Jay Abrahamone of the most respected marketing strategists, has one of the pillars of his Marketing Parthenon – education of customers.
An informed customer makes better decisions, and generally in your favor.
The bigger reason why education helps is that it goes below the radar of the prospects. Most prospects have their antennae always looking out to see if someone is trying to sell them something. The moment they sense that, they bring up their barriers to hearing about what you want to say.
When they see that you are doing selfless education, they hear you. Once they keep getting educated on a continuous basis, they start trusting you. If you show them proof of how you have helped others then the trust grows even stronger. You position your company differently.
During this process when you start introducing your product in a non-intrusive manner then subconsciously the prospects start gravitating towards you and if they have a need which your product can fill, then by default they will choose your brand because you have built the trust.
When there’s trust, factors like pricing etc. take a back seat. Your competitors will be compared to what you offer, not the other way around. Your competitors won’t even realize what hit them.
The other advantage of educating people is that then they come to you for advice, they list their challenges. Using these inputs you can further refine your product and make it more valuable in the eyes of the customers.
Till next time then keep educating your prospective customers.
Everyone is given the motivational talk about Edison and that he failed to 9000 times before he was successful with the light bulb. While you cannot take away the fact that he was a master inventor, he also utilized the principles of mass testing. He tested vigorously and kept learning from each test….so they were iterations not failures.
When a company says that the electric motor they manufacture has an average life of 3000 hours, they would not test each motor for 3000 hours. They would typically create a sample and then keep the sample on for 3000 motor-hours. If no motor fails then 3000 hours is a safe figure to commit. By continuously testing samples over a long period of time you will be able to come to a figure which is then extremely reliable.
What Edison did was employ multiple people for testing different filament options at a mass level on the electric bulb. So even though there were more than 9000 failures, these failures were not all sequential done by one man, but parallel tests.
In messaging also you can’t keep trying to check which message will stick to your target audience in B2B. What you need to do is test parallel messages and see on which message you get traction. Then the message that gets you the best traction, becomes your “control” piece. Now you start testing against this message by changing one variable at a time.
You need to test very fast at mass scale. One of the challenges I have faced in doing these mass testing procedures is that the people involved lose patience and the tests go haywire because people start compromising. The testing process has to be rigorous, for you to get a clear winner.
Till next time then.
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:
- Understanding the ecosystem for technology adoption
- Getting footfalls (incase of a store) or hits on your website or people coming to your webinar
- Cost of various media to get you the traffic
- 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
A few posts back I had written a post on how giving too many choices actually reduces the chance of success.
I used to hear a lot of gurus in the stock market talk about being focused with not more than 10-15 stocks to get the best returns. If you read the Wealth Creation studies by Raamdeo Aggarwal, he gives a lot of examples of how being focused can give much higher returns. If you want average returns then you can just take an Index ETF.
The other day I was listening to an interview of Garrett Gunderson with Joe Polish on YouTube. And he happened to mention this term in passing and it kind of stuck with me. Garrett has written a very nice book Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying your Prosperity.
Even in marketing if you try to do too many things trying to see which will succeed is because you are not sure of yourself either on your offering or on your market or a whole lot of other things. Most of the time we try to do multiple things at the testing stage to see what sticks and what falls. But once you start seeing what sticks you need to start improving on that. You can’t be testing multiple variables simultaneously. It never works.
You cannot be testing multiple offerings in different markets and also seeing which message works. I have done this at different times and flopped badly. Sometimes these were done because I fell in love with multiple brands and thought I could get them launched at the same time but then eventually realized I could not do justice to all of them. It was definitely my ignorance then. At other times I was in a tight spot and had to somehow get something moving and thought at least if a try so many things simultaneously, I will be able to get success somewhere.
Eventually I have come down to some very specific things for B2B marketing. I need to identify only one target market and niche it as much as possible when I am launching a new product / service. If your segmentation is done well and then you get your database / list based on that you have already come a long way. After that you test your messaging.
The 80/20 that I have been talking about in the last few posts is exactly the opposite of diversification. Its about focus and the knowledge which comes from focus. Like the image above, a few colors in a pattern can give a good look but putting too many colors on the same rug, assuming some one will like some color is ignorance.
Whether its finance or marketing or even other areas of your life you can spread your self, diversify and be shallow and ignorant or go deep, focus and be knowledgeable and get great results.
Till next time then.