Check your marketing for signs of barketing. Does your competition say “Buy from us. We have the best service, best price, best quality, blah, blah, blah…”?
Now compare that to your marketing. Are you echoing the same message? If you are sending the same message as your competition, then what your prospects hear is, “Woof, woof, woof, yap, yap, yap, bark, bark, bark…”
What is Barketing?
Barketing is a cross between marketing and barking like a dog. Barking is often repetitive, annoying and loud, and always a one-way message. You annoy customers with your message attempt, sound like the rest of the pack and display no finesse.
Barketing is any form of marketing that looks and sounds like “me too” to your prospects. It feels to your market like you are competing for attention by shouting louder.
Why is Barketing Bad for Business?
The best you can hope for is to confuse your prospects. (Duracell and Energizer batteries did this to each other with their too similar TV ads.)
A barking dog is probably not your friend. Your customers might conclude the same thing when you bark at them. People will ignore or shut out the noise.
If your marketing appears to only send the same message as your competition you are annoying your prospects with your noise and deflating your perceived value. Plus that wasted a pile of money and resources.
What do you think when a new potential supplier approaches you with the selling phrase, “I’m as good as the one you use now”? Why would you change?
Examine Your Marketing for These Signs of Barketing
As good as brand “X”
Clients speak of you in terms of being “as good as brand x”. That suggests that they see no noticeable difference between you. It’s a danger sign when your staff confides this to clients.
You advertise where your competition is
The ad rep taunts you with the words, “Your competition will be there”. Your blood boils – you immediately take the bait and sign up.
Your marketing appears to be an echo of the competition
Do you design your ads while looking at the competition? Change a colour and the contact information? Might a prospect look or listen to your promotions and not distinguish between you – if not for the name?
Twins – people get you confused
Clients call you by the name of your competition. A colleague introduces you incorrectly by citing your competition’s product line. You receive prospect calls for the competition and find yourself saying “No, that’s not us.”
Your brand is indistinguishable from the competition
Is your differentiation summarised in terms of colour? You’re the blue. They’re the gray. Do your slogans and tag lines sound similar to the competition?
You get locked in one-upmanship with your competition
They announce a 15% price reduction and you respond with an 18% reduction (and hold your breath). You hold a donut and coffee day and they volley back with a pancake breakfast. They give away an ipod and you consider giving an iphone.
The market is growing but not for you
New competitors are growing but in a different space of the market. They are avoiding your overcrowded customer space and harvesting more profitable specialised niches. You are so focused on your established but perhaps fuzzy target market that you ignore the newer opportunities and miss the rising threats. If you don’t watch out you might be blindsided.
Instead of Barking
When all the other dogs in the pound are barking, trying to bark louder will only get you noticed for the wrong things. When everyone else is barking you need to do something other than bark. Perhaps you should “meow”.
Notice the differences between the TV ads that you don’t skip and the ones that bore or annoy you. Make note of those differences and apply those techniques to your own marketing. Do the same thing as you are flipping through a magazine or perusing your mail.
Compare your strengths against their weaknesses
This is the best way to stand out from the competition and turn boring and annoying marketing messages into attention-grabbing and memorable. This is a strategic executive decision. This is not something that you delegate to your marketing coordinator.
Arm wrestle Paris Hilton but not the Hulk. Point out how beautiful you look next to the Hulk and how frugal you are compared to Paris Hilton. Watch the TV ads for Mac computers. The one with the two guys, “Hello I’m a Mac, Hello I’m a PC”. These ads focus on the differences – in particular the strengths of Mac and weaknesses of PC. They are bold, direct, and memorable. And it’s unfair to PCs. I encourage unfair marketing for my clients.
Are you able to list your strengths and promote them against the weaknesses of your competition? That will probably take some intensive probing. Do not take this lightly. Get outside help with this if it makes sense.
The next question is, are you bold enough to do it? This is where you discover, “How hungry are you? How big are your cajones?”
Domino’s Pizza never talked about the taste of their pizza just the speed of delivery. They built a hugely successful business on that one competitive difference.