What is it that makes the difference between those that flourish and those that fail?
You are by now all too familiar with the marketing statistic that only 5% will succeed and become full time marketers.
The rest will remain in the herd, destined to struggle for every sale, commission and lead.
Now rather than attempting to identify the solution by talking about our industry, I want to highlight the solution by discussing a market we all have a very close experience of, our supermarkets.
Normally I go shopping at Sainsburys but today I left the store before even starting because the tomatoes I held in my hand were due to go off before the forthcoming week would draw to an end.
This is the usual state of affairs but now was the time to try an alternative store and today I chose Morrissons.
The primary reason was of course price but as we are only talking about a differential of a couple of dollars between stores the real reason was that this store was one I had not visited in a long time.
Sadly when I got into the store their tomatoes had the same expiry date but after completing my shop, I felt there was a deeper issue with Morrisons.
Now before I dive into that, a couple of years ago I took some mentoring with Rich Schefren which was both a great and a bad idea.
Great because he made me think deeper and harder about my business than I had done before, bad because I was not at that time a marketer capable of absorbing and utilizing much of the great advice he generously provided.
If you have never dealt with Rich then think Donkey in Shrek.
The problem is not getting information out of him, its getting Rich to be quiet, he will always over deliver and then some!
However the one thing I did absorb from Rich's training was the importance of clarity about your direction and your reason for doing what you do, in other words your mission statement.
As you can see for this site, its "Let me help you" which is derived from my overall mission statement of "Developing a Life You can be Proud of"
Both of these statements color everything I do and this is why its important to have a clear mission statement to guide your decision making.
Now if we return to the supermarkets.
Let's consider what makes the difference between them when we forget about their losing strategy.
If you have not heard of that before then let me repeat it for you.
If you attempt to compete solely on price then you are playing a losing game because long term price battles only serve to destroy your business, your security and your unique selling proposition.
So lets take a look at the mission statements of each supermarket and see if we can identify that deeper issue with Morrisons.
I want to start with a supermarket that I never use, not because its bad but purely because it does not have a store where I live.
"Saving You Money Every Day"
I was unable to identify a clear mission statement on their website, whilst they make it clear they support the local community via their Asda Foundation, there is precious little to identify a clear statement that all who work for and shop with them can engage with.
"Every Little Helps"
On their home page they have a link entitled, Tesco Policies which leads to a resources page which then links to their mission statement. This surrounds their Three Big Ambitions,
- Creating opportunities
- Improving health
- Reducing food waste
This is a great mission statement because it engages their workforce to focus on a career rather than a job plus also touches on two major issues that concern modern society.
"Live Well for Less"
Their core values are buried on their About us page which is a less than inspiring page title. Thankfully on that page things improve as they link to their values via the phrase Our Values,
Their vision statement is "To be the most trusted retailer, where people love to work and shop" and they have 5 core values to make this a reality,
- Best for food and health
- Sourcing with integrity
- Respect our environment
- Make a difference to our community
- A great place to work
Clearly they have thought about this and their staff are fully engaged in these values because you can see this in the attitude of their staff as you enter and shop in store.
They do not have a slogan on their home page and sadly they do not have a store in Kings Lynn but this is a store that deals with the more discerning customer and we can take much from their site.
Their core values are linked from the home page, by the great phrase "The Waitrose Way",
Their mission statement although quite wordy does match what you will experience in store.
"We build long-term relationships with our farmers and suppliers, which helps our customers get the best possible food and drink to help them to live more healthily - this is The Waitrose Way."
This then leads into their core values which are
- Living well, eating well should be enjoyable
- Treating people fairly, treating our customers, partners farmers and suppliers fairly
- Treading lightly, making the right choices for the environment
- Championing British, we build long-term relationships with our farmers and suppliers, working sustainably to deliver quality produce which helps our customers get the best possible products to help them to live more healthily - this is The Waitrose Way.
As you can see from Waitrose, Sainsburys and Tesco each has their own way of balancing the needs of their workforce and suppliers with the expectations of their customers.
This now brings us to Morrisons and perhaps the identification of what concerned me in store.
"More of What Matters"
I took some time going over their site and although I did find a policies page this was really just a long list of FAQ's with nothing to bind their workforce, suppliers and customers together.
Thus I think I have found the core reason for the difference in shopping experience between Morrisons and the other stores.
All the other stores have a clear and concise set of values to base every interaction and decision upon which means, as long as the member of staff believes in these core values, you will get a pleasant and consistent experience in these stores.
Morrisons however because they do not have this clarity, the entire store and its staff feel and appear muddled and confused about how to engage and interact with their customers and suppliers.
So what does this mean for you and your chances of becoming one of the 5%?
Now I understand you are neither a national or multi-national organization but that is merely a matter of scale and regardless of your size the principles remain the same.
Once you have a clear set of values and principles to guide your decisions and color your customer experience, you can then negate the self defeating issue of price comparison.
This is why Waitrose is able to exist because it has identified its market and does everything to ensure they "...get the best possible food and drink to help them to live more healthily", there is no mention of price in any of their statements for good reason.
What can you do to ensure your customers get the best possible outcome from engaging with you, regardless of price?