Top Five Questions to Create an Unfair Marketing Advantage

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Is marketing dead?  No, but it’s definitely changing!  Modern marketing is less about convincing and more about educating, and self-employed professionals are best suited to capitalize on the trend.

Whether you’re talking about modern marketing in general, online branding or the evolving world of social media, the key to success boils down to your story and how you tell it.  Below, you’ll find the top five questions to craft an unfair marketing advantage for your business:

  1. What do you do that’s remarkable?  Begin by identifying the things people are amazed by, the things you get asked questions about, the things that capture their attention.
  2. What’s the “human story” behind that value?  Take what you do that’s remarkable and explain how it changes people’s lives.  Describe the emotional impact of your product or service.
  3. How can you tell that human story in a visual way?  There are different types of content: text, audio, photos and video.  Which is most viral?  You guessed it: photos and video!
  4. How can you get your customers to tell that human story?  Content can come from two places: you or your customers.  Which is most viral?  Right again: content from your customers!
  5. How can you incentivize your customers to tell more stories?  Incentives, incentives and more incentives.  If you give people a reason to be creative, you’ll be amazed at what you get back.

There are dozens of examples of companies that have held contests to inspire their customers and prospects to create dynamic content promoting their business.  In some cases, this strategy has turned “mature markets” on their head, leaving industry giants reeling and innovative newcomers cashing in.

Today’s post is from my friend Patrick Schwerdtfeger, author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley) and a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV.  He has spoken about modern entrepreneurship and the social media revolution at conferences and business events around the world.

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
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