I was watching Shark Tank a little while back . There was this young lady who came with a business model which she called as an Ed-Fintech model and she started rattling some numbers from different global agencies on why they are in such a good space. They had not even started on revenue.
What happened – young person, giving “gyaan” with no revenue – suddenly with every statement that she made, most of the “sharks” pounced on her.
Problem perception- those sitting on the other side of the table thought she was acting as a “know-it-all”. They felt she was arrogant and that hurt some egos. No one ended making her an offer. From her perspective maybe she was just being confident with the research that she had done. Net outcome no investment
I remember about 25 years back there was a Korean company called Daewoo which entered India and launched a sedan. It was an extremely well engineered car which the Indian market had not seen till then. Now some of the early users of the car did not understand the way the fuel gauge was calibrated and they got the impression that it its a fuel guzzling car.
That perception got created with some users but the competition took advantage of that and blew it out of proportion. Eventually the car was a huge looser and whatever forecasts were made went south.
As a product manager or a marketing manager you have to keep an eye on the perception that is getting created and handle it, because once its made, it is not easy to brush off and it becomes reality.
Till next time then.
In yesterday’s post I had mentioned Dean Jackson’s philosophy on 100/1000 leads – where 50% of them will change the incumbent in the next 3 years. The only challenge is that we don’t know which ones will. Its a game of patience int he B2B space.
Changing an incumbent need not be the exact category of what you sell. The “incumbent” in the B2B space is about how the customer presently gets the job done.
If presently someone licks a stamp on their tongue before sticking it on the envelope, then this is the incumbent , if someone is trying to sell a franking machine. Now until the person whose tongue is used to lick the stamp quits for a better job ( a trigger) or someone in the company realises that keeping this person only for the “licking” is an expensive option (another trigger) your messages for the franking product or services will not work.
However whenever a trigger takes place with respect to the incumbent, if you are present in front of the customer, then you become the first person they will call.
So you need to have the persistence and marketing stamina , to ensure that you are in front of the stakeholders on a regular basis. In case of B2B this is one way you build your brand. The other aspect is to make your messages “instigating” the dissonance. Slowly hammering away at possible problem areas.
Tomorrow we will look at another aspect of this persistence story.
In my post yesterday I had shared all the challenges that a B2B target audience faces in her day. Having recognised the result you can offer to your customer to delight them and also identified clearly whom you won’t want to attract. How do you get their attention? If they don’t get their attention, they won’t know if you exist and you won’t be able to do business with them. However given the challenges on their time and attention, you window of opportunity is just a few seconds, before you are dumped.
The other bigger issue is that the B2B buyer is not an impulse buyer. She cannot just buy something, until and unless it’s something of extremely low value. Chances are that the need that your product or service is fulfilling is already being done by some other vendor or some other means (the Porter’s model of competitive forces) . If that be the case, its absolutely impossible to displace the existing set-up until and unless the dissatisfaction has reached a threshold value.
So one of the things that works with B2B buyers is identifying the points of dissonance and then communicating with the buyer over the long term. Over a 3 year period, at least 50% of the buyers will face challenges and if you are there in front of them at that time when the threshold is reached, they will consider you. However for this you need to plan your marketing expenses in such a way so that you don’t run out of money before the business starts coming. Marketing stamina in case of B2B is critical.
The other things which could get the attention are typically triggers – I have done detailed posts on this topic earlier also, so I won’t go into the details here. But a new customer getting onboarded or a their existing vendor going bankrupt or a new boss. All those triggers can suddenly change the dynamics, if you can exploit them.
Till next time then.
Till now we have looked at the Future Reality tree, then we have highlighted the unsaid assumptions so we don’t miss a ‘snake in the grass’ which can mess up our plans. Then we identified the various use cases for a simple regular item like engine oil for cars.
Now let’s move forward with the example of the engine oil for cars. We identified OEMs (brand owners like Ford, Mitsubishi etc.), service stations and gas stations.
Lets take first – Gas stations. There could be gas stions which are right in the heart of the city and there could be those which are on the Inter State highways. Both sell to retailers who come to fill gas and may ask for a top-up. But the ones on the highway will fill a larger amount of gas because they may be traveling long distance. Can you think of how you can package your engine oil sales with the higher intake of gas….
On the other hand the person who is taking gas in the city may not get his engine oil filled because he can send his car for service during the week end. So the gas stations in the city may see a lower number of people asking for engine oil versus the ones who are traveling long distance and want to have a hassle free ride.
For the product management person, it is now important to figure out the kind of packaging she will do for these 2 different kinds of gas stations , the kind of pricing options, the kind of promotions…..there are so many ways to get creative to figure out how you can work through different markets within in a niche also.
But if you think of only engine oil as the niche then it becomes difficult to think of differentiated strategies. The moment you think from the end result – a person wanting a hassle free long distance ride you can start getting creative.
One person whom you should listen is Dean Jackson on his podcast morecheeselesswhiskers.com and another podcast that he does with Joe Polish ilovemarketing.com. Just listening to them will get your creative juices flowing.
Till next time then