This car would stand out from the crowd almost anywhere in the world.
Parked on the grey slopes of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, or High Street, you couldn’t miss it.
Bright custard yellow. Customised body. Bulging headlamps. Huge curves. Bulging chassis. Wide imposing front.
A sore thumb against the greys, browns and blacks of the crag-and-tail surroundings.
The car made people stop in the street.
The car made people stare.
The car made people go over to take a closer look – even those, I suspect, with little interest in cars.
It wasn’t the only customised vehicle on display.
There was a souped-up Citroen in sky blue with white trim.
Did that one stand out from the crowd? Of course it did.
And when you spoke to the guys who’d brought them into the city you got more of the story behind each car.
The vision for what these car nuts wanted to create.
The clear passion for customising their pride and joy.
The hours upon endless hours spent putting it all together. Finding parts. Stripping bits down. Putting bits back together. Regenerating. Cleaning. Painting. Polishing.
The finished articles simply stunning.
It’s not too far a stretch to describe the cars as works of art.
These guys knew these beautiful beasts would stand out from the crowd – and attract one.
What a great example to entrepreneurs and businesses who just follow the norm.
Do you think if there were a couple of ordinary Vauxhalls parked in the street that anybody would notice? Maybe only if they were on double yellow lines. Otherwise, probably not.
People would just walk on by.
Nothing to halt their attention.
I realise that stand out from the crowd is a cliche. I’m using it deliberately in this conversation because there’s a clear point to be made.
To overcome all the “noise” and information overload out there, your marketing has to have something different about it. Otherwise you look just like everybody else in your field, trade or industry.
With so much choice available to your prospects, clients and customers how will you make it easy for them to choose you?
Take your website, for example.
How does it shape up against the competition? Have you even bothered to look at the sites of your rivals?
Most websites look and feel formulaic. As if just having a site is enough and – as in the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams – if you build it “they will come”. They don’t by the way. People have to find your website before they can look at it.
I was researching some websites for legal firms in the autumn for a project. It did not surprise me to find so many of them sounding and looking the same. Making all the amateur marketing mistakes…
Standard look and layout with dull stock photos of people in suits with a smile. No personality whatsoever.
The focus on the company rather than the client or prospect.
The dense use of jargon and technical terms – often unexplained – to make it harder for the reader to understand what the firm was trying to say.
The failure to connect with people where they are at in life and what they are thinking.
No effort to tell a story, have a natural conversation, understand the emotions people who may need legal services are going through.
Dull. Dull. Dull.
You can be these legal firms are missing out on new clients because they haven’t a clue about marketing and are too lazy to do anything about it.
I could take a different profession or industry. The story with the websites wouldn’t be much different, I suspect.
A similar story for email marketing.
A similar story for sales letters.
A similar story for web pages.
A similar story for advertisements.
A similar story for copywriting.
Very little which demonstrates it will stand out from the crowd.
Businesses seemingly happy to let things go on like that – regardless of the money being poured down the drain or the rising pile of wasted opportunities.
What’s the reason?
It could be…
Lack of confidence.
Lack of knowledge.
Lack of skill.
Lack of investment.
The wrong kinds of investment.
Whatever the reason… it’s hard to understand.
Because the essence of business does not change.
It’s about making money. Making profit.
Sure, you may not have gone into business purely for money. It may have been for greater independence, to escape the rat race, to avoid office politics, to build a secure future for you and your family, to save for your retirement, to enjoy more holidays, to work less, and so on.
But business is about making money.
Otherwise it’s just a glorified hobby. A “job” by any other name.
If that’s the case… why do so many businesses ignore their marketing?
Why have a website that fails?
Why spend hours and hours on Social Media if it doesn’t bring you leads and sales?
Why waste hundreds and thousands on seminars, workshops or the latest fad online course or programme which might be enjoyable at the time but add nothing to the business?
Why stop or ignore approaches PROVEN to work in favour of the latest marketing flavour of the month? (Ever heard the phrase “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”?)
Why do marketing with NO means of testing success?
Why sound like everyone else and confuse your audience?
Why invest in a fancy and expensive agency instead of using marketing services which deliver results, profits and cash with a much better ROI?
Just have to accept it. Some businesses cannot be helped. They “know best”.
Others will know it’s one thing to stand out from the crowd. It’s another to keep the attention, make a genuine connection, understand the mindset of the buyer, set out a clear proposition, convince and coax a purchase.
You can go the DIY route and hope for the best. Or you can hire someone who knows what they are doing. Customised. Tailored. Precision marketing.