Monday, November 26, 2007

Standing Out

My wife and I were in New York a couple of years ago and among the things we saw (in addition to family, old friends, old neighborhoods and a new play) was “The Gates,” the art “happening” in Central Park that paraded 7,000-plus archways with saffron/orange textile hanging from their beams back to back to back along the Park’s pathways. I can’t recall seeing the City so mobbed with curiosity-seekers. It was like Christmas week. But here we were eight weeks later, in the middle of an otherwise non-descript winter.

Yet this was something, even for New York, that was certainly “descript.” Something that stood out amidst all that the Apple customarily has going for it.

It made me wonder…what do we do to “stand out.” What can we do?

Welcome to another edition of “Not Your Usual Marketing Tips” from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

And since I asked the question…I’m going to let someone else answer it.

Robert Middleton is a marketing consultant and electronic-medium guru out of the San Francisco bay area who has an e-Zine that I subscribe to. Good stuff, enlightening stuff, inspiring stuff. Here are his thoughts, for example, on “The Secret to Standing Out.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------One of the things I don't talk about enough is how you package the actual service you are marketing and selling to your clients. You may be selling consulting, coaching, training or design services, but that's really not what you're selling.And although I emphasize that the best way to talk about your services initially is in terms of what is missing or not working through a problem-oriented Audio Logo (companies frustrated by high turnover or individuals struggling to achieve their dreams), this is not what you're ultimately selling either.

What sells best is a concrete, specific promise of improving your prospects' current condition and a service offering that doesn't sound like everything else currently available.Let's look at a few scenarios.When asked what you do and you answer with a problem-oriented Audio Logo (as above), your desired response is, "How do you do that?" And your answer is the key to marketing success. Here are some possible responses. Remember, all responses are offering the same thing. But you're going to get very different results depending on how you articulate your response.

1. We work with manufacturing companies to increase their profits by hiring and retaining the best people. 2. We work with manufacturing companies to increase profits by a minimum of 24% by hiring and retaining the best people.3. We work with manufacturing companies to increase profits by a minimum of 24% through our unique approach called Optimal Resource Utilization.

Number 1 is a very generic response. Increasing profits is too general, and hiring and retaining the best people sounds like something they know about already.

Number 2 is better because you're being specific about profit improvement.

But 3 is the best because not only are you specific about increasing profits, you apply an approach unknown to your prospects that makes it sound unlike anything else out there.And believe me, not many Independent Professionals are doing this. Their promises are generic and their approaches sound like what everyone else is doing.

The point is simple. If you offer a service that promises a specific, desirable result and you make what you are offering intriguing and different from what everyone else is offering, you will get more attention, interest, response, and action from your prospects.The difference can be dramatic.

To capsulize:

*Don't be shy about making promises about results. If it's true, it's not boasting. The trick is to talk about results in a way that is low-key but impressive at the same time.

* What is everyone else promising? Don't promise that or you'll get confused with them. Your promise needs to sound not only valuable and credible but unlike anyone else's promise.

* Both your promise and the name of your service need to get to "the heart of the matter" for the prospect. That is, they need to hit the right nerve and stimulate an immediate desire to know more.

* Don't go over the top with your promise or your service name. They will stimulate skepticism and mistrust. Good marketing is very attention-getting and motivating but it does not insult your intelligence.


Sounds good to me.

You know what else stands out? The fabulous fish and “appetizing” we had at Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side. But that’s another story…

Joel Kweskin

No comments: