How does your vision impact your market positioning? Last week, we talked about being a visionary and the benefits you can gain from it. I got several notes from clients who said I left out a step in the process of becoming a visionary. They suggested to me that if you want to be a visionary today you must have a message that stands out from the crowd. They believe that the organization as visionary might be a dead concept. They feel there are visionary entrepreneurs, but they are few and far between. If you’re going to build a durable competitive advantage you must create a breakthrough message for your best markets. I believe they may be right, so this week we’ll talk about how to create a breakthrough message and then apply it to what we know about becoming a visionary next week.
Social media has created an interesting opportunity for marketers. One that, if embraced, could change the course of our marketing efforts. So let’s get to work to create messages with impact.
The first key to creating messages with impact is to target your message. Today we can micro-target our messages to any special interest group we want. The key is to understand who you want to read your message. I believe many marketers are trying for volume of responses versus more qualified responses. You would be better off targeting your message to a specific market segment than try to blast out a more generalized message. My clients will many times buy mass media when targeted direct response would provide better results. You can find very targeted opportunities if you look for them but you need to think smaller and smaller versus larger and larger market reach. Take time to develop targeted messages for your clients.
The second key is to understand who your competition is. Over the years I’ve led many large business development efforts and we frequently won many large projects against superior competition. I believe it was that while my competitors where focused on other competition, I had my teams focus on our customers’ internal resources. This allowed us to see challenges and opportunities within out potential clients. We then customized our presentations and messages to show we understood our client’s internal resources and corporate culture. We made sure a large part of our marketing efforts shared with them why we were a better choice than their own internal resources. Our messages focused on how we could complement their internal resources and how our prior success with internal resources could increase the reach of their own efforts. For most consulting projects, your biggest competition is change and fear. Creating messages that help them decrease both their fears and minimize change will guarantee your message gets passed on to the right people. It will win you more business.
The third key is to build trust in every message. The best way to get repeat business is to earn it every day. Every time you talk with a client you must show them why you are their trusted partner. While talking about trust, another way of creating trust is to share other resources that will help them better understand that you are looking out for their best interests. Look for articles and blogs from credible sources like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and , of course, Market Leadership Journal to help share information with your clients. Everything you share should create value to your relationship. If you have a trusted partnership you can also share different points of view with clients. I always ask for clients opinions on what I share with them. It gives me a great opportunity to better understand the way they see the world.
The final key is to make your message easy to understand. It’s easy to develop complicated messages. If you’re sharing with a number of different stakeholders, build your message so that all of them can understand it. Allow these messages to become the beginning of the conversation, not the end. Take time to have others review your messages before sharing them with your target market. I try to have my editor review my writing several times before sharing it with the larger market.
When sharing others’ material makes sure your client understands why you’re sending it to them. A brief intro to set up the article can make a huge difference for clients. They don’t have time to read everything. Keep it simple and you’ll be surprised how quickly you build your relationship with new people. I try for one message a week during the initial stages of the relationship.
Next week, we return to create an extraordinary partnership that helps you stand out from your competition. It will show you how to use your unique vision to open doors to your best clients and make you invaluable to their business efforts. See you then.