Are you a Mimic…Mimic … Marketer?

By Leslie R. Wolff

Do you imitate, duplicate, replicate rather then Originate?

5 Steps on how to outthink your competition

 Why do you think it is so many marketers can’t differentiate themselves from their competition? Is it because they…

  • Consider their product/service a commodity and have no USP -Unique Selling Proposition to offer?
  • Are more comfortable in following the positioning taken by the leader in their industry rather then creating one of their own?
  • Rely on their ad agency to develop a way to do this?
  • Lack any experience or expertise personally or on their staff to accomplish this?
  • Have a CEO who doesn’t understand the role of Marketing and thus are either under no pressure to be distinctive or can’t convince the CEO of its importance and worth an investment to do so?

If one wants to “outthink the competition rather than outspend them” here are 5 steps to take

I.  Identify the ‘”Overlooked” Opportunity

Understand Wolff’s Rule of Business Opportunity, in that every business in every industry tends to operate like everyone else in their field, thus if you closely examine all the common denominators or sameness factors you will always find an overlooked opportunity. Usually several will be staring at you when you are having the inevitable “Ah Ha” moment.

II. Develop an Integrated Marketing Approach

To many marketers their efforts are dominated by their advertising efforts and although important is only one element the Marketing mix. The art of Marketing is like creating a mosaic in which every element enhances the overall “picture.” Advertising creates awareness, PR strengthens credibility, movement is generated by promotion. Internet offers worldwide exposure and all the other internal and external activities that improve customer interaction, provide direction, motivate employees and enhance performance all play a role in generating long-term success.

III.  Identify the Benefits You Deliver

Customers don’t buy features, they purchase benefits, real or perceived, they believe they are receiving. This is the famed WIIFM Factor answering the question…”What’s in it for me?” What will I receive that will make my life easier, healthier, wealthier or enhance my success in other ways delivering something meaningful to my life, job, family, etc? The best way to identify what truly are those benefits is to create dialogue with your cusomers, present and past; have open discussion with all of your employees that have any interaction with customers (and prospects) and don’t forget the input from vendors who have a great deal to gain from your increased success.

IV.    Communicate Secrets

If you look around you you’ll see the vast majority of communication efforts fail to impart or inform this “benefits” approach very effectively. Key actions to keep in mind

  • Be succinct – If you look at billboard copy or the opening copy of a great direct mail piece they quickly grab your attention
  • Be sure all of those who deal with prospects and customers have an “elevator pitch” approach to quickly communicate the essence of what you offer.
  • Be sure your product/service name is memorable
  • Have a good tagline that reinforces what you deliver
  • Written copy should utilize headlines, subheads and bullet points to allow easy scanning of key points
  • Visuals should reinforce the image you are portraying,don’t get lost in graphic design that doesn’t clearly support your message.

V.   Be User Friendly

  • Have you ever had to deal with what seems like a never-ending series of questions from a voice mail system when all you want to do is talk to a human?
  • How do you think a customer or prospect’s view of your firm will be when encountering someone with a less than friendly voice or one where they barely can be understood?
  • Does your business card effective communicate what business you are in? 7 out of 10 don’t.
  • E-mail, texting can be very efficient but also can work against you when someone want to have a whole conversation not “bit by bit.”
  • How long does it take to you to respond to a complaint or even a customer’s interest, perhaps from a trade show or direct response effort?
  • Shop yourself, it could be a valuable learning lesson.

The list in each of the above areas can go on and on as can the discussions on each point. The purpose of this article is to encourage more Smart Thinking as it relates to running a business. When you take the time to do son you will rise above the crowd and easily outthink your competition.

A few Smart Thoughts from some Smart Thinkers

“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”  – William Bernbach

“The sure way to miss success is to miss the opportunity.” -Victor Charles

 “Marketing is merely a civilized form of warfare in which most battlesare won with words, ideas and disciplined thinking.” – Albert W. Emery


Les is CEO of The Smart Marketing Group and can be reached at 215-334-3432,,Website: is

E- Book: “Smart Thinking Vol. I”

Profile @

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