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Posted on February 9, 1999

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  The Add Me! Newsletter           *** ISSUE #14 ***
  "Free tips for promoting your website"
  
  Add Me, Inc                   http://www.addme.com
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       >> DON'T BE THE BEST. BE THE FIRST! <<

  ........................................................
  February 9th, 1999		   *** ISSUE #14 ***
  ........................................................



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           .....THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE.....


          DON'T BE THE BEST. BE THE FIRST!
        =====================================

  By Michel Fortin, Ph.D.
  Copyright  Dr. Michel Fortin

  Often, many businesses build their entire marketing strategy
  around a particular brand and its "better" qualities. Claiming
  superiority smacks of being untrue and is indeed a very risky
  endeavor. In other words, if you claim that you're the best, your
  statement will seldom be credible.

  A mentor once said to me that "Implication is more powerful than
  specification." It is much more effective to imply
  superiority--and to be perceived as being a superior
  company--than to simply being (or outright stating that one is)
  superior.

  So, how do you get others to perceive you as being the best? How
  does one imply superiority without stating it outright? The
  following are a few pointers to guide you in that direction.

  BE THE FIRST
  If you're the first in some category, you can usually invent your
  own position, which makes it tremendously difficult for
  competitors to copy you. If you're the first and if your
  competitors do copy you, it will only help to remind people of
  you. In fact, being the first in the marketplace is not as
  important as being the first "in the mind" of the
  marketplace--the mind hates change!


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  Working with cosmetic surgeons, I've personally experienced this
  undeniable truth. A particular hair transplant doctor is one of
  the first surgeons of this type. While superiority in this field
  is a matter of artistic ability and not historicity, he is still
  widely recognized as the best surgeon there is--even if he still
  uses outdated techniques.

  No two bodies can occupy the same space. If you get to a position
  first, you will have to be removed before someone else can take
  over. But if you're the first, it will be impossible for others
  to remove you. Hence, by being the first your position is
  virtually guaranteed!

  It doesn't matter who is technically the first in the marketplace
  or first to offer a product or service. The first to get a
  company, product, or service in the consumer's mind will own the
  position and thus be perceived as being the best.

  When you're the leader in your field or category, people will
  automatically assume that you're the best. Uniqueness is
  therefore the key and immensely more effective since it separates
  you from the rest rather than compares you to them.

  CREATE YOUR OWN CATEGORY
  For instance, Jack Trout, in his truly wonderful book "The 22
  Immutable Laws of Marketing," proves this point with a simple
  question. He asks, "Who was the third person to fly over the
  Atlantic in a solo flight?" If you're not a history buff like me,
  you will more than likely be stumped. Most people remember that
  Lindbergh was the first because, being the first, he comes to
  mind immediately.

  However, if you were asked "Who was the first 'woman' to fly over
  the Atlantic in a solo flight?" which is the very same question
  but rephrased in a different way, you will probably know the
  answer. It's "Amelia Earhart."

  Many people try to "compete by comparison" and may even get some
  recognition as a result. But where they often fail is in creating
  lasting top-of-mind awareness by drowning their image in a
  currently known category--or ladder, if you will.

  Everybody knows who is the first in some category or another, but
  rarely do people remember who's second let alone third. If you
  market your company as a better firm with a better product or
  service at a better price, you are merely reminding others of
  that which you are better than, which is your competition.

  So, if there's no category you can be first in, create one.
  Having your very own category is powerful because it is
  impossible for your competition to beat you. Being the first,
  your place is therefore guaranteed and you will thus be perceived
  as the leader--which in fact, by being the first, you are!

  GO THE OTHER WAY
  7UP floundered until it announced that it was the "Uncola." As a
  result, the more Coke and Pepsi advertised, the more it helped
  7UP. On the other hand, Coke, which was touted as being "The Real
  Thing," was known to be an old company with a 100-year old recipe
  locked in some secret safe. Pepsi decided to go the other way and
  proclaimed that it was for the "New Generation."

  Avis did poorly until it finally conceded that it was No. 2. The
  "We try harder" campaign focused on its underdog attitude that
  turned the size of its bigger competitor, Hertz, into a negative.
  Domino's Pizza was surely not the first pizzeria. But by being
  the first to deliver its pizza "in 30 minutes or it's free," it
  went from a small restaurant to a multimillion dollar franchise
  operation.

  Be the first to cater to a specific target market or be the first
  to cater to a market in a unique way. Be the first to customize a
  general product or service to a specific market, or be the first
  to offer an alternative to an existing product or service.

  For example, you might be a travel consultant selling business
  trips to financial institutions. If you're not the first, you
  might then market yourself as "the first to serve the financially
  inclined" or "the first travel agent for the 'busy' financier."

  In other words, don't be the best in some category. Be the first
  in one.

  ------------------------------------------------------------
  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  Michel Fortin, Ph.D. of The Success Doctor(TM) is an
  internationally-acclaimed business development consultant,
  speaker, author, and copywriter. If you like the ideas expressed
  in this article, then get a FREE copy of his complete book, "The
  10 Commandments of Power Positioning: Magical Marketing
  Strategies for Creating an Endless Stream of New, Repeat, and
  Referral Business" by visiting
  http://members.home.net/success-doctor. You can reach him at
  mailto:success-doctor@home.com or (613)748-1624. You may also
  subscribe to The Success Doctor(TM)'s FREE weekly e-zine, "The
  Profit Pill."
  ------------------------------------------------------------



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