Explore marketing in the age of consumer choice as shared in the May issue of Cleaning Business Today.

Today’s Daily Tip comes to us from a feature article in the May issue of Cleaning Business Today. Focused on marketing, the issue included expert advice from experienced marketers on how the business of marketing has evolved over time, offering actionable suggestions on how you can position your cleaning business to keep up with the changes. 

In the excerpt below, former Proctor and Gamble marketing lead Cherylanne Skolnicki leads you through a series of exercises to help you determine how to define your company’s beliefs and subsequently, how to use those beliefs to find your best audience.

In the old days, the world was small and choice was limited. If you wanted a couch, you went to the one store in town that sold furniture and bought one. If you needed a plumber, you called the first one in the phone book and hired him. Consumer tolerance for limited selection was high and expectations for quality were fairly low – they had to be; there wasn’t much choice in the matter. With the advent of online marketing, consumer choices are at an all-time high. It is a buyer’s market now. That means the old paradigms of marketing have changed dramatically. What worked before doesn’t pass muster in a world filled with choices.

How can your company stand out in such a crowded marketplace? Not by simply listing your services as you did in the old days. What you do is now a given. You clean homes or buildings. Truth is, so do twenty other companies in your area…and with a single click, consumers can move from one to the next in a matter of seconds. Follow the lead of some of the biggest brands in the country and start telling consumers who you are, not what you do. Today’s consumers have the luxury of assessing products and services with a new yardstick. They want to be inspired. They want to engage. They want to trust. They expect more from the brands they choose. It’s time to chuck the old ways and embrace a new way of marketing that will help your company succeed in the Age of Choice.

OLD: List What You Do
NEW: Share What You Believe

For a moment, take off your business owner hat and put on your consumer hat. What are your buying habits? Are you a Target or a Walmart shopper? A Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee drinker? A Mac or a PC user? What does each preference say about you and what you value and believe? Every choice we make as consumers is now a reflection of who we are and what we believe. 

If you’re still advertising by telling people what you DO, consider the power in shifting your message to emphasize WHY you do it. As marketing expert Seth Godin asked in his April 14 blog, “Why prefer Coke over Pepsi or GE over Samsung or Ford over Chevy? In markets…where there are clear, agreed-upon metrics, how do we decide?…More than ever, we express ourselves with what we buy and how we use what we buy. Extensions of our personality, totems of our selves, reminders of who we are or would like to be. Great marketers don’t make stuff. They make meaning.” With this in mind, relegate your list of services – what you do – to the fine print. It serves only as a reassurance to consumers that their basic needs will be met. Instead, spend your time working on finding and expressing your meaning as a company.

How do you go about defining your company’s beliefs? Start by outlining your why. Why did you get into the cleaning profession? If your answer is to make money, you’re starting in the wrong place. If your answer is that you like to make people’s lives healthier and happier, now you’re on to something. As Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, says in the excellent TED talk included as a video in this article, “Every single organization on the planet knows WHAT they do….Some know HOW they do it –whether you call it your differentiating proposition or your proprietary process….Very few people or organizations know WHY they do what they do. By why, I don’t mean to make a profit. That’s a result….By why I mean, what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?” When you start to answer those questions, you are on your way to crafting a message that will resonate in today’s marketplace.

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek presents a powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with the question “Why?”

Click here to watch Simon Sinek’s TEDtalk: How great leaders inspire action

For more valuable insight on marketing in this new age of consumer choice, click here to read Cherylanne’s article in the May issue of Cleaning Business Today