Many business people have read E-Myth Revisted by Michael Gerber. The book, first published in 2004. The book read like a conversation and helped people who often run a one-man operation or are in the ‘contractor’ or ‘freelance’ field, take another look at their role and how they could become a ‘business’ rather than an ‘employee’ to the masses.
When I discovered E-Myth Mastery: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company came out, I was pretty excited and ordered the book. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The book read much like the first one and the information was buried in the conversation he was still having with Sarah, the woman who bakes pies. It was a painful read and I had to work hard to just pull these three points out of the first few chapters. To save you this painstaking process, here are the three questions Michael Gerber asks of Sarah.
- Identify the picture other marketing leaders have created in other companies that obviously understand what a marketing leader does. Look for three companies that are led by marketing leaders. Big companies or small companies. It can be their truck, an ad in the newspaper, a sign on the building – anything that says this is a marketing leader driven enterprise. Take notes on what you find or don’t find. Organize your notebook by the four components of marketing leadership: visual, emotional, functional, and financial. How does it look, how does it feel, how does it work, how is it priced.
- Define the word franchise. Also discover what franchise isn’t. What’s missing in these franchise opportunities? Where are the weaknesses in their sensory package? Few franchise opportunities actually measure up to the term ‘franchise’ as a marketing leader would use it.
- Once you get a clear picture of what a real business looks, acts, and feels like under the direction of a true marketing leader, once you get a really good idea of what a franchise is and why it’s important, once you accept your challenge as the marketing leader to invent the most successful small business in the world, your next task is to begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together so you can communicate your vision or the entrepreneur’s vision in an absolutely moving way, to the enterprise leader, to the board of directors, to the people who work for you, to the people who will invest in your company, to anyone and everyone who you are determined to influence in a positively dramatic way. What you have currently was developed by what you know how to do, not from doing what you don’t know how to do.
He then follows these questions up with this question? What marketing strategy will you use? Gerber tells Sarah that growing her business starts with a very specific understanding of who her customer is and why she/he buys, and how her company is going to influence those decisions to become the brand leader in her industry, in her market, in her trading zone.
The book then meanders into some complicated worksheets and language about financials, demographics. Here is where I was completely bored. I couldn’t even make myself read the rest of the book if I wanted to and I love learning anything new.
What I feel was missing and is important – a question that we work with clients through all the time is – what is your unique selling proposition? What makes you stand out above the rest and how will we market this?
Building Your Unique Selling Proposition and Branding Yourself
Identifying what makes your company unique in a sea of similar companies isn’t easy. But if you consider all the options your prospective customers have when making a choice in your industry, you have to convince them why they should invest their time, energy, money and trust in you over your competitors.
What is it your company has to offer that others don’t?
There is a quote by Harvard Business School author Theodore Levitt that states:
“Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”
Does your company have a trait worth remembering?
Maybe at this point you are saying to yourself – we just want to be the best and people will come to us because we are the best. If you are the best and you know it – you also know this doesn’t always work. Here is why.
When you try to be the best and are competing to be the best, this often puts you among the status quo giving you no opportunity to stand out. If you are a restaurant, would you market yourself as The Best Restaurant? People like unique, quirky, interesting, fun brands. Customers are loyal to a feeling you invoke rather than just a practical advantage.
Sometimes USP’s are built in marketing campaigns. Remember this guy?
Dos Equis – Stay Thirsty My Friends
This picture is still showing up in meme’s across the internet. Dos Equis hit a homerun in making their brand stand out. The company needed to connect an emotional message to a brand message so that they could beat out competitors like Corona. The message was “a man rich in stories and experiences, much the way the audience hopes to be in the future.
This campaign increased the beer companies sales in the United States by 22%.
Toms Shoes – One for One
TOMS Shoes is part of the ‘cause marketing’ buzz that has become popular. Cause marketing involves the cooperative efforts of a for profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Toms Shoes owns a for-profit business and a separate nonprofit named Friends of TOMS. The company was founded by a contestant of The Amazing Race named Blake Mycoskie. His name is not Tom. The USP that Mycoskie took changed business models everywhere. For every pair of shoes sold a pair of shoes would be given to a child in need.
The company attributes social media and celebrities wearing TOMS for their success.
Voodoo Doughnuts – Eclectic Doughnuts
Voodoo Doughnuts is a doughnut shop that was started in Portland, Oregon. The company is known for its unusual doughnuts, eclectic décor and iconic pink boxes with the logo and illustrations of voodoo priests.
Doughnut shops are everywhere and big brand doughnut shops often rule the school. So how does one small doughnut shop outperform the rest? By being a bit different – maybe a lot different and really emphasizing it. Voodoo Doughnuts are known for putting out outrageous doughnut toppings that make people stop and ponder its potential flavor. Crushed oreos on your doughnut or Capn Crunch – of course. Voodoo Doughnuts have been featured on a number of television programs including Anthony Bourdain No Reservations and the Tonight Show – to name a few.
Dollar Shave Club – Shave Time – Shave Money. Razors and Grooming Products By Mail
I always find this company interesting – and so do others apparently. The company continues to grow. In 2013 it raised $12 million in series B round investments. The company became popular due to their Youtube Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI
The video went viral in 2012 and earned the company 600,000 active members. The founder and CEO of the company realized that shopping for razors was a hassle and that his company could ship quality razors and blade cartridges of same or better quality to customers for as little as a dollar a month.
So what will your Unique Selling Proposition be? You don’t have to have a ton of ad money or a corporate marketing staff to create a USP, just asking yourself the right questions and maybe asking your clients what they find interesting about your company or unique. What makes your company stand out above the rest – and please don’t answer that you are most affordable or the best!!