Robert Craven is the keynote speaker and author of the best-selling business books ‘Kick-Start Your Business’ and ‘Customer Is King’. His new book is ‘Bright Marketing - why should people bother to buy from you?’. As MD of The Directors’ Centre, he works with ambitious directors to break through constraints on business growth.
Over the last three years, I have asked the following question to over 15,000 owner-managers and directors at marketing masterclasses and seminars: ‘What is it that you want to know how to do by the end of this session?’.
FAQ’s in a nutshell
At its simplest, the questions that audiences wanted the answer to came under one of six headings:
· What works?
· How to communicate? How to get heard?
· How to focus? How to target?
· How to measure?
· How to stand out from the rest/how to be listened to?
· How to get more sales with no/little budget?
And so a manifesto was born - a list of some 23 principles… fundamental approaches that separate the Bright Marketing sparks’ businesses from the run-of-the-mill, ordinary ones.
Everyone looks the same
Everyone looks the same. Your competitors pay similar people with similar qualifications similar wages to use similar software on similar hardware to make similar products that do similar things at similar prices.
To stand out you do need to be different.
The BM Manifesto Principle No. 1
If there’s a choice between better or different then go for different every time – ideally you should go for better and different!
People will remember you for how you are different from the rest so seek to make yourself (look) different: faster, slower, brighter, more local, higher tech, lower tech, the first – but please don’t make yourselves look just like the rest.
We are all a bit too much in love with our businesses. Most business people are essentially technicians; they are really good at their job (garage mechanic, cook, web designer) and know pretty much everything there is to know about how to do it.
Unfortunately, they tend to become pre-occupied with doing a better job. Your customers won’t necessarily thank you or even remember you for using a slightly cleverer technique or technology; this is because what they are buying is a solution to a problem and what they want is the benefit of your work.
Of course, in an ideal world I would like my business to be the best and different from the rest.
The BM Manifesto Principle No. 2
Why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?
If you can’t answer this question then you are in real trouble! You need to be able to tell potential and existing customers why they should buy from you (so that they don’t buy from the competition)… your staff need to know why you are different from the rest (so that they can tell customers)...
The rest of the manifesto
The rest of the manifesto gives us brilliant, yet simple principles that we should adhere to:
· Marketing is a battle for the mind of the customer
· You get known for what you do
· Infect your customers and staff with your passion and excitement for your business
· Selling is everything
· Put your prices up now
and some 16 other principles that work.
I could quote all 23 principles and get you to learn them inside out and upside down but to me that would be nothing. Learning something is not the same as actually understanding how something works… and action is the only way that you will really learn how these principle work. So, for a moment, suspend all your enthusiasm to find out what you need to do and let me tell you how to do it.
The rules of being a bright marketing spark are pretty straightforward – you just need to apply them – underlying the whole ‘ology’ is an attitude, an approach, which replaces the dull and mediocre ‘business as usual’ with something ‘wow’ and wonderful.
So, the fundamental but vital stuff…
1. Sell a product that people want to buy; sell it for more than it costs you.
2. Focus on your customers’ needs, wants and hurts; present your product in such a way that it seduces them to buy from you.
3. Deliver remarkable service; create ‘raving fans’ and ambassadors.
4. Charge decent prices so you can invest in the business; do not compete on price.
5. Decide what you are going to do and take Massive Action.
Now let me give you some words to describe your approach to marketing and selling your product or service:
Take no hostages… Let nothing get in your way! Go for it!
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