How some firms get the right product to the right target
Have you ever spoken with the eternal optimist who sounds like this?
Who is your customer?
Any and everybody. Everyone needs what I am selling and everyone will buy it.
Who is your competition?
No one. No one is doing what our company does the way that we do it. We are unique. We are innovators.
Why aren’t you successful?
We need some more capital in order to get the message out to the marketplace. Once we do that, everyone will tell their friends and family and we will be in great shape. The world will beat a path to our door!
Hmmmm…if business were only that simple. Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, they say.
It seems as though some companies have created “needs” where desire never existed. I promise you; when I was 15 and riding my bike around town from sun up to sun down, I never needed a mobile phone. Or a tablet. Or a video game. Or a computer.
Now, when any of the above begins running too slowly, I “need” to upgrade in order to continue to do my work efficiently.
How do these companies do it?
Let’s start out by saying that not every product that hits the marketplace is a home run, and those that are home runs don’t necessarily hit it out of the park the first time at bat. Sometimes it is trial and error and relentless pursuit that enables firms to be successful with their product or service.
The companies that do it successfully, however, don’t start with the product; they start with the consumer – the person or firm that they want to sell to and what their potential needs/wants are going to be. Looking at it from a marketing perspective, one would want to observe other firms in the marketplace and see where the gaps are in delivery. For example, in the lip balm industry, one of our clients wanted to deliver an all-natural product that was branded as being “fun” while addressing lip therapy needs. Their market is the natural products industry, but not necessarily those individuals that are very uptight about it, such as young people. Creating product lines with multiple flavors, the company could successfully sell multiple products to an individual, whereas other lip balm companies would sell one at a time.
They discovered this by listening to their customer and making the necessary adjustments. They didn’t try to sell the same product to the entire marketplace and they didn’t take for granted that they knew better than their market. They took a humble approach and are now selling their product internationally.
Service firms are no different; where there is an intangible product being sold, it is all-the-more important to get the offering right because the firm is no better than the last customer’s experience. Look at the rating boards and see what you look for: Great – the product has 5-star reviews, but what didn’t people like about it (the 1 and 2-star reviews).
To build an extraordinary company, you must take a customer-centric approach to developing your products and pushing them out to the marketplace. You may have what you think is the great product in the world, but if nobody is buying, it ain’t worth selling.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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*image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net; photograph by David Castillo Dominici