Good news – you don’t need to become a marketing aficionado or master the art of going-to-market to stand out among the crowd. You just need to be different.
But how do you go about becoming ‘different’ in this noisy digital society?
I think there are five ways any business owner can set their organisation apart from the rest without an ounce of marketing nous required:
1. Get in touch with the competition
How do they sound when you contact them as a ‘prospective customer’?
Make a list of the things that don’t impress you and work to ensure your business does the opposite.
Every business makes mistakes, and if you can identify the most obvious being made by your competition, you can quickly start to differentiate yourself.
2. Go as green as possible
What makes Finland special?
Well, according to research, it’s the greenest country on the planet. And in today’s society, that means rather a lot.
This isn’t by chance, either. Finland will have been proactive in their green efforts because they’ll be aware of some of the most prominent facts, such as the belief that doubling the world’s renewable energy capacity will save the global economy billions.
Being green in business is about far more than simply slapping an ‘aren’t we worthy’ badge on your website – it’s about ensuring the economy can continue to grow and remain profitable for everyone as the planet ages.
3. Create a happy, productive working culture
Marketing starts from within, and it’s often the least overtly promotional tactics that will set you business apart from the competition.
For example, your team is the beating heart of the operation, but any unhappiness will manifest itself in low productivity and poor service delivery.
Do everything you can to create a working culture that rewards invention, embraces failure and is flexible enough to enable people to work when they feel most productive.
A happy team is the best non-marketing tool you can have!
4. Constantly break things
I alluded to this above, but a business that isn’t afraid of failure is a business that’ll go far.
If you don’t try something, you’ll never know if it has merit, and in business, that can mean sidestepping a whole host of opportunities.
Try new stuff all the time; enter new markets; create different iterations of tried-and-tested product lines; break as many things as you can and learn from your mistakes. Chances are, your competitors aren’t quite as brave as this, which means you can leapfrog them pretty quickly when you hit upon the ideas that do work.
5. Get involved with the community
Some of your most profitable business can be found right on your doorstep, and a great way to raise your profile within your community is to actively participate within it.
This isn’t gorilla marketing, nor is it a surreptitious way to get your message out there; if you do it properly and with the genuine belief that you’re adding to the community by participating in fundraising and other events, your natural enthusiasm will set you apart.
Marketing is hard, but if you compliment the more traditional methods of promotion with those above, your business will quickly start to look rather different from the rest – and for the best possible reasons.
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.