Alleyway Sex

Through my consulting work with a number of clients, I’ve started to notice a very common trap which many of them are falling into.

Technology firms, whether vendors, resellers, or systems integrators tend to have numerous product offerings. They want to market these offerings in the best way possible, however the common trend is to market each product, in an unstructured way which varies from month to month.

For example, in January an e-Shot is sent talking about product one, in March some telemarketing occurs on product two, and in May an event is run on product three. It’s a bit like a one night stand, or a quick fumble in an alleyway – the customer is hit with various products at various times, with zero consistency. Each product does something different; the company pushes mixed, confusing messages. There is no central theme or strategy which underpins the campaign – its pure hit and hope.
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Theme without the Park

A good friend once told me that to be effective, any marketing message should be written in a way that an intelligent 12 year old can understand.

Spending the majority of my working life in the software world, it’s common for me to witness technologists promoting products in techno geek speak – language which nobody understands but them.

Think about how you market your product or service. Can you summarise it within 20 seconds? Is it clear enough for your young niece or nephew to understand? Do you promote it in a creative manner, or are using the same tired techniques all your competitors are?
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Busy Being Busy

Leave her, she’s busy – course she is .. “Busy being busy” more like. Ever noticed when someone simply ignores what really needs to be done and looks for something to react or respond to?

E-mails, Twitter, Facebook – admit it, how often do you spend your time checking? How many times do you look for new texts on your phone, even though it’s not even beeped?

We are all guilty of it – spending time on the pointless alternative – something to distract us from taking initiative. The comfort zone has its name, well because it’s comfortable! How often are you spending time in your comfort zone? Busy responding to a tender you’ll never win, simply because you don’t want to pick up the phone and speak with a real prospect? Spending time buying and building servers to host your new application, even though you actually have no customers or have any clue how to obtain any?
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Reading the Road

Back when I was learning to drive, my instructor always used to tell me to “read the road”. To look ahead, to be aware of distant threats – by doing this I was always able to react for what was coming in the future, rather than what was directly in front.

It’s all too often people forget about the future and concentrate on the now. Focus on day to day cashflow, appraisals, email, meetings. That’s great and needed, but there’s always a balance. Forward thinking insight and analysis, enables you to spot threats and deal accordingly before you end-up hitting that unexpected patch of ice.

Market’s change. Customers change. Make sure you are adequately prepared to change with them.

One Step at a Time

When creating a demand generation campaign, how much do you focus on the next step, rather than the product or service itself?

I see too many e-shots, direct mail pieces, even telemarketing calls that focus on trying to get a yes for the product, rather than a yes to move forward.

My background is B2B software sales. In this market, it’s very rare that you can sell a solution in one hit. It takes time. Time to gain momentum, to earn trust. This is where I see so many making mistakes – trying to sell the full solution in one go – talking about how they can reduce operational cost, increase efficiency. Every bland piece of marketing sounds the same – and guess what, they all get very limited results.

Instead, try selling the next step. A complimentary workshop, a breakfast briefing, a webinar, or better still a select lunch where a real-world client will share experiences of working with your product. Offer something of value first. Make it engaging. Get it right, and no doubt the sale will follow in due course.

People Love an Underdog

It’s a given that businesses are always striving to be number one. To gain the most market share and be seen as top dog. How many times have you lost out to a bigger competitor, or the so-called market leader? What if being the underdog was actually a position you could capitalise on to become bigger?

Back in the early 1960′s, Hertz was the clear winner in the car rental business, with Avis one of the underdogs. Instead of moaning that they are on a downward spiral, Avis made the decision to market the fact that they weren’t the dominant leader. Avis launched an honest, open and believable campaign simply called “we try harder”.
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