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Who doesn’t love a little red sports car?  
I recall how my ‘favorite car’ was exactly that — a 1987 red  Toyota MR2 . . . OMG I loved that car.  But, I digress . . .

“It’s a chick-magnet”
That’s how the salesperson (a woman no less!) described it to me.  Maybe she thought I was having a mid-life crisis and a ‘little red sports car’ was exactly what I needed.  Regardless, I bought that car for my own enjoyment and boy, did I love that car.

And truth be told, that’s what most people understand a ‘hot-looking’ car is going to do for the owner.  Of course, truth and fantasy blur easily and rarely does the latter influence the former.  But that’s what most people still believe a ‘little red sports car’ will do for the driver.

What Does a ‘Little Red Sportscar’ has to do with ‘standing out’
One part (1/3, actually) of your marketing strategy is to ‘differentiate’ your self, business, products and services from the ‘alternatives’ your prospective client may consider, right?  So how do you do that?

Leverage a Common Perception with An Uncommon Twist
Al Ries ad Jak Trout wrote a book called, “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind“.  In it, they suggest adopting “a competitive mental angle”.  That simply means you assume your prospect is aware of who your competition is and you use what people associate about them . . . to your advantage.

For example:Ad for mini-van

What if you wanted to promote your mini-van?  It’s no little red sportscar, right?  EXACTLY!

That’s why the common understanding of what a ‘little red sportscar’ is all about makes it ideal to use to make your reader relate to what your benefit really is:
” . . . BETTER at picking up women than an exotic and expensive sportscar!”

KEY POINT:
Differentiation is never done in a vacuum — always use a context your reader already understands and THEN . . . add an ‘angle’ . . . to make your benefit ‘stand out’ in their mind.

Time Magazine’s ‘Man of The Year’ award in 1982 went to the “Personal Computer”.  It was a shocker. A game-changer.  A harbinger of things — BIG things — yet to come.

Content is ‘King’
Today, ‘Content’ is where the focus of marketing has shifted due to the role of a little company in California called . . . Google™.

The real ‘power’ in marketing has shifted away from the marketers and into the hands (or PC’s, tablet computers, smart phones, etc.) of consumers seeking useful ‘content’.

Access to Information is Everywhere
With access to ‘the net’ being so easy and available, consumers have the power — to learn anything they want, the moment they want it, from anywhere they happen to be.  They simply use ‘Google’ to search online and, Voila! — it’s done!

Attraction, Not Interruption
As consumers, we’re conditioned to search for answers to our questions on our terms, when we want to know something.  The days of ‘pushing’ an ‘intrusive’ message on ‘everyone’ that most find ‘intrusive’ are fading fast.  And if you tenaciously hold on to that model of marketing, you’ll be gone before too long, too!.

The New Model:  “Be Found, Not Obnoxious”
Getting found by consumers when they search isn’t difficult.  Ask Google.  They invented ‘Adwords’ and PPC (pay per click) advertising that places your online ad in front of ‘qualified’ consumers based on ‘keywords’ in what they’re searching for.  And it works.  Very well.  But it gets expensive, quickly.

The Better Approach:  “Organic Search”
It’s obvious you want to be found by consumers who are searching for what you do.  But you want to do it both effectively and affordably.  Right?  OK.

Then you want to publish relevant information that Google will show to a prospect when they search online — using a blog (like this one you’re reading now) as your publishing platform.

Why Google Loves Your UN-PAID Content
The more consistently you publish relevant content, the more Google loves you!  That’s also why Google shows your content to consumers far more often than sites that don’t publish relevant information on a consistent basis.  Here’s why . . .

Even though Google makes a ton of money from ‘paid advertising’, they know consumers want quality information.  So in order to keep people using Google as the search engine of choice, they must offer the highest quality content they can — along with the paid-for advertising — or consumers won’t be using Google and their advertisers will go bye-bye, too.

Ironic, isn’t it?  Google’s paid search model (Adwords / PPC) is actually dependent on providing consumers with relevant and quality content that doesn’t (directly!) generate revenues for Google.

In Biology, you learned a term: ‘symbiosis‘ –– two entities that, while different, each benefit from associating with one another.  It’s why Google loves you — even if you don’t pay them to promote you.

Don’t Fight Reality — Go With It
Modern marketing is largely about helping prospects find you / your firm when they’re searching for information you have that they want.

Publishing useful information on a regular basis builds your authority in the eyes of Google and makes them show your content to prospects more frequently and more favorably than the content of your competitors who don’t.  Yes, it’s THAT simple.

Publishing Content is an Ongoing Commitment
Being found online is only the beginning of your courtship with prospective clients.  Quality content in the form of case studies showing how your clients enjoyed success because of your expertise, testimonials that provide ‘social proof’ of your value and capabilities, insightful e-books, Special Reports, blog posts, video, webinars, recorded audio and the like are all forms of ‘content’ that help you attract traffic to your site and then . . . position you as a ‘trusted advisor’ who, when the need arises for what you do, will be seen by more and more prospects as the ‘Preferred Provider’ of the services you offer.

KEY POINT:
Commit to publishing content consistently and relevantly. Google will love you for it and show you to prospects who will get to know, like and trust you.  That generates business — for you — at the expense of your competitors who are either too ignorant or indolent to adopt the publishing model as a key factor in marketing simply, effectively and affordably.

Once you have some clarity on your Mission, you’ll want to find the Market of people who can best understand, value and afford the valuable beneficial difference you can create in their life.

Market
This is just a group of people who truly ‘get’ what it is you can do for a client.  Not everyone can.  So  your market is not ‘everyone’.  Why? Because not everyone will value, understand, desire, afford, etc. who you are and what you do.

Funny (but true!) example of a Market
I love the story about a young dentist who graduated and quickly realized he would be ‘new kid on the block’ and ‘low man on the totem pole’ if he joined an established dental practice as an associate.  So he figured out  how to open his own office and do so without the heavy investment of capital he certainly didn’t have right out of dental school.

He approached a local dentist and asked, “How much money is your operatory making after you close your doors each night?”  The dentist said, “Nothing”.  The new dentist said, “I’ll change that and help you retire earlier and better, too”.

He was located in a manufacturing center in the midwest.  The 2nd shift workers typically didn’t find dentists open when they’d get off work.  So he opened up the other doctor’s office from 11 PM to 6 AM and pulled in a unique group of factory workers — his market.  Why? Because his mission was to be the dentist who’s “ready when you are”.  It worked very well and he found a market who loved his mission.

KEY POINT:
Market . . . is a group of people who best understand, value and afford the value you offer! 

This week will be focused on five (5) keys to getting better at marketing the services you offer.

First up:  MISSION
Sure, it sounds like you’re about to launch off the deck of an aircraft carrier.  But sorry.  No. You’re not going to have to do anything like that.

What you will do, however, is find what is known as the ‘Beneficial Difference’ you make in the life of your client.

It’s WHAT you do ‘for’ someone and, it’s WHY they care to part with their hard-earned funds and hand them over to you.

One of the best ‘Missions’ I’ve ever heard:
You’ve probably heard the VP at Craftsman — the Sears subsidiary that argued, “We don’t sell hand-drills . . . we sell holes”  or the executives at Kodak that said, “We don’t sell film (well, not anymore!) . . . we sell memories”.

But the ‘top prize’ has to go to Helena Rubenstein, the cosmetics mogul who once was reported to say to a reporter, “I am not in the cosmetics business, dear . . . I’m in the “I want to get lucky on Saturday night’ business . . . and if I forget that, I won’t sell very many cosmetics!”

KEY POINT:
Mission . . . is the beneficial difference you make in the life of your client 

“Let’s Shake On It, Then!”
Businesspeople make promises to their clients.  It’s what we do.  Unfortunately, the expectation of many (most?) clients is that a promise is likely to be broken.

You Need a SYSTEM
If your reputation for ‘keeping your word’ . . . or, promises . . . is so important but it seems to be the exception (not the rule) that businesspeople will break more than they make . . . you have to ask, “Why?”.  The answer is not that they meant to break their promise, but that they don’t have a system in place to make sure they keep them!

Make a Promise . . . “Write a Check”
If you’re in a service business . . . where the client’s buying your ability to ‘come through’ as you promise (and, your client expects) then you need a deliberate way to ensure that happens . . . consistently.  My suggestion?  “Write a check”.  Literally.  Not on your bank.  On your time!  Think of a ‘check’ as a written evidence of your commitment to your client’s happiness . . . with you.

When you make a promise . . . WRITE A CHECK to demonstrate your commitment to ‘cash it’ with your customer or client.  Here’s an example:

Is this SCARY?  You bet it is!  Especially if you’re not committed to deliver.  This is a huge ACCOUNTABILITY tool.  But, if you’re as good as you say you are, it’s a NO BRAINER, isn’t it? Actually, it’s going to help you to DIFFERENTIATE yourself and your practice!

NOTE:  If you’d like my Special Report on how to set up a ‘Promise Checkbook System’ . . . shoot me an email and I’ll send it right back!

KEY POINT:
You make promises every day . . . give people evidence of your commitment and watch your competition shake in their boots! 

Amazon’s new Kindle ‘Fire’ — is a brilliant marketing decision
Sure, the pricing is absurd.  Absurdly good.  For consumers.  Some believe Amazon’s losing money on every tablet they sell.  So the brilliance isn’t because of the extremely good price.

Kindle is playing on its strengths, not competing on its weaknesses
The tablet computer market is crowded.  Over-crowded.  So another tablet is not a smart idea.  Neither is creating an alternative to Apple’s iPad.  Kindle Fire makes neither mistake.

Kindle Fire is both unique AND beneficial
Kindle’s Fire is different and better than Android tablets that are both supported — and limited by — Google.  Amazon’s Kindle Fire is supported by Amazon’s version of Android and its own content — a far more extensive resource.  Also, Kindle is not seeking to woo a wide market like Apple is doing with the iPad.  Instead, Amazon is targeting its significant base of loyal Amazon customers who are seeking a convenient way to access Amazon’s content.

The Kindle Fire is also not as elegant as an iPad.  It doesn’t have to be.  it just has to provide access to Amazon’s extensive content.  Just as when Coca-Cola gave it’s vending machines away for free — because Coke™ made its money by refilling their machines. Brilliant!

KEY POINT:
“Never bring a knife to a gunfight” — Amazon is defining it’s own ‘Fire’ power and will likely be a winner because of it. 


I’ve recently found a very cool site — fab.com. Fab is the brainchild of Jason Goldberg. I posted about him earlier in the week.

 

Clarity of Vision = Focus = Power
In marketing, it’s important to know what you stand for . . . as it helps you to stand out by standing up for something specific. Jason, as CEO and Founder of FAB.com has done this beautifully, IMHO.

FAB’s Focus . . . Design and Customer Experience
As you read the ‘Mission Statement’, it’s pretty clear that two terms come clearly to mind . . . DESIGN and CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.  This tight focus makes it easy for FAB’s management to make decisions — decisions that align with the audience of people who are FAB’s target market — people who appreciate both outstanding design as well as a good bargain.

KEY POINT:
Mission . . . drives how you operate and how you’re perceived by your target market

“Don’t Hide Your Light Under a Bushel”
I loved this book.  No, I didn’t read it.  I just read the cover!  It’s ‘over-the-top’.  But that’s why I’m writing about it and not something else.

My friend, THIS . . . is great copy!  “Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!).  Telling like it is (or, you hope it will be) is very, very attractive, isn’t it?

Skinny Bitch and The Elevator Pitch
Nice rhyme.  But I digress . . . My point of this post is that, like a book cover, your ‘introductory comments’ AKA elevator pitch need to rise above the hum-drum and capture the attention of people you’re talking with.  If it’s benign and ‘vanilla-esque’ then you’ll likely not be noticed and that, in business, can be verrrry deadly!

So ‘Go For It’ . . . take a chance . . . on change.  Tell the world WHO you are by sharing WHAT you do and FOR WHOM.  And when you think you’ve got it . . . throw in 20% more ‘edginess’ . . . just to be sure your words will work.

KEY POINT:
Tell it like it is . . . Go BIG or Go Home

“All things being equal . . .”
You know the expression.  It’s said just before an UN-equal fact is about to be introduced in a conversation.  That’s how many people are ‘wired’ to perceive reality — ‘similar with exception’.

Stand Out or Sit Down
Naturally, you want to ‘stand out’ from the crowd of your alleged competitors.  And there are ways to do that.  But most require time and money — the two biggie assets that no ever has enough of, right?  Well, here’s how to save your money, use a little bit of your precious time and be seen as a ‘preferred provider’ of your problem-solving expertise.

Write . . . a “Thank You” Note
I get these.  Rarely.  But everytime I do, I am more impressed with the person who sent it and, (taking notes?) more inclined to do ‘something nice’ in return.  I just got a great note from Jody Ferrer, President of The Perfect Promotion thanking me for a referral I’d made to her business.  Included with the card was a smaller ‘bookmark’ branded for The Perfect Promotion.  I am so impressed with Jody, her business and her business acumen that reflects her social skills.

KEY POINT:
If you want to ‘Stand Out’ . . . send a “Thank You” note!

When you want to connect with someone, you want to do it quickly and relevantly, fair?  Yes, but how? Duane Cashin, an outstanding public speaker and business consultant, gave a talk recently in which he revealed a wonderful structure for engaging quickly, easily and effectively with anyone: T.I.T.O.


T . . . Trends

Begin by offering to provide some ‘insights’ about recent ‘disturbing’ or ‘interesting’ trends that may affect the life or business of the person you’re speaking with — e.g. “Y’know, I read the Financial Times and there are 3 trends countries like Greece are revealing that American investors need to be aware of . . . ” (do you have their attention?)
I . . . Insights
Amplify the ‘data’ in the trends by filtering it with your own expertise.  Use this section to demonstrate you know your business — e.g. “What all these economic events are leading up to are 3 serious threats that can decimate your net worth if you don’t respond appropriately.  For example . . . ” (you think they’re gonna leave you now?”)
T . . . Threats
Present the consequential damages that failing to act appropriately may cause the unprepared or ill-advised person to suffer.  This should be a logical connection that arises from not using the insights you’ve provided based on the trends you’ve observed.
O . . . Options
By now, someone is ‘in pain’ and you can’t leave them that way.  So, offer a way out . . . of the pain they’re experienced now.  “What I find people are doing about these issues seem to fall into one of 4 kinds of response . . . ” (qualified prospects will identify themselves to you!)

KEY POINT:
Engaging prospective clients in a conversation is best done by design, not accident!