The best marketing advice, ever

Show up.

You heard me.

Just bloody show up.

Look around you.

What’s missing?

Not a lack of ideas, slogans or marketing ‘buzz’, but people who care.

Showing up means more than just being present, and correct: We already have enough people who think it’s their job to colour between the lines.

What your business needs is people who are willing to push things into the r-e-d.

[Note: nearly all the Olympic athletes said the same thing when it came to their success – the most stark example was in track cycling – excellence abets excellence. If all you have is people who look inwardly, and ask “what’s in it for me” without seeing the leadership-led bigger picture, then you will never pull your business out of the ho-hum morass that you find yourself in.]

And even those businesses who have gone down the business franchise model need to learn that just  because they have alighted on a winning formula for turning a $ or $$, it doesn’t mean that when it comes to hiring people they shouldn’t also look for the eye-sparkle factor; namely, those people who show in their eyes that they are having a ball, can’t wait for the next customer to walk through the door and and are honoured to serve their customers. What I see is people going through the motions, day after weary day after weary day.

I don’t know about you, but for a long time, I have witnessed a steady, but not unexpected, decline in the service sector. Big business adds inexorably to the problem. When they have squeezed out the (local) competition, they act in a way that panders to the masses or more likely the lowest common denominator. They do just enough but never more.

Throughout my working life I have had one mission: to serve. And I have never adopted the ‘take it or leave it’ modality which is now common place.

But finding people who care gets harder and harder when, even if you wanted to hire the very best, it is unlikely the case because: (a) you couldn’t afford them; (b) they are unlikely to be in the market – most are trying to carve out their own niche; and (c) the standards from elsewhere are insufficient to raise the bar.

Quite a number of businesses now resort to hiring the cheapest talent they can afford and then say they are going to train them up. But how few of these supposed stars hang around for more than a few years before they jump ship?

If all this seems a bit general, then ask yourself one simple question:

Q. How many times in the last week were you made to feel special when dealing with a company?

If you go back through the places you frequented – cafes, shops or a supplier – who has broken through and delivered a WOW, memorable experience? As negative as it may seem, I can’t think of a single one.

Now is not the time to dumb down everything. Now is the time to re-Imagine what the best business in the world would look and feel like. Don’t just think of the competition. Think of any sector where your experience left you feeling energised and with a deep emotional connection with the brand.

Next time you are driven to try something different, forget the Blue Ocean thinking and just do the basics so extraordinarily well that everyone who comes into contact with your offering is converted to a walking, talking evangelist for your brand. If you manage to achieve that, you won’t then have to bug the hell of people when looking for the next sale.

– Julian

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