It’s a beautiful day and there was a very very crispy sort of snap in the air, and that makes me think a lot about what I do every day. Everything should be crispy and snappy, everything should flow everything should be beautifully packaged and tightly wound, everything should be perfect.
In reality of course in marketing, nothing’s ever perfect.
You’re constantly moving from one campaign to the other across different channels trying to make sure that everything flows together as well as possible. And we all know that the 80/20 principle means that perfection whilst it is an aspiration is very rarely a realization.
And yet we strive for perfection.
That brings me on to a most important point I think for any business leader who is in charge of the marketing of their business, you have a choice. You have a very very simple choice;
You can either out position your competition or you can out spend your competition.
Everything I do focuses on out positioning the competition. For me out spending sometimes is relevant, sometimes you are going to spend more because it’s a very very urgent need that you need to resolve. Maybe you need to fill a room or you need to push a product much more quickly, perhaps the runway wasn’t there but you don’t have the luxury of time to plan and out position.
But as a whole, given a choice as business owners we never want to outspend anyone. We want to get the maximum return on our investment and the best way to do that in marketing is to out position.
So let me just talk about out positioning for a minute.
What do I mean by out positioning?
What I mean is ultimately wherever the battle is fought is going to give you an advantage or a competitor an advantage.
Anyone who’s read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War will remember there was a piece about he who picks the terrain generally wins the battle. The same is true in business and marketing of course, the same is true in almost anything actually.
When I’m trying to coach my son, if I do it under my terms I tend to get a better result, if I do it whilst he’s playing fortnight not so good.
He who picks the terrain generally wins the battle.
Let’s look at how that applies to marketing and our positioning.
Ultimately there is a marketplace and in that marketplace there is a conversation and that conversation is taking place.
Now you have a choice, you’re either in that conversation or you’re not in that conversation.
Obviously if you’re not in that conversation your ability to generate revenue from that marketplace is decreased because you’re not a part of the meaningful conversation that your customers and prospects are having.
Our positioning gives us the opportunity to think about;
Where are all the other people in the space are positioned?
How are they positioned?
What are they trying to get out of the space?
What is the perception they’re shaping of their business to their customers and prospects?
You have the luxury of foresight, you can see what they’re doing because they’re doing it.
Once you’ve taken stock of that, once you’ve done that competitor analysis and you can see what everybody else is doing, the trick then is to disruptively decide how to do stuff differently, so that you’re in a phenomenally different position, so that you are out flanking all of them and coming at the market from a totally different view. Hopefully one that adds more value, hopefully one that reduces cost and hopefully one that gives your customers or prospects something much more interesting to talk about.
Ultimately that’s where things get disruptive, because if you are out positioning, if you have looked at the marketplace and you are determining where your competition is, what the landscape of the marketplace is, how the marketplace are reacting to what is already on offer.
You’re then in a position to pull the rug out from all of them.
To give them something brand-new, completely out positioned, doing something different with a new style, a new way, with brand new language that really speaks to them, that really addresses the points of their pain, that haven’t been addressed because everybody else has been doing the same thing that everybody else has always done, because that’s how it’s always been.
Everybody else is just toeing the line and competing in the approved ways, that are easy, that make it easier to be lazier and focus on out spending rather than that on out positioning. But you bravely decided to take stock, look at your competition, look at the marketplace decide how to do it differently, to be different, to disrupt, and you’ll win.