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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SALES AND MARKETING: Is Google or Groupon . . . Goliath?

Sales and Marketing with Bill Doerr

15 Second Executive Speed Read

As competition heats up from committed local firms and capable global competitors, it's imperative that your business 'stands out' from the crowd of firms who are all vying for the dollars your customer or client has to invest in the outcomes that you claim to deliver.

The term 'New and Improved' is a marketing mantra that has driven revenues since advertising first began. But it's a tough challenge to be both and stay that way for long.

You'll be better off finding a sustainable way to differentiate your business that doesn't require constantly renewing your offering. And how do you do that? Read on . . .

'Standing Out' from The Competition

In any marketplace, the consumer -- customer, client, patient, etc. has the ultimate economic challenge. They have relatively unlimited ways to spend an equally limited resource -- their budget to enjoy a benefit that you (and many other firms) claim you can deliver.

The challenge . . . the question that must be answered is . . . "Why You?".

If you address it better than your competition, you win. If not, you don't. Lose too many of these 'consumer encounters' and it could be 'Game Over!' for you. Harsh? Yes. Truth? Yes. Opportunity? Most assuredly!

What Makes YOUR Business 'Stand Out' To Your Ideal Client?

It's well known that, according to the renowned marketing expert Ted Levitt of Harvard Business School fame, differentiating a product or service or personality (think 'politicians') requires two things: 1) uniqueness, and 2) beneficial value.

The Enigma of Differentiation

Here's the problem. If you're truly beneficial, you won't be unique for long.

Take the recent success of Groupon. Google, seeing a good thing, offered them $6 Billion dollars for their model. That's BILLION! That's proof of serious value!

But, Groupon declined the offer of a buy-out and Google decided (maybe with that $6 Billion for R & D) that if you can't buy'm, BEAT'M . . . and immediately went to work to create a similar business model Google will be calling Google 'Offers'.

There goes the 'unique' factor! Now Groupon may well survive. But will it remain the market leader it's recently become? Will that $6 Billion in value ever be realized? All good questions that will be answered in time.

Beating The Enigma

OK, so here's the rub. If you're good, you're going to be copied. Count on it! By your competitors. Maybe better funded competitors. Maybe better equipped competitors. Regardless, you're only the 'top dog' for so long in a highly competitive environment. And right now . . . that's precisely the business environment we're all operating in. So, what can you do?

First, make sure you're providing a real value to the market/s you seek to attract and serve. Then, find something that is unique that is extremely difficult if not downright impossible to replicate and promote the you-know-what out of it! That's not always easy. Colonel Sanders had his 'Secret Recipe'. So did Coca-Cola. But most of us aren't so lucky to have a truly 'unique' edge. Or . . . are we?

You . . . Are The Uniqueness!

I work with one of the finest insurance agents in the country -- Shon Messer, MSFS, CFR, etc. Shon's a partner in Shubert Insurance in the Birmingham, AL area.

When you work with Shon or Dan or anyone in the office . . . you quickly realize that this is not just any old agency. They claim to be your 'Lifetime Insurance Partner' and that's not some marketing hype. That's real. How do I know? Because when you call the office, they know who you are. They ask about things going on in your life. They celebrate their relationship with you and make you feel well, 'special'. Why? Because they know you can buy what they sell from any number of firms. But guess what? You can't get Shon or Dan or Marsha or Heather or (get the idea!) in any other agency except the Shubert Insurance agency. Their product lines and company relationships make them valuable. But the experience their people create with their clientele . . . is unique. And THAT . . . is how they manage to be outstanding to their clients and STANDING OUT in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Key Point:

Just like Shon Messer, YOU are the one thing that none of your competitors can offer your prospects.

Once you learn what makes YOU stand-out to your prospects and customers (do a survey and ASK if you're not sure), you'll find that offering a beneficial value AND the uniqueness of yourself . . . will help you create and sustain a competitive position and edge over the competition you may feel is breathing down your neck.

Celebrate the uniqueness you offer and the value you create and learn how to 'play in your own ball park' -- your business will be the better for it and . . . your competitors will be very, very nervous! '-)

Bill Doerr, Partner / Markitect at SellMore Marketing helps professionals and other service providers to market their problem-solving expertise simply, effectively and affordably. You can reach him online at SellMore Marketing, or by phone at 860-798-6964.

For more information, please visit Bill's TNNWC Bio.

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