What is Barketing?

Barketing is a cross between marketing and barking like a dog. Barking is often repetitive, annoying and loud, and always a one-way message. Barketing is marketing gone the way of dogs. You annoy customers with your message attempt, sound like the rest of the pack and display no finesse.

Barketing is any form of marketing that looks and sounds like "me too" to your prospects. It feels to your market like you are competing for attention by shouting louder.

 

Why is Barketing Bad for Business?

The best you can hope for is to confuse your prospects. Duracell and Energizer batteries did this to each other with their too similar TV ads.

A barking dog is probably not your friend. Your customers might conclude the same thing when you bark at them. Whether you are a big dog or a small dog barking is just plain annoying. People will ignore or shut out the noise. Often that's what prospects do when you annoy them with your barketing. It's not their job to educate you so they just shut you out.

If your marketing appears to only send the same message as your competition you are annoying your prospects with your noise and deflating your perceived value. Plus that wasted a pile of money and resources.

What do you think when a new potential supplier approaches you with the selling phrase, "I'm as good as the one you use now"? Why would you change?

Examine Your Marketing for These Signs of Barketing

As good as brand x

Clients speak of you in terms of being "as good as brand x". That suggests that they see no noticeable difference between you. It's a danger sign when your staff confides this to clients. Of course the death knoll is when you say it.

You advertise where your competition is

The ad rep taunts you with the words, "Your competition will be there". Your blood boils - you immediately take the bait and sign up.

Your marketing appears to be an echo of the competition

Do you design your ads while looking at the competition? Change a colour and the contact information? Might a prospect look or listen to your promotions and not distinguish between you - if not for the name?

Twins - people get you confused

Clients call you by the name of your competition. A colleague introduces you incorrectly by citing your competition's product line. You receive prospect calls for the competition and find yourself saying "No, that's not our program."

Your brand is indistinguishable from the competition

Is your differentiation summarized in terms of colour? You're the blue. They're the gray. Do your slogans and tag lines sound similar to the competition?

You get locked in one-upmanship with your competition

They announce a 15% price reduction and you respond with an 18% reduction (and hold your breath). You hold a donut and coffee day and they volley back with a pancake breakfast. They give away an Ipod and you consider giving an Iphone.

The market is growing but not for you

New competitors are growing but in a different space of the market. They are avoiding your overcrowded customer space and harvesting more profitable specialized niches. You are so focused on your established but perhaps fuzzy target market that you ignore the newer opportunities and miss the rising threats. If you don't watch out you might be blindsided.

Instead of Barking

When all the other dogs in the pound are barking, trying to bark louder will only get you noticed for the wrong things. When everyone else is barking you need to do something other than bark. Perhaps you should "meow".

Notice the differences between the TV ads that you don't skip and the ones that bore or annoy you. Make note of those differences and apply those techniques to your own marketing. Do the same thing as you are flipping through a magazine or perusing your mail.

Compare your strengths against their weaknesses

This is the best way to stand out from the competition and turn boring and annoying marketing messages into attention-grabbing and memorable. This is a strategic executive decision. This is not something that you delegate to your marketing coordinator.

Arm wrestle Paris Hilton but not the Hulk. Point out how beautiful you look next to the Hulk and how frugal you are compared to Paris Hilton. Watch the TV ads for Mac computers. The one with the two guys, "Hello I'm a Mac, Hello I'm a PC". These ads focus on the differences - in particular the strengths of Mac and weaknesses of PC. They are bold, direct, and memorable. And it's unfair to PCs. I encourage unfair marketing for my clients.

Are you able to list your strengths and promote them against the weaknesses of your competition? That will probably take some intensive probing. Do not take this lightly. Get outside help with this if it makes sense.

The next question is: Are you bold enough to do it? This is where you discover, "How hungry are you? How big are your cajones?"

A client of mine, a family-owned funeral home, considered promoting their business by printing a comparison between their locally owned and the corporately owned competition. The comparison might look like this:

Head Office: Right here in your home town versus Houston, Texas

Number of corporate jets: Zero versus three Luxury Gulf Streams

Number of corporate vice presidents: Zero versus seven

I approved of that approach. Be bold and play unfair. Smite the enemy where it will hurt them the most. No team stops playing when they are ahead by one point.

Domino's Pizza never talked about the taste of their pizza just the speed of delivery. They built a hugely successful business on that one competitive difference.

Meow.

About the author: George Torok helps his clients gain an unfair marketing advantage over the competition. Claim your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" at www.PowerMarketing.ca Torok is available for speaking engagements and media interviews. Call 800-304-1861 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-304-1861      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit www.Torok.com
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