Messaging – Answering the Questions of a prospect

B2B, education, education, Marketing, messaging, problem solving, Questions, segmentation, single target market

In yesterday’s post I spoke about the pain (fear of) and pleasure (gain of) and how you can use it to get your message to stick with a prospect.

I have written multiple times earlier on the idea of a Single Target Market and how you can niche a segment further based on usage. This comes in useful when you want to build your messaging.

As an example you niched your B2B market by industry, then you further niched it by revenue. Now if you niche it further based on whether you are targeting prospects who intend to buy your kind of product or service for the first time or are you targeting prospects for whom this is a replacement. Another could be a backup to the main product for insurance purposes.

Once you have chosen the usage, you can now get into the shoes of the prospect and think what could go on in their mind. If its a first time buyer – you could help that company with messaging entered around evaluating your kind of offering from an unbiased angle. On the other hand if its a replacement market that you are targeting, then you could talk of how the technology has changed and how by replacing the old technology they could get more benefits.

Based on the usage criteria, the team of people to whom you will send the message, will also change. For the replacement market in the industry, you may need to talk to the operations or maintenance folks, while if its for the first time usage you may need to talk to the project folks. Each of these folks has a different “view of life” and hence the problems that you address and the education that you have to do is different.

You need to know your end game and then work backwards such that you have a delighted customer. Its only when you delight a customer can you hope to get referrals and move further to dominate that market.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Ferocity – 2

Habits, problem solving, Questions

In the last post on this topic I had pointed out how Steven Kotler talks about Ferocity , in his book The Art of the Impossible, to be able to achieve impossible dreams. The basic premise is that if you make a habit of going after big problems and solving them , then you can achieve Impossible dreams.

Having worked on this aspect I think it is also important to ensure that we learn to anticipate the small problems that can come our way while attempting to handle the bigger ones.

Otherwise the small problems act as a diversion of your energy and resources. You end up trying to manage the small things and the bigger prize gets away. There’s a phrase in English about missing the forest for the trees which would be apt for this.

So while you go with a ferocity to making a habit to solve bigger and bigger problems, you also need to make a habit of diagnosing the roadblocks.

Just yesterday while we were at a customer location to handle some complex issue, just the fact that we did not have an adequate answer to a minor question derailed our discussion. I had warned my colleague, who was accompanying me , and whose line of work we were talking about, this question was coming up for sure, but he didn’t take it seriously and our sign-off discussion got derailed.

Especially when you are targeting a problem which has a human element , then knowing about the nuances of the people involved and how they could derail a process has to be planned out well in advance.

Till next time then….

Carpe Diem!!!

And then ….what, when,….

Marketing, Product Management, Questions

Last 4-5 posts have all been about asking questions. Getting down to identifying the issues. All of these are critical points for a marketing or product management person. Without these answers you can get blindsided very easily. the ability to ask good questions is one of the best things a person can have.

I originally did not have this capability. Actually even now I keep looking out for good questions to help me build my arsenal. I have earlier also shared names of books and authors whose books I use to prepare myself before any review, so that I don’t miss out on things.

Coming to the topic – once you have identified the issues, you go about finding the solutions. Just before you actually go about implementing a solution, it will be of immense help to evaluate the impact of implementing the solutions.

As a analogy – if you are middle aged and you start feeling hungry. You go and open the fridge and see a bar of chocolate, its tempting and you decide to eat it. Your hunger gets subdued, you get a sugar induced high and because of the chocolate and the sugar you feel good for some time.

After sometime you start realising though that the sugar is not good for you. Even if you are not diabetic, it can still cause you to increase your weight. Now you start feeling bad.

That’s where it helps to analyse the consequences of your decisions before you actually put them into action. So in this same case when you saw the chocolate and decided to eat it, you could have asked yourself – And then when I have eaten the chocolate what will happen – You may go through a process mentally enacting the same scenarios about getting a high because of the caffeine and sugar and then realising that your weight could increase. Now after having analysed at this level you may still eat the chocolate or not eat it. But in either case you would have taken an informed decision for the consequences that could occur.

Similarly in product management when you take a decision you need to be able to get to figuring out what could happen next because of the action you are taking. Does it mean it will become a precedent, will my suppliers revolt because of the increased work that will need to be done, how will the competitors react – will we end up in a death spiral.

I have seen so many computer hardware – PC Manufacturers in the early 90s disappear because they tried to come out with one cheaper model compared to the other. The shake out was so severe that now there are only a few brands left, which you can count on your fingers.

Sometimes it makes sense to just contemplate the impact of your taking a decision, before implementing it.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Just Ask …. identifying failure points

ego, Marketing, Product Management, Questions

There’s a term called “confirmation bias” which was coined by cognitive psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason. He ran a series of experiments called the Wason’s rule discovery task. Through these experiments he demonstrated the people have a tendency to seek information that confirms their existing beliefs.

So why is this important for a marketing / product management leader. In the earlier posts that I have written about this topic I have been cajoling you to start asking questions because you don’t know what could be the reason that people like or dislike your product.

However if you only ask questions and search only for data points which confirm what you are wanting to hear then there’s a problem. And all human beings have this confirmation bias. Its because of our ego that our first instinct is to prove ourselves correct.

But failures happen because we didn’t ear what the market was trying to tell us. And we didn’t hear because of this confirmation bias which Wason had showcased all the way back in the 1960s.

However every negative (relative to your data point) that you hear has the potential to get you closer to the truth. If you have watched “CSI” the detective show (its available on Amazon Prime) , you will see a lot of times the evidence doesn’t prove the hypotheses that the detectives have and then they have to dig deeper until the evidence and the hypotheses are in sync otherwise it won’t stand the questioning of the jury.

As a product management person, you have to stand back and let the market give you the evidence and if the evidence doesn’t suit your opinion, you need to change your opinion, otherwise you are in for big failure. The point is not to prove yourself right or wrong, it is to let the evidence (inputs from the market that you get by asking relevant questions) confirm where are the blind spots in your strategy or tactics. Once you cover your blind spots you may actually come out with a strategy which could break all records.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!