“The cardinal sin of marketing is being boring.” — Seth Godin
What does this mean to you?
Does it mean that you need to stand out? That you should be unique? Be different and turn heads?
All good points, but it’s important to ask this:
What does it mean to be boring, and why is it such a bad thing?
We have to define what boring means before we can totally denounce it. If we don’t, we run the risk of making bad assumptions. For instance: If “boring” is bad, the opposite of boring is intrinsically good. If that were the case, wackiness and absurdity would be the keys to the castle.
Sales and marketing would be a hell of a lot easier if that were true. You could just do whatever comes to mind as long as it gets peoples’ attention. And as much as it might seem like some companies (or YouTube celebrities) absolutely reap success from such behavior, I promise you it’s not that simple.
So then why Is being boring the cardinal sin of marketing?
Think of “boring” as a symptom of a much bigger problem.
“Boring” is the manifestation of indifference and low confidence. Think about all of the boring MSP websites you’ve seen. What do they look like?
They’re amorphous blobs of canned marketing speak and stock photos. Yawn. It doesn’t matter how many interesting CSS tricks and puns are involved. It’s still boring because there’s nothing engaging to the observer.
Now the bigger problem…
Because that website is generic and familiar, the viewer’s brain actively blocks it out to conserve cognitive resources. Uninspired marketing is ignored on a subconscious level. It doesn’t even stand a chance. This is heuristics at work.
(Go ahead and ask your current MSP marketing advisor about heuristics — do they even know what the term means? Probably not, because it’s not an MSP marketing term. It’s not even a common marketing term. It’s a psychology concept regarding perception and decision-making — crucial stuff since behavior is the true heart of marketing. We’re operating on a higher level here, folks.)
Where does all this bland, boring marketing come from?
From my experience, marketing mediocrity emerges in two key ways:
- The business is not positioned properly, so there’s no established guidelines for how the company should be perceived, and no one has defined how, why, or to whom the marketing is speaking.
- Fear and insecurity has too much influence over the business’ marketing decisions.
Without evaluating the audience and choosing viable targets, the MSP will have no marketing message — nothing that matters, anyway.
And without some backbone and commitment, they have no brand image, no voice, no tone. The vast majority of MSPs are scared to make an impression. They want to blend in and look generic because generic feels “safe”. Cowardice loves the status quo, and no one will point fingers and giggle if your website looks like everyone else’s.
But no one will stop on your website and say “Wow! I really want to work with them!”, either. That “safe” MSP comes across as inauthentic, devoid of personality or humanity (if it even makes that much of an impression).
In the eyes of the consumer, that business is a dorky person with nothing interesting to say. A total bore. Who cares if they know a lot about IT and networks — so do the twenty other nearby MSPs that showed up in Google.
How can I make sure my marketing is engaging?
First and foremost, spend some time identifying your audience. (This is really a business exercise, not just a marketing exercise, so get everyone involved.)
After researching your audience, position your MSP around it. Craft your messaging and image to resonate with that segment. Populate your content calendar around them. Build your SEO strategy around their search habits.
Of course, there are wrong ways, right ways, and better ways to do all of this. If you’d like some help, schedule a call with our team. We’ll show you exactly how we position our clients to increase their lead generation by 40% or more. We believe in being 100% transparent. We develop processes that work, and we love to show them off, so we’ll even send you the documents we use to segment our clients’ audiences and develop their brand strategies.
You’ve got nothing to lose and plenty of new contracts to gain.