I started my third tour of duty at Symitar in 2007 just in time for Jack Henry’s big July sales meeting. Each year, this awesome event gathers sales and marketing folk from across the company to lay out the plan for the coming year and generally get everyone excited. Each of these meetings starts with a keynote by some motivational/business speaker.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about these keynote speakers or what they said – except for the one from 2007. I can’t remember his name. However, I do remember his message. That’s because he made one of the most profound statements about sales and marketing that I’ve ever heard.
What did he say to blow my mind? You should hate your competitors, and your competitors should hate you. If your competitors don’t hate you, you’re doing something wrong.
While this is true for business in general, it’s absolutely essential for your marketing efforts. Marketing is no place to play nice. Your marketing should be so powerful that each time a competitor encounters it, they think to themselves, son of a b#$%h, I really can’t stand those m@*%$*#!%&ers. I hope they die in a fire.
Does that seem too harsh? If it does, you need to rethink your marketing strategy. Your competitors may be run by the nicest people in the world, but given the opportunity, they’d gladly put you out of business. That’s just the way it works. You need to go for the jugular, because believe me, they’re going for yours.
I know this is an especially hard pill for credit unions to swallow. After all, some of your competitors are other credit unions, and credit unions are supposed to be nice to each other, right? I get that, but some of your competitors are big, evil banks, too. You need to market with the worst of your competitors in mind, not the best.
Of course, you need to approach this with a certain degree of detachment. For the sake of your own mental wellbeing, your hatred of your competitors needs to be emotionless. I’d never suggest that you should hate other people, just other organizations that would benefit from seeing your company nosedive into the deep end of an empty pool.
So go ahead and feel free to hate your competitors. Even more important, work your ass off to make them hate you. That’s when your best marketing will happen.