Anyone can create a product. That is not the hard part. The hard part is selling the product.
It is imperative that you understand key concepts of marketing before you start to market your product, or before you even start creating your product. The way you market it needs to be integrated to the product itself – it sets the tone for the whole thing. The business world is full of competition. There’s a good chance that the market you want to enter already has some players in it, and you need to take that into account.
To compete successfully on the market you can get a marketing degree or save yourself time and a bucketload of money and read this post. This post covers the most important things you need to know about marketing and strategy.
Understand Your Customer
Success starts with understanding who your clients are and what they need. This is crucial for 2 main reasons:
- In order to create a product that truly delivers, it needs to address the needs of the buyer.
- To sell your product successfully, you need to know your client demographics, their values, aspirations and reflections of themselves.
When you know who your customers are, you will be able to better leverage your time, energy and resources to pursuing the right customers. You can focus your advertising efforts. Especially if you are a one-person business owner, you need to reevaluate your customer relationships and make choices about how to maximize and effectively use your limited time and resources.
To cater better to the needs of your Clients, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What does your client need and want?
This is the basis of all. Your product needs to really address the needs and wants of the customer. If the needs are not met, everything else is meaningless.
2. Why does your customer buy from you?
It is important that you know what customers consider most valuable about your products or services. Ask and talk to your customers to find out. Once you have a list, ask them again if you are indeed delivering what they want. These two questions — what does the customer value with regards to your products and services; and how well do you provide that value — will determine the relationship that you will have with the customer.
3. What does the customer expect after the sale?
The hardest part of the sale is after the sale is made. It is the make or break period: the customer’s expectations will either be realized or failed. It is the time where you will know whether the level of activity, delivery, customer service and commitment to promises made all supported the sales effort.
Do you know what is the emotional value they are looking for? What is the emotion in them when they are using your product?
When people buy a Volvo, they buy safety. When people buy Versace, they buy glamour and wealth. Ask yourself what is the emotional need your clients seek, and communicate that in your sales copy and advertising messages.
Another thing is that you need to understand their demographics. If your buyers are women between ages of 20 and 30, it would be a very bad idea to show pictures of old men on your website. Show a picture of a person that is represenative your of desired Customer, and it helps others customers to connect with your business. People in different stages in their lives have different needs. Men and women have different needs.
You might think that as you know a lot about your business, you know the needs and motivation of your clients anyway, and you don’t need to ask. But here’s the thing: all people make decisions differently from one another. And the thing that persuades you is unlikely to be the thing that persuades the next guy. Our personal outlook is a lousy indicator of what works for anyone else.
When thinking of what your clients want, here are things you can count on:
- They want you to really listen to them and not go on and on about you or what you product
- They want to know you really care about helping them solve their problems
- They want you to be a knowledgeable resource so you can guide them through the process
- They want to know you will charge a fair price for a product
- They want to know you will stand behind what you sell
- They want to know you’ll not fade away as soon as they’ve made the purchase
More than anything else, prospects and customers watch what you do more than they listen to what you say.
Offer unique high value product
You want your product to stand out from the crowd, and you want people to really benefit from what you’re doing. If you can’t do it, save your time and don’t go into business. The best things you can do for yourself is to create something that is both of high value to customers and that few others are doing.
Let’s look at this graph below. It’s a 2×2 matrix, with two parameters: value to the customer and uniqueness. This will teach you the most important things about marketing and product design.
Your business can be in one of the four quadrants. Let’s start in the bottom left corner: this is when you provide a product or service that offers very low value, and there’s a ton of other companies doing the same stuff.
The quadrant in the bottom right corner is when you provide something of great value to the customer, but so are 10 other companies. When there is almost nothing different about you and your competitors, or the differences are very subtle, you always compete on the price. Customer will usually buy the cheapest product.
The upper left corner is a place you will most definitely want to avoid. It’s where you provide something totally unique, but it offers no value to the customer and thus nobody wants it. You are the only one doing this pointless thing, and soon there won’t be any as you’ll go bankrupt.
The place you want to be is in the top right corner, where you provide a unique product that delivers great value to the Customer. Now that sounds easier than it really is – so many businesses fail to do that. The uniqueness can be a multitude of things: features, design, price, location, business model, you name it. Figuring this out might not be easy, but it sure as hell is worth your time investment.
Be remarkable and worth recommending
When you look at the most internet businesses out there, then it seems that almost everybodys strategy is to be a little bit better than the other guy… while being mostly the same. Sameness is the predominant strategy. And that’s stupid. Mediocre things will not get you anywhere, but will crush your business instead.
Create products that people will want to buy by building the marketing into the product experience itself, not by trying to come up with marketing after the product is done. If you fail to do so, you will struggle to find the time or money it takes to make your offering successful. If make average products, you’re going to fail.
The most reliable way to succeed today is to stay away from the average, from the mediocrity. Your product should raise an eyebrow and make people make a remark about it (which is what being remarkable is). You want it to be so different in some way, that it will make people want to tell their friends about it.
This is the best way you can do advertising for yourself as the time of conventional advertising is over.
People are becoming more and more resistant to advertising. Unless you’re Coca-Cola or P&G, who can throw a gazillion dollars at advertising, this is not the game you want to play.
So how to build this remarkability into your product?
A good way is to go to the extreme with an aspect of your product.
- Cost. Give everything you know away for free. And charge for support or live seminars. Prince – the singer – gave his new albums away for free. Every concert that followed sold out to the max for a very high price. Or do the opposite: price is so much higher than anything else on the market that it will intrigue people.
- Design. Make it look ultracool, or go our of your way to have no design at all. Being just average or good enough won’t cut it.
- Service. Go out of your way to provide excellent service to your customer. Or treat the VIP customers significantly better than others, so that desire for becoming one would increase.
- Go beyond core features. Whatever your product does, it has a set of core features. These are things people expect a product do. What if you would do much more? A training company could offer personalized coaching for participants.
- Change your target customer. Repackage your product/service and target a non-conventional target group. Handbags for men. Chiropractor who offers his services to companies instead of individuals. Construction tools for women.
If you can figure out a way to make your business so unusual, different and unexpected that people can’t help but say something (good or bad, doesn’t matter!), you have made it and saved yourself so much money. You’re either remarkable or invisible.
Image credit: andreasnilsson1976