Forget About Marketing. Just be Remarkable!
By Marc Winn
One of the most common questions I get asked is, ‘How can I improve my marketing?’
My answer (stolen from Seth Godin) is: ‘Be more remarkable’.
Before you even think about marketing – look at what you’re taking to the market. Is it remarkable? That is: is it so surprisingly different that people will ‘remark’ upon it? Talk about it? Tell other people? When you start to consider aggressively growing your business, you are far better off making sure that your products or service are increasingly remarkable.
Far too many people try to grow an average business. That’s like trying to make an average sounding, average looking, average singer into a multi-million selling chart-topping sensation. You may say, ‘That’s been done before!’ But it takes so much more money, a great deal of energy and people, and takes far longer. The simplest way to grow your business is to start with a remarkable product or service. To make something marketable – make it remarkable.
The hard way to grow your business is to go through all the marketing methods and options out there, trying them. You’ll realise that some work, some fail, and you’ll always want to try out the next idea!
The uninspiring (and unsuccessful) way to grow through marketing is to keep to the same “tried and trusted” methods and never try anything new.
Remarkable businesses require very little marketing. They grow virally, through word of mouth. In a more and more connected social world, the power and speed of word of mouth is increasing all the time. The simplest way to leverage word of mouth is to be more remarkable.
Look at it this way:
• If you are the same as everyone else, no one will talk about you.
• If you are better than everyone else, then some people might talk about you.
• If you are different from everyone else, then everyone will talk about you.
Easier said than done?
The artist Damien Hirst made £111.5 million in one Sotheby’s sale of his work. If he hadn’t preserved a shark in formaldehyde in the 1990’s, allegedly sold for $12 million, maybe he wouldn’t be world-renowned, incredibly successful and ridiculously wealthy now. Dare to be different.
Look at Google. They specialised in perfecting the simplicity of their search facility, and while other providers were diversifying into the development of portals, Google’s reach spread rapidly, resulting in it becoming the global market leader. The phrase ‘Google it’ became synonymous with internet search, warranting entry into standard dictionaries. They chose to be outstanding at one thing, and did not believe in marketing or diversification for many years.
You don’t even have to be remarkable in the conventional way. In fact it probably helps not to! Love them or hate them, Ryanair is a remarkable business. Ryanair is renowned for its very cheap flights, and the lengths they go to to achieve this have often sparked controversy. It is one of the most profitable airlines in the world, yet to many traditionalists, is one of the most unpopular. They have a minimal marketing spend compared with others in the airline business, but have benefited from widespread knowledge of their ultra low costs, associated controversy and media attention. People know what they are getting: simply to be taken from A to B for very little money; and most of their customers accept the deal willingly. Ryanair’s service might be less than average in terms of perceived quality and add-ons; but their core understanding of the customer’s willingness to trade for a low price is the remarkable thing that makes them immensely profitable.
There are many other examples, such Apple, Innocent, Virgin, Heston Blumenthal, Harley Davidson, Dyson, Lidl etc. All of these are remarkable in their own way and they benefit from much lower marketing costs as a result. Their customers largely do their marketing for them.
So, how can you become “remarkable”?
• Understand that you have to fully commit to the situation and that giving only half measures won’t cut it. No matter how good a job you did yesterday – be better today. Commit to giving nothing less than 100%.
• It doesn’t matter what ‘remarkable’ means to you. It has to be remarkable to your audience. They are your judge and jury.
• Don’t think that pulling off one PR stunt or marketing success is remarkable just because it gets you noticed. There is a huge difference between being noticed and being remarkable.
• Don’t fear being extreme in the pursuit of remarkability. Nothing less will do.
• Look for the edge you have over competitors – this determines your ability to be remarkable. What can your edge be? To be the most difficult, the biggest, the slowest, the easiest? It doesn’t matter what edge or edges you choose – live them or go beyond them.
• Work on the assumption that most people won’t appreciate your efforts to be remarkable. Do you care? – No! If you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no-one. Be remarkable to someone – not everyone.
• If something already exists, it is not remarkable. You have to be ground breaking and be the first to do it. Neil Armstrong was remarkable as the first man who walked on the moon – but who can remember the names of those who followed?
• In today’s economic climate, more and more people are cautiously staying within the parameters of conventionality. They are often unwilling to take risks. But in such a climate, who never has a problem finding new work? – The remarkable minority! Playing safe is not good. A ship might be safe in a harbour, but that’s not what ships are designed for.
• Always remember that what is popular and “in” vogue now can be “out” tomorrow. Don’t rest on your laurels. Keep reinvesting and re-inventing, and be remarkable all over again.
So if you want to save time and grow your business the low cost, low effort way, carefully consider how you can make your business more remarkable. If you crack that not insurmountable problem in your business, you will have the wind at your back pushing you faster to your eventual destination.