As the owner of a franchise business, you’re probably starting to think about your marketing budget. And if you’re like most people, the task of deciding how to spend the money is enough to send you into a haze of confusion.
Here’s the advice of someone who’s spent a career pondering the shortcomings of many (if not most) marketing campaigns: Trash your old ideas and try a radically new approach. It’s called Brilliance Marketing. It’s highly effective and efficient. And it takes most of the mystery (and misery) out of promoting your products and services.
Many people tend to be uncomfortable with marketing because it’s so subjective. They prefer dealing with more tangible things. And that’s the secret behind the success of Brilliance Marketing. It distills everything your company does into a single common denominator, which becomes the ‘lighthouse beacon’ you shine to draw customers to your harbor.
The lighthouse beacon is a metaphor I often use to educate my clients on what I call a company’s “brilliance” – the one unique thing that sets it apart from the pack.
In my new book Brilliance Marketing Management: Let Your Strengths Build Your Business (Facts on Demand Press, 2003, ISBN: 1-889150-39-8; $14.95), I show you how to identify that brilliance-how to build your lighthouse, if you will-and turn it into a sales and marketing success story.
The gist of Brilliance Marketing is this: identify your company’s sparkle, its light, that one special aspect of your business that deserves to be elevated into a bright focus for all your marketing efforts. Then focus on that and that alone. Instead of looking outside your organization to try to beat out the competition, shift your focus to your company to make sure that your brilliance shines in everything you do.
Of course, nothing worth doing is ever easy. You can expect recognizing your brilliance to take some work-but once you find it, you’ll be amazed at how simple and natural it seems. In Brilliance Marketing Management, I offer a wealth of examples, insights and exercises to help you reconnect with the sparkle that led you to success in the first place. Here are just a few of them-along with a few that aren’t covered in my book, but that are definitely worth trying:
! HELPFUL HINTS
Look for your brilliance in the everyday. Ask yourself: what is my company really good at? For instance, do you pride yourself on hiring and retaining the best and brightest professionals in your field? Is your company known for its exemplary customer service? Its friendly approach? Its quick turnaround time? Do your products offer consistent quality or universal appeal? What aspects of your products or services make you most proud?
Let your customers help you locate your brilliance. Ask five loyal customers why they use your services or purchase your products. When someone refers business to you, call them up and ask them why they recommended your firm.
Often a company’s brilliance is so simple that it is taken for granted: the fact that you always return phone calls promptly; your attention to detail in meeting your customers’ special requests; your ability to anticipate trends and stay on the cutting edge. Each of these attributes could form the basis for a brilliance marketing focus.
Pinpoint what sets you apart from the competition. What is the one thing you do differently from everyone else? Maybe you already know the answer, but it doesn’t hurt to explore it further. When you’re talking to customers, ask them what you do that your competitors don’t.
Also, become a “secret shopper” and research the competition. It’s true that Brilliance Marketing is all about you, but understanding the context in which customers see you will help you pinpoint your competitive advantage…and determine where you really shine.
Revisit your roots. How did your company get started? What were the original goals and principles of the founders? Has the company drifted away from its original mission? You may argue that the marketplace changes over time and companies must change with it to survive.