I was recently told to “hone” my marketing pitch on custom publishing. To be specific, the person said it seemed like I had a vision in my head but that I really needed it to be more concise. I thanked him for the feedback and then took some time to think about the suggestion.

It seems like we live in a “Shark Tank” world, where our ideas have to be explicitly clear and concise in order to sell them. But that seems to be a bit backward to me. If the idea was able to be filtered down to a few simple lines, then a level of critical thinking would be absent.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, but concepts that demand true insight and more depth are sustainable. If the concept of custom content is really easy to grasp and anyone can source content, then how valuable could it really be?

The creation of content and the authenticity of the process demands a bit more from the buyer. It requires a bigger vision of how to build community the right way and why the path to trust needs an investment of time. The publishing process is a fascinating way to engage with others and develop understanding.

At the end of the day, it is critical to treat your brand like a noun. Branding is not a verb. It is actually the prize at the end of a long road. That road itself comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be short or long, wide or narrow, straight or curved. It can also be well traveled, which helps you to find your way. In the end, it’s the lonely, less traveled roads that carry the greatest long-term potential.

In short, marketing is the art of positioning. And whatever your thing, the marketer’s job is to position an idea of that thing, its emotional shorthand, with sufficient power and consistency over time so that the audience comes to see it as a brand.

Simplifying your brand promise is not easy. And it should not be. I understand the need to reduce down to a single idea that can stick in someone’s head. I appreciate the idea that we want to stand out from all the noise and clutter of the marketplace. But in order to take on an importance inside your customer’s head, you must go deeper into their minds.

Mark Potter

Mark Potter

CEO, Conduit, Inc.

Mark Potter is the CEO of Conduit Inc, a content marketing organization, which produces a variety of publications and community building programs including CANVAS Magazine. In addition, Mark is the author of the book, Egrets, Hockey Sticks, & Roller Skates and sits on the Electronic Document Scholarship Board.