One of today’s most popular exercises for marketing leaders is the blind website review. This is where you select your competitors websites, remove the names, and evaluate the messaging of each site with the goal being to identify key differentiators.
Typically this exercise produces very little value, except to validate that most of your competitors, including your own messaging, likely says the same thing. Perhaps different words are used. Yet the essence of what your brand does relative to your competition is the same.
Sameness leads to mediocre results. It leads to commoditization. It leads to anemic or small increases in growth. Sameness decreases the probability of making your number. So how do you stand out in a crowd of “me-too” brands?
Leading CMOs know that creating a brand is far more than flowery words and vivid colors on a website. To create a captivating and compelling brand, the marketing team must dig into the customers mindset to fully understand the pain they are trying to eliminate, or the problem they are trying to solve.
This requires an outside-in focus by spending time with a variety of buyers in the marketplace. Too often, marketers limit their interactions with their core customers. Even more often those interactions are spent with their top customers – those that provide the highest NPS scores, or who spend the most. This approach is problematic when creating a strong brand.
Taking this approach leads to sameness, or me-too messaging. After all, your existing customers only have their current frame of reference. They’ve been trained to accept what is, rather than to dream of, or desire something better.
The top CMOS, the ones who create strong brands that deliver value and break through the noise, focus on answering the following questions:
- What is the buyer’s pain we are solving for?
- What other tangential pains or annoyances surround the main pain?
- What challenges are you helping your buyer solve?
- What does the buyer dislike or distrust about brands within our industry?
- What does the buyer’s emotional state look like if the problem is solved?
- How does the buyer finish this question relative to solving their pain point – “it would be fantastic if…”. What does the “if” look like?
- What and where are the gaps between our current customers and our future buyers?
- What are the main drivers of value that peek the buyers interest? Money, time, engagement, morale, efficiency, etc.
- What’s the effort required for me to do business with you?
- What specific words/phrases does the buyer use to describe their pain/problem?
Getting answers to these questions provides a solid starting point for building, shaping, and refining your brand. These questions must be answered by the buyer. This requires both capability and capacity.
- Does your company have the skills and talent in-house to conduct this work?
- Do you have skilled interviewers?
- Do you have the assessment skills needed to sift and sort through the buyer responses?
- Does your team have the time to do this work?
- Will this work be the primary focus or one of 25 different priorities?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more specific insights for how your company can create a stronger brand that leads to increased buyer engagement. Or, if you’d like to be assisted by SBI’s team of experts, visit us in .
To learn how effective your current marketing strategy is, and where you may need to focus more attention, click here to take SBI’s Revenue Growth Methodology. This self-assessment helps CMOs:
- Understand the strength of their current brand strategy
- Determine whether they are communicating with the right buyers through the right channels
- Facilitate discussions with the Executive Leadership team on the importance and value of creating a strong compelling brand and message