Roy's Blog

August 8, 2016

8 ways you can improve your marketing effectiveness

There are organizations that are really good at marketing who they are and what value they create.

They exhibit marketing effectiveness.

They have marketing muscle.

There are others, on the other hand, who struggle to get their message across and are not contenders.

Building marketing muscle isn’t just the job of the marketing department; the entire organization must take on the responsibility and work in harmony to deliver it.

Try this muscle building routine.

1. Consistently WOW! your customers. Delivering awesome customer service is fundamental to building muscle; it’s the basic platform you need to build a strong sustaining brand. If you don’t serve your customers in an exemplary way (or at least have plans to), ignore the rest of this article.

2. Lead with innovation. Be the first ones to do something creative and “out there”. Yes, it’s risky to try something new, but if you try often enough you will have the winners that add dimension to your brand.

3. Surprise your market. Do something that people don’t expect. Muscle builders pulse surprises from time to time, creating buzz and attracting a great deal of attention. And they don’t surprise just anybody; “delight tactics” are aimed at their loyal customers. Check out Richard Branson to see how it is done.

4. Earn the customer’s business everyday. Don’t feel entitled to it just because you have it. This is all about never taking the customer for granted; assuming that since you already have them, you don’t have to do much to keep them. This is a fatal mistake! Investing in deepening your relationship with a customer and earning their trust will not only keep them spending with you, it will also motivate them to “spread your word” to others.

5. Integrate yourself in your community. People want to do business with organizations that care about the communities they are in; that give back in some meaningful way. Muscle is built with a HUGE dose of humanity, and social investing is an effective way of allowing your softer side to be seen. And target community investments to programs aligned with your strategic plan; avoid trying to support every cause out there.

6. Adopt “customer learning” as a core competency. Learn about your customers as a continuous process rather than a periodic task. Customer needs, wants and desires change and it is critical to keep up. Muscle strength grows proportionately with how knowledgeable you are about who your customer is and what their top priorities are.

7. Have fun! It’s amazing how impactful it is to shed the business formality thing and show an informal playful persona from time to time. Casual language, humour and making fun of yourself are ways to show your customers “it ain’t all about the bottom line”.

8. Think “personalized”. Shift your thinking from mass production to personalized value creation. Narrow your focus to create solutions for small groups of customers rather than trying to come up with one size that fits all (which doesn’t work anyway).

Keep in mind that muscle form isn’t developed overnight; it can take years of blood, sweat and tears before the market sees you as a contender.

However, there is no time like the present to get on with it.

Define your muscle building program.

Start executing.

Don’t look back.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 8.8.16 at 06:06 am by Roy Osing
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August 1, 2016

“The Weird” must inherit the earth

“The best” describes someone who conforms to rules and expectations more closely than others.

They spell more accurately; answer history questions more correctly and score the highest mark on linear algebra exams.

“The best” does a masterful job of performing their task according to the rules of the day. They colour inside the lines perfectly.

There are certain professions where we want the highest mark. It would not be comforting, for example, knowing the pilot scored a blistering 25% on his aircraft landing test. Nor would we trust our life to a heart surgeon who had a bypass surgery success rate of 4 out of 10.
These types of professions we want the best and need “in the box” thinking and performance.

In business, however, conformance to a set of rules or a set of standard operating rules does not guarantee success. When organizations conform, they all look alike; they are all the same.

They all are members of the herd who are indistinguishable from one another and struggle to gain competitive advantage.

Conformance to a best practice might improve operating performance but it will NEVER create strategic success.

Organizations who consistently succeed are brilliant at not merely thinking outside the box, but creating a new box to play in.

They create a new form with a different set of lines to draw in.

They are masters of contrarianism and going the opposite direction to the momentum of the crowd.

They focus on separating themselves from the herd.

Don’t press yourself or others to be “the best”.

Honour the weird, odd, crazy, quirky, strange, “out there”, ridiculous and unusual.

Signs of weirdness.

Weird people:

- Find the notion of doing it like everyone else repugnant.
- Hang out with other weirdos.
- Aren’t taken seriously by the crowd.
- Are quite often the target of bullies.
- Are infatuated with technology and the cool things it can do.
- As young students were often In the Principle’s office.
- Hate following the rules.
- Turn out to be leaders of retro fashion.
- Invent their own language to describe the latest trends.
- Eat way too much pizza.
- Tend to enjoy their own company; they don’t have time for faceless crowds.
- Are fuelled by the art of the possible.
- Chase stuff.
- Aren’t afraid to fail; they do it all the time.
- Ask “Why?” in every conversation they have.
- Don’t use labels to define people. Weird is normal; it’s all they know.

The weird shall - no they MUST - inherit the earth.

Our future depends on it.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 8.1.16 at 05:08 am by Roy Osing
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July 25, 2016

Your competitive advantage must be more than just hot air

Most companies struggle with defining their competitive advantage claim. What makes them unique; different from their competitors.

They can’t answer the question “Why should I do business with you and NOT your competition?” in a succinct meaningful way.

There are two traps they fall into.

First, they generally speak to the internal capabilities an organization has (what leadership believes are the differentiators) rather than being explicit about how they compare to others in the market. “We provide the highest quality products.”; “Our people are our greatest asset.” They stress technology.

They talk about their size and claim market leadership.

Second, most competitive advantage statements are high level and aspirational in nature. They are not precise and specific enough to communicate how an organization is special among the choices available. “We provide the best value.” “We have been in business for 100 years.” “We offer the lowest prices out there.”

The use of helium filled adjectives often abound. Overused and eye-glazing descriptors like: better, best, top, #1, excellent, great, greatest, lowest, most and so on pervade the advertising airwaves.

A competitive claim must declare the difference between your organization and your competitors AND it must be precise enough so that people can “see” the difference.

You can’t see “greatest” for example and you can’t see “most”. They mean different things to different people.

As the solution, create The ONLY Statement as an element of the Strategic Game Plan:
“We are the ONLY ones that…” is its form.

ONLY must be brief. If it takes you a page of narrative to define your competitive advantage, you don’t have one.

ONLY never includes the “P” word. Claiming a price advantage is a slippery slope as price can be easily copied  and it says nothing about value provided. “The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about. “ – Seth Godin

A couple of ONLY examples.

“We provide the ONLY solution that permanently stops people from depositing biohazard contaminants through manhole covers”— MUG Solutions, Vancouver

“St John Ambulance is the ONLY provider of First Aid, Health & Safety Solutions Anytime, Anywhere”— St John Ambulance, Vancouver

Test ONLY with your customers to ensure it addresses something they care about, and you consistently demonstrate 24/7. The ONLY Statement works. It can be observed. It can be measured. People get it.

Start your ONLY journey today.

It’s the source of your competitive advantage claim.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 7.25.16 at 04:34 am by Roy Osing
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July 18, 2016

15 actions that create successful competitive differentiation

Successful competitive differentiation doesn’t happen at the 50,000’ level; separating yourself from your competition “in the clouds” is aspirational at best.

It makes you feel good to have the objective, but little happens to turn it into a reality.

Why is successful competitive differentiation difficult to achieve?

Attention and focus need to be applied to the detailed specific performance drivers of differentiation.

The aspiration is easy, but if you don’t bear down on the detailed elements that in harmony produce a believable differentiation claim, you will merely have a “wish and a prayer” that will never happen.

These action items will successfully differentiate you from your competition.

Create the strategic context to define what your competitive claim should “look like” and the organization capabilities that should be given priority.

Create your ONLY statement to answer the question “Why should I do business with you and not your competitors?”

Avoid perfection; trying to get your competitive claim “exactly right”. Pour your soul into execution; learn and refine it as you go.

Have a direct line of sight between all employees and your differentiation strategy to ensure each individual knows their role in execution.

Repel mass anything. The herd believes in mass marketing. Sustainable differentiation is the result of focusing on individuals and not mass markets.

Go for premium prices. Provide remarkable value to command higher prices than your competition. Low prices = low value = commodity = no differentiation.

Resist copying. Copying “the best” is a non-starter for differentiation. You may get operational improvements from copying but you will NEVER stand-out strategically.

Align internal “systems”. Internal infrastructure - policies, compensation, service strategy, reward programs, IT, web and social media - must all work together to deliver your differentiation claim. Inconsistency in delivery renders your claim not believable.

Cultivate leaders ask “How can I help?” rather than “Do this!” as the vehicle to clear roadblocks and enable execution. Successful differentiation = servant leadership. Period.

Shed the impulse to control everything. Empower people; trust customers (eliminate policies intended to control the dishonest few).

Surprise customers with what they DON’T expect. This shows you care about delighting them and is a bold move to move away from the commoners.

Think tops down; let growth targets drive the essence of your differentiation strategy. The more bold the growth goals, the more aggressive and creative your strategy.

Cast off the notion of customer service in favour of serving them. You service computers; you serve people. Subordinating your organization to the client leads treating your customers in an exemplary way which cannot be easily replicated by competitors.

Hire for goosebumps. Recruit people based on their proven ability and innate desire to serve others. Their stories are heartwarming and emotional and give you goosebumps. Goosebumps = a human organization = competitive advantage.

Renew your strategy annually. Successful differentiation today is quickly erased by the actions of an aggressive competitor.

If you are diligent in creating an organization capable of implementing this action plan, you will not only successfully differentiate yourself TODAY, you will also sustain in for the long term.

It’s not rocket science; just hard work.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 7.18.16 at 05:01 am by Roy Osing
  • Permalink