Marketing, for Louis Grenier, has never only been a job: it’s a passion. Creator of the podcast “Everyone hates marketers”, he interviews only the crème de la crème of the marketing world, doers willing to share implementable strategies and advice over empty words.
Advocate of a no-fluff, practical approach to marketing, he loathes “marketing hacks” that only fuel manipulation and aggression in client communication. Who here has already promoted an online webinar with “only 50 seats available” to encourage people to subscribe? Wrote poor 300-word articles to rank on Google (and please your boss) with no consideration for people or customers? His advice: drop all of these short-term, borderline evil techniques for a smarter -and better- approach.
In his exclusive Marketing Wild Wild West lecture on Saloon, Louis gave us some hard-to-find advice on how to stand out from the crowd without losing sight of what matters -or copying what your competitors do. Couldn’t make it? Here is our overview.
0. Block out and kill the clutter
Clutter is something all marketers face, every single day. How to stand out? How to make content that truly feels different? First of all, do not feed this clutter by copying content (and trying to make it cheaper and/or faster) or by idolizing the same marketing gurus that will sell you vague concepts and empty sentences rather than actionable advice.
For Louis, there is a need for real “how-to” methodologies in marketing. If you want to learn how to draw an owl, you want actionable steps and strategies, not vague advice!
In his lecture, he put forward 6 practical recommendations in order to help us create something that radically stands out and that is attractive to customers and prospects. There is no need to “hack the system” if the system helps you in a smart and ethical approach to marketing.
1. Get rid of clichés
Differentiation, says Louis, is not risky at all. On the contrary: you risk more by desperately trying to stay in your lane or do the same thing as your competitors. To gain a real competitive advantage, you must do something different.
“Trying to succeed by doing the same thing as everybody else will actually require more effort from you, for fewer chances of success.”
In BtoB and in the digital world, techniques and strategies are copied and reused all the time. We analyse our competitor’s every move, hoping to get closer to the “next big idea”. However, Louis says, these behaviours emerge for all the wrong reasons. Fear of failure paralyses our marketing and communication strategies, and may, long-term, ruin your reputation. Take some risks!
Louis also advises getting rid of FOMO (fear of missing out). Being confident in your product, services and core messages gives you the ability to produce high-quality content and attain your objectives efficiently.
“It’s psychology; the more you give your customers and prospects choices, the less they’ll be happy with their final choice.”
Knowing what you do and sticking to your guns is, for Louis, one of the best ways to retain customers and attract prospects around your key messages on the long run.
2. Choose a purpose and keep going
Choosing a purpose gives you confidence, and this confidence helps you broadcast your message more efficiently. It doesn’t have to be “cool”: a strong vision is short, clear and true. The best way to know what you are the best at is asking people around you!
“I don’t believe in personality tests. You put down whatever you think you are, and it doesn’t reflect the truth. I want you to ask the people around you, starting tomorrow: “What is the one thing that makes us different?” Once you have your answer, you know what you’ll have to improve on, day after day.”
By uncovering and sticking to this strong vision and purpose, you’ll be able to build a brand and marketing strategy that is truly different. By striving to embody your principles and values across your whole organization, you’ll make them easier to identify and share. Overall, it will help you distinguish yourself from your competition.
3. Be obsessed about your customers
For this advice, nothing simpler: think about your customers every single day. What do they want? What are their problems? Expectations? How do they want to tackle their challenges?
By listening to their own words and being empathetic, you’ll be able to gather precious insights. Your prospects and marketing targets may be at the centre of your thoughts as a marketer, but it’s what your clients say about you that will give you tools to share what makes you truly unique.
4. Identify the status quo
Rather than shouting in the empty, there is nothing like identifying a status quo you can position your messages against. You’ll become the David of your own personal Goliath and will get prospects to position themselves with you.
The best way to do so is by identifying an undesirable state your product or services will pull your prospects out of. By building your marketing strategy around the resolution of a major problem or the fulfilment of a desire, you’ll reach larger and more invested audiences.
Louis showed us how Hotjar built their product marketing strategy around a very simple status quo: understanding the detail of your users’ experience on your website rather than drowning in numbers.
The status quo doesn’t necessarily need to be your biggest competitor. If it is, be careful about your approach and don’t be too aggressive. Don’t hate the players, hate the game!
5. Work on what makes you unique
“Look for what is missing from the messages of great, successful companies, not what is. It’s not random: it’s a strategy.”
To implement this advice, Louis is radical: if something in your marketing strategy doesn’t match the following criteria, ask yourself if it should be here at all:
- it goes against your core messages or your purpose as a company ;
- it doesn’t elevate what customers love about you ;
- it is considered a cliché ;
- it doesn’t solve your clients’ (or prospects’) biggest pain.
6. Show it to the world
Finally, and it is probably Louis’s best advice: don’t be afraid to show your work to the world. There is no gain from leaving a strategy on the shelf. Test your messages, your formats, your approaches, and improve them as you receive feedback. There will never be a better judge.
“Take some risks and confront your messages with your audience. Don’t try to dilute it. Test it, and when it’s done, do it again, but better. Create something new, test it, iterate on it, then test something else.”
In the end, Louis gives us his three “radical” keys to craft powerful and meaningful messages for your audience:
- radical clarity: use your customers’ words and simplify your message ;
- radical generosity: share everything you know, for free ;
- radical confidence: challenge the status quo with authority.
What Louis preaches, we believe in too. There is no “growth hack” that will properly replace a solid, meaningful strategy for you or your prospects. His podcast, “Everyone hates marketers”, is a gold mine for all of us who do not want to fall prey to buzzwords, fashionable tools and empty promises anymore. He invites the best and brightest of the marketing world to offer practical advice and good practices. Bonus point: all of his resources are available on his website if you want to try something new. Do not miss it!
What are the risks you want to take tomorrow to stand the f*ck out? To see all of Louis’s lecture, head over to Saloon and enjoy the replay for free!