The most successful companies – particularly those selling consulting services, of which IT is one – stand for something. More specifically, a single or core set of non-negotiables that they stand for, then aggressively market and promote as its champions.
Atkins stood firm on “Don’t eat carbs.” Eat all the bacon, cheeseburgers, and steak you like, but don’t touch a piece of bread, period. Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher Investments, is adamant that he’d “rather burn in hell” than sell annuities. Does that leave any gray area on where he stands on annuities as an investment option? I think not. Dave Ramsey is unbending on NOT using credit cards. He won’t use them, issue them to his thousands of employees (which IS a significant disadvantage on multiple fronts) or accept them from clients as a form of payment, which is a REALLY hard-core position to take as an entrepreneur. Does his stance offend those who sell credit cards, accept credit cards or use credit cards? You bet – but he’s THE guy on how to get out of debt and has built a multimillion-dollar business despite the millions he offends.
I am ADAMANT that marketing should be designed specifically to attract a client or generate a sale, delivering a measurable return. This is the basis of direct response marketing. I’m VERY clear that marketing designed to simply create “awareness” or “branding” is a giant, unproductive waste of money and effort, which GREATLY offends the thousands who boast a marketing degree that has taught them the precise opposite. I’m exactly the “redheaded” stepchild…the lowly and slimy “pitchman” who is willing to do something as vulgar as asking for the sale.
When Hill wrote the LAWS of success, he didn’t say the “principles” or “ways” to success. He had the audacity to establish unbendable, clear rules. And in doing so, he established himself as THE authority on success principles and the unofficial leader of the success movement. He left a legacy that lives on today, long after his death. Think of how many other diet, weight loss, financial advisors and success gurus are out there who have come and gone – trying to compete against these giants – and who nobody knows about. Why? A big part of it is due to their wishy-washy positioning. They don’t STAND for something absolute.
Walmart would not have succeeded with the promise of “low prices more often than not” or on “most days…why not come in and try today…maybe you’ll get lucky.”
All marketing claims that succeed have to be absolute and unwavering.
If you boil down why Trump won the election – and rose to his position out of nowhere, with no political background – it’s because he sold certainty. He was resolute on multiple positions. You don’t have to like it to get the lesson. If you prefer another example, that’s why Biden got into office. He stood on the single principle of NOT being Trump.
In your organization, what are the absolutes YOU stand for? What are you unwavering about? A good exercise would be to sit and ponder it. Perhaps it’s a hard line on security and taking it seriously, not allowing clients to buy less than they should. What is something that gives your organization TEETH that could be polarizing? The most effective ones always are, like Ramsey and Fisher. They, and other successful marketers, hold convictions that go against what a majority believe, support or do, and therefore become VERY magnetic to a certain segment of the market.
This brings me to one more important point: the hoax of believing you have to be “for everyone” or it will suppress sales.
Nothing is more foolish for a company than to actually believe that “everyone” is your customer because everyone “needs” what you sell. Another core principle I teach is the concept of TARGET marketing: selecting a CHOSEN target market and then building all services, pricing and marketing to that specifically, narrowly defined avatar. Consider Planet Fitness vs. CrossFit. Both are essentially in the same business and could be considered direct competitors – but they’re not really competitors since the target customer is RADICALLY different. They have built their products and messaging for a different consumer and are both successful in their execution.
In my organization, we are PRO capitalism, PRO wealth-building, PRO maximum fees, PRO market domination and PRO closing sales. We are not timid about these ideals and they certainly do rub a lot of people the wrong way. That’s okay – they’re not for me and I’m not for them.
Just know this: success – and more specifically influence – is given to those individuals who stand for a core set of principles. The mediocre middle with 50 shades of gray carries no sway. The road is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t pick a lane. Aiming a very ABSOLUTE set of principles at a specific CHOSEN target market is THE escape from competitors and commoditization.