Think Outside the Policy

Some of my favorite phrases in all of marketing go something like, “I’m sorry, we don’t do that here” or then there is, “I don’t know why, that’s just the way everyone in our industry does it” and, last but not least, “You can’t do that.”

See, these phases scream one thing to my marketing brain – opportunity.

Legendary companies are formed every year when someone finally asks, “Why do we do it like that?” or “What do think would happen if we just tried . . .? ”

Heck, mediocre companies can find ways to exploit the frustrations of a market. Haven’t you ever seen a company that didn’t deliver the goods half as well as you thrive? I’ll bet they had and angle and that angle drove them to the top.

I have three things that I would like you to do to try to find ways to exploit a market frustration:

  1. Ask yourself this question: What is the one thing that, if we could figure out how to do it, would turn our industry upside down? (Think – package, price, promotion, guarantee, delivery, options)
  2. Call up 10 customers and drill them on this idea: What is it that everyone in our industry does that drives your crazy? (Flip side: What is it that some other vendor in some other industry does that your love – some of the best innovations come from applying things that work in other industries.)
  3. Listen: Anytime you hear one of the comments I started this post out with, be on guard.

Thinking outside your industry’s gererally accepted policy manual is a great way to stand out from a crowd.


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