IN BED WITH BEN
As we enter a time of certain economic turmoil, businesses wonder whether they can weather the storm… and begin to panic. To succeed in this uneasy period, business will require a vital mix of strategies to ensure they not only keep their heads above water but flourish. This may be easier said than done when surrounded by fierce competitors.
The next currency in marketing isn’t one of just distributing information and marketing consistently. It is one of being interesting.
Here’s how to jolt your audience into paying attention.
Madonna has perfected the art of reinventing herself to not only gain mass appeal but to engage generation after generation with her music. She does this in a few ways. Not only does she reinvent her look and go with a new theme for each new release, she brings on board musical collaborations with other performers who already have mass appeal with the next generation. In the past few years, she’s collaborated with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake to attract an audience that has never been exposed to her cone bras.
Where does this fit within your business model?
Have you noticed that the age of your clients has shifted considerably? As the baby boomers gradually retire, we have a new market of individuals to target. What worked for the past generation may not work for the next. You may need to reinvent key things in your business: graphics on your website, the language in your promotional material and the way you engage your target audience. However, never – and I repeat never – change your logo. If you’ve been around for quite a long time, this already carries substantial weight and prior investment. Innovate within boundaries. Refresh your look and messages in key areas to re-engage your existing audience and the next generation of clients to come. Each reinvention has the potential to make you newsworthy.
You’re boring the crap out of me!
Consumers everywhere are being showered with marketing. Not only do we need to position ourselves very carefully, we need to create interesting stories and ways in which our markets can engage with us. People don’t care about your business. They care about what you can do for them. They care even more if you’ve experienced the same kind of distress and challenges they’ve experienced. You just have to have the balls to share it with them.
In Australia we have a habit of keeping our dirty laundry tight to our chests, to make sure that others don’t judge us. Get over it! That’s how you engage people. The greatest amount of power comes from vulnerability. When you’re not trying so desperately to protect yourself, you can get on with the job at hand. No, we don’t need to hear stories from the boudoir. But we do need to hear stories of where you first began in business, the challenges you went through and how you got to where you are now. And it must be shared in such a way that it contains zero promotion. This highly powerful marketing message doesn’t cost you a cent. The trick here is to put it into context and reveal to potential clients how your story relates to them and how you can assist them with their challenges.
The art of being interesting
To be truly interesting and stand out from your competitors, there are key elements you can throw into your marketing mix periodically to instigate discussion in your industry. To achieve this, consider the following:
Controversial: Cover taboo topics within your field that others dare not touch.
Quirky: Find a new, quirky angle on an otherwise dull topic. We’re sick and tired of hearing the same old stuff.
Be right, be wrong: Article marketing is a fantastic way to engage your audience. Be willing to be right and wrong within your articles. Criticism means people are paying attention to you.
Credibility: Team up with big wigs within your industry and work on projects together. This will assist building trust and credibility for your business quickly.
Close to Home: Make it highly targeted and close to home for your market. Is there something in particular within your industry that has affected them of late, i.e. the economy? Discuss this openly.
Since the advent of the internet, businesses have posted substantial amounts of information on their sites to hit it big on Google. You may hold the number one position, but that’s no good if you can’t engage visitors when they click on your site. The next generation is seeking greater engagement on all levels, including relationships. Just how is your business going to connect with the next generation during this economic turmoil?
Ben Angel is the director and founder of Nationwide Networking and a personal branding specialist. Contact Ben at ben [at] benangel.com.au