Imagine your business has just had the most amazing year. Engagement is up. Sales are up. Press coverage is up. Your customers are raving about you. Your competitors are quaking in their boots. You finally have the time and resources to start making your Big Vision a reality.
Life is good.
As you soak in the end-of-year ambiance and reflect on the year gone by, which marketing element do you think will emerge as the secret of your success?
Social media? Content marketing? Branding?
A new medium like podcasting?
A new channel like YouTube?
Your snazzy new website?
None of the above.
Though any one (or all) of those tactics may have contributed to your stellar performance, I can guarantee something else lies at the root of your achievements:
As you head into the New Year, don’t tiptoe.
It’s a busier, noisier, more crowded marketplace out there. Blogging, social, and content marketing are no longer shiny, new baubles. It’s not enough to be playing in those spaces, you have to excel in what you do there.
Mediocre won’t get you the win.
Your customers are waiting for you to deliver and delight. They want to be educated, informed, inspired, and entertained.
How are you going to do that?
Not with the same-old same-old.
Not with some vanilla execution of a tired idea.
Certainly not with bland corporate gobbledy-gook or lukewarm buzzwords.
To stand out you need to be bolder and braver.
You need to try new things and try old things in new ways. You need to put your personal stamp on everything you do, or risk fading into the woodwork. This goes for you, marketing manager at an established B2B company, as much as for my fellow sole proprietor. your playing fields might be different, but the game is essentially the same.
Doing your branding homework will bring you and your clients clarity about who you are, who you serve, what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.
Diligent practice of your service or refinement of your product will prove your competence and give you stories to share in your marketing.
With these three supporting elements providing a strong foundation, you have the ability to layer on style – the “something extra” that makes your marketing presentation memorable, thought provoking, and uniquely yours.
All of this adds up to one word: Courage.
When you have clarity, competence, and confidence, you have the courage to step out with your own style. You don’t feel the need to “tone it down,” put on masks, or imitate the “leaders.” You’re ready to BE a leader. Though you will still get butterflies about publishing a particular piece of content, trying a new medium, or getting behind a message that shatters the status quo, you will find the strength to put yourself out there. You will hit the “publish” button, give the speech, launch the ad, and release the ebook. You will step out of the shadows of mediocrity and into your own spotlight.
And it will serve you well.
People don’t like boring. They don’t like “the usual.”
People want excitement. They want to feel something – surprise, pride, belonging, humor.
If you can find the courage to push past your fears and deliver “brave” marketing, you will win not only the minds of your audience, but their hearts, too.
… and that will make all the difference in the world.
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