Marketers aren’t geniuses. No, you’re not. It’s okay.
We aren’t supposed to know how to market everything to everybody, and the technology industry is a great example of this: Maybe your company designs software – do you know how to write the software? Probably not. Regardless, there are a few things to keep in mind to market anything – no matter the industry.
What you’re marketing isn’t only the product. It’s about the benefits. Jason Cohen, one of the founders of SmartBear Software, writes in his blog that it’s not always as simple as saying, “this will save you money and increase efficiency.” Maybe it’s not about saving money – theoretically, when a company saves money due to an increase in efficiency, they aren’t taking it to the bank, they’re investing it elsewhere.
Ken Larson, CEO of SmalltoFeds, shared a similar sentiment when he said, “Learn as much as you can about the product and the service and develop a strategic marketing plan, working with those within the firm who know the most about what you are selling.”
Here are some tips to help you market a product that lies just outside your threshold of comprehension.
1. Taste, Trends And Technology
What does your research indicate is the trend in your field? Is your offering aligned with the future of the industry and its users, or are you already on the brink of becoming stale? This item covers the developments you expect for the next few years. Evan a “perfect” business can become obsolete overnight due to future developments and game changing innovations. Specify a five-year forecast of your field and make minor adjustments as often as necessary.
2. Sales Revenue Forecast
Have you developed these targets? This section shows your estimates of future sales revenue for your business. Your strategic plan needs to spell out the specific actions you will take to achieve your forecast sales revenues.
3. Differentiate Your Business From The Competition
How does your business differ from the competition’s strong and weak points. Again, remember to carefully look at your business from the customer’s perspective. If you’re not sure how your pricing policies compare to the competition, here are some simple guidelines: People associate high prices with high quality and extra service, and they associate low prices with low or average quality and minimum service.
Make sure you provide extra quality and service if your prices are higher than your competition. Make sure that your prices are lower if your quality is average and your service is minimum. If the latter is the case, find one or two highlights in your product that you can favorably compare to your higher priced competitor.
4. Decide How To Reach Customers
Once you define your target customer, it’s easier to create a list of possible ways to reach that person. One of your jobs as a businessperson is to decide which of all the possible methods of communication will give you the most exposure for the least cost in money or time.
Most businesses have competition. How will your business differ in significant and positive ways from your competition? If your competition is strong, don’t minimize that fact, but figure out how you will adjust to or use that strength.
For example, if you plan to open a restaurant next to an extremely popular one, part of your strategy might be to cater to the overflow. Another might be to open on days or evenings when the other restaurant is closed. Now, I understand that a restaurant is a simplified example, but the principle remains the same whether you’re selling LEGOs or an open source API testing tool: articulate whatever it is that makes your product unique.
If you anticipate no direct competition, your business probably involves selling a new product or service, or one that is new to your area. How will you avoid going broke trying to develop a market?
7. Cycles And Trends
Many businesses have cycles of growth and decline often based on outside factors such as taste, trends or technology. What is your forecast of the cycles and trends in your business? For example, if your forecast tells you that the new electronic product you plan to manufacture may decline in three years when the market is saturated, can you earn enough money in the meantime to make the venture worthwhile?
8. Slow Times
Every business experiences ups and downs. Is your business small and simple enough, or capitalized adequately enough, to ride out slow times? Or do you have some other strategy, such as staying open long hours in the busy season and closing during times of the year when business is?
9. Owners Expertise
Nobody knows everything. How do you plan to compensate for the knowledge you’re short on? Write your risk analysis by first thinking of the main dangers your business faces. This shouldn’t be hard, as you have probably been concerned about them for some time. Some of these may be on the list set out above; others will be unique to your business. Once you have identified the principal risks facing your business, write out a plan to counter each. But don’t bog yourself down worrying about all sorts of unlikely disasters.