A very smart marketer I know once said, “being a samey in business is a recipe for disaster!” So as a brand, the first thing you need to think about is “what makes you different?” Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno came up with the “5 why’s method“, Mark Schaefer tells brands to finish the sentence “Only we __________”, and Marie Forleo created the 4 P’s of uniqueness.

These P’s are:

  1. Purpose – your reason for being
  2. Principles – what you stand for
  3. People – who you stand for
  4. What pisses you off!

The fourth P is my favorite. Why? Because there are many so-called marketing experts that will take your money but never deliver on their promise. Their marketing doesn’t work, and you can’t seem to figure out why. But I know why! Because what they’re doing isn’t marketing. Let me show you what is…

Start a Monopoly

What is marketing? Marketing is the act of selling products, services, or ideas. If you’re not selling anything, you’re not marketing. But most people don’t get this because they only know how to promote, not sell.

Are you buying what I’m selling here?

What differentiates you from everyone else? Do you have a niche? What is your “only we _______?”

It’s important to get this right, otherwise, your product will just be another option, making it harder to sell. Find a unique selling point… Something novel to separate you from your competitors. Otherwise, you’ll be sharing a space with everyone else in your industry… dispensable. No one will miss you when you’re gone.

Do less promoting and more marketing. And it starts with being different.

Brand It

If you have a valuable product people want, meaning it’s desirable and unique in some way (even if it’s the way you package your offer), then selling it will become much easier. You won’t have to telemarket your product to death.

The next thing you need to do is brand it. In other words, you need to build trust, create sentiment and articulate what makes you different. This can be done using social media, traditional media (radio, print), and advertising. Since you’re promoting a product people want and there’s nowhere else to get it, you have just created a monopoly for yourself.

Branding is essential. Without it, people won’t know you exist. Want proof? Name one cola you’re familiar with other than Coke and Pepsi? Not easy!

Build Relationships

If you haven’t figured it out yet, people don’t listen to you. They’re going to listen to their friends and reviews people write about you. So it’s important to build relationships with people in your target market and seek partnerships in related industries. You need influencers, fans, and ambassadors to help spread the word for you. Not only is this great for promotion, it also makes you a more credible brand.

Mark Schaefer has an awesome article on the influence social media has on your brand. Not only for lead generation but for relationship building as well.

Foster Your Relationships

Now that you have a niche, a valuable product, and a great brand strategy, you should have no problem selling your product. But if you want to grow, you need to foster your relationships and develop more.

Having a valuable product is key to producing repeat business. Vanilla ice had a hard time selling his second album because people realized he wasn’t what he was hyped up to be. But when people have a good experience with your product or brand, they will share their story with others and keep coming back for more. This is what made Apple valuable and Patriot Computers not.

Can’t fool everyone

So are you marketing? Are people buying what you’re selling? Do they keep coming back for more?

If you can say yes, yes, and yes, then your marketing is pretty awesome.

If not, you’re just promoting your products, and that doesn’t work.