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Expert Advice from Jerry Seinfeld and the Spice Girls
on Standing Out in a World of Communications Overload


by Bob & Shirley Hanson
Hanson Marketing Group, Inc.


"Everything we come across is to the point"
                    Composer John Cage

If that's true, then the unavoidable Jerry Seinfeld has something to tell businesspeople. And so do the Spice Girls. An avalanche of messages compete for your prospects' attention every day. They come and go by telephone, e-mail, voice mail, fax, post-it notes, cell phones, pagers, express mail, the regular mail service, etc. So here's the question for the Spice Girls and Jerry Seinfeld:

What secrets can you tell us about standing out in a world of communications overload?

Jerry Seinfeld Reveals Two Marketing Secrets

  1. Sweat the Details
    You know how natural and relaxed he appears on his show. It looks easy, but it took 14 years to perfect his timing, phrasing, and his material. Seinfeld says his secret is, "Not only do I stop to think about things, but I stop to think about things extensively." So what are the details you should sweat to cut through the clutter? For starters, make sure you can identify exactly who your best customers and prospects are. And be painstaking in learning to understand them as well as you do your best friends.

    Most important, be absolutely sure you grasp their nagging problems -- the ones that keep them up at night. Guessing doesn't count. If you haven't asked and gotten an answer directly from them, then you're just speculating, and that's not good enough.

  2. Be yourself
    "That's me up there every week," Seinfeld said. "I just do what I'd do in real life."
Be yourself. What does it really mean? For guidance I turned to our interview with successful consultant Larry Nielsen. To be yourself, he said, is to be "consistent with where your drive is -- where your passion is. It means operating purely out of desire -- not out of fear, obligation, or guilt. Be in the specialty where you are truly driven, excited, and passionate."

Then, it's up to you to express your passion. Create a riveting statement that reflects your uniqueness. You may think there's nothing special about you and your business. If that describes you, one way to develop your statement is to ask others how they perceive you. Your clients can be an amazing source of ideas for your distinguishing qualities.

Once you have a statement of your uniqueness, use it everywhere -- in your sales letters, on your voice mail, in your brochures, on your invoices, on T-shirts -- everywhere.

The Spice Girls Present Their Marketing Secrets

How did they become a top selling pop group? It wasn't their singing or their dancing. Nor did they catapult from already established fame. Expert marketing took them to the top. It's that simple! When the group was created in 1996, the ads recruiting "girls" didn't ask for talent. Rather, it stated "no singing or dancing experience necessary," calling, instead, for attractive women with street smarts and drive -- women who know how to get attention.

Don't get me wrong. Being adept at grabbing attention isn't enough. Competence and quality do matter. As I probed deeper to close in on the heart of the Spice Girls' success, I encountered two powerful marketing messages.

  1. Stake out a specific market
    The group's marketers clearly identified their market -- girls between 7 and 14. Not high-school girls between 15 and 18. Or female college students.

    How precisely can you pinpoint your market? Everyone who wants a Web site or all companies with 10 or more employees is too vague. What qualities are you really looking for? Someone we worked with, for instance, realized his ideal prospects were the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who had been in their position only 6-8 months.

  2. Satisfy the wants of your prospects
    To sell themselves to young girls, the Spice Girls shrewdly flaunted Girl Power. They tuned in to the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of their young female audience. As a recent article in "The Philadelphia Inquirer" put it, "A girl with gumption can go places." And the Spice Girls have. Each of them is worth an estimated $25 million and still counting.

    The choice is yours. You can stand back and be just one of the crowd. Or you can act on the same marketing techniques Jerry Seinfeld and the Spice Girls profited by and truly stand out.


1999 by Shirley Hanson. All rights reserved.

Shirley Hanson is a writer and Web content developer. Canadian Women's Business Network site visitors can get her free report "24 Great Questions To Help You Build A Super Successful Web Site" by asking for it at [email protected] Get information about her free zine "A Marketing Energizer for Consultants" at www.hansonmarketing.com/freezine.html


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