicting and creating visions to start off right, I was struck by the number of people who were abandoning the idea of resolutions altogether and trying something different. Instead, some are working on creating new habits slowly and gradually, choosing a word or theme for the year, or choosing a book (or three, like in Chris Brogan’s Three Book Diet) to read and truly implement to influence leadership or success in their lives.
As a continent strategist, nothing bothers me more than seeing selling miss aches in professional writing. Moreover, today almost every1 sends lots of time txting, and they begin 2 carry over the the short-hand language from txt messaging to their work pace. Be care full to remember ur audience and right appropriately. Sell check does not pick up everything, and auto correct sometimes choses the wrong word, so poof read your writing!
I was reminded this past week, on a few different occasions, that the art of positioning is based on the ability to narrow focus and to let go. In a meeting with a new client who was struggling to clearly define the services his company provided and to whom, it became clear that his biggest challenge was in positioning. In his attempt to be more service-oriented and have greater reach, the company tried to become too many things to too many types of customers, and the brand lost relevance.
Company ABC is a tech consulting firm in the secure government contracting space that promotes a fundraising event for a highly respected, well run charity for rehabilitating soldiers injured abroad. The veteran owners and many of their clients care passionately about the cause, and the thousands of dollars they contribute directly impact those in need of immediate assistance. Their contribution fills a vast funding deficit and gives the charity a much needed financial boost. And, it serves as an expression of Company ABC’s brand. They pride themselves on their integrity, reputation and transparency, and their commitment to their clients, country and community is evident in their brand from the way they provide services to the way they demonstrate giving back.
The prevalence of social media has made sharing easy. So when you have a message of value to share, make sure to get it out.
I recently conducted a workshop on how important your brand is within the social media arena, particularly when your business focuses on selling a concept, service or other intangible. This particular workshop happened to be for churches, but they are not unlike many of the businesses we advise, who sell consulting, advice, conceptual services or ideas. Let’s face it, churches are probably among the most conceptual of all, promoting not only events and services, but an ideology.
The First Advertisements
William Caxton set up the first printing press in England. Caxton was a merchant by trade, but learned printing later in his life. He is responsible for being the first to print many well-known books, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (BBC). He was also, the first to publish an ad in English.