I know, you don’t want to hear it, so I’m going to have to call it something else. You would really rather have something nicer, like a new Koala-bear Petting Corner, because you, like everyone, kind of hate marketing strategy, and this is why:
- It sounds boring. In fact it sounds like it will take a lot of time, it won’t be fun at all, and you’ll end up with a long document you’d rather hide in a dark drawer.
- You’re afraid you might need to hire a crazily creative Gen-Y person to make it happen; but even if she has been on Instagram since the age of 12, can she really be the fix to your problem??
- You’re not exactly sure what marketing strategy is (eek!)
I personally don’t hate marketing strategy, but I get why people have come to hate it. As the wise P.H. said to me a while ago: “Marketing failed at marketing”. The word itself is a turn-off. So for the purpose of this article, let’s just call it something a bit more loveable, say, the Koala-bear Petting Corner (KbPC). There, that’s much better; let’s get to work.
So: what do I mean when I talk about the KbPC?
To me what makes smart approaches also strategic is whether you have the right information, a narrow focus, and planning. Both smart and strategic could get you good results, but one is much more likely to. It’s a bit like the difference between baking with a recipe – shopping for ingredients, using tools to measure quantities, adding ingredients in the right order and baking for the right amount of time — compared to just opening the fridge and throwing together some things you think could fit together well. Sure, the latter approach might work – but no one would really expect it to. Oh, and if you have the talent to prepare an amazing cake the latter way, let’s be friends 🙂
So now that I (hopefully) got you interested, here are my 5 signs that you are quite certainly in need of a better KbPC.
1. You are targeting more than one customer segment with more than 1 benefit. Yes, I do believe you that your product will be loved by several audiences, for several reasons. But it’s really, really hard to sell 2 things to 2 people (or 4 people?) at the same time – it’s a bit like dating several people in parallel.
You need to remember which story you’ve already told each one, which tone and joke worked with them, what was their favorite restaurant again? Wait, which side of my personality was I supposed to enhance today? If you spread yourself too thin, you’ll end up poor (or single). One year ago Ronen told me this, and now I repeat it at every opportunity: start by solving ONE problem for ONE person.
Once that person is buying, and you’ve scaled your operations within that target, you’re ready to proceed to the next problem-person combo. The whole idea of targeting is that it allows you to accentuate the parts about your product that a specific customer really appreciates, and tell them the story in a way that moves them.
“Start by solving ONE problem for ONE person”
2. You’re losing clients faster than you’re gaining new ones. Oh no! And it’s not your fault that you’re losing clients – there are just so many options out there, cheap options, pretty options, next-day delivery options. Your clients are bound to want to try something new once in a while. Your challenge is to make sure new people are trying your product all the time. And how do you do that? You need to delight them. And just like with dating, that means you need to know them – first of all you need to understand their problem, their alternatives, and their decision drivers (and that’s just the beginning). And don’t forget: their problem is very possibly more emotional than practical (though they might not tell you this straight out); their alternatives could be anything that makes their problem go away – not just your direct competitors; and their decision drivers include everything from price to the attitude of your customer service guy.
That’s what consumer research is for. We recommend talking every month with targeted users, current users, non-users, and lapsed users. And if you think that sounds boring or repetitive, it’s possible you haven’t been doing it right – if you ask the right questions, you should be getting new insights out of almost every conversation. To me, encounters with customers talking about my product always left me feeling energized; they will have either validated my current approach or given me new ideas for innovation.
3. You can’t decide what to put on your website. You already have a beautiful web design, and the website is sort of ready, but you keep changing around the wording and the sections. It’s never quite right. This is one of the clearest signs; a good KbPC would guide you toward the exact wording, visuals, and claims that would capture your customer’s heart.
4. Your marketing material deals mostly with your product or your company. Check out your website’s first screen, or your sales deck’s first 2 slides: how much of it is about you, your company, the team, or the product features? Unless your product is already a highly-desired brand, you need to focus on telling your potential customers what’s in it for THEM. How does it make their life easier, better, or more exciting?
What makes a product attractive to your customers is not its advanced technology or special ingredients – it is the joyful moments they will spend using it, the time and money they save on annoying tasks, or the compliments they will get thanks to it. Once you’re the marketing manager of iPhone, you can start talking about features.5. This one is the signs of all signs. In fact, it’s a result of everything else: Your product is so great, and it would help so many people, and you’ve tried so many things – but it’s just not selling fast enough. So – it’s time to get strategic. It’s time to open that recipe book, make a shopping list, and head to the grocery store. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and build the best ever Koala bear Petting Corner that’s ever been seen. If you’re not sure where to start, give us a call. Or drop us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let’s eat cake together and discuss your challenge. We’ve done this before.