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The Ford and The Olive Tree

olive.jpgIn the 1940's, when the Industrial Revolution was just getting underway, everything was new--and big. Henry Ford revolutionized not only the car industry, but the entire way manufacturing companies did business.

Advertising didn't really matter--because you were "getting your name out there" to people who already knew you. Kind of like preaching to the choir.

That was then. Today, car manufacturing is a commodity business, and Ford no longer enjoys the market penetration they did in the 40s and 50s.

In fact, almost everybusiness has become a commodity. And it hits small biz the hardest: consulting firms, massage therapists, car dealerships, non-profit organizations, marketing specialists, you name it--we're all commodities. We have two options: succumb to commoditization or break free from the pack.

Thomas Friedman, in The Lexus and the Olive Tree, writes, “A commodity is any good, service or process that can be produced by any number of firms." Sound familiar? It should. Especially with the advent of the Internet, pretty much anyone can start any business on any budget (within reason).

Here's the good news: You can escape the commoditization trap. Here's how to do it--Gravitational Marketing style.

You see, people aren't looking for a commodity. They're looking for an experience. An expert to show them the way. Someone who will create value in their lives. What they don't want is another "me too" business trying to pocket their hard-earned cash.  

So here's step 1:

Figure out the process that makes your business unique and give it a name. Instead of "direct marketing," use "Gravitational Marketing." Instead of "we diversify your investments," use "The Thompson Value Integration Method." And give it a little (tm) after the name for extra hot-sauce.

Step 2:

Tie it into a benefit. Don't just name something for the sake of naming it. Use something that sounds authoritative, unique, and directly communicates a benefit. 

Step 3:

Charge for your process. People will pay more money for something (a) an expert created and (b) appears unique and well thought-out. Anyone can give a massage, but not anyone can give the "Energy Field Expansion Process."

Step 4:

Don't think that the process or name alone will sell itself. Study good marketing--the kind on this blog. Use it strategically, not as a panacea.

Again, we can sell commodities, or we can create value--and charge handsomely for it.

Here's to value.