The Essence of Marketing Success

By Leanne Hoagland Smith 

This past week I had the good fortune to facilitate a working breakfast seminar on marketing at the Hammond Innovation Center. After introductions by those in attendance, I asked everyone to complete this action exercise:

1. Write down your tagline
2. Write down your answer to this question: What do you do?
3. Please share your responses with the group

The responses to the first action item were fair to good. In some instances, the taglines were too long in the sense that most people’s attention is about seven to 10 words or about seven seconds. However, most of these business professionals understood that the tagline was about differentiation.

Separate The “What” From The “How” 

Now the second action item proved to be more difficult. The reason being was the majority of answers focused on the how of what these business people did and not the what.

For example, many business people will answer with one of the following:

I sell houses.
I sell insurance.
I sell … (you fill in the blank).

All of these answers are the how of what someone does. The “what” is the essence or in some cases the results generated by the how.

Understanding this essence of what your solutions (products or services) bring to the customers or clients is critical. This essence becomes part of your overall executive marketing summary and is embedded directly or indirectly in all marketing messages and actions.

Another problem or issue with the given answers was the length of the response. Again, people have very short attention spans. Your response must be compelling in that it stops people (think potential customers) in their tracks. In some cases, you can use humor. However in all cases, the more you are able to emotionalize your message and be emotionally intelligent (EQ) the greater likelihood of marketing success.

Don’t Be A Distraction

Rambling on and on about what you do only distracts your ability to not only attract attention, but to build the relationship. The end result of such rambling is you sound like everyone else and people are running away from you not to you.

The goal of answering this question “What do you do?” is very simple. You want the other person to say “Tell me more” or “That sounds interesting. Can we meet soon to talk more?”

Marketing is all about attracting attention and building a relationship. There is no selling going on. Let me repeat that last statement. There is no selling going on. However, what better way to achieve your marketing goals than by beginning with the results of what you do or as Steven Covey has been quoted, “Begin with the end in mind.”