Who the Heck Do You Think You ARE?

Who the Heck Do You Think You ARE?
Kate Headen Waddell - Thu Jun 30, 2011 @ 06:36AM
Comments: 9

Crowd.jpgI don’t have to tell you that the world we live in is absolutely jam packed with marketing messages. Success means making your message stand out from the crowd. I could quote a bunch of statistics about how many marketing messages the average person is bombarded with every day, but the truth is, you don’t need to worry about that. If you can reach your target market with a message that really speaks to their problems, you will automatically stand out from the crowd of milquetoast, gray, bland marketing messages that your prospective clients are busy ignoring. And standing out is easier than you might think.

Standing out from the crowd

These days, the default “branding” of almost every B2B company is some version of “big, impersonal corporation.” This usually includes some very impressive sounding jargon that doesn’t really say anything and a vague description of some products or services that can cure whatever ails you.

But the primary reason for marketing fail is trying to be all things to all people – which is the surest way to turn yourself into background noise. The thing is, if you want to actually break through to your target customer base, you have to put a stake in the ground – and then decorate it.

Expressing your value proposition is the most basic of all marketing tactics, and sadly the one that gets overlooked the most often. If you can’t articulate 1) who you are, 2) what you sell and 3) why someone should buy it from you, you are in real trouble. Sadly, most businesses ignore number 1, are dead wrong about number 2, and take a stab at number 3 and miss. Let’s look at these in more detail.

Who are you? Most companies boil this down to a few facts and relegate the answer to the “About” page of the website. But who you are as a company should infuse every aspect of your communications. Take the time to uncover your corporate personality and then translate that into a benefit for your customers. Are you a team of renegade software developers who have been known to stay up for four days straight to solve a problem or finish a project? What prospect wouldn’t appreciate that?

What do you sell? This is a big one. Every company out there thinks they know exactly what they sell and almost every company gets it wrong. Hint: if the tabs on your website are product names you got it wrong. I had a client once that thought they sold custom-fitted shoe insoles for athletes. Wrong! They sold enhanced sports performance, less joint pain, and a longer lifetime of enjoying your sport. A very effective way to get to the heart of what you’re selling is to ask “Why do people buy our products?” and then keep asking “Why?” until you get to something that sounds like: “Product A makes my life easier because _____.” Bingo.

Why should I buy it from you? Why should a customer buy from you instead of your competition? Are you faster, smarter, better, cheaper, more comprehensive, more supportive, more fun to work with? Figure out what makes you better and then make sure to express it clearly and frequently. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be better on all fronts. Figure out what you are better at, figure out what types of customers will appreciate that, and then get the message out to them.

To be successful, you don’t have to get ALL the customers – so stop trying to appeal to all of them. Figuring out who you are and what value you bring to the table is the most effective way to stand out to the types of customers who will make your businesses wildly successful. 

About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, blogging and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at www.smartb2bmarcom.com.

Comments: 9


1. Rudy Chou  |  my website   |   Fri Sep 16, 2011 @ 05:00PM

If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, many times managers and directors lay out strategy based on visions set by stakeholders who change their mind on a whim.

2. David Rajakovich  |  my website   |   Fri Sep 16, 2011 @ 06:17PM

Excellent work...you've earned a permanent link on the right panel of my blog!

3. Kate Headen Waddell  |  my website   |   Mon Sep 19, 2011 @ 01:57PM

Thanks for the comments! Glad to have influenced marketing communications for the better.

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