Everybody does it

Think Outside the Square . . . if you want to be a main player

OK, so you have your "online presence" as the mentors like to call it. 

Isn't that enough?

You have pages on every social media site you can find on Google.  You tweet, post, blog, chat, update and skype until you drop.  If you have enough time after all of that, you may even get to do some real work in your business before you fall, exhausted and fingers throbbing, into comatosed oblivion.

 

 Guess what?  You are not alone.  Every business in the world is doing it too.  Consumed and addicted to 'social networking'.

I remember many years ago, when I had just launched a new corporate identity for a client.  A marketing exec from one of their main buyers – a very major retailer – came to me and said, "I don't like what you've done with their logo".  Now I have very broad shoulders, so I wasn't too fazed by this observation, but being curious, I thought I'd probe the reasons for this unsolicited critique of my work.

"So, why don't you like it", I asked the somewhat youthful, but nonetheless influential, buyer of my client's products.

"Power Branding is what works", he stated, clearly repeating what he had read in some textbook on branding, or more likely, what his company's advertising agency had told him.  Power Branding, for those who care, is where the company name is written in large, often red, bold letters.  No frills.  Just the name. (I'm sure you can think of a few).

"Your logo is too graphic based.  Everybody does Power Branding these days" was his retort.  This was my chance to deliver a one-liner I had up my sleeve for just such an occasion.
"Well . . . that's a good enough reason not to do it then – don't you think?"  I replied and left the poor intern bewildered.

 

This goes to the very core of what I believe a truly creative marketing professional should think: you have to be different to have an edge.

 

Of course, online is critical.  This is where your customers (or most of them) are.  A website is a must, a blog is useful and a presence on social media could be helpful.  But be aware, every one of your competitors and even those who are not your competitors are doing the same.  It is now an extremely crowded marketplace.  The online popularity has grown exponentially in the last few years to a point where you cannot see the wood for the trees.

 

So step back, have a good close look at what you are doing, and ask yourself, "Am I getting the returns on the TIME I am spending on this?"  Sure, online costs are all very low and in most cases free.  But your time isn't.  Every hour you spend has a dollar value to you and your business.

Successful marketing, is marketing that puts your business at the forefront of customer's minds.  When they are ready to purchase services or goods, it's your business that should be their first thought.  All you need to do is make sure they think of you first.  Ah, now that is the difficult bit!  I can tell you for sure, posting on Facebook probably won't do it any more.  It's way too busy, and people don't care enough.

 

We have to look at Creative Marketing ideas.

Set aside some time to imagine who and where your customers are, what they really want and how much you honestly believe you should spend in order to get them to become 'fans' of your business and spend money with you rather than your competitors.  In these days of homogenised media, with everybody following everybody else like a flock of sheep, don't you think it will be good to stand up and walk in the opposite direction from the crowds.  THAT will get you noticed!

 

The ways of doing this, thankfully, are not laid out in some 'How to...' book or website.  The answers reside in the imagination of the individual – a resource more powerful than anything you can find on the internet.  It occurs to me, absurdly, that even the supposedly 'old fashioned' methods like sending out a brochures and leaflets, would be so unusual these days, it may have an incredible impact on the person receiving it.  But let's think further outside that square.

 

Maybe:

Send customers things – REAL things, that they can touch and feel.

Invite them to places – REAL places where they can talk (with their mouths) and see things.

Do things for them – REAL things so that they will REALLY like you, as opposed to 'like' you on Facebook.

Sure these things take a bit of effort, and yes, they will cost money, but they will also buy you the confidence of your customers – something it seems, that money CAN buy.

 

Whatever you choose to do with marketing your business, online or if you choose to be more creative (!!), remember the words . . .

 

"If everybody is doing it that way...that's a good enough reason not to do it that way!" - Pete Rowe

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