Thursday, 25 October 2012

Is ‘Meet the Nice Guys in Business Intelligence’ Controversial Enough?

I head up the Marketing Team at DSCallards and am heavily involved in putting together campaigns to drum up interest in our Business Intelligence (BI) products and services.

We do quite well and combine our efforts through all of the traditional, digital and social marketing channels with, what we feel, is a professional message.

That’s all well and good and we keep our sales team busy with plenty of leads but how do we break through the glass ceiling and produce an exponential interest to really put our name on the BI map?

I'm currently reading Seth Godin's classic book Purple Cow, where he exhorts individuals and companies alike to be remarkable - to stand out, to dare to be different - as a key to success.

Seth claims that the lesson is simple - boring always leads to failure. (Except, of course, when being boring is, in and of itself, remarkable). Boring is always the most risky strategy. Smart business-people realise this, and they work to minimise (but not eliminate) the risk from the process.  In almost every market, the boring slot is filled. The product designed to appeal to the largest possible audience already exists, and displacing it is awfully difficult. The real growth comes with products that annoy, offend, don't appeal, are too expensive, too cheap, too heavy, too complicated, too simple - too ‘something’

He claims that creating an emotional connection is crucial to effective marketing campaigns and these ads do what they’re meant to do: evoke the emotion of shock in order to create buzz.  Moreover, what one person sees as provocative or offensive another will hail as creative and that equal the success.

That’s not to say that our core positioning won’t continue to reflect the ‘trusted partner’, ‘solving your business pain’, etc, message but throughout the next twelve months we will be injecting a different type of messaging into the mix.  We need to experiment – whilst obviously being careful to protect our brand – yet still remain professional.

We have cautiously started along this journey by creating a newsletter that talks about the fact that we are a ‘nice’ group of guys to work with, which is very true and is, I believe, a core USP of DSCallards.  The message is aimed at creating that elusive emotional connection.  Read it here.

I feel that this message is pretty safe, however, when I first put it to our team and asked for their feedback, there was a controversial response, which, in all honesty, is exactly what I wanted.  Some felt that the connection with ‘nice guys’ put over a feeling of weakness and others felt that it was conceited to shout about how customers were saying we were a pleasure to work with.  I stuck to my guns, however, (with our MD’s blessing admittedly …!) and sent it out regardless.

So far, the newsletter has created a hefty amount of interest from our database (more so than the standard ‘trusted partner’, etc, message), so we’ll see where it takes us.

I agree with Seth Godin that the path to the remarkable lies in pushing existing boundaries and going beyond.  The challenge lies in coming up with credible ideas that resonate within our targeted community.

We’ve just dipped our big toes into this vast ocean, so let’s watch this space over the next twelve months and see what creative and wonderful ideas we can come up with that will take us into territories and markets beyond our wildest dreams!

Written by:  Adriane Gillies, Marketing Manager, DSCallards Ltd.


  1. You know what they say ...

    "The meak shall inherit the earth".

    People generally do not like 'yes' people as opinions need to be challenged all the time to make sure strong characters do not prevail. Boundaries can be pushed - especially when you have a group of people who are passionate about what they do.

    "Passion" is what drives business. Individuals drive business - not business. People and their passions make the difference. Nice guys can be passionate; an ideal combination as long as they have the will to drive their experiences through the business.

    Nice article ;)