The challenge to stand out is as important in MRX as it is for washing powder or breakfast cereal. But yet again, in this GRIT Report, we see that researchers don’t make good marketers.
The point of positioning is knowing what you do – and what you don’t do. In past reports, we have seen inconsistency from respondents within supply-side companies as to what their company does. And in this report again, “the employees of many supplier companies aren’t really sure about their company’s position in the marketplace, or don’t know how to describe it consistently… leaders of supplier companies need to clarify their market positioning and communicate that definition effectively throughout their organizations.”
Here we are, busy working for our clients and helping them to make sure their washing powder or breakfast cereal stands out in the market. We, in insights, wrote the manual on how having a core offering based on expertise or a distinguishing viewpoint is fundamental to successful marketing. But we simply do not apply that to ourselves.
There are three core reasons why I think this is such a challenge in MRX.
Firstly, many companies struggle to define their difference in the fear that they will narrow down their pool of potential clients. The ‘do not do’ part of the proposition de-facto rules you out of pitching for a whole lot of work. There’s a fine balance between wanting to be clear about what it is you do, the one thing you want to be famous for, and needing to bring revenue through the door. And that balance has been really wobbling in the middle of a global pandemic.
Secondly, many in insights do not apply the first rule of marketing and communication to themselves – namely ‘know thy audience; know thyself’. I have countless examples of insights companies (and client insights teams) not doing research on themselves – not asking customers and stakeholders what they think, or then integrating those views into their targeted communications, proposition, or service. The irony of this lack of interest in our own research is not lost on anyone.
Finally, suppliers (sometimes perhaps encouraged by the GRIT Report itself), are often distracted by ‘buzz’. We have seen several ‘hot topics; come and go – agile being one. Leaders get distracted by the excitement of a buzzword at the expense of their strategy and focus. As with technology, hopping on a bandwagon is only a good marketing tactic until the next new buzzword, or tech development, comes along. If you don’t focus on your long-term brand messaging and build awareness of why you are different, if you run off to jump on the buzzword bandwagon then you are just copying everyone else, your differentiation is diluted, and fame will be lost.
Being distinctive really matters. As this GRIT Report shows, to survive the pandemic, buyers and suppliers focused on what they did best rather than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. Being a “one-stop-shop” may be an effective strategy to capture share of wallet, but it’s not an effective way to differentiate organizations in a crowded marketplace – or a long-term strategy for growth.
So, give your clients a break; stop making them work so hard to find out what makes you special. Get your positioning right, get it showcased in all the content your company creates – your mailers, blogs, whitepapers, website, and company branding – and your clients will know who you are and why to partner with you.
Check out the full GRIT report article on GreenBook here: