Make your marketing stronger: Focus

Want to make your marketing message unique? Relevant? Powerful? Then focus on solving the hardest problems for your customers.

Soft focus equals soft salesI worked with a great art director way back when. His favorite expression was, “If it were easy, anyone could do it.” It’s unassailable logic, and more true now than ever.

By focusing on the hardest problems, you’ll be forced to innovate. You’ll be able to do things that no one else does, or can do. You won’t be all things to all people – you’ll be the only thing for a lot of people. How much better for your business and your message.

In marketing-speak, that’s called “differentiation.” And “positioning.” It means you’ll have a story no one else can tell. Here are some examples.

Local examples of focus

I visited yesterday with a company that has laser focus on a specific, difficult and dangerous engineering problem. This focus has helped them develop a unique offering. You can see in their eyes how excited they are to come to work each day. No one in the world does precisely what they do, yet there’s a real need for their products and services. They’re backlogged with orders, thanks to their focus.

The Rescue! brand of insect traps focuses on traps that use natural attractants to ensnare insects. None of the other traps on the market catch yellow jackets, wasps and hornets quite as well. I know this first hand. I see the innovative Rescue! products in small hardware stores, big box stores, and everywhere in between. They have no trouble filling their website and other marketing vehicles with heartfelt endorsements from grateful fans. It’s focus.

When my cousin graduated from law school, he wanted to be an entertainment lawyer. He didn’t live in a big city. He met discouragement at every turn. “Join our firm; get your hands on little of everything,” they told him. He didn’t listen.

Today he has a thriving entertainment law firm. He has famous clients. The large firm who once wanted him to work on divorces, personal injury and real estate now want to acquire his practice. Turns out he had the courage to meet an unmet demand when no others would. He focused.

National examples

Chick-fil-A, the fast-serve restaurant chain from Atlanta, is growing by leaps and bounds. They are far more focused on a particular product (chicken sandwiches) and a particular culture (southern and Christian) than any of their larger competitors. While McDonald’s solved the “fast” problem, Chick-fil-A solved a harder one: making fast taste delicious. Their focus has created raving fans. (I’m one, but I don’t sing as well as this guy.)

Geico has focused relentlessly for 16 years. They were a me-too company when they began to focus on the 15 minutes that can save you 15%. Now they’re a top-3 auto insurer. That’s the power of focus.

You probably see many examples of this in your every day life, both from local companies and global brands. Maybe you never thought of it in terms of focus and solving the hardest problem. I hope you will now.

If this post inspires one person to zag while others zig, I will have earned my blogger badge for the day.

What examples of focus inspire you?

(Suggested reading: Marty Neumeier’s classic, Zag. From David Aaker, “Make your competition irrelevant”.)

2 thoughts on “Make your marketing stronger: Focus

  1. Pingback: For Marketing: Dump The “We” Questions; Ask About “Them” | The All Inbound Blog

  2. Pingback: Are You Smart Enough For Marketing? - The All Inbound Blog | The All Inbound Blog

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