The working vocabulary of the average university graduate is 20K – 30K words. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Yet if you wander into your average-sized shopping mall you will discover 100 K+ brand names. You may have to give this comparison a few moments to sink in.
One of the consequences of this proliferation of brand-names is that it’s becoming extremely difficult to recall any more than a few brands in any specific category. This is why the large brands invest significant sums of money in promoting their name, they KNOW the value of being top-of-mind in their niche.
Of course, every company thinks they are unique. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you think of your brand – it matters far more what your prospect thinks of it. Can they even recall it for that matter?
In the 1970’s North Americans were exposed to an average of 500 ads per day. Today that number is closer to 5,000. So how unique does your company have to be to stand out among 5,000 other messages?
Consider for a moment that the Millennials make up over 25% (and growing) of the market place. They grew up with all the ‘noise’ and have very effective ways for filtering it out. So there is a growing demographic need for developing ways to present our brands without interrupting the prospect.
Two forces partially explain the runaway success of inbound marketing. The scramble to adapt to the over-communicated marketing environment led to the invention of inbound methodologies.
Interruption marketing – uninvited marketing messages are declining dramatically in their success rate for driving sales. Cold-calling especially is falling through the floor for response rates, but all other forms (e.g. display ads in newspaper and magazines ) are also falling fast
Shrinking human attention – according to research carried out by social scientists in Canada on 2,000 participants, human attention is about 8 seconds. If this doesn’t shock you – goldfish come in at 9 seconds, so the old goldfish jokes will have to stop – the joke’s on us.
Smartphones have eroded our attention span. In fact, if you follow the curve of how human attention span is diminishing – by the year 2025 humans will have lost interest in your brand 5 seconds before they have even encountered it. OK, that was a joke, but really no one knows how small our attention span can shrink.
Inbound marketing is more of a way of thinking than a specific set of tactics. The philosophy of inbound is that first you provide high quality, informative content that addresses the prospects most important problems. Then they come back for more.
Each visit is a step further along the buyer’s journey – from AWARENESS (of their problem) to CONSIDERATION (of what to do about it), to DECISION (making a purchase or hiring your help). These are the elements of the ‘buyer’s journey’ which we will discuss in greater detail in future posts. For now, here is an overview of the process.
But making your brand memorable requires more than a great content strategy. Having a carefully crafted brand message has never been more important. In order to do that it makes sense to stop for a moment and plan out what the value proposition (VP) of your brand is.
For instance, our value proposition is: ‘Local Search Heroes [WHO we are] helps financial advice professionals grow their business with inbound methodologies.
We achieve this by providing website design, lead nurturing and demand generation services, content marketing and marketing strategy.[WHAT we do ]
Our energy and attention are squarely focused on helping financial advisors build their brand and generate qualified leads’.[WHO we do it for]
You will notice that there is a structure to the VP – WHO we are, WHAT we do, and WHO we do it for. When you know a lot about your target audience / ideal client, then it’s relatively straightforward to write up your value proposition.
This is a good example of one of the differences that makes the difference – knowing your ideal customer/client and crafting your marketing content and strategies to that audience. Being congruent with your words is one way of standing out.
Just as important and often overlooked is ensuring that the prospects experience of your brand is congruent with the brand message. For example, what happens when they fill in an inquiry form? How does the person who answers their phone call behave? These are great opportunities to add congruence to the brand experience.
You may have heard the story of the rock band Van Halen. For each show, they would have some quirky requirement in their contract, such as stipulating that there be a bowl of only brown M&Ms in the artists changing room.
Some people interpreted this as the musicians being demanding and egotistical. In fact, it was a very deliberate strategy to test how well those preparing the show were attending to details.
Prospects are far more observant than we often give them credit for – and if we are sloppy in the small things relating to our brand, maybe we’ll sloppy with the larger, more important things?
So differentiating your company is essential in a very noisy world. The first major steps toward doing that requires:
The ‘David and Goliath’ match didn’t turn out in Goliath’s favour and that can be as true today as it was then. A well-chosen stone (read ‘message’) aimed at a specific target and delivered with enthusiasm and sincerity can produce amazing results.