“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
~ Helen Keller
Security and Risk
That’s what our Prime Minister called this country the other day.
Really, he’s correct. Short of military invasion, bureaucratic incompetence, or luck it’s pretty hard to sneak inside our borders without getting caught, thanks to our geographic isolation.
He went on to say, “The majority of Australians who don’t want to sacrifice our immunity on any grounds and support a zero-case policy.”
Sadly, he’s right about that as well. It seems that >75% of Australians imagine they can evade death just by keeping our country free of Covid-19. Zero community transmission is our goal, and we’re succeeding pretty well at achieving it.
But… at what cost?
I can see how you get to that conclusion, although I believe the fundamental premises are flawed. On the other hand, that’s why I wouldn’t run for a political office.
When it comes to your business and marketing (which is the heart of your business whether you like that idea or not) you cannot run a popularity contest, and choosing security over risk comes at an enormous cost!
Marketing is Either a Daring Adventure, or Nothing…
I could have started that phrase with any number of other nouns…
But I do want to zero in on marketing your business.
Are you willing to embrace the adventure of marketing your business?
Your customers and clients will forgive you almost anything except the ultimate sin of being boring (so many marketing greats claim that statement that I won’t even try to attribute it).
If you’re not going to be boring, then you have to take risks.
If you take risks, then you might win… Or you might lose.
What I’ve noticed is that there’s an inverse relationship between the vigour and adventurousness of your marketing and the ease or difficulty of your sales. Don’t get me wrong, every business has to ‘sell’ and Chandell, one of my friends even claims that “Selling is the #1 life skill.” (She’s probably right, too!) – but it’s also true that when your marketing is done right, your selling becomes frictionless which is why I believe they’re really two sides of the same coin.
The Danger of ‘Normal’ Marketing
One of my piano teachers used to say, “You have to know the rules of composition before you can break them.”
This is a classic statement that has been applied in just about every creative endeavour and (I’m quite certain) in most other fields from engineering to medicine. It’s certainly true in both business and marketing that unless you know what the rules are and why they are considered important you don’t have any criteria to evaluate them.
When it comes to marketing your business, it’s good to know what your competitors (and others in your industry) are doing…
But then you need the courage to break those norms and launch out in a different direction because if you follow the crowd and don’t think for yourself you’ll end up lost in mediocrity… just like all your competitors.
What About Regulations & Marketing?
If you’re in a regulated industry (health, financial, legal etc.) this still applies – in fact, it’s even more valuable!
In response to restrictions, most financial advisors and health practitioners push the boundaries and wait to get pulled back into line or else they simply don’t advertise, and everyone else falls somewhere between ‘same-old, same-old’ and ‘none-at-all’ advertising.
Just a few of them take a completely different approach that breaks their industry norms and completely insulates them from any fear of discipline while generating a healthy stream of new customers, clients, or patients.
I don’t believe in breaking the law. I do believe in questioning the ‘normal’ way of doing things… Especially when ‘normal’ isn’t working very well.
What my health, legal, and financial clients have discovered is a way of generating leads and closing sales for their business that is…
- Personalised (therefore hard to rip off) and
- 100% Legal
The biggest push-back I get these days when people talk to me about executing this for them is usually a thinly-veiled excuse based on their fear of standing out and becoming a target for envious competitors.
An Example from Finances
One of my financial advisor clients back in 2014 or so took the radical step of refusing commissions on the products he sold and, instead, charging his clients a monthly fee. Back then, that was virtually unheard of and he copped a lot of flack for his ‘outlandish methods’.
He wasn’t sure how it would work out, either, but he felt very strongly that it was a step he had to take and we worked together on the messaging and promotion strategy.
He quickly realised that the highest calibre clients loved it because it guaranteed his objectivity and developed a waiting list of prospective clients who wanted to work with him. When the Royal Commission recommendations hit the Australian financial services industry at the end of 2018, the only real impact he felt was that there was even greater demand and he could raise prices.
His marketing, strategy, and reputation were already established because he had taken a risk several years earlier and executed the approach that made most sense to him.
What if ‘Playing it Safe’ is the Biggest Gamble
Most of my clients are entrepreneurial business owners. Their goal is to build businesses that they can either pass on or sell.
Each one of them knows that when you aren’t generating a long waiting list of qualified prospects, you’re putting your future at risk, no matter how good today is looking. Some of them have been burned by short-sighted strategies, like importing a list of connections from social media platforms and starting to email them (a practice that usually leads to an expensive list-cleaning exercise before you can communicate with your fans), or blindly copying ads and website copy form competitors.
Marketing is kind of like high school… Just because everybody is doing something, doesn’t make it effective or wise. Following the crowd is a dangerous gamble when it comes to marketing your business.