Over the past few years I’ve had the good fortune to speak, listen, advise and consult with a lot of businesses. Through my experience I have come up with the seven new rules of marketing that I think every Midsize Business should know. Some are new, some are old but explained in a new way, and some debunk popular marketing myths.
1. Branding is a Trust Mark. Against popular belief, branding is not about names, logos, or advertising. It’s about an experience. An experience that leaves a trust mark on a prospect or customer. Many say the Internet (with its unlimited shelf-space for products and services) killed branding, that social media leveled the playing field. That’s a myth. More information and increased competition for attention makes the customer experience even more important.
2. Differentiate or Die. That statement is so true. Either you separate from the pack or suffocate in it. Most businesses complain that price is the determining factor whether a prospects buys. I say, “Pricing only matters when customers and prospects can’t tell the difference between your products and services and a competitor’s.”
What if you don’t have any differences? Find some, create some, or develop some. Contact me for help firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Right Direction is More Important. Strategy is everything. Let me repeat, “Strategy is everything.” Make sure you have a strategy for the areas of your midsize business where you want to see excellence. Wikipedia defines “strategy” as a long-term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. How you strategically position your Midsize Business and its products is everything. And yes, you have to execute.
4. Change Feelings. The ultimate goal of customer service is to change feelings, not the facts. Don’t build Midsize Businesses around stall, deny, begrudge and finally, to the few who persist on asking for refunds. The new marketing rules measures customer service on the basis of after the interaction, would the customer recommend you to a friend.
5. Communication is The Economy. Communication is a powerful tool for Midsize Businesses that can make or break a product launch or an entire company. Communication is the key factor in determining:
- whether a customer is retained,
- whether the customer spends more time with you, and
- whether you outsell the competition.
Communication (which in the end is what this digital era and media is all about) is not just a sector of the economy. Communication is the economy.
6. Tap Your Weak Ties. Your best new ideas, and a Midsize Businesses most breakthrough innovations, will come when you tap your weak ties by interacting with the disciplines you know less about, or the experts you rarely consult, or the people you associate with less frequently. By contrast, the surest way NOT to have a creative breakthrough is to rely on all the consultants and experts you already know, and all the disciplines you’re already familiar with.
7. Innovation is Not Invention. Innovation isn’t necessarily coming up with a novel idea, but coming up with a product people can use. My rule of thumb is that you only have to do something 10% better or provide added value to be successful.
Bottom line, marketing is the key to your midsize business gaining market share, increasing profit margins, and growing revenues. Business is all about marketing.
Question: What are you going to do now that you know more than your competition?