Biasing Buyers

The oddest request I ever received from the head of a sales organization was “Can you stop promoting the product for a couple of months?” It was an old company with a new product that had gone nowhere before I took the reigns of their marketing department. I established a strategy that relied on precise market segmentation, focusing on the top two segments, then making buyers and strategic partners believe we were the only serious product in the market. Sales jumped 26% in the first year, we chased two competitors completely out of our target segments, and had a sales close rate above 80%. The poor sales folks couldn’t keep up with incoming calls. The strategy was to bias the opinions of buyers. This required them believing that we not only cured the generic problem (which our competitors did too) but we also cured the buyers personal job-related problem (in … Continue reading

Suffering Surveys

I thought my client had stopped breathing. We were going over elements of a large-scale survey he wanted Silicon Strategies Marketing to do for them. The mechanics were fine, the methodology was agreeable, and the timelines were A-OK. But when the cost to incentivize respondents was presented, I momentarily mistook his slacked jaw expression as a sign of a cerebral stroke. He quickly reached into his desk draw, took a slug from a flask, then asked if the incentive amount was a typographical error. The benefit behind primary research is that it delivers precise answers about your market. Surveying remains the best way to build quantified business cases and MRD‘s. However, surveying on the cheap produces unreliable results, and surveying in some ways is getting more expensive by the minute. The basic problem is that unless the subject matter of a survey really excites people, they would rather not invest … Continue reading

Saturation Silliness

starbucks_saturation

“Our market is mature, and is saturated. We have to steal customers from our competitors.” There are some absurd technology marketing truisms, chief of which is that anything is so static that a market won’t and cannot be changed. Resting on the notion that there is only one recourse to growing a customer base means certain cerebral sediment has set — that market leaders don’t. When your market is saturated, you should think about changing the market or at very least adapting to changes in and connected to your market. First, no market is ever saturated. New companies come to life every day. A start-up limping along on open source and big dreams will be tomorrow’s Twitter and will need products they cannot afford to buy today. Freemium models work well in markets where long-term customer nurturing can be guided and automated. More mature companies occasionally switch technologies tied to … Continue reading

Authentically

It was an authentic question. I shared coffee last week with a former boss who now is a VP at Google. He was surprised to learn that I founded a marketing strategy consultancy and had been successful at it ever since leaving his employ. He was curious how I promoted the business and was shocked to learn that approximately half of Silicon Strategies Marketing’s new clients come from the web. It all hinges on authenticity. Since the earliest days of snake oil, buyers have been wary of product claims. Anyone who has ever bought a used car is even more sensitive. Inexperienced marketers make unsubstatiated claims, and by doing so trash their corporate brands. The entire product world — both B2C and B2B — at times seem to lack any authenticity. People, pre-programmed as they now are, distance themselves from offerings that appear inauthentic. Which oddly enough explains iPods and … Continue reading