Be first or be different!

last man

Most of the accountancy firms have it down to a fine art at this stage.

As soon as the budget is finalised the newsletters are prepared and issued, mostly by email. Years ago it would be the newspaper the following morning that we relied on.

This year it was no different and very shortly after Michael Noonan finished his budget speech the first e-newsletter hit my inbox with the main highlights.

Nothing too insightful – a summary of the main changes with a token commentary. As you would expect some of the information was relevant to me and some of it was totally irrelevant.

An hour later another e-newsletter hits my inbox from another firm – obviously the same info with nothing extra in terms of commentary or insights.

And then came another and another and after a while it felt like a long distance race where the winners were on their way home and a few well intentioned stragglers came struggling past the finish line.

I had a peep at all of them and except for style differences the content was as expected – virtually identical.

differentiation

Differentiating your business is really difficult in particular when there are many players doing pretty much the same thing. The first firm to produce a e-newsletter on the same day as the budget broke the mould.

When this happened they were seen as unique, very progressive and it was a great way of differentiating themselves – now many others have caught up so this advantage is gone.

The only way to stand out now is to either win the race (Quintas in Cork were the first to hit my email this year) or to do something totally different.

Next year how about getting all of the team ready, each with a list of their clients and prospects. Segment these by type and instead of winning the race why not take a little bit of time and where possible prepare a personalised, customised, more relevant email to each recipient.

This might seem like a huge challenge but with a few versions of the email (each with an emphasis on different topics) and with carefully segmented email lists every recipient could get something very relevant and more useful to them.

Maybe this is something just possible with 20% of the email database – one could send the 80% the generic email.

That’s something I have received from no one and definitely something I would consider to be really valuable and yes, it would make the sender standout…

No matter what you do if you can’t be first try to be different!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

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