The landscape is littered with the corpses of great products and strong companies that died because of crappy marketing.
Why do so many companies fail so miserably? Why do high-priced ad agencies and marketing firms keep spitting out stupid campaigns?
Too many in business have failed to recognize the shift that has happened right under their noses. It's not so much that people have changed; it's that the business landscape has changeddramatically. For the first time in human history, we have no unmet needs. Every problem has a solution, and many companies now find themselves creating solutions that appear to be looking for a problem.
In his provocative and enlightening new book, Visibility Marketing, David Avrin shows what marketing approaches work, which don't, and why. You will learn how to uncover your true competitive advantages and a process to craft messages and tactics that achieve tangible results.
A remarkably accessible, relatable, thought-provoking reference book, Visibility Marketing speaks directly to business owners, entrepreneurs, marketing managers, and sales professionals.
With wisdom gleaned from hundreds of presentations and workshops and conversations with tens of thousands of company leaders, Visibility Marketing will forever change how businesses and professionals look at the competitive landscape and how they promote themselves.
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Business marketing pro David Avrin, CSP, is known as The Visibility Coach. A popular keynote speaker, consultant, and business coach, he has presented to enthusiastic audiences across North America and in more than 20 countries around the world. Avrin has worked with more than 3,000 company CEOs and other top leaders and their organizations to help uncover, envision, craft, and promote meaningful competitive advantages. Avrin's company, Visibility International, LLC, is based outside Denver, Colorado. Visit him at www.VisibilityInternational.com.
Read an Excerpt
Nice Work. Now Get Over Yourself!
* "Hey Dad," my then 11-year-old son Spencer calls out to me from his perch on the couch across the family room. Friends and family had converged at my home in the South Denver suburb of Castle Rock, Colorado to watch the Super Bowl. "I was just wondering," Spencer says, "if they can make such great commercials for the Super Bowl, why don't they just make great commercials during the rest of the year?" This unexpected, but insightful, question caught me off guard. "Yeah, marketing genius," my brother chides me from across the room, "answer that one!"
After a brief pause to carefully consider my response, I began:
"Buddy," I say to my son, "the truth is that people in businesses can create really great, funny, cool, interesting, or memorable marketing anytime they decide to and are willing to work hard at it. It just seems more important for them to work harder to be creative when the commercials cost a lot more money — like during the Super Bowl. The rest of the year, quite honestly, they are just being lazy. They don't take the time or push themselves to come up with really great ideas. Worse yet, companies just say 'yes' to bad or boring commercials and campaigns that ad agencies and marketing firms make for them, because they trust the 'experts' — who are just being lazy."
"Is that what you do when you go work with clients or give speeches, Dad?" he asks, "tell people to not be lazy?"
"Sometimes," I say, smiling. "A lot of business owners don't really know any better. So, I show them why what they are doing and saying isn't working very well. I teach them ways to be creative all year long, and I push them to not accept anything that isn't great. And I also make them laugh," I add, "so they will listen to me."
"You're kind of like their marketing coach."
"Yes, Spencer. That's exactly what I am."
Business marketing is like competitive sports in so many ways. There are teammates, opponents, fans, strategy, tactics, preparation, and execution. Make no mistake; there are also winners and losers as the "game" is being played out in a very public forum. Oh, and the score is always being kept. Always.
The most significant difference between business and sports, however, is that the outcome of the business marketing game determines who actually survives as an entity to play again and who does not. It's not merely the fans that walk away disappointed, with the next game scheduled for the following week. No, it's families that lose homes, children who miss out on college options, relationships that are strained, and entrepreneurs who are robbed of their livelihood and their dreams along with it. In business, there is so much more at stake.
There is a systemic and wide-reaching dynamic in today's world of business marketing: most of it sucks. Okay, maybe that's not the most technical or articulate way of putting it, but it is essentially true. Despite the emergence of some powerful new tactics made possible by the pervasive reach of the Web and mobile technology, the basic tenants of business marketing have remained the same for decades. The problem is that most of the approaches of yesteryear are no longer effective. We've become jaded. The hard truth is that the mind-numbing sameness of inadvertent "commodity marketing" rules the day.
Too many in business have failed to recognize the shift that has happened right under their very noses. It's not so much that people have changed; it's that the business landscape has changed — dramatically. For the first time in human history, we have no unmet needs. Every problem has a solution and, too often today, companies find themselves scrambling to create solutions that appear to be looking for a problem. Selection is vast, quality abounds, and international competition in many categories have driven prices down to the point where even the poorest among us has access to services, items, and amenities that were once reserved for the affluent.
The once-effective go-to marketing messages have been diluted to the point of being largely dismissible. The historic marketing claims of superior quality, greater reliability, caring service, passionate, committed people, and the freshest ingredients are falling on deaf ears. Yet the claims persist. I say: lazy!
You can do better, much better! Owners, entrepreneurs, marketing and sales professionals, and other stakeholders need a harsh wake-up call. They need to be grabbed by the shoulders, smacked on the helmet, and told to stop settling for mediocre messages and marketing that merely inform and take up time and space, but don't differentiate. Today, effective marketing is not about competence, it's about creating and communicating competitive advantage.
The landscape is littered with the corpses of great products and strong companies which died from lazy marketing. There is so much bad marketing that a telecast to "honor" the worst of the worst would go on for weeks. This book aims to stem the tide. For those that heed the call, the rewards can be great! For those that don't, "Sorry, what was your name again?"
So, what is visibility marketing? In days gone by, visibility was about being seen where you are. You wanted the biggest neon sign or the brightest paint on your building. You hired a kid to hold a sandwich board or dress as a company mascot and wave at passing cars. You held contests and drawings to get people on-site by reminding them that "you must be present to win." If there was an opportunity to buy beyond the confines of your location, it was through a catalogue you printed and mailed out. (Receiving the Sears Christmas Wish Book was a highlight of my years as a kid!)
Today, visibility marketing is about being visible where your prospective customers and clients are. It's every way they can see you, engage with you, hear about you, and access you. It's about engaging them where they work, where they shop, play, eat, and gather. Visibility marketing is about your wisdom or expertise front and center on their smartphones. It's about your video promotion or location tours streaming on their laptops, and your thoughts, wisdom, or playful banter engaging them on social media. It's about connecting your brand with them at the events they attend, reality shows they watch, and blogs they read. Visibility marketing is about connecting what you offer with the life they live — not on the periphery, not where you are, but integrated into how they spend their days.
Visibility marketing is also about the real impact you make, the customers you thrill, and the breadcrumbs you leave behind. And although it's becoming trite to repeat the well-worn adage that "marketing is not a department," it's truer today than ever before. Every interaction with a client is an opportunity to either create a raving brand ambassador or fuel an online detractor. Word-of-mouth has always been an important element in building a strong brand, but today those personal impressions have a global audience. Before making a significant purchase, we look to others — online and otherwise — to gauge marketplace impressions before moving forward. How good you are, and how consistently good you are, matters — a lot!
Traditional "guest-relations" philosophy asserted something along the lines of: the average person with a positive experience with a business will tell two or three people, whereas a person with a negative experience will tell 10. Today, both positive and negative experiences are shared with millions or even billions! And although those who are the most frustrated are the most diligent online sharers, the enthusiastic advocates are your best marketing assets.
The point is that you are already visible! The only two questions are: What are people seeing, hearing, and learning about you? And how many people are you reaching?
This new dynamic is not over the horizon, it is already here and influencing everything in our business and our lives. Visibility marketing is about how to recognize this pervasive dynamic and maximize the opportunities that it provides. It's not merely about using the new tools, vehicles, and venues, it's about doing it better than everyone else — and many others are doing it well!
This book is about how applying traditional promotional thinking to the new reality wastes dollars, loses customers, and ruins businesses. Most simply don't get it. You will.
Like no other time in human history, choices abound. From a staggering array of breakfast cereals, smartphones and tablets, disposable wipes, fast-casual restaurants, and ultra HD televisions, to gluten-free items, financial planners, all-season tires, and treatments for erectile dysfunction, we have a staggering number of choices. We can buy in-person, on our computers and smartphones, over the phone, and even through our television. We can have our items mailed, shipped, downloaded, couriered, or even delivered by drone. Convenience and selection rule the day.
There was a time when touting our commitment to our employees, caring for our customers, passion about our products, outstanding customer service, integrity, honesty, commitment, and superior quality carried weight. In days gone by, the varying levels of quality and spotty service delivery brought with it widespread distrust and a "buyer beware" mentality. Those days are over. Today, everyone is good and many are truly outstanding. You don't agree? Wake up!
I still hear company leaders say: "At the end of the day, it's really about quality." Wrong! At the beginning of the day, it's about quality. Producing and providing high-quality products and services are merely the cost of entry into today's marketplace. Everybody is good, so you'd better be good as well. At the end of the day, it's about competitive advantage. Winning the business is about adding value. It's about nuance. It's about not merely being marginally better, but being a clearly better choice. It's about preferability, deeper connection, astonishing ease of doing business, hyper-convenience, remarkable innovation, tangibly superior quality, and of course, visibility.
As I travel the world speaking and working with entrepreneurs, CEOs, sales and leadership teams, and their organizations, one of the most deeply ingrained beliefs that they share is that they are great and most of their competitors are simply not as good. There is a pervasive belief that their competitors consistently underperform and are somehow fooling their customers and prospects. "The difference with us," leaders will say with a measure of indignation, "is that we actually do what we say we will do!"
Really? Do you honestly believe that? How on God's green Earth are your competitors still in business with all of their supposed "not doing what they say they will do"? Ridiculous!
Seriously people, it's time for a reality check. Your competitors are good — really good. Do you know why people do business with your competitors? They do so because they want to, because they like them, and because they chose them (instead of choosing you!). You had better figure out why if you want to survive and grow.
As much as you would like to believe otherwise, most of your competitors are not only good at what they do, but they are actually very nice people. If you weren't in competition, you'd probably be friends with them. They work hard, listen to their customers, care about quality, work to thrill their clients, treat them well, and live up to their promises. Every day, your competitors are providing livelihoods for their employees, forging meaningful relationships with their customers, working long hours, and getting better all the time. And you? To be fair, you might be doing much of the same, but face it — you are just another in a long list of choices for your prospective customers.
It has often been said that the first step to overcoming a problem is to admit that you have one. The problem is that you are likely a little overly enamored with yourself. Sorry, if you find that insulting. This is not about believing in yourself and following your dreams. I'm referring to your business. You are likely very good at what you do, but you're not that good. You haven't created the cure for cancer that tastes like chocolate, or solved the cold-fusion conundrum. If you were that good, you wouldn't need to market your talents, company, products, or services. To be fair, none of us are that good. You need to market. And to market effectively, you need to understand both your customers and your competitors.
There are three indisputable trends that have contributed to the diminishing effectiveness of the "quality, service, integrity, caring, and people" marketing claims:
First, the "quality process improvement" (CQI, TQM, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and so on) movement through the past 30 years has actually been remarkably effective, raising the bar for everyone. Quite simply, everyone has gotten much better. Big business learned important lessons and raised their game. Small businesses have learned from big business and everyone has gotten better.
There are no shortages of resources helping business owners improve their leadership, processes, logistics, finances, and operations. Business speakers (my colleagues) teach and inspire audiences, business coaches develop leaders, articles inform, videos demonstrate, and business books — good business books — challenge conventional wisdom. You'd be foolish not to avail yourself of this pervasive wisdom to improve your business and shorten your learning curve. Millions have expanded their knowledge, skill-sets, and perspective on how to build and run effective, successful businesses. The result is a rising tide that has raised all ships and created a more competitive marketplace and, along with it, an often daunting barrier to entry. Once again, quality abounds.
Secondly, the recent profound downturn in the economy has weeded out the lesser players and spurred significant consolidation. What happened to those companies which, coming out of very challenging economic times, were not strategic, didn't make hard, painful cuts streamlining their operation, didn't have a sounding board like a CEO peer-advisory group or professional coach, and didn't form synergistic partnerships and strategic alliances? Oh yeah, they didn't survive, or they were reduced to such an extent that they are no longer meaningful competitors. The ones that did survive are stronger, smarter, and leaner.
Finally, in this instantaneous-feedback, tech-in-your-pocket access to everything, and on-demand Internet age, the market's tolerance for underperformance has essentially shrunk to zero. Everyone is good, because if they weren't, people would know — quickly. In yesteryear, a bad movie could survive for weeks in theaters. Today, moviegoers are warned immediately of bad releases by both legitimate critics and the public at large. A poor interaction with a restaurant worker, an airline ticket agent, or even the police can be uploaded and shared with millions of people in seconds. You have to be good, because if you weren't, we would know. Everything is visible: the good, bad, and very ugly.
Today, everyone in business is good, as the bad ones are quickly "outed" to the masses. It doesn't mean that stragglers don't exist, as there will always be stragglers that get away with some measure of underperformance. I'm saying that those companies aren't really your competitors, or won't be for very long. Their poor online reviews, one-star ratings, and poor word-of-mouth will cause others to disregard them quickly. If they are surviving merely because they are far cheaper, then you don't want their customers anyway.
Here's the difficult truth: your business could disappear from the face of the Earth today, and aside from some very sad family members and employees, the marketplace would barely miss you. I'm not suggesting that you aren't doing great work and I'm sure your customers really like you. It's that if you went out of business, your competitors would gladly step in and absorb your previous customers and even your employees. In fact, tens of thousands of businesses fail every year, and we seem to be getting along just fine without them.
Of course, there have always been sub-par or shady operations and questionable professional practices. In the past, these "posers" could find a way to fly under the radar and still eke out a reasonable living. Those days are long gone. There may be sporadic examples of underperformance by competitors, but I promise you it is the exception rather than the rule. They fix problems, just as you do. They respond to complaints and work to make things right.
The reality is that your competitors are not just very good; in some tangible ways, some are better than you!
With the prevalence of social media and instantaneous customer service feedback and ratings from the likes of Yelp, TripAdvisor, and more, poor experiences become public grist very quickly — often instantaneously! Poor service is no longer private. Bad treatment becomes Internet fodder within minutes, and this dynamic is not lost on corporations. Companies hire teams to monitor social media discussions and comments 24/7 to quickly respond to and address customer dissatisfaction.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Visibility Marketing"
Copyright © 2016 David Avrin.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Nice Work. Now Get Over Yourself!,
Chapter 2: Who Do the Voodoo That You Do So Well?,
Chapter 3: Discover Your Competitive Advantages,
Chapter 4: It's Not What You Want to Say, It's What They Want to Hear!,
Chapter 5: The Most Profitable Sales and Marketing Tactic — By Far!,
Chapter 6: Making and Keeping Your Brand Promise,
Chapter 7: Promote the Hell Out of Your Business!,
Chapter 8: A Little Paranoia Can Be a Good Thing,
Conclusion: Now, Go Back to Number One!,
About the Author,