Businesses are built around simple, straightforward ideas that are supported by compelling value propositions. Unfortunately, the original vision often gets lost or loses sight of why they got into business in the first place.
As marketers, we’re always trying to keep it simple. We know that if the message gets too convoluted, it can impact how the industry perceives your brand, not to mention the success of your campaigns.
I once worked for a niche company that did a few things great. As a result, they quickly earned a stellar reputation within the industry. Their clients trusted them so much that they begin asking if the company would take on additional services that were outside the scope of their core offerings. To make their customers happy, the company invested in the resources and began offering the new services to other customers. Over time, however, they couldn’t deliver on the expectations for the additional services. As a result, they began to lose the trust they initially earned with their clients. Then they realized, instead of being a jack-of-all-traits, they needed to reel things back in and rescaled their service offerings. They got back to what they did best.
The moral of the story is to focus on what you do best.
While your company’s product offerings will expand due to mounting pressures from shareholders and the growing competition, the key to handling these marketing challenges is to always focus on the strengths and value of what your company does. I’ve provided a few thoughts on what marketers should focus on when the company is growing.
Focus on your strengths, differentiators & value: As your products and services change, they’re generally providing similar value to your customers, only better. If you keep your message tied to these three simple concepts, your message will remain tight, consistent and powerful.
Never bash the competition: No matter how tempted you are to include a cheap shot at your competition, don’t. The reality is, the more you bash the competition, the more it says about your company and how you do business. If there are things you do better or different than your competitors, focus on them without naming names.
Don’t break a promise: Over-promising and under-delivering is the biggest sales/marketing mistake you can make. Not only will this result in irreversible damage to your brand and reputation, but it can impair the good-standing relationships you have with your existing customers.
Be candid with your customers: If you know your business cannot handle a particular job, be candid with your customers. They respect that. For services that are outside of your scope, you’re better off building referral partnerships with organizations that specialize in those services and co-market your combined strengths and value. You’ll be a hero all the way around.
Have others talk about you: Finally, no matter how much you toot your own horn, customers always see it as marketing speak. Whenever possible, once you’ve earned the trust and loyalty of your happy customers, bring them into the mix. Include them in every marketing campaign you can. Let them tell your story and how they directly benefit from your business. Because when it comes down to it, no matter how creative or compelling your message is, no marketing campaign is stronger than what your customers are saying about you.