How to lead the herd and become the marketing master of your industry
When it comes to marketing there are two types of businesses:
- Those who do what everybody else does
- Those who do their own thing
Now we’re all unique in our marketing up to a point; we all apply our own ideas and concepts to the plethora of adopted strategies through which our industry typically markets. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this, if something’s working then we’d be silly not to leverage it as much as we possibly can.
However if everyone in our industry is marketing the same way, it makes it more difficult for us to position ourselves above our competitors, and ultimately it makes it a harder, more drawn out and laborious process for potential clients to find and decide on the best partner for them. Where you fall in the marketing herd will determine how successful your marketing will be.
Let me explain.
The herd is split into three groups: the leaders, the followers and the stragglers. This is the same in every industry, across every country, and regardless of the size of the company.
The leaders are those who continually seek to find new ways to engage and delight their audience, they’re the companies who aren’t afraid to fail, be ridiculed or spend money in areas others would never dare to tread. They are the crazy ones that everyone thought were negatively disruptive until they all realised that this disruption suddenly paved the way for the industry.
The followers are those who keep up to date with industry trends and pay close attention to the leaders. They are relatively quick to act when this disruption becomes some level of normality, and look to emulate what the leaders have done, usually to great success.
The stragglers are those who are late to every party, they are pessimistic, old school and afraid of change. They sit in their lane and stay there, unaware of what trends are surfacing in their industry. Sadly they will always adopt new ways of marketing far too late and will forever be left behind unless they change their mindset and adopt a slightly futuristic viewpoint.
The vast majority of us will fall into the follower category, and this is a great place to be, you’re close enough to the sun to be able to see new innovations quickly and in a great position to create something that the current leaders failed to see. Being a leader means you get the most attention, but you have to continually innovate to ensure you don’t get knocked from your pedestal.
Now the herd moves in different ways depending on your industry, some move quicker than others and innovate more heavily, whilst others are slower and more cautious. Ultimately you want to strive to either become a leader, or become one of the top 1% of the followers.
How do you achieve this? By being different and thinking outside the box.
What this doesn’t mean though is that you need to get crazy, take stupid risks or destroy your brand just to be different. In some industries that are a little bit “lost in time”, the herd moves slower and the box might be quite small, and so you don’t actually need to do much to stand out, you only need to be different enough for your industry. Some industries are more progressive and so the herd moves quicker and the box might be larger, and so you may need to think harder and innovate more heavily.
Ultimately when it comes to marketing our businesses we have two choices, do we want to follow the herd and grow at the standard rate of the industry? Or do we want to lead the herd and grow exponentially?
It only takes one thing to stand out and be different, what could that one thing be in your industry?