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Leading the Pack

Few and far between are the companies who truly “own” their markets.  The rate of both invention and specialized segmentation makes this almost impossible these days.

Therefore, it is more important than ever for corporate leaders to carve out a clearly defined territory, be it actually exclusive or not.  It’s imperative to honestly examine what you do or offer that is different and better, and then be able to prove that this is true.

Smart branding is obviously a part of this effort. If your organization has not stepped back and taken a close look recently at what your marketplace wants from you at this point in time, it is critical to do so:

  • What do you offer that is unique and/or clearly better?
  • How does that intersect with customer preferences? And do you really know and understand their preferences?
  • How do you package and present your product or service in a way that is differentiated and compelling (i.e., branding)?

If you can’t answer the above questions concisely and convincingly, then you need to spend some time on this.

Many companies try to be too many things to too many different market segments, and admittingly, it is tempting to want to go after every possible customer target.  However, you are so much better off zeroing in on your best targets of opportunity and spending some time really understanding their needs and expectations. Study their buying behavior, as it may have really changed since you last did this, and then do a deep dive into what the drivers are.

Become the expert in your field, with proof points to back it up, and then develop sales points around that specialized expertise that will allow you to undeniably lead the pack. You can’t be a credible expert at everything, so it is crucial to understand exactly how you can package and present your company and your product offerings to be the top choice within your industry segment or your particular marketplace.

For most companies, it is easier and more productive to go deep within a narrower and more well-defined customer niche than to claim expertise on “everything.”  This introspection, combined with effective and ongoing research, will lead you in the right direction in terms of authentic, believable and cost-effective marketing outreach, and will thereby produce loyal customers who embrace the unique value that you bring to them.

 

Cathy Ackermann, founder and president of Ackermann Marketing and PR, may be reached at cackermann@thinkackermann.com

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