Tag Archives: point of differentiation

Macho Man Marketing

By Jeff Bowman

Professional wresting has been an interest of mine for over 40 years.  From the days of Lord Athol Layton, The Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher to most recently, the baby faces and heels of the 90’s including Hulk Hogan, Brett Hart and Macho Man Randy Savage. I have witnessed the sport grow from headlocks and spinning toe holds to the flying acrobatics and high-speed action that you witness today.  What is the difference between the 60’s and the 90’s? Marketing!

I have 5 rules for effective marketing that I use to build campaigns and programs for clients.

  1. Create a recognized brand
  2. Stay in touch with the consumer
  3. Deliver what your customers want and expect
  4. Outthink your competitors
  5. Support your product using your strengths.

Macho Man Randy Savage, who passed away recently in a car accident embodied the marketing strategy to a tee, and helped to build the WWE  (formerly WWF) to astounding heights of popularity. His deep gravelly voice, his ornate studded capes, cowboy hats, the sunglasses, and the phrases, “Ohh Yeahhh!, and “Freak Out” were his trademarks. He created the Macho Man brand and maintained it for over a decade. Even in his ads for Slim Jims, he re-enforces his own brand while promoting someone else’s.

Known as one of the best interviews in wrestling, he would often adlib, turn his back to the camera, shake his hand as if he was ridding himself of excess energy and talk about the type of beating he was going to administer to opponents.  He was quoted in a “real” interview when asked what his best match was, that it was the one that the fans loved the most. He truly had his finger on the wrestling consumer’s pulse. As far as delivering what the customers want, Savage was absolutely electric when he entered the ring. Jumping from turnbuckle to turnbuckle spreading his capes like wings encouraging either cheers or jeers from the throng.  I remember a match that he started wearing his sunglasses, and won without ever taking them off! WWE fans wanted action, Savage delivered in spades.

Many before him donned gowns and capes, but never had the expansive wardrobe Savage owned. In the ring, Savage was a high flyer, delivering flying elbows from the top rope getting more height than anyone before, and landing with precision choreographed perfection. He wasn’t the biggest, or the strongest but I don’t think his athleticism was matched by any competitor, and he used that to rise to the top of the wrestling world.  In an interview after Savage left the WWE, he makes a comment which epitomizes his dedication to being the best and marketing the organization for which he worked. “It’s not just winning the belt, it’s how you wear it”

Randy Savage recognized the potential he had to manufacture an image in an industry where gimmicks were manufactured by the thousands. It never changed for Savage.  He worked hard every night, every interview was a sales pitch and win or lose he always vowed to come back, and did.  The wrestling world lost a true competitor

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Filed under Branding, Innovation, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Sales

Get off the mat, you’re not dead yet

head-in-sandBy Stephen Rhodes

Get off the mat, you’re not dead yet. Just resting.

The economy has tanked, although we keep getting these annoying little signs of encouragement, jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate and consumers have stopped spending.

Take your head out of the sand and think about how your business can be ready for recovery, because it is surely coming.

Survival 101. Talk to your customers. Talk to your competitor’s customers. Create greater value. That’s how you keep business and win new business.

Most important. Don’t stop marketing your business. This does not have to be an expensive proposition. Go visit your customers. Join networking organizations. Look at alternative tools like your website, a blog and Twitter to create a dialogue. You want to build a culture of inclusion.

The chatter will allow you to assess your business, the products and services you offer and help you better differentiate from your competitors.

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Filed under Marketing, Stephen Rhodes

Measure twice and cut once

By Stephen Rhodes

Measure twice and cut once. My Dad use to say that. And while his advice often came right after some woodworking blunder, we can all appreciate it for its common sense. It’s sound advice for a small business launch too.

sawing-woodLots of businesses are launched in a flurry to capitalize on some seemingly instant opportunity. Few of these are around for the duration.

A good business strategy is well thought out.

So what do we need to measure?

Start with a simple SWOT exercise. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. What opportunities exist in the marketplace and what are the threats to success?

And then do the same analysis of your competition. Unless you have a completely unique product or service, it’s likely someone already owns the business you plan to take away. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses is important if you hope to position your company as something better.

Are the opportunities real? Opening a real estate business in the boom year of 1989 might have seemed like a good idea. By the spring of 1990, it wasn’t so attractive. Timing is important. Timing is everything, especially so today.

How competitive is the marketplace and how can you differentiate your business from the others? It’s so important that you stake out your turf succeed. Be the best at something.

What threat exists for your fledgling business once it is launched? What reaction will there be from your competitors? Realize that your competitors are likely to react to your entry into the marketplace and consider what they might do – lower prices for example – and how you might respond. If you are entering a mature marketplace, your competitor(s) has been around for a while and you are not likely the first to pose a threat. The response will be swift and aggressive.

There are many examples of giant killers in the marketplace, people who have successfully taken business away from a market leader. I would venture none did it without careful analysis.

Most of us wouldn’t make a major purchase without looking at all the options. Starting a business is a major investment. All the options need to be weighed and carefully analyzed.

You want your business to have a focus, a point of differentiation. You need to know your strengths and weakness and those of your competitor. Make sure the opportunity is real. Consider, what are the threats to success?

Measure. And then measure again.

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Filed under Stephen Rhodes, Strategic Planning