Within most professions and industries, everyone markets themselves exactly the same way. They literally all look just like their competitors. It’s like wearing a mask — a real one — and hoping people remember you.
Think about law firms. If you see an ad from a law firm, what do you see? A lawyer — or a bunch of lawyers. As if seeing those (mostly white guys in suits) is enough all by itself to make you reach for your phone.
But it isn’t just lawyers. It’s banks. It’s physician practices. Even if you couldn’t read a word of English, you’d know what kind of ad you were seeing.
Think your industry is different? It’s not. Try this. Find ads or website headers or mailers from six of your competitors. Now lay them out side by side, along with your own. See if anyone stands out.
Here’s why it matters. Most buying decisions are event-driven. You call a lawyer or a doctor when something’s wrong. You switch banks when your bank drops a ball. Unless you’re in the consumer goods world, you’re rarely an “impulse” purchase.
That means you need to stand out in a really memorable way. You need to make it incredibly easy for prospects to remember you when they need what you sell. And that can only happen if you look and sound different.
It’s true for your website. Your digital campaigns. Your emails. Your collateral. Your ads. Everything.
Here are three ways to set yourself apart.
1. Have Fun With Your Competition.
Poke a little good-natured fun at your industry’s “typical” marketing. Either do exaggerated versions that are clearly spoofs, or literally talk about why you’re not doing what they all do.
Keep it fun, even if you sell a very serious product or service. Be human first, and professional second. You’ll get internal resistance, but push back. You’re right.
2. Polar Opposite
Whatever the norm is in your industry, do the opposite. Sit down with samples of “the usual” — they may even be your own marketing — and brainstorm what the flip side of that might look and sound like. Then do it.
3. Beg, Borrow, Steal.
Look outward to some industry that’s completely different from yours. What do they do that you could retool for your own marketing?
The first step to all of this, of course, is being honest with yourself. Does your marketing make you stand out so prospects think of you first? And does it work as well as it should / could?
A “no” answer should be all the motivation you need to try something new. And if you need a hand with that brainstorming piece, give us a shout. We’re really good at it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-399-1400 to see how we can help.