26/05/2011

By Grant Leboff, CEO of Sticky Marketing Club

If sales are slow, or the uptake on a new product or service is not as good as expected, it is not always easy to discern from where the problems originate. One area in which you need to be sure, is that the Sales and Marketing strategy is right. An unsatisfactory answer to any of these questions may indicate where the issues lie.

1. What Problems Does The Product or Service Solve?

The starting point of any robust marketing and sales strategy is to understand the problems that the product or service solves. Without a clear understanding of this, an effective strategy will not emerge.

2. Who Will Gain From the Value in Your Offering?

To whom will these problems be most troublesome?
Who will have the most to lose by not dealing with these issues?

The cost of NOT sorting out the problems must be GREATER than the cost of dealing with them. It is only then, that your case becomes compelling.

Aspects like emotional upheaval, stress and the risk to reputation when implementing the solution, as well as a bottom line cost, must have been considered. It is all these factors together that make up the value in the offering.

3. Who Is The Major Market?

Today we live in the world of niche. The web is fantastic at delivering personalised products and services, cutting out many of the old distribution challenges. It is a more effective strategy to be a big fish in a small pond rather than the other way round.

Therefore, segmentation of the market should have taken place. Is the target:

- Particular types of people - high net worth individuals, men, women, golfers etc?

- Certain geographical locations — Peterborough, The North West etc?

- Tight market sectors - manufacturers or accountants etc?

4. Are Internal Strengths Being Utilised?

One way of deciding on the right markets to pursue, is to think about the company and the people within the business.
Do they have particular areas of expertise?

For example; do they have considerable experience in particular markets, like working with lawyers? Do they have unique knowledge of a specific geographical area? Are they better at getting on with certain types of people?

All these factors could help you establish a particularly attractive offering.

For example; a Manchester based accountancy firm may find it impractical handling customers nationwide and, therefore, decide to only work with clients in the North West.

It may be that in-house, there is an array of experience of working with entrepreneurial businesses. Therefore, the accountancy firm may strategically decide to make their market place Entrepreneurs based in the North West.

By concentrating in this market place, the accountancy firm can target the right websites to look at and belong to, the publications to read and possibly write for, and the networks to attend. Within this market it will be quite easy for the accountancy firm to become known.

5. What Else Is Available In The Market?

The question that must have been answered is:

Why are we uniquely placed to solve the problem? An inability to answer this question means the business has the wrong target market or the wrong offering. More work will then need to be done before an effective Marketing and Sales plan can be put into place.

Grant Leboff is Author of Sales Therapy (Wiley) and Sticky Marketing (Kogan Page). He is CEO of Sticky Marketing Club www.stickymarketing.com


Watch the video below featuring Gill Le Fevre, IW Online Services Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft UK, explaining how Office 365 addresses the challenges that small businesses face.

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