• Brent Hoffmann

“Only We…” Have the Answer to YOUR Marketing Struggles

Starting a new business, developing your marketing strategy, or sharing your business with the world begins by knowing and understanding the customers and market you will be serving. Seems obvious right? Then why do so many businesses fail? Why do businesses, big and small, struggle to put together a marketing strategy? Why do 79% of businesses “miss the mark” when sharing their message? How do you stand out from your competition and be the company your customers want you to be?


The answer to all these questions (and more) starts with your ability to answer ONE key question.


But, what is this magical question? What do we need to ask? What do we need to know in order to succeed, and how do we get there? Repeat after me, “Only we…”. It all starts by asking yourself (and your team) this ONE, seemingly simple phrase. Those three little dots after, “Only we…” hold the key to magic that will ultimately lead us to our answers. This strategy was highlighted in Social Media Explained by New York Times Best Selling Author Mark Schaefer as the first question your entire organization needs to be able to answer.


Here’s the key, your business must be seen as a person. A person has a personality, a message, a tone, and a stance. With access to starting a business easier than ever, successful companies understand that it’s not the business, it’s your ability to connect with your audience. Not as you’ve professionally laid out in your mission statement, but as your customers see you. You are what your customers say you are after all.


“It is a deceptively simple exercise … and maddeningly difficult. You can’t have a social media or content strategy without an over-arching marketing strategy and if you can’t finish this sentence, that indicates you don’t have a marketing strategy (even if you insist you do!)”, explains Mr. Schaefer. “This may be the hardest question to answer in business, but also the most important. Before you can have a digital strategy, a social media strategy, or even a Facebook page, you should be able to finish that sentence or you’re just wasting your time and money,” concludes Schaefer.


Like Mr. Schaefer, we’ve met with 100’s of businesses (of all sizes) and the responses to, “Only we…” vary from, “Locally owned”, “World-class customer service”, to “High-quality”, none of which actually answered the question. These answers are closer to tag lines or slogans or worst yet, meaningless. Being high-quality should be table-stakes or expected not what sets you apart from the competition.


Trust the fact that meaningless purchases are a thing of the past. Customers are more sophisticated than ever and begin every purchase with a quick google search. What are they looking for? People. Customers are looking for the reviews left by customers like them. They are not looking for fancy “marketing speak” or a sales pitch. They are looking for REAL – real people, real experience, and real life.


Example: We’ve all seen the commercials for toothpaste. Most state something like, “4 out 5 dentists choose…”. Compelling right? It must be good toothpaste with nearly every dentist singing its praises. Plus, our parents have conditioned to brush our teeth multiple times per day reminding us of the importance of proper dental health. This must be the easiest product to market, right? Yet, if you ask customers, they will say that the #1 goal of brushing their teeth is to avoid bad breath. Curious how they figured that out? They ASKED! It’s not a coincidence that 99% of toothpaste is mint flavored. If dental health was the only motivating factor I’m sure flavors would be different.


In review, the success of your business is predicated on your ability to finish the, “Only we…” statement. The closer you get to your customer expectations the greater chance of success. In the example above, people are actually buying a fresh-breath maker and not the toothpaste with the most features and benefits. The features and benefits are second to fresh breath. You may think your products/service is about X but your customers actually think you provide Y. You are what your customers say you are!


Your customers are more than happy to tell you what they want/need. YOU have to initiate the conversation though. After you’ve talked with as many customers as you possibly can you’ll have the answer to, “Only we…”. And now that you have your ONE key question answered you have THE framework for your marketing strategy, business success, and hitting the mark with your messaging.


Article written by Brent Hoffmann & Amanda Borchardt

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