There is something very exciting happening in the world of marketing. If you are #1 or #2 in your niche then advertising and building a brand could be wise. For the rest of us there is a better solution (and it is a lot cheaper.) Instead of buying market presence; earn it by becoming a thought leader and being seen as an expert.
In the old world of marketing you promoted, advertised, pushed, and then hoped that folks would choose you over the competition. In short, you wanted them to spot you through the maze of advertising messages that bombard us everyday and say “I pick you!” Real estate is a perfect example.
In real estate, the de facto “marketing” strategies are “ego” ads – smiling faces emblazoned over everything from bus stop benches to billboards. The only defining attributes (other than nice hair and white teeth) being some tidy slogan like “Your condo expert”, or “A trusted name in you neighborhood.”
While there is nothing wrong with this approach (especially if you are #1 or #2 in your market) – it is expensive and based solely on the hope of brand building in a crowded landscape.
In the new world of marketing you position yourself as an expert – a trusted resource – and attract customers to you. Imagine a realtor that shared 10 tips on how to choose a realtor or five ways to prepare your house for listing—wouldn’t that impress you? Or how about a dog groomer that blogs with tips for keeping your pooch healthy?
Who would you rather contact: a landscaping company that has pretty pictures of manicured yards on their web site, or one that has five, short instructional videos on how to maintain a healthy backyard?
Yesterday I interviewed the prolific David Meerman Scott, best selling author of The new rules of marketing and PR, for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Scott’s most tweeted quote is “Think like a publisher, not a marketer.”
As a publisher you are not thinking about products and services. Instead, a publisher writes for a ‘buyer persona’ (what David calls a unique customer profile) to solve a problem they have. Note that a publisher isn’t after a sale—they are providing much needed solutions.
Not only is David an excellent example of the power of blogging, e-books and a little marketing savvy (in only seven years since his first e-book he has become one of John Wiley & Sons best selling authors), but his writing is littered with case studies of companies gaining big marketing success by thinking like publishers. Some of my favourite examples are the brilliant Canadian team of Vroomen and White at Cervélo Cycles and Mike Pederson’s content rich site for aging golfers.
I’m excited about this new thinking. First, it works, but also I much prefer “publishing” my thoughts over advertising or, worse, cold calling any day.
The good news is that we all have more opportunities for sharing our expertise than ever before. We can blog, post videos, write reports, create how-to lists, offer teleseminars or webinars and send out helpful newsletters. In my case, the Work Smarter seminar series of free on-line seminars now reach almost 400 people. And my free reports are being down loaded 24/7—what a great way to connect with my clients without selling to them.
The bad news is we have to create content.
But have no fear. Even a small effort is probably more than your competition is doing.
Feedback? Comment below or contact me at hugh [at] hughculver [dot] comTagged with: advertising • business • cervelo • david meerman scott • effectiveness • entrepreneurs • growth • marketing • sales • teleseminar • thought leader • webinar