Aiming for Mediocrity
A key element in business in general, and in marketing in particular, is differentiation.
Differentiation is what tells the world what sets you apart from others in your space and tells the marketplace why people should spend their money with you. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a consumer industry or sell business to business, there is an absolute need to set yourself, your company, your products apart.
Anonymity, swimming in the center of the swarm, may be a good survival tactic if you are a sardine. But it is not a good survival tactic for business.
For a business to survive – much less thrive – it needs customers and revenues. For prospects and customers to spend money with you, they have to know you are there and can give them what they want. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent every year to get their attention.
So you have to wonder why so much marketing – and so many marketers – feel the need to play “follow the leader,” to follow the conventional wisdom in tactics, in mechanisms, in tools, in marketing trends.
The logic, of course, is that there is a “right” way to do things, and that you stand out by doing it better than everyone else.
But breakthrough products and breakthrough marketing campaigns are not achieved through aggressive conformity.
Note the “break” in breakthrough. These are the products and campaigns that break the rules. These are the products and campaigns that use insight, intuition, experience, sensitivity to the marketplace – and courage – to do things differently.
It is certainly true that most people don’t have that insight, intuition, sensitivity, and courage to be successfully different. And for them, the rules and the “right” ways to do things are important, even necessary.
But for those who can do things differently and well, for those who want their companies to stand out, then the only rule that matters is: You cannot achieve exceptional success through conformity.