Remember when. . .
You’d thumb through each trade publication you advertised in to see how many of your competitors were there? Or you’d do your best to have your mailing hit on a Tuesday or Thursday because those were the lightest mail days?
Good was enough when you were only competing against a single day’s worth of mail or a single magazine issue’s worth of competitors.
Today good isn’t enough because every competitor on the planet is one click away, thanks to Google. I know you know this. But a reminder will do you some good.
Today, you need to BE exceptional and be able to communicate it clearly and quickly. . .or click, they’re gone. And I can help you do both.
Yep, sorry, you need to get to work on that handful of things you just thought of when you read “Being Exceptional.” Continually improving what you do is hugely important. And difficult. And necessary.
Which brings up a couple points-
If you aren’t an exceptional distributor, for example, what part of your distribution business is exceptional? Pare down and only do what you are exceptional at. This makes you far more unique and much easier to recognize (and sell).
If you’re thinking, jeez, we are exceptional for our larger (more profitable) customers, but can’t afford to do it for every customer. I understand. You can raise your prices so you CAN afford to be exceptional for smaller volume customers, or specialize in just the size customer you CAN afford to be exceptional for. What does it cost you to give the type of time and attention it takes to make a difference? Make sure you’re charging enough to be profitable at this level.
This isn’t a “reaching for excellence” lecture. This is a how-you-don’t-go-out-of-business in 2010 talk. Just be good at what you do, and you do so at your own peril.
Communicating Your Exceptionalness
Is exceptionalness a word? No matter, you know what I mean. You need to communicate on two levels-
Basic and simple so people “get” why you are exceptional. Quickly. My clients average about 1:15 spent on the landing page from organic and paid search visitors. And, on average, 50% of your website visitors never make it past the page they came in on. You have one page and precious little time. Lose the buzzwords and corporate-speak bullshit. Tell your visitors why you are exceptional, be direct and tell the whole story on the landing page (or your home page if you get a lot of organic traffic).
Congruency. Everything about the experience of your website/brochure/webinar needs to reflect the thing that makes you exceptional. The best way I can explain is to invite you into an Ikea store. Notice their signage, how they dispense carts, how they check you out, their racking system for the cafeteria tray you just used. Everything (everything!) says simplicity, low-cost, good design. Apple is another great example of congruency, so much so you get what I’m saying without my saying anything more. Steve Jobs is a once-a-generation marketer and it shows.
Communicating how and why you are exceptional is challenging enough. Actually being exceptional gives you a good shot at actually being successful communicating it.
I know, this “being” stuff is new territory for many marketing people. But times are different now. Being good at what you do isn’t enough today. Marketing people can’t hide a good piece of software or good training program or good contracting job or good technical product behind clever marketing anymore. The best they can do is stem the tide; slow the decline. Marketers ARE responsible to their customers to offer the best, most exceptional product or service they can. And, oh, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but we’re all marketers. Ignore the exceptionalness of what you sell in your marketing and you do so at your own peril.