The marketplace is like that, especially at present. For any requirement, there may be many choices that could be made and only websites and marketing literature to make the initial choice. To be considered at all you need to be noticed. After that, the decision will be made on a number of factors I’ll discuss in a moment.
You know that your product or service is the best but does the market? Will the world beat a path to your door? Well, no, at least not unless you’ve clearly marked where that door is and given compelling reasons why they should make the effort to come to it.
What will make that difference? Initially it will be your marketing (note small m) efforts. Your visual presentation will come into the equation. What we loosely refer to as branding can alienate some potential customers if it doesn’t ‘fit’ your sector. Far more important these days, though, is how your message comes across.
Everything you say will be taken into consideration and may be used in the selection process. ‘You’ in this context is any member of your business or any agent who speaks or writes on your behalf. These days it isn’t just traditional collateral like brochures or their online equivalent, your website. The world is social and your reputation can be made or lost in conversations – between friends in the pub or on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook.
It doesn’t end with marketing. Your delivery is also being scrutinised. Everything you do can be seen and judged. Are you walking the talk or is there a discrepancy? What others say about you can be read widely and easily. When choosing a hotel, do you use Trip Advisor or a similar rating service? Do you read reviews of products before you buy? Do you make a good impression? Are you out to satisfy your customers or do you try to exceed their expectations? Do you miss the mark completely with some or all of your customers? What are you doing about that? All of this can be summed up in one word – reputation. What’s yours?
Thought leadership is a very important component of your reputation building but it needs the right action to happen at all levels of the business. So translating thought leadership into goals and culture is a critical activity. To make the right impression and to be chosen for the projects and requirements that will make the difference between good and great performance, don’t think customer satisfaction. Try going beyond that – way beyond.
Brian Chernett is founder of The Academy for Chief Executives (ACE) – He has 43 years’ experience as managing director of private and public companies, including subsidiaries of Booker Bros McConnell, the Landmark Group, and several other major companies. Find out more at www.chiefexecutive.com.
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