Don’t Leave It In The Bottle
Without a doubt, the biggest problem I have experienced through my business coaching and mentoring is that neither the business, through its website or marketing literature nor the owner themselves are able to articulate a clear marketing message.
If you want to understand the power of marketing in a heartbeat, then just look at Apple – there is no ‘selling’ with Apple, their customers are educated as to ‘how to buy’ from them and this should be the ultimate goal of every company and it all starts from having the right marketing message.
It’s a huge problem and one that I have had major problems with myself over my business career and in my early years, I was content just to get something ‘out there’ in terms of a message and then get on with going after my audience.
I got it so wrong…
Now conversely, I see many people who spend hours and days agonizing on their message and at the expense of everything else and this is also not a good idea.
So right from the start I will say this and its far from ideal, but it may put things in perspective for you:
“A business doesn’t need a message to succeed.”
Now you are going to think I am crazy and have just contradicted myself and you are only a few paragraphs into the post!
Please stay with me.
In my business, which was in the technology staffing sector, the idea was to find a candidate and place them into an organization or to fill a vacancy in an organization by finding a candidate, so did I really need a marketing message?
In the beginning, I didn’t even bother and used my company name with the description of ‘global human resource’ or something similar as it was so long ago.
And the absence of any kind of marketing message in my mind didn’t cause a problem as it didn’t prevent me from contacting companies nor trying to find jobs for candidates.
But I wanted to grow my business and differentiate my company from the competition and I had started the company in pre-Internet times and my first task was to go out and find some help.
This was to prove one of the best hires in my entire business career!
Time To Get Creative
Without knowing it at the time, learning about creativity, message creation, and marketing in the pre-Internet days shaped not only my marketing knowledge but also my entire business philosophy.
Now without ‘blowing my own trumpet’, I knew I could sell, but this new-found knowledge turbocharged my selling and gave me an ‘anchor point’ from which to present the entire company to anyone – clients, employees, the media and anyone who simply wanted to know what my company did.
Quite simply, to grow my business and make it the best it could possibly be, I needed a strong marketing message and it today’s Internet or digital economy, with so much competition in every market, a powerful marketing message is an absolute must.
I am going to cover the creation of your marketing message in detail in a future article, but for now, I just want you to understand how important it is to put some serious time into creating your business and personal marketing message.
To give you an idea of how you can start, the first thing I would suggest is to brainstorm ideas with your team, friends or even yourself – just get a whiteboard or a sheet of paper and write out exactly what you do, in terms of what you do for your clients.
Next, write out the benefits of what you do in terms of the benefits to your clients – they may or may not be financially obvious, but if you drill down deep enough, you will find a financial benefit.
For example, I had a cleaner in my first office in London and she came in early every morning with fresh flowers and made sure that there were cups ready for tea and coffee for everyone – we were a small office at the time, but it still took thought and some extra work and also she paid for the flowers herself. I had had three people in to interview and they were all roughly the same price.
The staff loved coming into an office where there was a ‘friendly face., the smell of fresh flowers and tea/coffee ready to drink and their morale was high from 08:30!
The day was definitely more productive and that meant ultimately more money – was she responsible for the $$$…of course not, but did she contribute?
So think about how you would develop her value proposition as a cleaner and also if you were her partner in a cleaning company, as to how would you write a clear message to your potential clients to differentiate your business from the competition.
So in this example, it was more than just cleaning, it was the outcome of her cleaning that was important and the ability to translate that outcome into $$$.
On the subject of creating your personal marketing message, it was a natural progression for me to take the knowledge I was acquiring from hiring the Creative Director and drive it deeper into my business – after all, I was in the staffing/recruiting sector and that meant placing candidates into organizations in a fiercely competitive marketplace.
With help, I was able to instill into my salespeople, how vital it was to create a clear ‘value proposition’ for each of our candidates to ensure they stood out from their competition.
On average at that time, companies would typically interview three to five candidates for a particular role and to get through the candidate shortlisting process, I wanted our candidates to stand out massively from their counterparts.
I did this by making sure the value proposition of the candidate not only talked about the skills they possessed but also how those skills would benefit potential companies in three key areas:
- Monetary value – how their skills translated into money
- Employer culture value – how they could fit into the workplace culture
- Integrity value – ensuring there is tangible evidence to cover the all too familiar words of ‘honest’, ‘hardworking’, determined, etc. on the basis of a famous recruiting saying… “you hire people for what they know and fire them for who they are”
Now there is a good tip for all of you recruiters out there who are struggling to improve their interview to hire ratios!
When creating your personal marketing message, make sure that you talk about your skills and translate them into a value proposition that has tangible financial benefits – dig deep to explore how this is the case.
Also, make sure you give tangible examples of the ‘softer values’ or what is now called Emotional Intelligence and don’t just use words such as ‘hardworking’, ‘ambitious’ and so on.
- A clear marketing message starts the process of educating your customers as to ‘how to buy‘ from you, rather than having to sell
- You can have a business without a clear message, but in today’s economy, you are going to stack the odds dramatically against you if you want to grow your company or differentiate from the competition
- Start to brainstorm ideas about what your business does for your clients and the outcome in terms of financial benefits, not just the tasks and services that you perform
- Make sure that you also think about your personal marketing message and start to create your own ‘value proposition.’
- It is also important to understand that your ‘soft skills‘ have tangible evidence too
Remember, your job is to get the message out of the bottle!
Last modified: August 28, 2019