Taking the hard graft out of marketing
How the right approach and persistent questioning can move your marketing to a new level
Have you noticed how some companies seem to have a real flair for marketing, how they instinctively pick the right activities, events and online techniques to – almost effortlessly – create great publicity and sales contacts for themselves?
Meanwhile other more technical or complex products and services require so much more investment and hard graft to generate anything like the same level of interest.
So what’s making all the difference? More to the point, how can you achieve the same kind of success? And could a toddler really show you how to become a better marketer?
Do you get WIIFM* or TLDR* ?
Increasingly we live in a culture that makes people at best action-oriented and at worst impatient. That’s why most of your potential customers just don’t have the time or inclination to dig down and work out what your products are about: what they are really good for, how you’re better than the competition and how well you could meet their requirements.
Because you’re the one with something to sell, it’s up to you to fill the void. You need marketing and sales messages that get right to the point, quickly answering “WIIFM?” (*What’s In It For Me) and not rejected as “TLDR” (*Too Long, Didn’t Read).
Start with your best customers
If you are going to convince anyone that you can solve their problems or open up opportunities, you need to be clear about how you are already doing that for existing customers.
I find it best to start by telling the story of the sale. This isn’t about writing a case study (as they avoid uncomfortable but essential truths). It’s more about recreating the circumstances of the sale and the nitty-gritty of the project delivery. You often know you’ve hit the jackpot when you hear something like “we started out trying to do X but in the end, achieving Y has been much more valuable.”
The problem is this is hard work for everyone involved – particularly for business owners and sales people. You must be determined not to settle for a superficial answer, but to dig deeper and get to the real, honest, politically charged, financially complex, unglamorous facts.
Call on your inner toddler
If you or your friends have young children you’ll know that the most powerful and disarming word in the English language is “why?”. The more difficult (or embarrassing) the topic, the more likely a toddler is to launch in to a mini-interrogation that starts with “Daddy, why ….”
When people don’t know the answer or are a little embarrassed to say, toddlers (like marketers) can often be fobbed off with half an explanation, or a superficial answer. But like a toddler, you need to come right back with the response “Yes, but why?” until you reach a point where not only do you understand, but it all makes complete sense. Either that or you give up and settle for a sugary snack.
One last thing…
Unless your customers all have the same problems, priorities and ways of talking about them, you’ll need to repeat this process, to create separate propositions for each different segment within your market.
Segmentation doesn’t mean simply dividing customers by industry, but as this is a whole subject in itself, we’ll have to come back to it another day…