Attention – the biggest enemy for marketers

Marketing, messaging

I have written multiple posts on how the mind plays games with us. But the same mind, is also a problem when we are trying to sell/market our product to customers.

We are living in such a hyper connected world and our smart phones, smart watches, smart “xxx” make it more difficult for US to sell, because even before our message can flow through and register with the person, she gets another alert/call/email which makes her move away from our message onto that alert and so on.

A lot of these things, were supposed to be tools to help improve our productivity, but in my opinion, they have only helped make our life more complex. With so many alerts coming from so many directions, our brain is always “ON” waiting for the next alert. Today I find myself looking at my iPhone every 30 minutes or so, in case I don’t get a “ping” of some sort. I get anxious and end-up looking at the phone to just ensure that I did not miss anything.

So why is this a problem for the marketer. It makes our life a lot more harder. Since our message may be seen and may be lost in a jiffy or may just be plain ignored. Customers ignore messages of things they don’t need. Now even if they think they need something that you offer, but before they can comprehend your full message and the phone rings or they get an email from their boss, or someone walks into their cabin or a million other things and your message is lost forever.

With a lot of people still working from home, this is an even bigger challenge because there are even more issues to distract a person, other than the regular office issues.

So not only has your message to be hyper targeted, it also needs to be so simple and short that the person who is seeing it gets it immediately before the person’s attention is diverted into another item.

Depending on the medium that you choose, the simple and quick can be relative. For a medium which reaches out to multiple senses, like a television advertisement, you could pack a lot of punch into one small 10s time frame. On the other hand if it’s a medium like email, which can only be read, then you need to think of how much you can pack before someone can lose attention. If its a medium like Twitter then your challenges are determined by the 140 characters.

But not thinking about the psychology of your users, can impact the response to your messaging. My guess is that the attention spans will actually be the currency that you are soon going to be exchanging, by giving something, to ensure that they give you the attention.

What’s your view? Do you also think this issue is impacting the response rates for your messaging? Do let me know in the comments below.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

The power of Silence for Focusing on your business

Focus, Marketing, peak Performance, Productivity, single target market, Uncategorized

For a lot of people who follow Buddhism , today is an auspicious occasion since it Lord Buddha’s birthday. One of the things linked to Buddhism and the overall philosophy of religions that originated in the Indian Sub-Continent is the practice of “Dhyan” and Yoga. While there are a lot of people who follow and practice Yoga across the world “Dhyan” is something that is missing in our lives. “Dhyan” involves sitting in pin drop silence and just focusing all your energy to think.

We all (me included) are so busy running after deadlines all day that we don’t give our brains the bandwidth to actually do what it can do best – which is THINK. When you get into the “Dhyan” stage you are able to connect a lot of the dots which otherwise seem impossible to connect.

I have many times earlier, mentioned a practice by Dean Jackson called the focus finder. Its a very practical way to do a brain dump and then get on to the activity of Thinking.

Today I was a little frustrated that I was not being able to figure out a solution for identifying a Single Target Market. I keep giving you folks a lot of inputs on why you should go about identifying the Single Target Market and the incredible benefits it can have in your marketing.

But today I had a mind block and I was not able to think through on what would be my STM. After lazing around mindlessly and watching un-necessary web series for about an hour, I decided to just sit down with my notebook and pencil and started jotting down thoughts as they came to me about my “bullseye ” (the STM)

While doing this my brain also kept throwing up additional items that I could include. But I had to make my STM as sharply defined as possible. So I kept listing down, all the people whom I would not be able to help.

Automatically I ended up putting a lot of AND statements to ensure that there were as little possibilities as possible for some additional markets creeping in.

Once this was done I went two steps further, I even identified the the markets, one variable away and two variables away. This would help me, in case, the STM I have defined is not viable economically and I have to expand it a little bit.

While I spent close to 2 hours dilly – dalling, I was able to achieve all this in a matter of about 45 minutes, when there was pin drop silence and I was only focusing on this activity. These 45 minutes were more precious because of the immense productivity I got.

If feasible I would suggest everyone to regularly do these focus exercises, they can increase productivity levels dramatically and because you take out everything from your brain and put it on paper, there’s no chance of missing things.

Till next then.

Carpe Diem!!!

How do you do pricing?

B2B, Marketing, pricing, Product Management, single target market

Pricing is one of those concepts, that whenever a sales guy will lose a deal, they will blame it on price – our price was too high. For customers, the easiest way to push you away, is to say that your price is too high. In both the situations, the easiest people to blame is the product/marketing folks – “they don’t understand the reality of the market place, they just sit in the office and tell us what to do without understanding what the customer wants”. Pricing is one of the key reasons – marketing and sales don’t see eye to eye.

Just to clarify – its not that I don’t lose cases on price.

My agenda from this post is to help you not waste time with a customer who does not have the ability to value what you offer in return for the price that you charge. Its both marketing and sales’ responsibility to showcase the value to the customer.

That was a loaded statement – so let me break it down – what is the customer’s perception of what you provide and what she should pay for it. The other is, how do you do your pricing.

As a product manager or marketing manager, when you build a pricing for something, you generally take into account the costs involved at your end. Then you add a margin and give that as the price to be charged. This is the easiest way – Cost+Markup

On the other hand, if you were to look at the value / result / outcome, that the customer will get , by using your product or service and then work backwards, you will be able to come to a better argument. If you don’t know the result that you can get for your customer and there are others who can provide almost similar value at a lower price, then the customer will go with your competition.

I have lost a lot of deals where initially the customer didn’t appreciate the value of the kind of trainings we give our people and how they impact the execution of the project and the reason for us being almost double of someone else. But then we had them come back to us, at a much bigger value when they failed to get the project executed and the cost of penalties and reputation, was even bigger for them. Obviously there were also a lot of them where they got the project executed with someone else at a lower price.

The agenda for showing value has to be ours – not the customer’s. You can verify with the customer, during your meetings, if they value what you sell. Don’t ask this question to operational people. I have made that mistake many times. They have no view of what is going on in the mind of the leadership team. Ask it to people in finance or leadership. Those people look at it from the return of investment perspective. If what they value is what you give, then you have an easy task.

On the other hand, if what you have can enhance the value of what they think, they want, then you have to show them, what else is possible and they agree then you can move forward. Generally if you have chosen your Single Target Market well, then this task becomes comparatively easy because most people in that niche will value similar things.

If what you are selling can get them 10 times of the price you are charging, then you have an argument. If you are charging a price of $1500/- and you can show them how the value (reduction in cost or increase in revenue) will be 10 time or worth $15000/- then you can have a good discussion. But if the return on the investment Is only equal or couple of times more than the investment, it is not worth.

Remember the inertia is so high in B2B setups, that they don’t want to go through the whole process of identifying something where the return is minimal.

But you can use this same inertia to your advantage. If the customer has experienced you before and you have delivered on your promise or commitments, then if you are slightly more expensive then the competitors, they will prefer to deal with you because they know you can deliver.

So coming back to the main topic – how can you then do pricing. You can do it better when your argument of value is clearly identified – whether with your case studies or testimonials etc., in case they have not worked with you before. When the customer knows that you CAN deliver , what you promise and she Values what you deliver, then the pricing argument reduces. Doing pricing on a cost plus basis is generally a losing proposition in a highly competitive environment.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Practicing what I preach

coaching, Marketing, medium

Last few days I haven’t had the time to write my blog posts. I keep talking to you about getting coaching to sharpen your saw. So I recently decided to take one more coaching which will last a few weeks where there will be some teaching and then we are supposed to practice. So its not that I just tell you to get coaching in the areas where you can improve, I also find ways to constantly improve myself.

If you choose the right coach, you can shorten your learning curve dramatically.

So I was busy testing out how I could utilise what I had learnt for Linkedin. As I have mentioned earlier also, each medium has its nuances. If you want to become proficient with any medium, you need to become aware of the nuances, the psychology of the customer using the medium.

As an example if you are doing an on-prem seminar. This seminar is where everyone is together and you are talking or addressing a lot of people together from a stage. On the other hand if you are using email as your medium, then it is a one-on-one medium. No one reads their email aloud to everyone. They read it privately.

LinkedIn also as a medium has its nuances. Its a place where things are less formal since people are in your direct connect or in your network of connects.

So my agenda is to improve my prospecting skills on LinkedIn given that we work in the B2B environment. Similarly I am looking at how I can utilise LinkedIn to get better candidates for our jobs as well as advertise for our offerings.

Will keep you posted on what I learn and how it helped me improve my capabilities further.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!