Asking questions in the market – 4

Marketing, messaging, Positioning, Questions, route to market

Over the last few posts I have been talking about how better questions can make a difference in the success that you achieve in the market. While my focus is on the B2B market, the general principle will apply to any market.

Today the questions I am talking about would help in making your messaging and route to market better. It will then help you identify the constraints you can face, the models you have to apply etc. Again I would highly recommend Dean Jackson’s podcast and his & Joe Polish podcast

1. Is the product or service that you are wanting to sell going to be used as a first time buy. If someone has never used a motorized vehicle then a 100CC mobike is a first time buy for them. Trying to sell them a 650CC motorcycle will not work.

2. Will the product be an upgrade or replacement. If you know the customer is already a user of your Air Conditioner for the last 5 years then they could be ready for a replacement or upgrade. In IT is called a refresh cycle which each company decides.

3. Will the product or service be for emergency use. If a tornado strikes and there’s a damaged roof or water in the basement then you need to get it out NOW. Then there’s no time for evaluation of multiple options.

4. Will the product be an accessory to a key product. Smart phone covers are an every day example. So you need to be able to reach those buyers who use the phone for which you have the covers.

5. Will the product/ service be for the repair of an item. Duck tape is a very good example of this or a tyre repair shop.

6. Is what you are selling aspirational in nature. Then you have to target the people who already use something and may now have the money to aspire for something bigger or because their families or job responsibilities have changed. Aspirational is a little different from upgrade in the sense that upgrades are generally considered incremental in nature.

There could be some specific scenarios which apply to your business and have not been listed here.

Once you can map where all your product or service plays, you can design the market route, the messaging etc.

Generally I keep my posts short so you can read them while waiting in the line to get coffee. This one has become slightly longer. I hope its useful.

Let me know your views.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

You cannot have financial freedom – without financial discipline

Affirmative action, compounding, Financial Independence, Human Brain

A few days back I had written a post on why you need discipline and not money to get financial freedom.

I have been sharing with you that I am reading the book The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham. I was introduced to this book by Joe Polish. I had heard him speak a lot about this author in multiple podcasts. So I searched and found an interview where Joe is interviewing Keith.

I liked the ideas that he spoke about in the book and therefore ended up buying it. The ideas and especially the thinking questions are worth pondering on. Today I spent close to about 4 hours on the 3 questions I had listed yesterday in my blog post and did get somewhere with the answers that I got.

Coming back to the headline, while reading the book I had happened to chance on this sentence. It struck me immediately because I continuously keep harping about the need for discipline to reach financial freedom.

This discipline is not possible if you base it on will power. Will power is something which get exhausted very fast on a daily basis. Your brain gets exhausted so fast that the more decisions it has to make the faster the energy depletes. With energy gone you cannot exercise will power.

So you need to put in systems which take the decision making away from you. That’s possible only when you automate the investment process with things like Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) or the equivalents in your country. You could go with ETFs or Mutual Funds or direct stocks. The item is not important. What is important is to get into automating the process so that there is no concept of using will power. Then let the power of compounding work for you.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Discipline – not money – for financial independence

Affirmative action, compounding, Financial Independence, Human Brain

Yesterday I was listening to a talk by Keith Cunnigham. He is an author of multiple books including the book “The Road Less Stupid”

During this talk with Joe Polish, Keith asked a very pertinent question and I paraphrase it here- “If you were to look back at your 3 financial decisions seriously would you have been better off by not having taken those decisions”

I started thinking about my major decisions and one of them was buying a house. I have written a full post earlier also on this – that it was not a decision I would like anyone to take because it chokes the financial bandwidth – if you are buying it with a loan. If you are buying it all cash then its a good asset or taking a loan of the amount which gives you some kind of tax advantage then its worthwhile.

But then I started thinking again whether I would have been better off financially by not buying the house. On a theoretical calculation, the amount of installments I am paying on my mortgage, if I had been investing the same amount in equities or mutual funds, because of the compounding over 20 years, I would have been much better off to buy this house today and still have lots money left over.

However when I think on the flip side, by buying the house and having monthly mortgage payment, I had to exercise a tremendous amount of discipline to ensure that the payment was done on a given date. I am not sure I had the maturity at the time of putting up SIPs and I was financially illiterate to ensure that I block of the amount into an investment on a monthly basis.

Which brings me to the bigger point – for financial independence – which I have devoted a lot of my posts on – has very little to do with what you earn. It has more to do with what you invest automatically. The key word over here being automatic.

If you think you can have the discipline to ensure consistency every month , to invest on your own, chances are your brain will play games and you will find multiple excuses for not investing. On the other hand if the money will go out of your account automatically even before you get to use it, then you will find a way to manage your finances with the remaining money.

To come back on Keith’s point, yes I would have had a better financial position, provided I had the discipline to ensure my monthly investments.

How are you doing on the financial discipline side, look forward to hearing your comments.

Till next time.

Carpe Diem!!!

Integrated Product Management

differentiation, Marketing, Marketing Ecosystem, Positioning, Product Management, single target market

I learnt a very important concept yesterday while watching a video of Brendon Burchard from the ilovemarketing mastery program by Joe Polish.

He was explaining about how he strategizes a book launch. A book launch is another form of a product launch with the product over here being a book.

I have been in Product Management for quite a long time and some of the concepts that he spoke about were standard.

However one thing which got me thinking and which you also need to understand if you are into Product Management is differentiating between ancillary products / services versus next set of products / services which are higher up in aspiration but are however part of a common ecosystem.

As per Brendon an ear phone, phone cover are ancillary while the iPhone, the iPad and the Mac all part of the integrated product set which Apple sell all the 3 items to their customer base all the time.

So even though Android is there with the so called “open” environment with a huge ecosystem, with full fledged interoperability and there are so many companies who sell more phones than Apple but no company makes as much money whether its with phones, tablets and computers.

This got me thinking. If you look at other companies who are really have ruled a lot of industries – the integrated product suite does come to mind.

IBM had their set of products and services which were generally all integrated. That was the biggest value to large customers who did not want the hassle of integrating products from different vendors. Customers could easily buy another set of products with a clear knowledge that they were safe because it was IBM. So even though a lot of companies came out with so called “open-systems” and individual discreet products, IBM had their clientele clearly defined and have been making a lot of money.

This has got me thinking. While we do think in terms of the next set of products/services that we should have in our suite, to clearly have an integrated suite where the customer has the comfort as well as the aspiration to take the next product from us needs to be thought off. We also need to clearly differentiate between ancillaries and next level of products so that we have 2 sets of revenue streams.

Pls tell me if you have had success with this kind of an integrated product suite. I would like to know your inputs in the comments section below.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!