In a highly crowded and competitive online world, marketing differentiation is critical. We must take the time to understand and communicate what we bring to the marketplace that is unique and important to our customers. This is especially important if we’re in industries where we may be perceived as ‘cookie cutter’ to begin with. Here’s a good example of how not to differentiate yourself!
Yesterday morning at 11:32 an email came across my desktop with the intriguing subject line: Happy Groundhog Day – which it wasn't. At 12:19 a second email with the same subject line arrived. I thought to myself, why did this person send me the same email twice within a short time frame?
When I had time to actually read my emails later in the day, I realized that I had received the same identical email from two different financial advisors with two different companies. Both emails included a link to a cute flash card with another link to the identical message, personalized with my first name. Each of their cards was signed with their name with yet another link to a contact form if I wished to leave them a message.
It was obvious that these guys had bought a canned content and ‘lead generation’ program. At the bottom of their emails I found a tell-tale link to a website: ebriefme.com. The url took me to a site called eRelationship, obviously intended for people who need to generate sales.
The headline promised to ‘Increase Your Commissions’. The site offers automated emails, what they call ‘Validity Generators’ (enewsletters, articles, and other content), ‘Likeability Generators’ (Cards like the Happy Groundhog Day one, 4th of July, birthday, etc.), Lead Generators (‘For those appointments you couldn’t close’).
Nowhere do they warn that a prospect might get exactly the same content from your competitor. The only good news in that possibility is that he or she will look like as big an idiot as you do.
Look everyone, I understand that this Inbound Marketing stuff takes time and it’s easy to be tempted by services that will provide you with ‘content’. But for marketing differentiation, your content really has to be different!
Did these guys validate themselves as knowledgeable? Did getting their twin emails make them more likeable to me? Did their effort generate a lead? The answer to all three is a great, big NO!! In fact, what it got them was a click on the ‘unsubscribe’ link.
And here’s the main point of all of this. The goal of content marketing is not to get your prospects to like you. It’s to get them to trust you. There’s no way I can trust someone who doesn’t respect my intelligence or who won’t take the time to understand who I am and what I need so that they can provide information that’s useful.
So differentiate your marketing for marketing differentiation!!
Learn more about how Inbound Marketing can help differentiate your business, build trusting relationships with your prospects and lead to more sales.
The image is from the Flickr photostream of Timparkinson under Creative Commons license.