Archive for July, 2011

What is Marketing? You will be surprised.

Why Marketing?

Wikipedia says that:

Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development.[1] It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments.[1] It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves.

Blah, blah, blah. Sounds great, but it’s completely useless. It’s almost the general definition of Business.

Let me give you a much more useful way to look at marketing:

Marketing is offering people something that is more valuable to them than the price you are charging – and getting them to see that it’s a good deal. 

The first part is trade. The second part makes it marketing.

Marketing is not something you do to customers, it’s something you do for customers.

It’s the service of making the right decisions easier for the customer.

This statement has been floating around the Internet for years. It’s my most quoted statement.  I’m delighted, because it goes right to the core: make the right decision easy.

Why is marketing about making decisions easier?

Because easy means faster and that’s really the hidden secret behind marketing success. If you can get customers to make decisions faster for your product than the competitor’s products, then you accumulate customers faster, even without greater brand choice.

But “faster” isn’t the primary thing to focus on. When people focus on getting the customer to act faster, they end up pushing or pulling the customer, creating resistance, and prolonging the decision cycle.

It’s sort of what happens when people focus directly on making money as the primary goal, rather than creating value. Money is a consequence of value creation, in fact, it’s the primary way that value is stored. Focus on money first, and weird things happen. Focus on value, and magical things happen. In the same way, focus on making customer decisions easier and simpler every step of the way, and sales accelerate automatically.

Marketing = easier decisions. Another reason

People are overloaded, with dozens of New Media. They don’t have time to deliberate. They are swamped. They don’t have time to sort through the flood of information. You provide the service of saving people from the time and burden of deliberation.

Marketing helps the customer at every step of the decision-making process:

  • Helps the customer find you more easily. In fact, marketing in good companies is part of product development in most good companies. The product wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for marketing.
  • Helps the customer get information about you more easily, understand it, weigh it, see what’s relevant, compare you to the competition
  • Helps the customer try your product, evaluate the trial, decide who the winner is.
  • Helps make it easier to buy, pay, get delivery, reduce risk (return policies, guarantees & warranties)
  • Helps the customer learn, use, fix and teach the product. Only a few companies have discovered that customer service isn’t a cost center, it’s a marketing center. Companies like Amazon, Zappo’s, Apple.
  • Should be insisting on better user interfaces, better help methods, better training tools.
  • Should be teaching customers how to expand their use, become more expert.
  • _hould be stimulating word of mouth. Giving the wording, channels, tools and motivation to tell other people. I just happen to have written a book on the subject.

So, it isn’t just about getting people to buy. It’s about smoothing the way, every step of the way.

You want to focus on making the series of potentially difficult decisions easy, simple, fun, smooth, effortless for the customer. And not just up to the moment of purchase. Throughout the life of the product, indeed, throughout your entire relationship with the customer. If you’re doing the right thing, they will trust you. And trust is very practical. It makes the decisions very easy and fast. For instance, Google and Apple make my decisions easy and, therefore, fast. They can be counted on to get it as close to right the first time, then rapidly improve by listening.

The main goal of a business is to provide the best product for a given situation. The main goal of marketing is to get people to see that it is the right choice, given the circumstances. In some circumstances, your product itself, in the abstract, isn’t the best product, or isn’t any better than any other product. But if you make the decisions easy, that is, make it easy to get and weigh information, to try, to use, to deal with you, to tell the people about it, your product then becomes the better product because, even if it’s equivalent in physical characteristics, it’s easier to find, understand, try, learn to use, fix, explain to others, etc. That’s better, even if the physical product is identical to the competitions’.

Where to go next :

My unique approach to marketing

Rent George’s Brain

Word-of-Mouth Marketing isn’t just about getting satisfied customers to recommend your product

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No New Social Network Launched Today — Borowitz Report

July 18, 2011 |  by  |  Marketing - Gen'l  |  ,  |  No Comments

Andy Borowitz reports:

No New Social Network Launched Today

SILICON VALLEY (The Borowitz Report) – A shockwave hit Silicon Valley today when, for the first time in five years, the day came and went without the launch of a single new social networking site.

Best line: Borowitz quotes someone in Silicon Valley, “I’m creating a new social network just for people who are creating social networks.”

Borowitz Report.

My unique approach to marketing

July 4, 2011 |  by  |  Featured, Marketing - Gen'l  |  2 Comments

My approach to marketing is different.

Conventional marketing focuses on persuasion: to make the case better that yours is the more desirable product. That’s good. But there’s a better way.

My approach is to remove or reduce all decision obstacles. Only sometimes does this involve tuning up the persuasion. Usually, this involves eliminating the many ways that you have inadvertently made it difficult to understand, buy or talk about your product.

This is a fundamentally different approach to marketing.

I call it Decision Easification —- because there’s no word on English for “to make things easier.” “Facilitation” doesn’t quite do it.

Let me explain:

Stages

The customer goes through several stages on the decision path. Think of them as hills to climb:

Status quo → finding you → learning about you → culling → weighing → sorting → evaluating → comparing alternatives → justifying trial →trying → buying → using → fixing → teaching → recommending → evangelizing.

Obstacles

On each of these hills, there are many obstacles:

Questions, qualms, issues, confusions, uncertainty, misunderstandings, distractions, competitor counter-information, effort, time wasters, information overload, distrust and many other stumbling blocks.

So, they (1) stumble enough, (2) turn around and go home or (3) find another product that’s easier to fathom.

It’s at these hidden obstacles that you are losing most of your potential customers.

They’re mostly hidden to you because you are an expert who doesn’t see how difficult it is to get past these obstacles. You see it as a smooth path, they see it as a bumpy, rough and uphill obstacle course.

Example: Take the switch from Windows to Mac. For years,  Apple didn’t get how hard the switch is. Yes, OS X is a simpler, more intuitive way of doing things. But while it’s simpler and easier, it’s different. So, at every difference point, learning or thinking has to happen. That slows people down, disorients them, breaks their flow, and makes them feel frustrated or stupid. Every Windows user knows they will have to go through this, so it’s a gigantic bump on the decision road, up the Culling, Trial and Learning hills. While Apple has made tremendous strides in easing the transition, they are still not there yet. They should have a Windows Transition Mode on their OS and their programs, and run Windows natively on OS X. The point is that Apple can be persuasive and convince people they have an easy-to-use operating system: but they haven’t eased the anticipated and actual transition enough. So, the hidden obstacle is: anticipated transition difficulty. Ease that and sales will multiply.

Your job is to find these friction points and get people past them. In age of overloaded customers, you have to do it — not by glitzy, razzle-dazzle marketing — but by making every step and stage of the decision process easier.

If you would like to learn more about getting a one-on-one consultation with me, click here.

What are your marketing questions?

I just noticed something interesting. A lot of people come to this site after having Googled the phrase “Marketing Questions.” So, I looked up the phrase on Google Trends.

Marketing Questions

Marketing questions

http://www.google.com/trends?q=marketing+questions

Pretty interesting and rare. It’s not very often that you see a common phrase suddenly appear with a few spikes and gradually double in a few years.

Even more interesting is that I get one of the top rankings on this phrase in Google Search. And, it’s around 2005 that I put up a lot of pages using that phrase. Here’s one: “Answers to these 23 marketing questions will send your product through the roof.”

In the meantime, the frequency of searches for “marketing” has gone down!

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