Conformity is a powerful force. Nowhere is it more powerful than middle school and high school.
Parents know it and most of us have made the speech more than once.
“Be yourself…Find your own voice…Celebrate your uniqueness… Don’t be a cookie-cutter kid…(fill in your own version)”
Despite the speeches, conformity often wins. Why? Because being like everyone else is regarded as a sound strategy to many teenagers. In their minds, it allows them to blend in during an awkward time when they are trying to figure stuff out.
When marketing logistics services and products, conformity can be the kiss of death.
It relies on being the same in a crowded, noisy space where buyers already have a hard time distinguishing one logistics provider from another.
Marketing logistics services: different is good
Often, when I push a logistics business to spotlight some aspect of their company that’s unique, they often balk.
- Great in one geography? “Yes, but customers want national and global partners.”
- Focused on a particular industry? “Yes, but we have the ability to serve many industries.”
- Expert in a particular service? “Yes, but customers want a full-service solution and we don’t want to suggest we don’t offer it all.”
Some have a downright inferiority complex. They don’t like where they are today and elect to market some distorted version of what they may one day become, often pointing to an admired competitor to describe how they want to be perceived.
When marketing logistics for a company, I’ve even been told to “Go to XYZ Company’s website and describe us like that. That’s who we want to be like.”
For logistics businesses, it’s ok to admire companies as role models, unless it results in us diminishing our own differences and grinding down the sharp edges that make us what we are.
There’s a lot of sameness out there. When determining our business's marketing strategy, we should heed our “parent voice.” The one that urges us to be ourselves and embrace what makes us different, even quirky.
Being “like others” isn’t the ideal goal for a high school student, and it’s certainly not a sound strategy when marketing logistics services in a crowded, competitive space.
Logistics companies often make the same mistake as the six-year-old soccer player. They want to be part of every play. But in an increasingly competitive market, a “we’ll do anything for anybody” message won’t cut it.Download the eBook