There are three important references that should be known, plus the works of another company. I’ll be referring to these in this section. The books:
- Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore
- Tuned In, by Craig Stull, Phil Myers and David Meerman Scott
- Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
The company I find particularly helpful is Pragmatic Marketing. Their material is excellent and is a common-sense and practical method for marketing that gets results.
In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore talks about the technology adoption curve and the types of customers you need to target at different stages of the growth cycle. In Tuned In, the message is simple: Get the heck out of the office and talk to customers. Positioning covers how to place your product in the minds of consumers. All important technologies.
The question this blog answers is HOW to penetrate the built-in and accumulated resistance that customers have. This applies whether you’re a new start-up, crossing chasm with the hope of making it big and viral, or already past the adoption “hump” and into the realm of a commodity.
How do you penetrate the “force field” that customers have erected against the onslaught of advertising and marketing? There are three parts to marketing effectively:
Buttons are the key words or phrases that catch the interest of potential customers. They are the key words or phrases that customers will respond to. This is not magic or voodoo—these are the problems that people have in their job (or their life, if your software is for personal use). The thing is, they will tell you! All you have to do is ask.
This is where market research comes into play. Sit down with a customer or potential customer, spend an hour and ask them about their job, asking questions about how they do what they do, what problems they have, how they like existing software solutions, problems with existing software solutions, their opinion of your software if it’s on the market.
Do that with about twenty to thirty customers and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what’s important. Do that with one hundred, and you’ll know conclusively what’s important. In that cross-section, there will be common denominators of what is important. There will be key words that are common that succinctly describe their problems.
Much more can be written on this topic alone, and all of it is worthwhile.
As Tuned In teaches, talk to your customers! And listen to them! FIND OUT what their problems are. Tailor your software to specifically solve those problems if it doesn’t already, tailor your marketing to address those problems and provide enough info to satisfy their curiosity about how your software solves those problems.
Believe it or not, it’s not that hard! There’s a lot of work, but it’s not rocket science—although it IS a science.
Pragmatic Marketing preaches, “Your opinion, while interesting, is irrelevant.” Your opinion is your opinion, and while you may be extremely proud of certain features and functionality in your software, how important is that functionality for your customers? Does your chest-thumping match what customers are concerned about, what they worry about? I would paraphrase Pragmatic to say “Your opinion is irrelevant. Your knowledge of what customers want is extremely relevant.”
Do you know conclusively what your customers want? Talk to them. Find out the common denominator of your market segment, your market niche. Address those problems with your solution, phrase your marketing materials to address those problems in the language and nomenclature they’re familiar with and you’re halfway there.
I’m already morphing into point #2: Message, which goes hand-in-glove with Buttons. Stay tuned for Effective Marketing Part III where I’ll cover this important topic!