I have been involved with marketing directly or indirectly for a very long time. Inspite of that, I keep getting fascinated with things that get thrown up when you start analysing something from the basics of marketing.
Last couple of days I have been involved in doing some deep thinking on two of our product / service lines which have not been moving. Whenever something doesn’t move, my first emphasis is always to identify what’s wrong with the database / market. More than 50% of the problems in marketing can be resolved if you have identified the market clearly and then gone about getting the database accordingly.
So one challenge was with a set of partners that we had been trying to court and the other was related to a service offering. When I got down to analysing why the partners were not responding to our messaging, it slowly dawned on me that those companies would not have customers who could need the services we offer.
As an allied example – If you are a carpet cleaner and people you are sending the message to are not responding, then you need to figure out if those people actually use carpets. If they don’t use carpets, then even the best message won’t get you an order. On the other hand if you go to a neighbourhood where you have houses where you can be sure that people will have carpets in their houses, then even a mediocre message will get you some traction.
However since we get so bogged down with transactions, fighting fires and managing teams, we tend to forget the basics. So we start with one assumption and then another gets added and then we forget how many assumptions have got stacked up. But when I do get down to doing work from the basics, there are so many things which get thrown up.
Marketing is 50% maths and 50% psychology / human behaviour. So you can’t miss on the maths, because your survival is based on the maths. On the other hand figuring out the psychology of what will get people to buy is critical. So starting with the smallest unit of the addressable market helps with addressing both the issues well.
Marketing also has immense leverage because it can help your business grow dramatically if managed well. That’s another reason, why I am fascinated with marketing.
Till next time then.
I have written about how most people would love to just gather information – just in case they need it sometime. As marketers – realising this basic human psychology helps get more customers, more leads or what have you.
So I end up buying a larger jar of my favourite coffee which has a free mug with it, rather than the one without the mug. Why? I might need the mug someday…..and with the coffee there’s hardly any cost to it and I would anyway consume the coffee so the larger jar is not of much consequence. So I end up gathering one more mug and end up buying more coffee than I needed to. I have gathered many such items in my house because smart marketers bundled things which I wanted to gather even though a lot of times I didn’t want the base product.
Books get consumed because we have an insatiable desire for reading. Again I am a ready example of buying the next book referenced by someone. I would like to have that book in my collection on my kindle. Almost 40-45% of the books in my collection have not been read at more than 10%. Since Kindle has made it so easy for me now to go and buy any book and get it delivered on my device instantly, I end up “scratching my itch” much more than I would, if I had to go out and physically locate a book in the book shop.
What does this mean for marketers. Different people have different “itches to be scratched”. You can increase the propensity of buying or reading in the specific set of people by offering this – so a mug with the larger coffee jar or a free book / report if they are willing to give their email id.
Obviously there’s a value that is attached in the transaction – if the person sees value, she will give her email id, if she doesn’t see value, she won’t. I attach value to the mug hence I am willing to buy the larger jar of coffee.
Identify the items that people in your category may be interested in gathering and use that to increase the opt-ins into your site or increase the sale of whatever you sell.
Till next time then.
Gatherers – I heard this term today, while listening to the Morecheeselesswhiskers podcast with Dean Jackson. I heard this in the morning and now its evening, this term is still ringing in my ear and the implications it can have in marketing.
Dean’s logic was that we are hardwired genetically to be gatherers. Since historic times, when human beings started staying in caves, they would take food and store it in the cave so that in case it rained or for some reason they couldn’t go out hunting the next day, they would have food for the family.
At that time if they found some bananas, they would “gather” it and take it to their cave. Till now that characteristic has not changed. People end up buying things, they never use, so that they however have it – just in case – gathering. If you are an avid reader like me, you may also have a lot of books which you have never read, but you bought them, so that you don’t end up missing them- another sign of gathering.
Consuming on the other hand is about something which we actually use.
Now here comes the interesting part. You can utilize this psychological concept in your marketing. How many times have you observed people offering you a free book. Chances are that you ended up taking that book by providing your email address. There’s also a very large chance that you didn’t read much of that book even though the title of the book had interestedyou earlier. So you gathered it but didn’t consume it.
So how can it be used. You offer a product worth “gathering” and in return get them to give you their emails to which you can then prospect on a regular basis. So now I have to think in terms of how I can create an item which is easy to gather which can help me generate leads.
Till next time then.
When we are in school we are taught to follow a rule book and solve problems in a given manner. If you don’t solve it that way the teacher may actually deduct marks. There are benefits of this system, because it helps the teacher grade her students on a fixed set of parameters. It’s not good for the students because when they do go out in the real world they find moving targets with no method to directly use.
Since we get so used to being spoon fed through the school system, we are not able to think different possibilities.
One method which I use is to let people experience the challenge of the straight jacketed way of solving a problem. If I try telling people the challenges in their solution then they resist my ideas. So I tell them how I would go about it and then I ask them.
I ask them of how they think they would like to solve the problem. Once they tell me the solution and if I don’t think it might be a workable solution, I ask them to proceed with solving the problem their way. But I put a low risk milestone. Only if the low risk milestone can be realized, are they allowed to move ahead otherwise they have to find another way.
This way they don’t feel that I don’t listen to their ideas and I am also ‘not betting the whole farm’. In addition if their solution works then, I have learnt a new way to solve the problem. On the other hand if it doesn’t work, I can then tell them the reason why doing it my way has its benefits and they get to learn from me.
As we grow older, we get more and more fixated with our ideas and resist ideas from others. So if you try to push something , it doesn’t work . On the other hand you let them try their idea with a low risk outcome and then show the problems , they may be more willing to listen to your ideas.
Professional negotiators have a complete arsenal of these kind of techniques to get people to come to a win – win solution. Sales is another specialized negotiation. In yesterday’s post I had written about how you could use the same concepts.
Till next time then.