So I come back from my chilly morning run and am greeted by the site of one lone red leaf popping out of a sea of green ivy and decaying brown leaves – and I can’t help but take notice.
Stand out – can’t help but take notice – of course, I immediately think marketing strategy.
Small businesses must be the red leaf. The market needs a way to differentiate all the green and brown leaves from one another so it uses price. Smart small business marketers, ones that can become the red leaf and place themselves squarely among the rest, stand out and compete on value.
Now, having said that, standing out is not simply about making more noise of being different for difference sake, standing out is understanding an innovation that a market needs and values and creating a brand that represents that message of innovation in every possible way.
Their are three kinds of research you should do right now if you aim to discover the best way for you to be the red leaf.
1) Study your competition – likely this will verify that everyone is saying the same thing and the opportunity exists for you to say something different.
2) Study difference makers in other industries – what do small business brands that you may already admire do that you don’t? Hire a coach who works with a different industry.
3) Talk to your customers – ask you ideal customers what you do that they value. Chances are it’s not what you think and greater chances are it’s what you need to tap as your essential difference.
Let me see if I can say this in dramatic enough fashion – you absolutely must tap or create a valuable point of differentiation and then build your marketing strategy around communicating that difference or your business will struggle to rise above the competitive noise.
Differences are everywhere waiting for you to claim them. They exist in the way you market, your products and services, in packaging of those products and services, in the delivery of those products and services, in narrow market niches, in your processes, and in your people.
When you find your red leaf and can honestly say you have no direct competition to speak of, you’re probably on your way.