Here’s a special PSA for those marketers who want to be unique but don’t want to take the risk. Today’s rapidly changing marketing landscape demands individualism. That doesn’t just mean different, it means you. If you don’t truly have a passion for the organization you market for, you’re probably working at the wrong place or need to switch roles. Having passion for what you do and who you do it for is paramount for success.
It’s time to shed the status quo and start telling the world what you do best and why. Most businesses today pay too much attention to the competition. Although being aware is key, comparison always destroys originality. There are so many better avenues for inspiration with amazing resources at our fingertips: Behance, Adweek, Print, Communication Arts, Event Marketer, Core77, Springwise, and 99U,just name a few.
It’s very important to tell all those special people that send you competitors’ ads how much you truly care in your most sarcastic voice. Being you is distinctive, and there have never been more channels to leverage your voice than today. Here are five rules — to hang up in your office, cube, garage, showroom, or wherever — to live by.
Stop paying so much attention to the market, and start defining it.
The time is now! Leave the karaoke to Friday nights at the Cat’s Meow and out of business. We all know there’s enough crap out there to fertilize the world’s crops 10 times over. Make the extra effort upstream to deliver the differentiator downstream. Meaning: do your research, get inspiration that fits your organization, and execute. Getting internal buy-in is key; sell stakeholders early in the game, and the rest of staff will follow suit. Remember that pushing marketing campaigns internally is just as important as pushing externally. It’s hard to have confidence when it comes to originality, so be confident in your pitch or it won’t work. Uncertainty is stinky cologne.
Do your job, and tell the story. Legends are legends because other people tell stories about their stories. Do that.
Let’s face it, nobody likes to look at the family photo album at the in-laws’ house, but of course, they think it’s better than your favorite Instagram account. Make sure being you is interesting; if it’s not, make it so. It’s all about how you tell the story, and great marketers can make a Sizzler steak look delicious. No one is going to match my passion, and no one can tell our story like I can. Preach.
Fail! (But get it done quick so nobody notices.)
I love failure. It shows we’re not scared to try new things. Sometimes failures morph into magic. Sometimes not. I like to try out new ideas with small market segments to see how they perform or even internally to get gut reactions. Once you’re stuck in the rut of the status quo, the fun departs and so does the motivation of organization around your marketing efforts. Mix it up, try new things, and have fun doing it — it’s contagious and will resonate externally.
Best practices are for those who can’t craft their own.
These things often dictate process cadence that everyone else is doing. They’re not all bad; most are great guidelines. But, guidelines should be the extent of it. Playing it safe will get you by just enough to be … well, safe. Yawn. Although I’m a big fan of life jackets, I don’t wear mine. Set up your mar-tech stack heavy on the measurement side to know what’s working and when. Creative marketers hate numbers but it’s a necessary evil when navigating new waters. Crafting your own nuances can be magic and will make you feel good when everyone is asking you to tell your secrets.
If the logo is gone, will they still know its yours?
Everything you do should smell like you: great (but not always)! It may take some time to accomplish, but once your market gets a taste of your style, what you’re passionate about, and the content that helps them succeed, they’ll know. The key is consistency. Remember to always create a CI (corporate identity) or style guide for everything you do, and put a shelf life on it upon creation. Once you hit that date, determine whether it’s time for a change. Sometimes you have to ride out not-so-great campaigns to mitigate market confusion. It can be tough, but also a great time to start upstream for the next great idea.