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Are your marketing efforts remarkable?

"Advertising is the tax you pay for not being remarkable."
                                                                                               - Seth Godin

It is true that only a handful of products and services are remarkable. This, when there are millions of products and services available to every customer. Having exponentially growing sales is not remarkable. Having your stock price perennially outperform the market is not remarkable. Having a million likes for your Facebook page is not remarkable. These are all consequences of being remarkable. Yet, all brands chase these consequences, build strategies to achieve them, and define metrics in terms of these to measure all performance (financial and otherwise). While all that needs to be done is to be remarkable.

Your product or service is remarkable if it adds value to the customer in a way no other product can. It can be in the functionality, the price, the customer service, anything at all. As long as it adds value. Your product is remarkable when the customer feels like making a remark about it. It is not at all easy to make remarkable products. That is why advertising is almost integral for the success of any product.

If not the product itself, can you make your advertising remarkable?

Can you make a connection with the customer? Can you engage her even when she's not using or thinking about your product? Can you do this frequently?

The holy grail for every marketer is to be able to answer all this questions in the affirmative. It is this quest that is driving efforts along several fronts like content marketing, native advertising, real-time advertising (and whatever else jargon you can think of). These efforts, while commendable, are not being undertaken in the right spirit. A couple of weeks ago, the senior manager for Marketing Strategy at Coke came out and said "We didn't see any statistically significant relationship between our buzz and our short-term sales". Here's Wendy Clark, senior VP - integrated marketing communications and capabilities, Coca-Cola, talking about how the statement is true when taken in isolation and calling for integrated marketing campaigns.

We rarely see remarkable marketing efforts because every marketer is curtailed by performance evaluations based on these metrics. When there is little leeway for a marketer to go out of the way, to make an effort to step outside the tried and tested, it is absurd to expect her to deliver remarkable.

When Seth Godin says that advertising is the tax paid for not being remarkable, it gives the impression that advertising makes up for the lack of remarkability. It doesn't. The only way to be remarkable is to commit to being remarkable, and by not focusing on the consequences.

Are your marketing efforts remarkable?

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