guest post by Leigh Duncan-Durst
This is the third part of my series. Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here. In this series, I've talked about the shift in marketing that will impact everyone in 2010. I also addressed 10 characteristics of Super Heroes and how important it is that Marketers exhibit those tame traits, themselves.
However, there's one critical point about Super Heroes that seemed to warrant its own post. The central idea is this:
Superheroes always give power to the people.
Let's talk about POWER, first.
If you take a glance at Wikipedia's definition of "Superhero", you'll find a list of Superhero Types, categorized by super power. Some Superheroes fit into several categories.
For example, Spiderman is a Gadgeteer, but also an Athleticist... and a kind of Shape Shifter, taking on the characteristics of a spider. Here's my summary, with some editorial modifications ...
[click on image to enlarge]
Now, take a minute to re-examine the Representative Super Powers in the chart above, only this time, think of the Super Powers them as metaphors for the strengths our products and services offer to the marketplace. Do you make people smarter? Do we offer the competitive edge, the ability to perform miracles? Just exactly where does your company excel ? Where do you, as an individual excel? We might offer skills in a number of areas...but we've got to be BEST at something.
Now let's talk about PEOPLE.
Usability pioneer and thought leader (and one of my own, personal heroes) Kathy Sierra, encourages her audiences to ask one simple but very powerful question:
"What Super Powers do I give my Customers?"
This is the one question every Super Marketer should ask. Why? Because it makes all the right assumptions.
- First, it's asked from a proper, "outside in" perspective that considers the plight of PEOPLE first.
- Second, it speaks to what's unique about your product and/or service and helps build clear focus beyond "features" and promises to point to a more tangible value proposition.
- Third, it forces the marketer to become less about "selling" and more intent on how products and services empower people.
That's what good products and services do -- they think about people and empowering them with what's most important. Good companies know how to serve people. This is what Super Marketers understand, and they know how to tell a compelling story with it. Guy Kawasaki, in an online webinar with Seth Godin said the other day "Take care of people. The Marketing will then take care of itself." It's wise counsel.
Now, don't take this literally -- it's not necessary to align yourself to a Super Hero type. Quaker takes this quite literally with it's "Go Humans Go" Campaign, which I must admit, I like.
Just take time to consider the Super Powers you offer to customers. They might not be in the chart above. To stimulate some food for thought, consider some blue-chip brands. What powers do they give to the people? Consider these examples:
Ask yourself what Super Powers do your products and services provide to people. Next, ask yourself if the powers you provide are unique or distinct in your market. Are they obvious or intuitive to prospects and customers in your communications? As we move into 2010, consider how you can strengthen the powers you offer, along with the story you tell. Consider extending the brand into new channels like You Tube, Twitter or an online communities such as Facebook in a way that compliments your Super Strengths and enhances the power you give to others.
However, before you do, get serious with a plan and determine how it is you will service people in coordination with the rest of the enterprise. Don't apply traditional push tactics in those channels - because they don't work. Instead, figure out how you'll join conversations, add value and take care of people.
Super Heroes finish with the day's work with a sense of satisfaction over the fact that mankind is in some way, better off for their contributions. In a similar manner, the Super Marketer can finish the day knowing that they have worked in a manner that demonstrates passion and genuine care for others. They not only feel good about focusing efforts on better serving the needs of people, they become more focused and productive. They feel stronger more confident as they embrace the shift and build muscle, helping transform the organization to a more truly customer-centric entity.
Now out and be Super! Find new ways to tell your story and engage people in it. Celebrate success and your amazing customers. Champion the causes of the people, give them the power they crave... and they will serve your brand well.
Leigh is an active industry consultant, writer, speaker and teacher. Her clients include mid-to-large sized companies in a variety of industries, including Time Warner/AOL, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Right Now Technologies. Leigh contributed to the international best seller Web Redesign: Workflow that Works . She is a senior contributing editor for Marketing Profs and has authored a myriad of articles appearing in national/international media and industry press.