Who’s your customer?

B2B, differentiation, ideal customer, Marketing, Marketing Ecosystem, messaging, Product Management, Sales, segmentation, single target market

This is one of the most critical questions for any product management person or a marketing person and further any sales person.

I have written various articles on this same topic taking a hit at it from various angles. Some people people call it the Ideal customer profile, some the single target market.

The critical issue is that person and what could be going on in the mind of that person which will make him think about talking to you, responding to your message, asking for your white paper etc.

Understanding this one concept is such a core to all of marketing that not addressing this one issue will cause all your differentiation be useless.

Inspite of so many years doing marketing, if I get this one thing wrong, my whole plan goes for a toss. Sometimes your colleagues will tell you that its such a small slice of the market so you should expand your attributes. Slowly you start diluting the ideal profile and the marketing becomes cluttered and the message does not attract anyone.

You also need to be clear therefore on who is not going to be your customer , so that when your message starts getting diluted your alarm bells start ringing.

Once you have clearly defined this customer – even in B2B – its a person whom you will need to profile, then the company, then the industry. What’s going on in the mind of that one person, who else is selling to that person, what could be the challenges of that person. There’s no doubt its more difficult to do this profiling than it’s to do for the consumer segment because there are many more people involved in a B2B environment.

On the other hand its easier to profile industries, loss or profit making companies etc. because that data is publicly available. In addition you have tools like Linkedin which can help you identify the colleagues of the profile, you can identify the statements made in the public by their executives etc.

Once you are clear on this one aspect, then the other things like the economics, the batch size of the market, the go to market strategy, the marketing ecosystem you need etc. become easier to handle.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Importance of the ecosystem in marketing

Marketing, Marketing Ecosystem, Product Management, Technology

I have been harping for a long time, in case you are coming out with a new product/service in the market, you need to check for the availability of the ecosystem in the technology market space. So if you are Google or Facebook, you cannot expect to enter or dominate the market if there is no internet connectivity.

I have also written earlier about how Thomas Edison was among the few people who had systematised the concept of testing in his New Jersey Labs . There were hundreds of people testing various aspects of his inventions in parallel. He was not testing things serially which is more time consuming.

Incidentally while the light bulb is attributed to Edison, there were at least another 20 odd people who were building the light bulb at the same time.

What is important to remember is that Edison understood the concept of the ecosystem for the success of the light bulb. If there was no electricity, the adoption of the light bulb would not happen. I guess his experience of working with the telegraph company, had given him this background.

For those of you who don’t know Edison was also among the original promoters of what we know today, as the General Electric company and it was called the Edison General Electric. So while the light bulb was being designed, they were also designing the electric network that would get the electricity to the homes of the people so that there would be an immediate market for his invention.

Edison was the perfect marketing / business person who understood that the ecosystem is most critical when getting a new concept into the market.

Even today, there’s so much noise about different technologies that are hitting the market. What is important for the technologies to succeed is the infrastructure or ecosystem to be present in a very stable condition. If the ecosystem itself is shaky then you won’t be able to get the new technology launched successfully. This is one of the most critical lessons in product management which people miss.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Prioritizing the top 3 or 4 – Product Management

Assumptions, B2B, differentiation, Marketing, Marketing Ecosystem, Marketing Stamina, messaging, prioritizing, Product Management, segmentation, single target market

Last week I put up a post in which I highlighted the top issues that we need to focus on when looking at the product management in a technology environment. Product Management being a subset of marketing, some of the core items remain the same. However the focus changes a little. In my opinion, B2B technology buying needs to prioritize as follows:

  1. Understanding the ecosystem for technology adoption
  2. Getting footfalls (incase of a store) or hits on your website or people coming to your webinar
  3. Cost of various media to get you the traffic
  4. Cost of converting the footfall into a buying public

Perry Marshall calls items 2-4 as Traffic, Conversion and Economics. The reason I put the ecosystem first is because there’s a huge dependency on the existing infrastructure for the technology to be adopted. Most technology products that fail are because the ecosystem did not exist for the adoption.

Since 80/20 is fractal within each of these there’s a further 80/20 which exists. So within each database/list, there could be about 20% who would respond 80% of the times or even within the ecosystem there could be a 4% which accounts for the 64% of the ecosystem dependency.

If you are able to identify the few challenges in the ecosystem that you will face which can have a major impact on the success of your product, addressing them will ease your product launch or product entry or penetration dramatically. Its the small hinges which move doors in all areas.

Till next time then

Carpe Diem!!!

Prioritizing top 2 or 3 – challenges -2

differentiation, execution, Marketing, Marketing Ecosystem, Methodologies, prioritizing, Product Management, route to market, segmentation, single target market

Yesterday I wrote about the issues which come up in prioritizing the top 2 or 3 for me, in my day-to-day life. This post will talk about the top 3 things in marketing that you need to address and the challenges which come up in real life situations because of revenue pressures.

In marketing if you summarize the issues with respect to lead generation or getting business then they would be

  1. Getting footfalls (incase of a store) or hits on your website or people coming to your webinar
  2. Cost of various media to get you the traffic
  3. Cost of converting the footfall into a buying public

Perry Marshall calls this the Traffic, Economics, Conversion combination. Within each of these three you can do a prioritization of the next top 3. Like I mentioned earlier 80/20 is fractal, so there’s always an 80/20 within an 80/20 forever, you just need to identify it. That will help you dramatically. I am amazed the amount of leverage I keep getting once I recognize the 80/20 in anything. Like I have been saying – small hinges move large doors.

Now something outside this equation is Reference customers. I would like to put this in category of itself, provided you already have a running business, because this can change the game in your favor dramatically.

Now every marketer would understand the things which I have listed above. But what happens is that there is pressure from sales for leads and while you start testing one item and things are not working out, you start analysing all the issues. In the meanwhile because there’s a pressure on revenue you try something in the short term to boost the revenues and the spiral starts and things go out of control.

During this time someone from delivery comes up with another product and sales being sales, they always want new products to take to the market and suddenly you are being pushed to launch the new product in the market.

The companies who do good in marketing are the ones who ensure that they don’t mess up the prioritization, focus on it to keep things running smoothly and then look at new product launches or sales pressures. Chances are if you have a system than the system will incorporate the failures that can take place and have a place to learn from them.

Master these priorities and you could be way ahead in your marketing.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!