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Cidnee Stephen
Marketing & Lead Generation Expert
Calgary, Alberta Canada
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Are You Stuck in the Mediocrity Trap?

We find ourselves stuck in the mediocrity trap, frustrated that our businesses aren’t making the money we feel they should be for the efforts we are putting in. So how can you shift from blasé to brilliant?
Written Sep 23, 2011, read 859 times since then.
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It's funny.  When we start a business most of us have dreams of becoming #1 in our industry and taking the world by storm.   

Then as the months and years go by our focus becomes first on survival and then on sustainable growth.   

As we grow, we might add some different service or product offerings, change our pricing, hire more staff, and even make operations more efficient. As a result of our efforts, our companies continue to tick along nicely. 

Except for two things: 

  1. Our company still isn’t #1, and
  2. We still aren’t taking the world by storm.  

Typically at this point, we find ourselves stuck in the mediocrity trap, frustrated that our businesses aren’t making the money we feel they should be for the efforts we are putting in. So how can you shift from blasé to brilliant? For a start, you need to take a closer look at how you are servicing your customers and what you can do to enhance the “Wow Factor.” 

Now, you might be asking how this relates to marketing. After all, I’m suggesting you focus more after the sale takes place and marketing is typically considered a pre-sale activity. Yet think about the amazing success stories you know about businesses out there. Maybe it’s Starbucks or a particular business book? Did Starbucks really become successful because of their coffee or was it the great experience people had… lounging around on comfy couches or being able to order their own customized version of what can only loosely be called a cup of coffee? Did you buy that last business book because of the content or because two or three people found it impacted them in a positive fashion?  

According to Economy Watch one of the leading successful characteristics amongst industry leaders is brand awareness.  They explain that the brands of industry leaders are requested more often because of their acceptance and popularity.  In other words, there is a belief that these products or service will better fulfill their customers needs. While certainly some of this brand support comes from advertising channels, think about your own buying habits.  Aren’t your most powerful influences coming from what OTHERS have to say about their experience with that product or brand? 

Believe me if there is an area where most people miss a big and inexpensive marketing opportunity it’s finding ways to WOW their customers.  So why not spend some time asking yourself,

 “What can we do in the next year to be EXCEPTIONAL?” 

  • Start by asking your customers where they feel you could improve or, if they ran your company, what changes would they incorporate to take it to #1?
  • Look for more ways to thank your customers and show your appreciation.
  • Enhance your communication strategy to stay in better contact long term with your customers even after you finish servicing their needs.
  • Look for ways to hone your offerings to provide a better and unique experience. 
  • Look for ways to pleasantly surprise your customers.  In other words, what can you do to OVERDELIVER and then OVERDELIVER again?
  • Have another look at your competitors and other innovators in your industry and grade yourself against what they are doing?
  • Look outside your industry for something truly creative?
  • Bone up on books or blogs about enhancing the customer experience. 

You can see there are a myriad of activities you can do to pull yourself and your company out of settling for “just average.”  Even if you were to focus on incorporating one improvement every quarter you would be well on your way to that number 1 spot.  The challenge you need to put forward to yourself is am I willing to take a few steps towards excellence starting now? 

After all… 

“The most splendid achievement of all is the constant striving to surpass yourself and to be worthy of your own approval.”


Learn more about the author, Cidnee Stephen.

Comment on this article

  • Independent Online Media Professional 
Gladstone, Oregon 
Chas Wyatt
    Posted by Chas Wyatt, Gladstone, Oregon | Sep 25, 2011

    Dreams of grandeur, supplanted by hope for security. Where did the quote at the end come from?~ Great quote.

  • Business Marketing  
Boston, Massachusetts 
Paul Costello
    Posted by Paul Costello, Boston, Massachusetts | Sep 27, 2011

    Great article - I think it's always helpful to have a set of advisors who is helping you answer the "what can we be doing better?" question more effectively.