Market Your Business Like a 90 Year Old Track Star

by Cindy Zeis

One of the hot news topics of that day is that of Olga Kotelko, described in the NY Times Magazine as “The Incredible Flying Nonagenarian.”  I was discussing Olga’s accomplishments, and that of the others who compete in the Masters Track events, last night with some friends and words like incredible, amazing, inspiring, and the like were commonplace within this discussion.  I believe we can agree that anyone who is competing in physical fitness events at the age of 91 is someone we would all hold a standing ovation for.

The NY Times Magazine article also compares Kotelko’s records with those of the current women’s high school and world track and field records.  Even though Olga Kotelko may be jumping or throwing only ¼ of the distance of the other record holders this does not detract from our amazement for her accomplishments.  Why, because she is competing in the narrower field of the Masters Track where she is intended to compete and where she shines, not in the broader arena of World Track & Field.  She is a superstar who wins the hearts of all who come to know of her.

Why then, in the world of business do we continue to place ourselves in the hard sell of the global arena when there are many narrower fields from which we can “inspire” and “be incredible?”  We can compete on the “master’s track” of our industry.  In order to do this we just need to change our thinking from the traditional, leading with our product or service mentality to leading with ourselves and the solutions we bring.

No matter what type of product or service you’re offering, the truth of the matter is you are trying to answer a question or solve a problem.  Often, our product or service can bring resolution to a variety of problems. Each one of these solutions is a new playing field but let’s just stick to one example for now.  Let’s use the example of let’s say hair spray.  If we hold our product out there and say this is the best darn hairspray ever then we’re competing with the global, relatively emotionless, and highly competitive hairspray market.  But, if one of the benefits of our product is it holds up and prevents frizz in humid environments now we’re getting somewhere.  Now we change the game to being able to target a warmer market of those who live or vacation in humid climates.  We’ve added solution and emotion to our appeal. Believe me, living in NY I know about humidity and frizz and can attest to both.

So, if we take our hairspray and place an ad on a subway sign (or target people in our social networks who live/work in NYC – FOR FREE!) that states:  “Meet your clients without looking like you just took a ride on the train” with a graphic of a bad hair day vs. a clean, crisp professional look and your website listed below vs. a sign with just Brand X, now we’ve changed the game!  Now we’re on the master’s track!

Let’s look at a few ways to develop your “masters track” for your product or service:

1.      Listen to people around you.  People love to talk about their problems, listen for them, and write them down.

2.      Make a list of benefits of your product/service.  Add to this list whenever you think of something new.

3.      Target specific questions/problems your benefits will resolve.

4.      Look for groups of people who may have these questions/problems.

5.      Tie in to trends, be relevant to the time.

This all may seem over simplified but the fact remains that the greatest strides we make are by developing these simple yet effective strategies.  Now, get out there and be the Olga Kotelko of marketing.  Play the game on the master’s circuit, where you are intended and where you can shine.  Have people describing you and your business as incredible, amazing, and inspiring as you bring to the forefront the answers to the questions and the solutions to the problems of your audience.  Why blend in to the background of the masses when you can be the expert in a targeted niche?  Be a superstar and win the hearts of all who come to know you.  You may or may not make it to the NY Times Magazine but you’ll certainly be the talk of the town in your industry.

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