Differentiation Comes Naturally!
How can you differentiate your publication from your competition if you don’t know who and what your publication is and how your reader views it? That understanding is not to be viewed from your point of view but from your readers. I recently was assigned a project that asked the question, “How do we (the publication/publisher) define the process of engaging the customer?” The question had a second part as well; that “B” question asked, “What does my staff (multiple departments) not know about the engagement process and is that lack of knowledge a problem?”
A brief interview of the staff provided some very interesting data. The short story: nearly each group had a different understanding of the process, a nearly opposite understanding of how the tools can be used to engage and what engagement actually meant—to the reader, your customer, and yes, to the publication!
I realized that the issue was not the point of engagement—in most cases the media, the ad itself—no, it was defining the process of engagement, when it begins and when it ends and should the engagement ever end? During the course of the interviews a third question developed. How does a reader get to the ad?
How can you define Intellectual Capital (IC) if you don’t know what Intellectual Capital— or better still what your Intellectual Capital—actually is?????
The now famous term of “Big Data” can help, but as with other sources of data it can mislead if you do not define the goal posts and field boundaries. These boundaries include a complete corporate understanding of the need to engage the customer at ALL levels of the process and to keep that engagement in force until the customer says stop! The same issue can be argued regarding the use of devices. Recent data indicates that devices will run the future of any media or marketing effort, devices that are selected by and managed by the consumer or customer.
Is this equation part of your IC?
If not, it should be. IC, Big Data, devices, platform sites, marketing services are just tools that are being used to define a double-edged media sword. On one edge is the publication or publisher and the other edge is the target or prospect, customer, reader, subscriber. As I see it, each edge needs to be finally honed to different levels of sharpness and each edge needs to be sharpened regularly to keep the competitive edge. The question is what tools are to be used to hone your sales and marketing efforts? What tools do you have that can be used to keep both edges sharp?
Can you be competitive if you do not know your IC, your customer IC? The answer is simply NO!
Think about the process. It begins long before you may think and can end abruptly (leadacide), or be extended to the needed result—a sale. The process—a process, by the way, that may be very different from title to title, vertical to vertical and goal to goal—defines the end result.
Thad Kubis is an unconventional storyteller, offering a confused marketplace a series of proven, valid, integrated marketing/communication solutions. He designs B2B or B2C experiential stories founded on Omni-Channel applications, featuring demographic/target audience relevance, integration, interaction, and performance analytics and program metrics.