Marketing Incest

I think we all know that “incest” is a terrible word. But how does it apply to marketing? Well, in this context, it applies when your products or services, your company, or your marketing methods or strategies are too closely related to those of your competitors.

In human culture, inbreeding dumbs people down and makes certain rare illnesses far more prevalent. The same thing happens in non-human populations. I’ve raised dogs all of my life, and I’ve learned that purebred dogs are the ones most likely to have health issues, because they’re inbred. Sometimes the healthiest dogs are what we call “Heinz 57″ dogs — the kind where you can’t tell what breed they are, because they’re a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Well, those types of companies are the healthiest companies, too.

Marketplaces tend to be incestuous in the sense that they’re resistant to outside influence. Ultimately, you end up with the blind leading the blind, and to be blunt, the stupid following the stupid. Everyone following the same methods. There’s no innovation. People are afraid to stand out. There’s nothing that really separates one company from another company. Even if there are things that separate them, they’re not making a big deal about them in an attempt to attract new customers — and they should.

You could ask a hundred different marketing experts, “What is marketing?”, and their answers would range all over the place. Some of the people who have advanced degrees behind their names will give you very complicated answers that take fifteen minutes or more to explain. That’s not necessary. What it all boils down to is this: Marketing is all you do to acquire and retain customers. Period.

There’s a great book by Seth Gordon called Purple Cow, and it tells you how to transform your business by being remarkable. You do that by offering something that’s so great about you, your company, or your products or services that people talk about it. It gets them so excited that they feel it’s worthy of conversation. We’ve seen this in action with great movies, great restaurants, or excellent services. You can do the same with your company. Make people talk about your products and services with awe. If you do that, you’ll be rewarded with money.

This is extremely important, because effective marketing requires that you separate yourself from everybody else. Technically, this is known as “differentiation.” You must differentiate yourself to avoid marketing incest. You’ve got to offer something different to your customers, something unique and intriguing. So here’s the burning question: what makes you, your company, your products and services different from everyone else? What makes you important to your best prospective buyers or customers?

You have to ask yourself that question repeatedly; and I suspect that at first, your answer will be “nothing in particular” or something weak like, “We offer great service.” (This is normal, by the way.) But if you ask that question often enough, you’ll start zeroing in on what you do or can do better than anyone else in your market. That’s a great starting point. From there, you have to either discover or create your points of differentiation.

The average prospect will rarely ever say to you, “What’s different about you, opposed to everybody else?”, or “Why should I choose you over all the other available choices?” But nevertheless, you need to have an answer ready — because they’re all asking themselves variations of that question. They have a finite amount of money to spend, so they’re wondering, “What is it about you, your company, and your products and services that makes you different? Why should I choose you?”

Just because they don’t say the words doesn’t mean that they’re not thinking then, because they’re always wondering. And as I’ve already indicated, the real answer for most companies is, there’s not a whole lot of difference between them and everyone else. That’s why behavior that some might consider outrageous stands out. Consider the entertainment world, where Lady Gaga might be the best example at the moment. She’s worth something like $100 million these days — and her fans adore her.

She does the most outrageous things. She showed up at the 2010 MTV Music Awards dressed in meat. I’m not making this up! It was outrageous, and people talked about it — a lot. Well, I’m not asking you to do anything like that, but you do need to make some effort to make yourself different. Don’t go too far, but don’t just copy everyone else, either.

Now, is Lady Gaga more talented than other singers? You make the call. If you’re reading this sometime in the future and the name’s not familiar, just check her out on the Internet (or whatever it’s morphed into by then). She’s a marketing phenomenon, if nothing else. Her name is kind of dumb, but it sticks, doesn’t it? And her outrageous performances make her memorable. She’s always dressed in something outrageous, something that looks totally different every time. As for her music, there’s not a lot of difference between it and everybody else’s. I don’t see her being especially gifted musically, though of course she does have some talent. But her big talent is standing out in a very crowded marketplace.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Bruce Springsteen. He’s got loads of talent, but he made his big mark through the length of his concerts. Where others might last 90 minutes to two hours, he’s up there performing for four and five hours, sometimes longer. He’s also a phenomenal performer, giving it all he has for all that time, putting it all out there for the fans. He’s remarkable, because he’s different from all the other rockers — and I’ve seen plenty of them.

Wichita, Kansas and the other cities I’ve attended concerts in aren’t exactly on the main circuit… and you could see how bored the performers were when they got up on stage. Sometimes they would even turn their backs to the audience. These guys were our heroes, and we paid big bucks to see them — money that could have gone for a million other things — and they were blowing us off like we didn’t matter. That’s like a slap in the face.

Bruce Springsteen wasn’t like that. He performed for us, singing his heart out. Not only did he go for two or three times longer than the rest of these guys, but he gave everyone a hell of a show. I became a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen and his band, because I admire them so much — especially how they’ve differentiated themselves from everybody else.

It’s easy to see real differentiation in the music business, which is crowded with clones. Most markets are like that, and again, many of the companies in all marketplaces are like the blind leading the blind. But in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king — so keep your eye open. Instead of copying others, reach for something different. Why don’t more people do this? Because they’re afraid to.

Look: people want to know who you are. They want to do business with other people. It’s the relationships that are important. So don’t be afraid to tell your story — and stop being a copycat. Sadly, you find Market Incest everywhere you look. Once you’re aware of this, it’s like the Jackson Browne song with the line that goes, “You take Sally, and I’ll take Sue, there ain’t no difference between the two.” You can’t let yourself be like that, so find those differentiations that make you unique. Look for weak areas that your competitors aren’t serving, jump in, and inject that “wow” factor to make yourself stand out above the crowd.

Here’s another useful idea: adapt ideas from other markets. My best example here is something you take for granted every time you go to your local fast food joint and don’t even have to leave your car to get your food. A McDonald’s executive was at a drive-through bank one day when it occurred to him that he could adapt the idea to his restaurant — and the rest is history. Nowadays, everybody’s got a drive-through window, even Starbucks. People are pre-conditioned to expect it. If you don’t have a drive-through window, they’ll go somewhere else that does.

So look for ideas outside your marketplace. The essence of creativity is combining existing ideas in whole new ways. Innovate. Search for new and exciting ways to do the same things that everybody else is doing. Look at it as a game — a challenge.

Remember: “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.” All you have to do is find those points of differentiation that make you different, and build them into your business. Do that, and you’ll see a lot of prospects gravitating to you instead of your competitors.

Incredible Things that Switzerland Gave to the World

Switzerland is a bit mysterious country to many around the world. However, it is also one of the most significant hotspots of entrepreneurs and pioneers. So if you ever wanted to find out what Switzerland has provided to the world, you are at the right place.

In this post, we will discuss the most obvious and less recognized ones that are worthwhile. So let’s get started!

Swiss chocolate: It is an obvious one. High-quality chocolate is a synonym of Switzerland. For decades the Alpine country has produced the most delicious and rich chocolate. And till today, they are bringing all sorts of innovation in this field to make your experience even more pleasing. Swiss Chocolate brands like Frey, Lindt, Callier, Toblerone, and Lindt are easily recognized even in the remotest part of the world.

The Rex vegetable peeler: The Rex vegetable peeler is something many do not know about. However, it is a great tool that can help you with your day-to-day kitchen work. And behind this fantastic tool, there is an amazing story. The inventor wanted a solution to peel the potato while serving in the military. And he made the primary design which has evolved ever since. Now it is more robust, easy to use, and can work with any kind of vegetables besides potatoes.

People who use this tool can’t think of a day without it. The Rex vegetable peeler is truly a practical innovation that reduces daily labor. And thanks to Switzerland for offering such a simple yet highly functional tool.

Army knives: Swiss army knives are a common tool for campers or outdoor adventures. But at the beginning, it was intended to be used by military personals. In fact, the design or the requirement to produce a fine, multipurpose and compact tool was first came forward during the 1880s.

A skilled designer in Switzerland, Karl Elsener took the challenge and used his expertise to design the tool which fits the needs. After the initial stage, the design was fine-tuned, but today, the goal remains the same, and it is still widely used by the general public and army professionals. It is quite unusual to see a defensive export product coming from a well-known neutral country like Switzerland, isn’t it?

Swiss made watches: Watches are an essential part of our lives. And for decades, Switzerland has been producing the most sophisticated and well-built watches to satisfy customer needs. When you are using a Swiss watch, you are carrying hundreds of pieces of real Swiss history. The innovators of Swiss watches invested a lot of resources throughout the years to produce timekeeping excellence.

Swiss watches are famous for their rich horological history, masterful craftsmanship, commitment to quality, premium image, and retain their value. All of these can’t be achieved through a regular watch. However, thanks to the hard work of the entrepreneurs and strict quality standards, watches coming from this alpine nation are truly fantastic. Till today, people who look for premium quality watches end up purchasing Swiss watches.

Swiss cheese: The Swiss milk is not only great at making chocolate but cheese too! Cheese is being produced and exported throughout centuries from Switzerland. Numerous recognized Swiss Cheese brands work tirelessly to create the finest Swiss cheese. And their products are becoming a common household name.

Swiss cheese has evolved since its creation hundreds of years ago. The high-quality ingredients, rich flavor, and dedication to producing the finest cheese have pushed the boundaries of innovation. And all of these efforts help the end-users like you and me! These are so highly popular that they are exported all over the world. So, thanks again, Switzerland!

Muesli: Muesli is one of the most fines Swiss offerings. It is a fantastic meal to start your day with. It is delicious, crunchy, and made by following very old Swiss tradition. Therefore, the consumption of the muesli has been a part of Switzerland for decades. If you are in Switzerland, you will find muesli everywhere you go in hotels, restaurants, homes & takeaways. But that’s not it, and the country has been exporting this muesli for years too.

Thanks to Switzerland, the world can start the day with delicious, tasty, and nutritious meals!

Hopefully, these blogs have helped you understand Switzerland’s participation in the world. The nation delivers many incredible things for the betterment of the world—for instance, The Red Cross, Helvetica Font, Trains, and many more. We have enlisted those, which you can get online!

Buying Gold in a Self-Directed IRA: How to Take Control of Your Retirement Wealth With Gold

Economists, like Taoists, tend to believe in the interconnectivity of all things. This concept is never more true than when it comes to our global economy. As we’ve seen with the recent events in the Middle East and Ukraine, such things can have a direct effect on the economy at home and, even more importantly, on your investment portfolio. These events, together with a stock market riding at record highs, could bring a major correction in the market and soon. The challenge for the investor is to find a safety net that can protect their investments against such an inevitability.

Is there an investment that can provide that kind of protection?

There is: Gold.

The Best Time to Invest in Gold?

Actually, right now could be a great time for gold as many experts believe its price is undervalued. At present gold is experiencing interest in “safe haven” buying from investors who are concerned about losing value in a volatile stock market. When Wall Street finds itself becoming more risk averse, gold gets a boost. For this reason gold has been considered a reliable store of wealth and has for over five thousand years. Other recent events including the holding of interest rates by the Federal Reserve and seasonal demand have also had a positive effect on gold’s value. But even with these factors aside, gold has still proven itself to be one of the best performing commodities of 2014.

Aside from its recent valuations, the purchase of gold or silver in the form of coins is a surprisingly safe investment and one of the most tax efficient ways to finance a coin purchase is through a self-directed IRA.

The Value of Gold Over Paper

Owning gold with a self-directed IRA is not the same as owning mutual funds or ETFs. With a self-directed gold account, the investor can actually buy and hold physical gold inside their IRA. Owning physical metals such as gold or silver can be an important part of a well-diversified retirement portfolio.

A self-directed IRA enables the individual to invest in gold and much more on a tax-deferred or tax-free basis. This prospect is exciting for many investors because the investment involves a tangible and finite resource with real intrinsic value. Gold and silver are by far the most popular choices for Precious Metals IRAs. An IRA can purchase gold and silver coins such as American Eagles or Canadian Maple Leafs, some coins from Australia and Austria, or physical bullion in the shape of bars or rounds. (The South African Krugerrand is not permitted to be included in an IRA as it is a 22 karat bullion coin.) Only gold coins with a purity of 24 karat (0.995+ fineness) are allowed in an IRA, with the exception of the 22 karat US Gold Eagle. Any metals owned inside of a precious metals IRA must meet certain fineness requirements and must be produced by an approved and accredited refiner.

Bullion vs. Coins

One of the big differences between bars and coins is that when you sell coins typically you’ll get a few dollars over melt value, or market value. With bars on the other hand, depending on the bar type, you get a straight spot price or melt value on a buyback. Because of their additional numismatic value, coins are generally seen as the more profitable choice. In many instances, if you were looking to liquidate with large bars you’ll not be able to liquidate part of the bar, you will have to liquidate the entire bar at once. That’s why when it comes to liquidation it also makes sense to have coins in your possession instead of bars.

How to Get Started

This article was written to answer basic questions about investing in a self-directed IRA. To learn much more about investing in gold and silver and how you can grow and diversify your wealth even in the most uncertain and volatile of economic times, a special mini-course was developed. It’s entitled “The Essential Guide to Successful Gold and Silver Investing” and it’s available for FREE download. This valuable course is filled with tips and expert advice to help you make the decisions that could save you thousands of dollars.