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The World's Best-Known Marketing Secrets

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The chairman of Starbucks knows it. So does the chairman of Revlon. If you put your ear to the ground, you can know it too. There is a groundswell, and it's coming your way. Will you be a leader in this movement, or will you bring up the rear? To be at the forefront, you must redefine how you think about marketing and how you implement it both professionally and personally.

First, you need to identify what you have to market both as an individual and as an organization. The chairman of Starbucks has identified the Starbucks experience as the product—not the coffee or biscotti. Then, you need to market this value with a clarity that compels people to think, talk, and act in ways that create a "professional velocity" propelling your market toward your product, service, or idea (a twist from the conventional thinking that you go to your market).

The chairman of Revlon says Revlon sells hope. Do you see the clarity in that statement? Hope is a compelling concept and the reason women buy makeup. We hope to look younger, older, thinner, or in some other way different. Before Revlon markets eye shadow, it markets hope.



The average buyer/prospect/client is besieged with messages about products and services. Differentiation is low. How is one car, one attorney, or one realtor differentiated from another? The more recognizable you are, the more differentiated you are, the more potential value you present to the buyer. That is the reason marketing is crucial to you—no matter what profession or industry you are in.

Let's begin by evaluating your current marketing IQ:
  1. Does your marketing have clarity?

  2. Have you assessed your market's perception of the value you offer? (Not your perception!)

  3. Is your marketing repetitive, and do you have distinctive capabilities?

  4. Do you know your niche? The smaller your market, the more successful you will be.

  5. Are you marketing a consistent message to a consistent network?
Here's a hint: the answer to each of these questions needs to be "YES."

Marketing helps retain current clients and attain new ones. Current clients are retained because they have a stronger sense of who you are and how you can help them. Marketing helps attain clients because it increases your center of gravity.

Now let's look at mistakes often made by those who have not identified this movement to market your value—the end result of your product, service, or idea.
  1. Do you use white space in your marketing pieces? (Customers and prospects are not interested in white space.)

  2. Did you buy into the idea that people won't read long copy? (Look at the success of Harry Potter!)

  3. Are you selling the sizzle? (The old saying "sell the sizzle" is just that—old. Sell the solution!)

  4. Does your marketing entertain and amuse? (Marketing should sell! How many commercials have you found entertaining whose products you can't remember?)

  5. Does your marketing change every few years? (How long has the Jolly Green Giant been green?)
Now your marketing knowledge is up to speed, and you know what mistakes to avoid. You are ready to hear the world's best-known marketing secrets.

Here is the first secret that is well known to those at the forefront of today's successful marketing: marketing is a mindset, not a division, department, or person. Everyone in your organization needs to learn its mindset. You can see it in the CEO's statement. What's more important is whether you can hear it in your receptionist's, bank president's, or board member's vision statement. Your mindset begins with your brand, the promise of what you will deliver. Marketing can be seen and heard in everything you say and everything you do.

It is difficult for a bank to differentiate. The president of a bank needs to know what it is he or she is selling (and to whom). Is it convenience, higher money-market rates, or loan eligibility determined more quickly than it is by the competition?

The second best-known secret is the product. The most valuable product, service, or idea that you have to market is you! Because differentiation is low, customer delight counts high! Your product or service rarely distinguishes you from your profession. Are you memorable? What have you done today to be valuable to your prospect or client? What have you done today to be remembered by your prospect or client?

The third marketing secret is my favorite. If you are like me, you grew up hearing about word-of-mouth advertising. The best advertising is word of mouth, right?

Wrong! Here's the secret: the good news is that word of mouth will work; the bad news is that you or your business will no longer be around. Word of mouth just works too slowly. For word of mouth to be successful in your lifetime, you need two things to happen simultaneously. You need to craft a consistent message that can be communicated to a potentially fertile network of contacts.

Let's say you acquire a marketing mindset, understand that you are your most valuable product, and are working on a consistent message and a network to market that message. Now, what can you do to speed up the process?

Here are five more secrets to marketing effectively:
  1. Volunteer. Volunteer to help with one event or nonprofit at a time.

  2. Write. Market yourself as an expert in something somewhere. There are so many small weekly papers in print or online—find a way to be perceived as an expert.

  3. Speak. Develop an effective, information-rich talk that is delivered well, and offer it to chambers and other groups.

  4. Create a monthly e-newsletter. Start sending it to friends, customers, prospects. Don't sell-tell. Get permission; it's called permission marketing. Send it out consistently at the same time every month.

  5. Differentiate. Billboards, bus ads, cable commercials, and movie theater ads are more affordable than you think.
Will this marketing movement sweep you away in its wake, or will you find the higher ground? Join the chairmen of Starbucks and Revlon. Market the end result of your product or service—how someone is different as a result of using you or your product. You'll be in pretty good company.

About the Author:

Leslie G. Ungar, president of Electric Impulse, Inc., can help you find your competitive edge. Electric Impulse, Inc., is an idea factory for leaders who want to think and act with 21st century mindsets to accelerate their business. She can be reached at www.electricimpulse.com.
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