Is Your 4X4 Trail Rated?


"Traction. Articulation. Ground Clearance. Maneuverability. Water Fording. We've put your new Jeep vehicle through extreme tests on the most extreme off-road terrain we could find. Trail Rated means your Jeep vehicle is designed to surmount any obstacle you're likely to encounter and some you may never see." - Statement on Jeep Web site

Jeep's marketing campaign for its Grand Cherokee, Liberty and Wrangler lines has a lot of existing and potential owners wondering what "Trail Rated" might do for them. That's a brilliant move on Jeep's part. In its basic form, Trail Rated is an internal system Jeep is referring to as "The New Standard in 4X4 Capability." By creating Trail Rated, Jeep established the industry standard by which others will be judged. Until competitors? or J. D. Power & Associates? introduce their own measurements, Jeep pretty much owns the benchmark - and the minds of all potential 4X4 buyers.

Many other companies have developed systems to enhance their products or services, or the delivery of them. Sometimes these even spin off to become self-sustaining businesses. American Airlines did it with their SABRE® reservations system - which actually makes a whole lot more money these days than airplanes for shareholders.

While your system in your small business may not be a candidate for becoming its own revenue stream, it could be a key marketing tool that immediately and powerfully distinguishes you from competitors.

Success Handler Action: With your team, list all the things that make you unique - your industry-leading (or, at least, local competition-topping) standards. Here are some ideas to get started:

? Name some things your clients thanked you for recently. Why did they take the time to do that, and what system do you have in place that made these specific transactions go so smoothly clients went out of their way to let you know about it?

? What elements have you incorporated into your product, service or delivery as a result of trying to streamline that activity and/or noticing what clients were doing or saying?

For example, one night at dinner recently, the waitress wrapped my receipt around my credit card, and attached to a pen the one I was to sign. This was a subtle action that caught my attention. Clearly, this restaurant noticed how customers frequently look at two receipts and wonder which one to leave behind. Then they came up with a better way - a system - and a nice touch that takes their excellent service to a higher standard!

? What formal processes do you utilize and/or what checklists do you use that could become part of your marketing initiative?

A leader in the signs industry, created a system in which all projects flow through a quality control process from start to finish. They perfected it to such a degree they brand "Raising The Bar" for marketing purposes, commissioning a logo to show their pride and using it as an internal motivator as well.

? Is there something you do that is highly unique?

Think of the Budweiser "Born On" Date. They were probably putting dates on their beer for a long time, or at least keeping record of them, but by recognizing this system as a marketing opportunity, the created a competitive advantage.

Even if it isn't unique, you might be able to market something successfully - especially if your competitors aren't. For one small business client, we implemented a "We Recycle Peanuts" campaign, because no one else (read: the big gorilla competitor) was taking advantage of promoting this. The owner told me that for the first time since opening his business several years ago, he hasn't spent one dollar buying peanuts this year...a substantial savings.

? What really closes sales for you?

Maybe it's you! If so, this can be a great marketing opportunity. Just think of it: "You get x and y and z and, most importantly, you get ME!"

Now those great marketing guys at Daimler-Chrysler would think that's a brilliant idea!

Copyright © 2005 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.


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