Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No Strategy? No Sale

Your competitors are cooking up ways to beat you. You can count on that. So don't make the common mistake of thinking that a simple description of your product or service will be enough to sell it. You've got to have a strategy, one that will showcase your product in a light that will attract buyers again and again. One way to create a working strategy is to challenge your thinking with a marketing communications strategy checklist, one like this:

1. What is the purpose of this product/service/Web site?
To convey information?
To sell a product, service, or philosophy?
To establish your company name or brand?

2. Who is your audience(s)? Do you have more than one?
What professionals, by job title, do you want to reach?

(a) What do they want? Keep in mind the story of the man who walks into a hardware store, looking for a quarter-inch drill bit. Does he in fact want a drill bit? No. He needs a quarter-inch drill bit because he wants a quarter-inch hole.

(b) What do you think their underlying fears or worries might be as they search for a supplier?

(c) Do you think they are biased in any way? If so, how?

(d) Do they have a problem they want someone to solve?

3. Any specialized terms or concepts that need to be defined or explained for your audience?

4. What is your primary message in one sentence?
(This statement may be similar to your mission statement)

5. Do you have competitors?

(a) Who are they?

(b) Do you know their strengths and weaknesses?

(c) What are your strengths and weaknesses?

(d) Who is dominant in this market?

6. Can you offset your competitors' strengths with those of your own?

7. Features vs. Benefits

The fact that a marina has a boat-lift is a feature. The fact that the lift can extract a boat 60 feet in length is a benefit.

(a) What are your features?

(b) What benefits do your features create?

8. What is your company history?

9. What related experience do you have?

(a) Number of years in business?

(b) Can you list relevant specific projects or contracts that you have completed? Any case histories that would amplify your capabilities?

10. What personnel, credentials, awards, equipment, or facilities do you have that will lend weight to your qualifications?

Make every effort to establish your niche in your chosen market. Set yourself apart from your competitors by creating and promoting the unique features and benefits of your product or service.

Finally, consider the late advertising great David Olgivy's assertion that we need to build our site around a "big idea."

"It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea."


Anonymous Rose said...

Excellent post.

Your competitors are cooking up ways to beat you. You can count on that.

Oh how right you are.

6:10 PM  

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