July 14, 2020 I Event

NAMM Hosts ‘How to Stand Out in the New Next’

Scott McKain presents a NAMM U Breakfast Session at The 2020 NAMM Show.

Last week, from July 7-10, NAMM hosted the 2020 NAMM U Virtual Summit, featuring educational sessions similar to what would have been presented at The Summer NAMM Show, originally planned for July 9-11, had it not been canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.

One of the presentations, which went live on July 8, “How to Stand Out in the New Next,” specifically addressed the topic of how businesses should be reacting to COVID-19.

Author and NAMM Hall of Fame speaker Scott McKain presented on the topic. In introducing his remarks, McKain shared that his consultancy has engaged in scientific polling to understand the current mindset of customers admits the pandemic. “As we look through these results of the scientific survey that’s weighted in terms of income, and it reflects the national averages in terms of male, female and ethnic and everything else, one of the things we found was that price isn’t as important in a post-pandemic marketplace as you might imagine,” McKain said. “I’m not saying price is not important, it certainly is. But, one of the really revealing aspects from a perusing of the data is that customers are looking for a competitive price with extraordinary service.”

McKain also warned companies that are in strict survival mode right now that they’re making a mistake. “I hear from so many business people [who] say, ‘Man, let’s just hunker down, if we can just get through this, we’re going to be OK,’” he said. “I think that is exactly the wrong position. What we do now is going to determine our degree of success in the future.”

According to McKain, making the best of the current situation comes down to sorting out what he calls “the four cornerstones of distinction.” The first is clarity.

“It may be the toughest of the four cornerstones [because] you can’t differentiate what you can’t define,” he said.

For this reason, McKain prescribed businesses precisely narrowing their value proposition. “It sounds so counterintuitive, but the more precise you [are] and the clearer that you are about what you do,

the more you attract the right customer,” he said. “The bigger that you are — all things to all people — then the less that you attract the kinds of raving fans that that will repeat and refer you in a competitive marketplace.”

McKain’s second cornerstone is creativity.

“That sounds like pretty obvious thing to talk about with folks in the music business, but it’s it’s absolutely vital,” he said, adding that creativity has to come after companies have clarity. “Creativity means is finding unique ways to serve our customers or fans,” he said. “It’s finding what can we do uniquely, that has traction with the people that we seek to serve and influence. Pick a single point where you can develop a difference, and then do that specific point creatively.”

The third cornerstone is communication. He said that here storytelling plays a key role. “One of the best things that you can do is write a story,” he said. “How did a customer improve his or her life as a result of your efforts? Don’t just talk about ‘I teach guitar,’ talk about a student, maybe a student that had that guitar sitting in the closet for 10 years and now finally the person can play.

The fourth, final cornerstore McKain laid out is having a customer experience focus. “It is asking ourselves, what is the ultimate experience that any customer could have doing business with us?” he said. “What does that look like? What does that feel like?”

Once a store knows this, it needs to be sure every else, both externally and internally, understand it as well. “If our own people don’t know why a customer should buy from us instead of someone else, how in the world do we think the customer’s going to know?” he said.

McKain stressed that now is the time for businesses to depart from their old ways of doing things.

“One of the things I’ve found is that sometimes we have these old policies or procedures that worked great when they were created, but now in a pandemic, or now we’re doing things digitally or now, whatever it might be, those policies while right in their time are not correct for today,” he said.


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