It is all too easy to become blinkered with your marketing.
By this I mean communicating about what you think is important rather than what’s actually motivating for your customers. Sadly, these don’t always coincide.
For company directors who are rightly passionate about their business, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s obvious what benefit(s) your product or service offers to people. So, this blog is designed to shake you out of that comfort zone, by asking a series of questions:
- Do you know why people buy your product or service?
This might sound like an obvious question, but it can often be answered on different levels, and may vary by the occasion and/or the customer.
I worked for the Bristol Hippodrome for example in the past, and while the obvious reason people buy theatre tickets is that they want to be entertained, often there are other reasons too. Perhaps they are looking for a birthday present where they also get to spend a night out with the recipient. Perhaps they adore musicals, so actually only buy tickets for musicals. They might admire the leading actor or actress.
By understanding the different triggers for purchase, companies can build on those triggers within their marketing. Customer research can help to identify these triggers and is hence the starting point of the Sugar Bullet strategic planning process.
- What makes people choose you over your competitors?
Plainly this is related to the above question, but looks at the specifics of why your customers choose your product or service specifically Vs competitors who may offer similar options.
As an example, I have recently purchased a standing desk converter. The reason I bought it was down to a concern about back pain, but this doesn’t explain why I chose the particular product I did. Following investigation, I plumped for a Harmoni Desk (which basically consists of four pieces of wood with strategically placed holes), despite the majority of ‘top 10’ reviews favouring a different kind of converter which were much bigger, sturdier and with electrified raising and lowering capabilities. Why? Not because it was better quality, but because it was sleek and portable, and given I work on a laptop, I didn’t actually need a heavy, complicated piece of engineering.
Customer research rather than assumption is again vital to try and understand why your product or service appeals specifically – this might be customer surveys in some cases or qualitative groups (or a combination) depending on the circumstances. Currently held information such as customer reviews is also helpful to inform this process.
- Are your customers vulnerable to being poached by your competitors?
Most research suggests that it costs between 5 and 6 times as much on average to attract a new customer than to retain a current one – so encouraging loyalty amongst current clients is vital. This is something we always look at when developing a marketing plan, and the starting point is to understand whether current customers are vulnerable to moving elsewhere. Again, this is something we will incorporate into the research we do, to help you understand whether your current business is at risk.
- Could you improve your offering to make it more relevant for your target market?
Marketing is so much more than just how you communicate to your current and target customers. It is also about shaping the products and services you offer to best meet their needs. So in the past at Sugar Bullet we have recommended a new bottle design for a drinks company, new product development ideas for food companies and sector specific products and services for a number of companies.
We also look carefully at pricing and have in the past recommended both price increases and price drops.
Again, by asking the right questions and listening to the response from your target market, we can make these recommendations with some confidence in their outcome.
So how did you do?
Were you able to answer the above questions with a degree of certainty? Do you know (rather than assume) why your customers buy your products, why they choose you and how secure that choice is?
If you were able to answer those questions confidently, then you are well on your way to being able to develop strategies and plans which will work for your business. Obviously, you will still need creativity in how those plans come to life and there may be other considerations such as responding to external events, but you have a good base to work from.
If not, then take advantage of the free 30-minute consultation Sugar Bullet offers, and give me a call – I am happy to answer any questions you have as well as discuss if and how Sugar Bullet could help you build an effective marketing plan.