Monthly Archives: January 2009

Are Google AdWords The New Elevator Pitch?

The New Elevator PitchGoogle AdWords are those “sponsored links” in the right hand column on any Google search results page.  While we’ll discuss these further another time, these are cost per click ads that are placed by a company to get your attention based on your search terms.  

When using Google AdWords as a marketing tool, the challenge is communicating your point of difference in 70 characters (including spaces).  This limited amount of space also needs to motivate the audience to take action.  Just like your elevator pitch.  This got me thinking- are Google AdWords this generation’s version of the elevator pitch?

Could you differentiate your company in 70 characters?    It’s not easy.  Luckily for me it only required a 35% reduction in characters bringing my AdWords pitch to “We increase your marketing return without increasing your investment”.  

There is a sales adage that says know when to stop talking.  That same advice can be said about your AdWords pitch.  Make it relevant, distinct, motivating and to the point – 70 characters will force you to do just that.  Then once you’ve said your pitch, let your audience strike up the conversation to find out more.  If they don’t want to learn more then maybe your pitch isn’t as strong as it needs to be.

If it isn’t please refer to our previous entries – Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch  and Who’s On First?

So see if you can get your AdWords pitch down to 70 characters.  Doing so is just another way to market smarter.

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Your Mission Statement Is Not Your Brand Position

The past few week’s topics regarding how a company communicates its brand have garnered some interesting conversations revolving around using mission statements and vision statements as brand positions.

Make no mistake  your mission statement is not your brand position.

A mission statement should encompass your values and your purpose of being.  

A vision statement should project where your company is headed.  

A brand position should differentiate your company by communicating how it uniquely solves a problem your audience faces.

For example, a community bank I worked with had the backing and resources of the regional and national banks, but with a more local approach desired by the community in which it operated.  Its brand position was a very simple, where main street meets Wall Street.  

While current economic conditions now make that position undesirable, it was quite motivating to the well-heeled families in a wealthy North Georgia community in 2002 allowing the bank to reach $100 million in assets a year ahead of projections.

So is your brand position where it needs to be?

Does it differentiate your company from the competition?  Does it solve a problem for your audience?  Does it motivate your audience to engage your product or service? Does it truly represent what your company does and can deliver on?

If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions then it is time to revisit your how your company is positioned in the market.  

Start by gaining a better understanding of how your customers use your company.   This can be accomplished using a third party to conduct focus groups or an online study – a third party will ensure objectivity by both the respondents and the researcher.  

This is not a customer satisfaction survey, this is research that will help you compete more effectively and discover how much money your business might be leaving on the table.  You’ll want to:

  • Learn when they use your company, when they use a competitor and why.  
  • Understand, from their perspective, what your company does well and what other companies do better.
  • Discover how your customers describe your company versus the competition.

When you learn these answers, objectively assess whether or not your competition does things better than you and if you have the resources to change your offering or convince your customers that you are better than they believe, they just weren’t aware of it.

Over the next few weeks we’ll discuss other steps to helping your develop a brand to motivate your audience, but this is a good place to start.  

By simply gaining a greater understanding of your customers and how they interact with your brand you’ll begin to market smarter.

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Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

Thank you everyone for the great response received from last week’s post on consistent brand message.  I also received many questions regarding how I evaluate an elevator pitch.  

My evaluation criteria is quite simple.  

First, is your pitch unique?  Can anyone else offer what your company offers?

Second, is it relevant to your audience? Unique is good, but unique things without relevancy don’t stick around too long.

Third, does it motivate your audience to take action?  This is the true test.  After hearing your elevator speech, does a person want to continue the conversation?

Fourth, do you have the support to back it up should your audience choose to continue the conversation?

Fifth, can you say it in 5 to 10 seconds?

The sixth criteria (not critical, but preferred) is making sure it is not filled with marketing fluff.

My elevator pitch is “M is for Marketing improves a company’s return on their marketing investment without increasing their investment”.  

It took me a while to get it to this point, but I have been pleased with how it is being received.  More important I have examples of how it has successfully been put into action for a variety of companies.  Lastly, it only takes me 5 seconds to deliver it.

Every company needs a good elevator pitch, having one is a big step in helping you market smarter.

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Who’s On First?

 

Abbott & CostelloIt is 2009.  A new year.  It is the perfect time to make sure everyone in your company is on the same page in regards to how they present what your company does.  

 

I am often amazed that even in the smallest companies discrepancies exist.  And if you can’t get your story straight, you can’t expect customers to truly understand what you do.

So what to do.  

Have all your employees memorize your mission statement?  I have seen it done and it doesn’t work.

Create the perfect elevator pitch* and print it on the back of their business cards? The elevator pitch is a good start, but if it feels rote, it won’t be believable.

The answer – create that elevator pitch, but help your employees make it their own.  Help them internalize the idea you set forth for your brand and let them express it in their own way.  That way it is delivered with conviction.

*Your elevator pitch is the 10 – 15 second description of why someone should hire your company.  If you don’t have one, creating one should be your 2009 resolution.

To see where you stand, conduct a simple exercise.

  1. Write down what you think is your elevator pitch.
  2. Have everyone write down what they think is your elevator pitch.
  3. Analyze the findings to see if everyone is on the same page.  Be honest and do not infer what people mean to say.
  4. If everyone is on the same page, great.  If not, you have a starting point to see what needs to be fixed.
  5. If the differences are significant try to identify trends.  Do the customer-facing people describe your company one way, and the back office another?  Do your long-time employees have a different perspective than your newer employees?
  6. Honestly assess the findings and determine if your elevator pitch is the best one or does a better solution exist.
  7. Present the final elevator pitch to your employees and have them write down what it means to them.  Doing so will help them internalize the pitch so they can it with conviction.

With any branding activity, it does require monitoring.  

Every six months ask your employees if they think the elevator pitch is still relevant to your audience.  This is a non-threatening way to get their input and to ensure they know how important it is to you.

If things begin to stray repeat the exercise outlined above. 

2009 is going to be a tough year, but those who take the steps to keep their brand relevant and communicate it properly will succeed.  

Starting with a consistent elevator pitch is definitely the way to market smarter.

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