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Why Most Marketing Communication Doesn't Work

By Ryan Dickinson
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2004

Leveraging the most effective 2% of your business in your marketing communication
Research shows that over 98% of the DNA in our bodies is EXACTLY like every other human being on the planet.

We take those similarities for granted. But if we related to each other like most of us in the business world communicate with our prospects, here is how we would sound:

"Hi. I breathe. My heart is beating! And it has been doing that for years! It works great. Would you like to go out with me?"

In a world full of ridiculous pick up lines, this one would win first prize.

But what about a line like:

"We are Harper Design, and we provide great marketing solutions to fit your needs"

A majority of businesses in the marketplace consider this type of communication to be effective, but it is just as ridiculous as the pick-up line above.

Why? Because I only told you about the part of my business that is exactly like every one of my competitors.

I met, courted and won the heart of my wife not because I breathe and my heart is beating, but because of the 2% of me that is different from all of the other human beings on Earth -- what I like to call the "margin".

In marketing, there is a communications margin that most businesses tend to ignore. When this happens, we get:

We are Company A, and we provide great service at an affordable price.

We are Company B, and we provide great service at an affordable price.

We are Company C, and we provide great service at an affordable price.....

Are you communicating only the 98% of your business that makes you exactly like everyone else in your field? Most businesses are...and it leads to a lack of differentiation and a commodity market--where the only difference is price in the eyes of your prospects.

To break out of the 98%, you have to communicate on the margin - that 2% that makes you different (better) than every other competitor.

To be the most effective in marketing your business, you need to do three things:

1) Identify the margin, the most effective 2% of your business.

2) Move the points of competition to the margin.

3) Exploit the margin differences with a targeted strategy and execution.

Leveraging the most effective 2% of your business will set you apart from your competition.

Happy marketing!

About the Author

Ryan Dickinson is a founding partner in Harper Design, a marketing solutions firm located in the Denver metro area.