During one of my first jobs out of college, I had the assignment to write a story about the successful New York City restauranteur, Maurice Reidy, who was being honored by my employer.
One of my questions was: “To what do you attribute your success?” (Apologies to Fordham University, you trained me better.)
His answer: “I learned very early in my career what I was not good at and steered clear of those things.”
Decades later, I still remember that response. Why? I think it’s because most people, and most logistics businesses, would see the question as an invitation to pound their chest and extol their own virtues.
Mr. Reidy was more reflective, and I think there’s a lesson here for logistics marketers.
When’s the last time you or one of your sales people said to a prospect “We stink at that,” or some (less blunt) variation?
The truth is, you stink at a lot of things. We all do.
But often logistics businesses don’t like to admit that. So, when we market, we cast a wide net. If a prospect’s challenge is outside our sweet spot, we look at the revenue opportunity and often decide to pursue the deal, even though the chances of winning it are small.
After all, you never know.
Wouldn’t we be better off spending our time, energy and talent on marketing with more of a laser focus on our strongest value propositions to companies that are best aligned with these core strengths? (Check out my article: “Play Your Position: Marketing Lessons 3PLs Can Learn From Youth Soccer.”)
If greatness is an aspiration (if it isn’t, why bother?), then doesn’t it make sense to focus on those prospects for whom you can deliver superior value?
Remember, it’s hard to be everything to everyone, but you can be something to someone.
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.