I have just finished a keynote at an event for marketing agencies. You know, the people you bring in to sort out your marketing, to clarify exactly what you are really selling and to whom, and why they should buy from you.
Can’t deny it, one is always slightly anxious about talking to marketing people about how to do marketing. In some senses, my anxiety was unnecessary.
The delegates arrived, all laid back and a combination of shabby chic, Boho and hipster cool. Some of the best that Whitechapel and Shoreditch have on offer. They were quite a self-assured and intimidating bunch.
I opened with a few general questions that seemed to hit the sweet spot. A combination of nervous laughter and dumbfounded embarrassment on their part.
I then asked, “What is it that you want to know about by the time I finish speaking?”. I was (and at the same time I wasn’t) shocked to discover that the key themes were:
How do I get more, better clients?
How do I sell more?
How do I compete in such a crowded, noisy market?
How do I stand out from the rest?
What I respect is the honesty of the participants. In a room, surrounded by their peers, the truth was out. Most were struggling to maintain the edge that kept them in front of mind for their clients. What I marvelled at was the ensuing conversation where a lot myths were blown apart and a refreshing recognition that most had not applied (didn’t know them or didn’t know how to apply) the marketing fundamentals to their own businesses.
So, a couple of caveats.
First, it is possible that the marketing agencies who knew their marketing onions and how to apply them to themselves were not present because they were too busy dealing with clients and client enquiries.
Second, just because the delegates struggled to articulate their own proposition, and their own point of difference, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be brilliant for their own clients.
So, what were the few general questions that seemed to hit the sweet spot. I’ll tell you.
“Why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?”