I recently read a very unusual article by Dov Gordon on Firepole Marketing, titled; 3 Questions to a Consistent Flow of Clients (Beware the Marketing Plumbers!). I really recommend you read it, as in RIGHT NOW!
This unusual article is a follow up on what was shared there. I have always been emphasizing this point on naijapreneur. And it’s so painfully true;
people don’t care about you, how much success you’ve achieved or even what you have to sell.
People care about themselves first, second, third and up to infinity.
People are naturally selfish; including me, including you!
If you want customers to buy what you have to sell, here is what you need to do;
Forget about what you want or don’t want and focus on giving them what they want and getting rid of what they don’t want!
The 40/40/20 Rule of Marketing
Here is a fact that explains why customers buy. The “40/40/20 rule” explains what constitutes the response for a marketing campaign. It breaks down like this:
- 40% of the success of your marketing is dependent on the target audience
- 40% of the success of your marketing is dependent on what you’re offering [product or service]
- 20% of the success of your marketing is dependent on creativity
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This rule was popularized in the 1960’s by a direct mail guru named Ed Mayer. The first 40 represented your target audience. Meaning, 40% of the success of your direct response marketing program was tied to your message being sent to the right audience.
The second 40 stood for offer. Meaning, 40% of the success of your direct response program was centered on having the right offer for that audience. And 20 was creative. The copy and art are obviously important, but only if they relay the right message to the right people.
As you can see, customers don’t buy because your ads are very creatively done nor do they buy for any other reason besides their own. 80% of marketing success that brings about astounding sales is dependent on utility.
You have to know ‘what to sell’ [offer] to those ‘who needs them’ [target audience].
Why Do People Buy?
Customers buy for the following reasons. Provide these reasons and the sale becomes natural.
1. Utility – why should I buy this?
The answer is simple according to Dov Gordon in his unusual article; customers buy because they are interested in two things. These two things they are interested in are the same two things you and I are interested in. Because all of us are only interested in the following two things:
- Getting rid of a PROBLEM you have and don’t want and / or
- Creating a RESULT that you want and don’t have.
Very basic and so true!
People pay for products and services for one or both of these reasons.
They either want a problem they have solved or they want to have a result they currently lack.
No more, no less.
Economists were smart enough to coin a word for these two reasons why people buy. They called it utility.
What is Utility?
Utility they said is the satisfaction derived from the consumption of a particular product or service. In other words, utility = satisfaction derived = value.
Products or services sell not because of you have bills to pay, or because you have needs to be met. In fact, if you ever hope of selling anything, you have to get ‘YOU’ out of the equation and focus on ‘THEM’.
Products or services sell because your customers want utility.
People don’t pay for products or services, they pay for utility – what the product or service can do for them.
In a previous post, I talked about the need for utility by asking this question; does your business matter? I asked some very harsh questions in that unusual article because I needed to challenge your thinking about what you ‘think’ matters and what ‘really’ matters.
The simple truth is that people don’t give two cents about you!
Forget about yourself and all that you ever want and focus on creating something SIGNIFICANT for others. This is how you get customers to buy whatever it is you are selling.
Until people can see utility in what you are offering for sale, you will never get them to buy.
So what problem do you help solve and what results do you help create for your customers?
2. Credibility – why should I buy from you?
The second reasons why customers buy is credibility. Customers buy from people they trust. After a customer sees the utility in what you are offering for sale, the next thing they want to see is credibility. Are you for real? Can you really deliver this utility? Are you capable of delivering on your promise?
This is very crucial for making the sale. You can read more about how to establish credibility in this unusual article; why credibility comes before profitability.
3. Relevance – why should I buy NOW?
I see the value in your offering, I trust your ability to deliver, but is what your selling relevant to my current situation?
I am interested in what you are offering for sale, based on certain track record, I think I trust your brand, but how well is your solution –product/service suitable for my current needs?
This is the most crucial phase of the three reasons why people buy. To successfully get over this phase, two key skills are required;
1. The ability to question skillfully
2. The ability to listen carefully
To uncover the relevance of your product/service to the current needs of the customer, you’ve got to dig deep beyond the surface. People find it naturally difficult expressing their deep desires until skillfully led. The more you skillfully ask questions and listen carefully and patiently to the answers, the more the customer will open up and talk to you.
In Psychoanalysis, this is called the Freudian slip. Psychologists have found that if you allow a person talk about himself freely, eventually he will slip. He will blurt out what he is really thinking about at the moment.
The job of the entrepreneur is to create the kind of environment where the customer feels comfortable expressing himself openly and honestly. Your goal is to create a comfortable environment with your personality, ask open-ended questions with words such as what, where, when, how, who, why, and which. And then listen carefully and patiently without any interruption.
The importance of asking skillful questions and listening carefully is this; the person who asks the questions is in control of the conversation.
Notice how job interviews are conducted? The candidate is put on the hot seat and the interviewer is in charge of the entire conversation. The same is applicable in every kind of scenario; the person who asks the questions is in charge of the conversation.
Through your skillful questions and careful listening, you are leading the customer to the point where they feel comfortable enough to voice out their ultimate concern. Once you get them to this point, the relevance of your offering would be clear enough to them and the desire to buy now would be present.
Why do you think customers buy? Are there any other reasons besides the 3 mentioned above?
What are you selling; features or benefits? Have you discovered the utility in your product or service? How do you creatively convey this utility to your target customers?
Why should people buy from you? What should make them trust you enough to buy from you? How have you communicated your credibility?
How well do you understand the pressing needs of your target customers? How relevant is your offering [product/service] to their pressing needs?
Join in the conversation, share your comments below.
What constitutes an effective marketing strategy?
How can you get the most from your marketing efforts?
These questions and many more run through the mind of entrepreneurs as they struggle to build a thriving business. And the reason is quite clear; marketing is the lifeblood of any business.
If you get your marketing right, your odds of success in business will be greatly improved.
But why do many struggle to get their marketing right?
This is the central focus of this unusual article. You will learn the 3 essential ‘Ms’ that constitute a winning marketing strategy.
The 3M’s Of Highly Effective Marketing
What is your story?
The foundation of highly effective marketing is storytelling. The best marketers are storytellers. At the core of effective marketing is a strong message. This is why marketing is often referred to as communication. Because there’s a message that needs to be communicated to the target audience.
This message is the goodness [value] your product/service brings into the life of the target customer. Without this message, there can be no marketing!
This is contrary to what many entrepreneurs would like to admit. Many entrepreneurs often think the core of an effective marketing is the product/service. This is somewhat true, but more true is the story or message or idea behind the product/service.
People don’t form emotional bonds with products/service; they form emotional bonds with a story, message or idea. That is, the eventual outcome or benefit that accrues from using the product or service. If your story, message or idea is compelling and relevant enough, the product/service will naturally sell itself.
This is why Apple is one of the greatest marketing companies ever. They have a very compelling message that drives every product/service they offer; “challenging the status quo”.
Apple’s products/services are designed to challenge existing norms, beliefs and standards. They create products that disrupt the existing market. This message is at the core of everything they do as a company and is communicated through out their marketing. Their business is creating products/services that appeal to a tribe of ‘weirdos’ – people who are unusually different.
From their product development phase, they have created a secret cult that prevents the market from knowing about the next product until it launches. This further reinforces their message of “challenging the status quo” as it clearly communicates to the market that their products are not for the average Joe.
Only those who dare to be different fit the profile of Apple’s ideal target market.
What does this tell you?
Behind the product lies a message, story or idea that gives the product or service a meaning customers can relate with. That you have created the best product in your industry or niche isn’t going to make the customers beat a path to your door. No!
Customers identify first with a message, story or idea before making the decision to buy a product/service. Their decision to buy is an outward reinforcement of their inward attachment to the message, story or idea behind the product/service.
Here’s how this works; we are essentially emotional beings more than we like to think of ourselves as rational beings. People buy based on feelings [emotions] and justify with reasons [logic]. Meaning, the first question in the mind of every buyer is ‘why?’
Why should I buy this?
Why should I buy from you?
Why should I trust you?
Why should I do this or do that?
Contrary to what you think, customers don’t begin their buying process by asking ‘what?’, they begin with ‘why?’. Highly effective marketing begins with asking and answering this question; “why do customers buy?”
The best answer to that question is a compelling message, story or idea that will communicate value, trust and relevance. Give people something they can connect with, relate to and emotionally identify with, and you’ve won their heart over.
So here’s how to start creating a highly effective marketing strategy –craft a compelling message, story or idea around the product/service you’re offering for sell.
What is your story?
What cause are you fighting?
What are you fighting for or against?
To what purpose does your business exist?
What is the big picture behind your product or service?
Why should people bother or care about your company?
What problem is your business solving for humanity?
What contribution are you making through your business, product or service?
What is your BIG ‘why’ for being in business?
What gospel [goodnews] is your business spreading?
Finding answers to those questions is how you create a compelling message, story or idea for your marketing strategy. You have to answer the ‘why?’ question before the ‘what?’ question.
The second ‘M’ of highly effective marketing is Medium – how do you get your message out? It is not enough to have a compelling message, story or idea if it’s not being heard by the right people.
For your marketing to work, your compelling message has to be shared to the right audience via the right medium.
This is where medium comes into play. How do you get the word out? Through what channels are you going to disseminate your message, story or idea?
Most times, the message is right but the medium is wrong. For example, trying to sell a particular product/service to a bunch of uneducated people through a blog or website is highly ineffective. Meaning, your message won’t be understood however compelling it might be.
So you’ve got to use the right avenues to spread your message to your target audience. This is where advertising agencies and media houses excel. They help you identify the right medium to disseminate your marketing message.
What are the different marketing mediums available?
They are essentially classified into two parts;
- Print media: all forms of spreading your message in print forms such as newspaper ads, newsletters, handbills, billboards, books, magazines, brochures, catalogs, complementary cards, posters/flyers, stickers, branded clothing, souvenirs/gift items etc.
- Electronic media: all forms of spreading your message electronically such as online, TV, radio, audios, videos, mobile, etc.
The most important factor to consider when it comes to choosing a medium for your marketing is its relevance to your target market. You must identify the relevant medium for your target market. Failure to do this is failure in your marketing.
The third ‘M’ of highly effective marketing is the messenger. The message and the medium are incomplete without the messenger. The messenger is the face of the brand. This is why most marketing campaigns use celebrities or other known public figures.
Other than the message, story or idea, people also connect with people they admire. Successful marketing must involve the effective use of a strong personality. As an entrepreneur, you are the first brand ambassador of your company, product or service. You are the face that must win the confidence of your target market.
For Apple, the strong personality of Steve Jobs was one of their most effective marketing strategies. Steve was eccentric [weird] and nothing could be more fitting to their message of “challenging the status quo” than having an unusual leader.
He was the face of Apple. People connected with his personal philosophy of life, they bought into his message of daring to be different. And it worked!
For some other companies like Nike; they are known to always use highly successful athletes as their brand ambassadors. This further reinforces their core marketing message of “competitiveness” which comes from their brand name Nike – the greek goddess of victory.
So what does this tell you?
A message becomes more compelling when connected to a person. People form emotional bonds with other people and this is the secret behind the messenger strategy.
Personal branding as a form of marketing originated from the messenger strategy. The more a person can be connected to a message, story or idea, the more compelling and sticky the message becomes.
So here’s the takeaway; give your message a face!
And for startup entrepreneurs who do not have so much marketing budget, no other person fits this position better other than you the entrepreneur. You’ve got to back up your company, product, service and brand relentlessly.
The faith you have in your message, story or idea will become contagious the more you boldly communicate that message to your target audience both in words and in deeds.
So stop expecting others especially your salespeople to do all the selling. This is your business and the success rests more on your courage to face the world and boldly declare what you stand for!
What do you think about these 3M’s of highly effective marketing? Do you find them necessary? Have you noticed them in application? Are there any other ‘M’ I forgot to mention? How do you intend to put them to use in your business?
Use the comment box below to share your thoughts on this unusual article.
Over to the comments!
Business Startup FAQs 
This is another unusual article under the business mastery series. In a previous article, I listed out 10 Business Startup FAQs that most entrepreneurs often ask when starting out in business. Here are the questions again below.
I have answered question 1 – 3 in the first article, you can read about it here; How should entrepreneurs successfully start up a new business? I will be providing the answer to the fourth question; “How do I choose a name for my business?” in this unusual article.
- What kind of business should I go into?
- How Should I start; small or big?
- How Should I fund my business; use my own money or get external funding?
- How do I choose a name for my business?
- How do I differentiate my company from other competitions?
- What do I need for marketing my new business?
- Do I need to have a business plan or not?
- Do I need to have an office space or not?
- Do I need to hire employees or not?
- How do I price my products/services?
How Do I Choose A Brand Name For My Business?
When it comes to choosing a name for your business; here are the 3 essential principles you need to obey.
Let’s look at each one of these principles more closely.
This describes the nature of your business by its name. When you name your business based on the intended function it will carry out, you are naming your business base on functionality.
Functionality works very well for branding, as the name already speaks for itself. You don’t need too much talking to explain what your business is about. The name does it for you.
Examples of functional brand names are;
MTV Base –Music Tv
The major advantage of choosing a functional brand name for your business, product or service is its self-descriptive nature. I like this approach to choosing a brand name because of its ability to save you time trying to explain your business, product or service.
The name is the business, the business is the name.
No confusion whatsoever. There’s a clear communication of what you’re into once the customer comes in contact with your business, product or service. It doesn’t matter whether you or any of your people are there to explain to them or not. The brand name does the whole talking. Isn’t that what you want?
The central objective of this second approach to choosing a brand name for your business, product or service is stickiness. You want your brand name to stick in people’s mind. You want to be remembered. This is a deliberate and creative combination of words. What is popularly known as coined words. You want a brand name that will attract attention, stir up the curiosity and interest of your target market.
This can be said to be the opposite of choosing a brand name base on functionality. Because in this case, what you are seeking to achieve is not ‘self-description’ of what your business, product or service is about. But rather, you are seeking to achieve ‘self-imagination’ of what your business, product or service is about.
With functional brand names, you make the task of understanding what your business, product or service does easier for the target market. With memorable brand names, you make the task of understanding what your business, product or service does interesting for the target market.
With functional brand names, you don’t engage the customer’s curiosity because the name says it all. You don’t stir up their interest for what you are selling. But with memorable brand names, you have their attention because they are involved in the process of imagining what in the world your business, product or service is about.
This is where the catch is; you want them thinking. The more time they spend thinking about your brand name, the more sticky your brand name gets in their mind. Your goal is to imprint your brand name in their memory. You want them to easily remember your business, product or service. The more unusual they seem, the more memorable they are.
The major advantage of choosing a memorable brand name is its uniqueness. Nothing differentiates a business, product or service better than a brand name that’s uniquely yours. When no other company has used your business name before, it helps to really enhance your brand identity. You distinctively stand out from the crowd in your niche or industry. You can weave a compelling story around that uniqueness.
The downside to choosing a memorable brand name is that it requires more talking and that means more marketing. The more unusual the brand name, the more curiosity it stirs and the more communication [marketing] required.
That is; people quickly remember your brand name, but for what? This unanswered question is the gap marketing fills. You need to be consistent in your marketing to give your sticky brand name a meaning. You don’t want people to just remember your memorable brand name without associating it to something meaningful.
Successful brands don’t just carry sticky or memorable names, they also carry specific meanings. Successful brands are living entities. People know what they represent; they know what to expect every time from them. So, besides choosing a memorable brand name, you’ve also got to put a meaning behind it.
In the end, it is not enough to be memorable; your choice of brand name has to convey a meaning. And this doesn’t happen automatically, it is a deliberate and consistent marketing effort.
The third approach to choosing a brand name for your business, product or service is simplicity. After all is said and done, you don’t want to have a brand name that’s difficult to pronounce and spell. You really don’t want people biting off their tongues in an attempt to pronounce your brand name. The more complex it is, the more easily forgettable it becomes.
So whether it is a functional brand name or a memorable one you choose, just make sure it’s both simple to spell and pronounce. Simplicity is the underlying principle that ties up other two approaches of choosing a brand name.
It doesn’t matter which of the two you decide to choose. But it does matter that any brand name you come up with be simple. This is overly important. People don’t remember long or complex brand names. This is one of the reasons you find some brand names as acronyms. It’s because they need to keep it short and simple.
Here’s the simple rule of thumb; if your brand name will make people twist their tongues or squeeze their face, drop it!
If you are just starting out in business or working on a product or service, let your brand name be;
Descriptive – [functional]
Sticky – [memorable]
Short – [simple]
As entrepreneurs, we are always coming up with ideas that end up as new businesses, products or services. What other principles besides those mentioned in this unusual article do you follow when coming up with brand names?
Share your comments in the section below.
ONE LAST THING!
There are a million and one unusual entrepreneurs out there in your network, this site was built strictly for them. Help spread the word if you have been blessed by this unusual article. Please retweet on Twitter, share on Facebook, Linkedin, google+ and forward via email.
This is the third article of the business mastery series, if you’ve missed out on any, you can catch up by clicking on any of the links below.
In our previous discussion on how should entrepreneurs be profitably marketing their business, 3 elements of holistic marketing were highlighted;
- Finding profitable customers
- Keeping profitable customers
- Growing customers profitably
In this unusual article, I will be continuing our discussion from where we left off on the first element of holistic marketing –finding profitable customers.
The last time, I shared 3 fundamental marketing processes you need to undertake in finding profitable customers; market research, market segmentation and target marketing. They are fundamental because they provide the technical knowhow of finding profitable customers without which all your practical attempts to attract profitable customers for your business will be futile. In other words, they provide the technical information you need to take strategic actions.
Today, I will be sharing some strategic ways of finding profitable customers that you can practically put to use now and continually reap the rewards. Mind you, these strategic tips must be applied in line with the technical information obtained from undertaking the 3 fundamental marketing processes of market research, market segmentation and target marketing.
This is the second article of a new series, I have tagged it “Business Mastery Series”. Throughout this series, I will be
addressing some key issues that are pertinent to your success in business as an entrepreneur.
If you missed out on the first article, you can read it here;
Marketing is a core business function; to a large extent the success of your business is dependent on it. But from personal observations, not many entrepreneurs go about their marketing as they ought to. If at all they do, they don’t approach it holistically and so end up leaving so many stones unturned.
They tend to focus more on the selling part of marketing and overlook the other vital parts that naturally make selling unnecessary. The truth is this, if you approach marketing holistically, you will find out that you don’t need to ‘sell’; your products/services will naturally sell themselves.
There is an unusual way to marketing –the holistic way.
To attain the significant level of success you desire in your business, marketing must be seen as one whole concept involving several key activities that must be carried out by everyone in your business beginning with you the entrepreneur. In other words, when it comes to marketing, no one is to be exempted!
Perhaps my greatest discovery in my journey as an entrepreneur was from Peter Drucker’s statement about marketing. Here it is;
“The purpose of marketing is to make selling superfluous”.
Now, not many people understand what the last word in that sentence mean, so I am going to explain. Superfluous means unnecessary, period. Meaning marketing is supposed to make selling unnecessary.
Excuse me, isn’t this contrary to popular believe? In fact, a lot of people now regard marketing and selling to be one and the same thing. Here’s the brutal truth, no such thing exists.
“Marketing is what lays the foundation for effective selling”.
This is the 5th article of the business growth 101 series. If you haven’t been following, here are the previous articles of the series;
How have you been selling?
Back in the industrial age, manpower was the domineering force behind the success of every business. The more labourers you had as a company working for you, the more products you could eventually produce. There existed a direct relationship between the number of employees with the eventual turnover of good and services. More sales force equals to more revenue.
We are no longer in the industrial age, so manpower has become obsolete. We live in an era of the knowledge worker where brain power is the competitive edge. The size of your company’s workforce doesn’t account for its success, but rather, the quality of their brain. Size no longer counts, but insight.
In this new era, you find one man conveniently selling to thousands without a big workforce. The secret? Marketing.