Asking the right questions in the market -3

B2B, Business, ideal customer, Marketing, Questions, Technology

I have had a lot of situations where we thought we had an amazing product / service but we were not getting a response from the market.

We tried various scenarios, tested various markets but the response was just not there.

In B2B technology services, you may have a wonderful product or service, which is well differentiated but the market does not respond to your service. This inspite of the fact that you are looking at a very small niche, you have identified your Ideal Customer (the person / role) and talking about the pain points that they may have.

The reason for this as I have explained in my earlier posts is that technology companies follow an “infrastructure” or “ecosystem” model. Which means if your product / service does not easily fit into the existing infrastructure then the adoption will be very low.

In this situation instead of asking questions like is this the right market to focus or does this market have the ability to pay. The questions that need to asked could be more oriented towards what could be preventing the audience from responding to your messaging.

Is it that you don’t explain how you fit into the “infrastructure” or is it that they feel it will be too much of an effort to even think about your product / service. To be able to analyse this you need to sit quietly and brainstorm all the possible reasons which could prevent them from interacting with you.

Once you list all the items then quickly start testing to eliminate each of the issues and see which ones have the most impact.

Most often I have found, the reason for not getting to the right answer has been the fact that I had not reached the right question. Once I had asked the right set of questions, things were generally a cake walk.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Understanding your competition

B2B, competition, Marketing, Product Management, segmentation, single target market

If you can’t think what your competitors can do you will be someone’s lunch soon.

In my earlier posts I have written about why it’s important to have competition.  For one it shows there’s a market.  That’s a very critical point.

Second if the competitor has entered the market before you then you can learn from their mistakes.  Third it helps you define your niche even better.

But competition is a very dynamic thing.  The horse carriage people did not think Automotive would make them a relic.

Especially when you are doing product management in a technology industry you need to look out where the next competition will come from.  Generally it never comes from your known competitors.

Did Nokia realize that Apple will totally decimate them.  Or for that matter Kodak even though Kodak itself had built the first digital camera.

One of the best ways to understand where you competitors could hurt you is by placing yourself in your competitor’s shoes.  Knowing the weaknesses that exist in your existing product or service or technology identify where could some other company come and displace you.

This may not always alert you to the company who could hurt you but it could help identify trends in the market which could go against you.

Which brings me to the other aspect of product management. Be out there in the market,  in the store or with a customers, consistently trying to understand why customers are looking at something else instead of buying from you.  It’s most often not only about price.

Till next time then….keep watching for your competitors.

Carpe Diem!!!

B2B messaging

differentiation, Marketing, messaging, Positioning, Product Management, Sales, segmentation

I believe marketing is Marketing irrespective of what you sell. I keep telling my team, irrespective of what we are selling, we are selling to people.

Which means the psychology of influencing remains the same, whether you sell chips, or you sell dresses, or you sell technology services.

What I have found a little different is the medium of communication or the method of getting the message across for different markets.

By far the best way and also the most effective method in B2B especially for technology companies is email.

However the challenge is that because it is virtually free, it also gets abused. Therefore companies put filters on their email systems which block any mail which even remotely looks like spam or labels the mail as Marketing Mail if its seen as being sent in bulk.

If your mail passes the spam filter and does not get labeled as a marketing mail, then you only get a fraction of a second to attract attention, when someone sees your mail on their hand-held, before they move to the next mail.

This makes the challenge exciting and frustrating.

As Dean Jackson says, you need to look at the email as a conversation you have while standing in the line at Starbucks. You cannot be in a preaching mode when you write the mail. It has to be for that one person to whom it is addressed.

In future posts I will give examples of major learnings I have had sending hundreds of thousands of emails while prospecting for technology companies.

Till next time.

Carpe Diem!!!