Is 'Counter Marketing' Affecting you?
Some say ‘all publicity is good publicity’ which leads me conveniently to asking this question: “Is every single piece of your marketing, regardless of what is says, beneficial to your business?” I have to say, without hesitation or pointing the finger directly at you, NO!
Do you ever see marketing and feel it is a wasted opportunity to inform, educate or entertain? All too often we see the same old meaningless headlines or statements that are now so over used they simply don’t resonate with the intended ideal client. One could even argue this is an irresponsible waste of company resources. Unless you have anything that makes your business distinctive from the competition, or is relevant and helpful to your ideal prospects, then I believe it is best not to say anything at all. It may well do more harm than good, and that is the Counter Marketing effect. Rather than work for you, it can work against you.
The 13 Deadly Sins of 'Counter Marketing'
Just look around you at what many companies create when it comes to self-promotion. You will see a lot of examples that, with a little thought into what makes the business different, could so easily work so much harder:
1. Social media pages that re-report other people’s news or THE news
2. Websites that seem intent on talking about themselves and only themselves
3. Business cards that merely give contact details and nothing more
4. Word of mouth recommendations being accidental occurrences
5. Email signatures created in Outlook in 30 seconds that say no more than your business card
6. Vans with the company’s name being the prominent, or only, message to read
7. Local newspaper display adverts without no proper headline i.e. headlines that scream out to you and grab their intended audience’s attention
8. Telephone ‘order takers’ who can’t describe their products adequately
9. Irresponsible investment of company money on bland, ineffective and non-connecting marketing
10. Lack of imagination in communication mediums
11. Lack of imagination in what companies say
12. Lack of consideration to buyers’ wants
13. Just a general lack of overall creativity full stop.
This list makes immediately me think of the waste one inevitably feels when looking at outdoor patio heaters – the massive energy and costs required to produce the heat is not very effective. The generated heat instantly goes into oblivion never to be seen again.
You have probably heard the Henry Ford statement where he says something along the lines of him knowing 50% of his advertising is effective. The only problem was that he didn’t know which 50% and if he did he could cancel the other half. If I was alive in his day I’d have had a quiet word in Henry’s ear, assuming I could reach him, and say, “If you want to know what parts of your marketing work then simply ask your customers.” Existing customers will tell you all you need to know about why they buy and more importantly, why they continue to buy from you.
Before embarking on any marketing exercise I’d recommend you be extremely clear about what makes you the ‘go-to’ company for whatever sector you operate in. When you know why you’re the obvious choice, and how you’re so distinctive from your competitors, so you can focus on your message. If you haven’t invested any time developing your USP [Utterly Seductive Proposal] yet another way to make great progress in this area is ask your customers questions such as:
1. Why did you contact us in the first place?
2. What is we do that you can’t get anywhere else?
3. What is missing from our industry as a whole?
4. What could be do that would totally blow your socks off?
5. Is there anything to constantly find yourself putting up with in this industry?
6. If you owned a business like ours, what would you do?
7. What search engine term would you use to find a business like ours?
8. What companies do you admire and refer the most?
Just imagine how differently you’d look at your business if 25 customers answered each of those questions for you? What would that information be worth to your business? Buy them coffee, call them, email a survey, visit them with a gift…whatever it takes. If you can find out exactly why you have existing customers you will be streaks ahead of your competition when it comes to crafting marketing messages that ‘hit the spot’ with your ideal prospects and don’t push them away.
If you forget to ask a new customer during the first contact how they came to be calling you, it is perfectly acceptable to go back and ask. People like to give opinions and if you tell them their feedback is incredibly important in plotting the future for your business, they cannot help but feel involved. Not only will you know which marketing of yours they responded to, but you will also gain loyal customers. Loyal customers refer others in your direction, no question.
Take your pick
It’s imperative that when you invest into business marketing that you are not engaging in Counter Marketing. You need to be thinking of promoting your business in terms of magnificent marketing, wonderful marketing, marvelous marketing, spectacular marketing, remarkable marketing, phenomenal marketing, prodigious marketing, breathtaking marketing, extraordinary marketing, far-out marketing, unbelievable marketing, amazing marketing, stunning marketing, astounding marketing, astonishing marketing, awe-inspiring marketing, staggering marketing, formidable marketing, impressive marketing, supreme marketing, awesome marketing, fantastic marketing, terrific marketing, tremendous marketing, stupendous marketing, mind-boggling marketing, mind-blowing marketing, jaw-dropping marketing, out of this world marketing, wondrous marketing, superhuman marketing and even Superman marketing!
Please don’t fall for any of the 13 deadly sins of ‘Counter Marketing’. The marketing descriptions above, like far-out marketing, should be inspiring and make you think of your business in ways you hadn’t previously. It’s time to roll out your Utterly Seductive Proposal.