Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
~Dean Hunt &, apparently, Oscar Wilde
I was chatting with the smartest marketing princess on earth the other day, and we were talking about how few products and services are actually unique.
All marketing advice is basically rehashed John Caples and Claude Hopkins, sometimes with a few Gene Schwartz refinements tossed in.
House painters are house painters. Web designers are web designers. PR people are PR people.
Absolutely, there’s a spectrum of “seriously good” to “seriously incompetent,” and we all have our specialties. And that’s significant, I don’t mean to downplay it. It’s well worth your time to carve down your own little corner of the universe and make it perfect.
But there’s a more important differentiator.
No one else gets to be you
Let’s take it as a given that you’re very good at what you do. If you aren’t, either get better at what you’re doing, or do something you’re better at.
We’ve all been given amazing gifts, and we can all study and improve, so I am 100% confident you can be superb at something.
(Something useful. I’m not belittling your career as a nose-flute virtuoso, but you’ll also need to do something that’s of use to other people.)
With that as a given, what can you add that would take that “very good” to a magnificent new level?
What can you offer that’s dazzling? How can you find a unique message in the cacophony of advertising that’s deafening us all?
How do you find your own village of loyal customers who love you more than anyone else, and will support you in style for the rest of your days?
Sing with your own voice
I have two friends who help people get unstuck.
They both do great work for clients. They’re both incredibly dedicated and committed. They both speak with an authentic voice.
They don’t offer the exact same services, but even if they did, you’d never need to ask how to decide which one to work with. The answer is obvious.
Havi is for Havi-people and Gary is for Gary-people.
So yes, work on your positioning. Work on your USP. Understand your relationship to your market, find your winning difference or your purple cow or your rightful share of customer.
But don’t let any of those slow you down.
Because beyond what you know and what you’ve learned and how you specialize, what you have to offer is you. It’s as simple and as complicated and as wonderful as that.
P.S. (Speaking of the smartest marketing princess on earth, we’re cooking up some coolerosity for you. Stay tuned.)