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!!!

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….why finding what’s wrong is critical

Assumptions, Marketing, problem solving, Product Management, Questions

I have a pretty large ego. This comes into play a lot of times. And most of the times when I let it takeover I end up with a mess on my hands.

Especially when we have been in a role for some time we create a tool box for solving problems…and we end up molding the problem into what can be solved by the tools in the tool box.

So when things are not going the way they should be, in the market , we end up taking action using our tools which have proven worthy earlier. We assume we know the problem and like earlier can be solved the same way.

However markets are different…..they are dynamic in nature…the customers, your competitors and the environment are all changing, all the time. As a marketing or product management person you cannot let time pass while you keep grappling with the tools in your tool box.

This does not mean that having a tool box of proven techniques is bad. It is just that we should be quick to figure out if things are not working.

Sometimes its better to find out what’s wrong then to be proven wrong by the market. That happens when you start asking.

Till next time then…just ask.

Carpe Diem!!!

Just Ask – you never know….

Affirmative action, Marketing, Product Management, Questions

There are lot of times when we can save a lot of time, effort, energy and eventual success, happiness if we were to Just Ask.

Somehow , we humans have – an ego – which causes us to feel that if the person whom we are asking refuses, then we will lose face or somehow people will make fun of us….etc. Since the human brain was designed to protect us, it ascribes all kinds of meanings to even small things. While I am preaching this, there are a lot of times, when I myself don’t follow this advice and then later wonder, what if I had just checked out.

I will give some real life examples of how by just asking – the persons got what they never thought was possible.

My colleague and I were coming back from Mumbai. Its a 2 hour flight to Delhi. You have to generally arrive at the airport about 3 hours before departure. We were travelling in a full fare airline, so they were providing us with snacks, coffee etc. Since were travelling in economy class however we were only getting a limited set of options in the food and drinks.

Both of us were in aisle seats, in the same row. The stewardess asked me for coffee / tea and I took my coffee. However my colleague did not take anything. After the stewardess had moved away from our row, he asked me if they didn’t serve juice. I was not sure so I told him “why don’t you just ask and you will come to know”. The good thing about this colleague of mine is that he generally takes my advice. So he asked the stewardess when she passed by him again.

And guess what – she said they don’t have it in economy class, but she will check in the first class and come back. In ten minutes my colleague was sipping fruit juice enjoying himself. But he would have not got it if he hadn’t asked.

In another situation my technical team mentioned that they had seen multiple options and the cost of taking licenses of a specific software were close to $14000/- for annual purchase. But we only needed to test our software so spending that kind of money didn’t make sense. So I asked on the minimum duration that would help them if I were to somehow get the licenses – so they said 2 weeks.

I then asked my colleague who handles the relationship with this software partner , to fix a short call with their product leader. Incidentally she had already set up contact with this person earlier and I had noticed that he was a helpful person. Luckily this person was available , he immediately responded back and we met on Zoom and I asked him if he could help.

Once more – we got the license to test our application with their software free of cost for a full month. The key thing about humans – is if you are kind to people and ask them in a pleasing way, most people will like to help.

My mother used to say the two most important phrases in the English language are “thank you sir/ma’am” and “if you can please”. It does not mean that your requests will always be accepted, but if you don’t ask, anyway it will not be accepted. By asking you are giving yourself a chance to play and find out.

We will look at the implications of this for marketing / product management

Till next time then….just ask….and you never know….

carpe Diem!!!