How do I make my marketing stand out?
Everyone explains that standing out is critical. They get your creative circuits firing. Your future depends on it. Nothing matters more.
But how do you *actually* do it is another story. Yes, there are some books around positioning for brands with big ad budgets or for B2B software companies, but what about the rest? How do you actually do it if the product or service you’re selling isn’t remarkable in itself? How do you actually do it if you want to start small and make just one of your blog posts stand out?
Let’s be real; there is a lot of BS clutter in the market, most of the time by people who don’t even know what they’re doing. Marketing can get shady, weird.
The question is, how does a marketer know how to stand out in the right way?
Louis Grenier is the founder of the Everyone Hates Marketers podcast, which has achieved the milestone of over a million downloads. Today, Louis shares with us his knowledge and the strategies that allowed him to take on Everyone Hates Marketers as his full-time career and quit his regular job.
Just a few years back, when Louis launched his first-ever business, he put on a nice suit and paid a photographer a huge amount just to get his photoshoot done and ‘look’ like a marketing consultant.
“I thought that was what I was exactly supposed to do,” said Louis.
Soon enough, he realized something else: It doesn’t matter. He learned what indeed is important: strategically standing out.
After putting in the effort and implementing different strategies, he was able to skyrocket his podcast to 1M+ downloads without spending any money on ads. Instead, he decided to spend time on it, and the results were mind-blowing.
Stand the F*ck Out
The Marketplace is Saturated; Get the F*ck over it
Marketers are well-aware of the fact that all industries are saturated, over-populated, and full of competition. The internet is, in fact, full of frustrating battles. The way this happens is that often, competitors copy-paste other peoples’ stuff to race to the bottom for attention shamelessly.
They Never Implement the “How” Strategy
Marketers out there just love stating the obvious. They will try suggesting that you tell stories, develop an emotional connection, be controversial, but will never say HOW one can do it. In simple words, they just love using vague statements.
In marketing, you have FOUR different strategies to choose from:
- You can be different and boring if you come up with a boring product, even if you acquire professional marketing skills
- You can be the same as others. But, if you come up with average products for average people, you cannot succeed, even if you possess some serious marketing expertise
- You can try selling very-specific, niched products with apparently no competition, but in the end, you will still find other brands to compete with and, ultimately, fail. Surpise, surpise!
- Radical differentiation is defined as creating specific products for a particular segment of people (the ultimate end to marketing bullshit!)
How to achieve the Radical Differentiation mindset?
When it comes to achieving the radical differentiation mindset, there are four main stages a marketer would have to go through:
Step 1: Get Rid of Self-Limiting Beliefs
Standing out is risky. There is insecurity, guilt, and a lot of stress involved in the tricky process of standing out. But here’s the thing: If you don’t take a risk, you’re going to fall into the clutter. The final result? You may never get noticed. This is why it is critical to get rid of the self-limiting belief that’s been holding you from doing so many amazing things and get noticed, create a movement, and truly put yourself out there if you are serious about selling stuff.
Here are the questions that often stop people from standing out and doing something different;
- “But… everyone else is doing it this way.”
People are doing it this way, but you got to do it YOUR WAY. Challenge the norm and stand out.
- “But… if we focus on one thing, we’re going to miss out!”
Your Imposter Syndrome and FOMO are kicking in. You, including other people, are choosing to do stuff like the herd, which is average, by the way, because the herd doesn’t want to miss out. Screw the FOMO. It is okay to miss out sometimes.
- We work hard to keep all our options open instead of thinking about what we are missing out on
- The more choice available to customers, the less happy they will be about their final choice
Step 2: Picking a Direction
Step number 2 would be to pick your specific direction to keep you from aimlessly wandering in useless lanes.
Here’s how you can smartly and conveniently pick your own independent direction:
- Talk about your purpose: It is essential to know the answer to your “Why?”
- Pick a direction: Not two, not three, just one, specific, niche-based direction.
- Write your obituary and summarize it in 12 words or less: It goes a long way.
- Ask 10+ folks you have worked with about your unique ability: We all have unique abilities that allow us to do stuff in our own way. Ask at least 10 people you’ve worked with, or working with, about the unique capabilities you possess. You might be shocked (in a good way, hopefully) at what they have observed about you.
Step 3: Obsessing Over Your Customers
Whether you are a marketer or brand, or both, you need to start obsessing over your customers, i.e., prioritize them and their needs, problems, and habits over everything and anything else. Focus on what THEY want. Strive to provide them value.
Remember, your goal is to create something that overcomes the habits and anxiety they experience in their everyday life.
Another way to do this is by communicating. Talk to at least 3 of your customers as a journalist, not a marketer.
If you are confused about what or what not to ask them, here is a list of suggested questions given by Louis:
Questions to ask:
- Take me back to the day you started to think about buying XYZ solution; what was going on in your life?
- What made you start looking for a solution?
- What other solutions did you consider?
- Why did you decide to go with us?
- How would you describe the change that happened?
- What are you sick of hearing about in our industry?
- What are the most common and powerful desires, pains, triggers, and cliches?
The purpose of asking these questions is to:
- Get to the bottom of your customer’s mind map
- Get to know the main factor responsible for them choosing you instead of your competitor
Step 4: Identifying the Status Quo
The status quo is the state of mind your customers were in before looking for a solution such as yours.
Here are the two common mistakes to avoid when identifying your independent status quo:
- Your status quo is not necessarily your direct competitor
- Don’t hate the player, hate the game (For example: hate on Google analytics, not on the competitors)
Engineering Your Uniqueness
As mentioned above, there is something unique about every marketer and brand.
Here are the two principles by which you can genuinely engineer your independent uniqueness:
REMOVE anything that:
- Goes against your purpose
- Doesn’t elevate what your customers love
- Is considered a cliche
- Doesn’t involve the biggest pain
- Carefully ADD anything that:
- Serves your purpose
- Elevates what your customers love
- Solves the biggest pain
Louis quotes the example of his own podcast; Everyone Hates Marketers.
Louis discarded the following unneeded factors from his podcast:
- Boring guest intros
- Talking on multiple topics belonging to different niches
- Scripted questions
In place of all these things, he added the following factors that boosted his podcast results and enhanced engagement:
- Curse words
- Discussing one specific topic
Louis quotes another example of a fast-food brand named Straight Up Burgers.
This brand stopped:
- Presenting a long, complicated menu to their customers
- Using frozen ingredients
- Serving multiple products
Instead, they started:
- Serving one specific product, i.e., burgers.
- A simple menu for their guests that was literally the size of a business card; easy to read and choose from
- Using fresh ingredients
Remember, you need to jolt people out of their day-to-day habits. For that, you need to start making value-based decisions instead of the habit-based ones.
In a nutshell, here is how you achieve radical differentiation:
Radical Clarity: Use words your customers can easily understand to simplify your message
Radical Generosity: Share everything you know, for free
Radical Confidence: Challenge the status quo with authority
To conclude, the following is an outline of the 6 steps you need to follow as a marketer in order to cut the marketing BS out of your life and radically stand out:
- Get rid of your self-limiting beliefs
- Pick a direction
- Obsess over your customers
- Engineer your uniqueness
- Identify your status quo
- Show it to the world
According to Louis, smartly following these steps can allow you, as a marketer and business owner, to defy all odds, lap your competitors in the business race, and stand the **** out.
For more information and to directly get in touch with Louis, visit his website: EveryoneHatesMarketers.com
Louis Grenier is the Founder of the excellent Everyone Hates Marketers — the podcast with nearly a million downloads, and organisation that fights marketing bullshit.
This is a super exciting time for Louis as recently he announced he is departing his full time role at Hotjar to take Everyone Hates Marketers full time, which is not only richly earned, but very exciting for the whole marketing community.
As a listener of Everyone Hates Marketers, we’ve come to admire Louis for three reasons. 1. His direct interviewing style that gets the most out of his guest. 2. The guests themselves – we look enviously at the two episodes he has done with Seth Godin – the first of which Seth stated that Louis provided the most invigorating podcast intro he had experienced for a long time. And 3. Louis’ consistent focus on finding not just ‘things that work’ but ‘things that work consistently for a long time’ – I..e. a pursuit of marketing truth.