Success is different for everybody. Maybe you want to sell 1 million units of whatever you have or you want to win a specific award or get recognition in your industry or effectively balance your business and your family. You define your own success.
To DeVon Franklin, Hollywood studio executive and author of Produced by Faith, success is happiness. In his heart the money and fame cannot replace the joy. I know a rap artist who’s definition of success is influence. For her there’s not enough money to replace the need to positvely impact the mind and heart of a generation. But while success may look different for each person, there’s a key element that all long term successful people posssess.
You don’t have to be the biggest
Athletes use it — it’s how they show up for training day in and day out. Tenacious small business owners use it — it’s how they build clientele in and out of recessions. And it works for shy people and bold alike. It’s grit — the ability to stick with something. It’s not sexy, but it works. It’s the thing that keeps your dream in motion long after others have given up on theirs. Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Made to Stick, say that grit is as important as your talent. You cannot win without grit because you won’t last. And this is what I love:
you don’t have to be the biggest or the loudest to be gritty, you just have to be persistent.
Grit is the quiet, consistent decision to keep going. And it works for every personality type — if you work it.
Let’s apply this to your marketing strategy
Nobody ever said that it would be easy to build a team or market your message. In fact, we expect doctors to spend hours training and perfecting what they do because our life in their hand. Well, your marketing is a life line to your business. Remember: your marketing — and all communication — boils down to a few a core questions: What are you saying? Who are you saying it to? Why should they care? and How are they responding to the message?
Ok, to be successful at marketing you will have to get gritty. And the first step is to recognize your role .
When it comes to marketing — and all communication — you’re the storyteller and it’s the storyteller’s job to connect.
No matter your product or your industry, there’s a story that matters to your target audience. But if you don’t know what it is, then you can’t share it. You can’t expect others to “get it,” if you don’t know how to explain it.
The key is in the message. It has to be clear and simple — quickly conveying what’s in it for them.
Here’s two examples…
When Apple started selling the ipod their story was “1000 songs in your pocket.” And that simple message was all about you and me. It was specific. I could see my CDs at my fingertips. That one line turned my life into a musical in which I control the playlist.
In recent advertising BMW says that they create “the ultimate driving machine.” Their story — and yes I’m calling these one liners a story — causes driving enthusiastics to see themselves in motion. I can see myself on the open highway or winding back country road, left hand just outside the window, sun shining, music playing. That one line sells an experience.
Your company needs a concise story about who you are what you provide and every product that you sell needs one too. That takes effort — which is where the grit comes in. To get to this core message you have to start with the four core questions mentioned earlier:
- What are you saying? What’s the point?
- Who are you saying it to? Who is your target audience?
- Why should they care? What’s in it for them? Your marketing is not about what you want, it’s about the audience — speak their language.
- How are they responding to the message? Pay attention to the signals and adjust as you go.
It takes grit to get the answers to the questions above. You have to care about your audience, fans, clients, enough to keep pushing until you discover the message that matters to them. It’s funny, the better you do this, the greater the impact on your bottomline. And if marketing is such a lifeline for your business, then it’s worth your attention. You don’t have to do everything — you probably have enough on your plate — but you do have to understand the strategy, protect the process, test your efforts and keep moving forward. In marketing, communication as well as business, it’s the consistent behavior that produces the best results.
— Ms. J —
a poet with a passion for business