Whether you’re preparing to launch a Web site or print a brochure to promote your business, there are two key components you must have a firm handle on before you get started. What are they?
1. YOUR PRODUCT!
2. YOUR MARKET!
It seems obvious, but I’m surprised – during an information-gathering session with clients – how often these elements are not clear or well-defined. The marketing manager is in a hurry to get a project done. His/her boss is on a deadline so they’re in such a rush, they don’t have time to deliver much-needed answers to questions – questions that ensure the best possible outcome for their marketing efforts.
Yes, doing your “homework” can be time consuming, but it is time well spent. Not to mention, it may also save you money in the long run because the information you gather will help you in many ways down the road.
Not only will you end up with outstanding marketing materials, but you’ll be better equipped to teach your team about what your product stands for. With that understanding, they can provide great customer service, which means more business for you.
To help you get organized, here are two lists of questions you can ask yourself. Give them some thought, write down some answers and you’ll be well-prepared when the time comes to move forward with your marketing.
Understanding Your Product:
1. What is your product?
a) The physical product: Is it a set of CDs/DVDs? Is glass, paper, plastic, etc.?
b) The functional product: What does the product do? What are the problems it solves for your audience?
2. What is its USP (unique selling proposition) or the one benefit that holds the greatest selling power at a particular time?
3. What is your goal?
- To sell more product, if so, how much?
- To gain name recognition?
- To create an image?
- To generate inquiries?
- To introduce a new product or an improvement of an old one?
4. What will your product do for “me” – your customer or prospect? List the benefits of your product vs. its features (Benefit = “This dress accents your figure, making you appear slimmer.” Feature = Made of 100% silk.).
5. Is your product for consumers or businesses?
6. Why should consumers/businesses buy your product over someone else’s? What will the buyer of your product expect or perceive that they’re getting? Is it worth it?
7. Is your product seasonal or regional (i.e. water-skis are rarely advertised in Colorado yet snow skis always are)?
8. If your product has been on the market before what has worked in promoting it in the past?
9. What objections might there be to your product (i.e. smoking causes cancer, time to listen to webinars, etc.)? Knowing them can help you overcome them with your audience.
Understanding Your Market:
1. Who do you want to speak to? (The tone of your advertising will differ if you’re trying to reach single men, 18-25 years old vs. professional men between 50-60. Take a look at Car & Driver magazine vs. an issue of Inc.)
2. How is your audience different from the general public?
3. What is the market’s mass desire? For example:
- The desire of men to be virile.
- The desire of women to be attractive and slim.
- The desires of both men and women to maintain their health.
Your writer’s job (or your job if you’re doing the writing) is to take this mass desire and direct it, channel it and focus it onto your product
4. What are the market demographics? Age, sex, education, income, career, marital status, etc.
5. What are the psychographics? What are their values? What is their lifestyle like? Do they dine out a lot or eat at home? Do they use credit cards often or pay with cash? Do they have a history of investing in programs/services to boost their business? What outdoor activities do they participate in?
6. What is their state of awareness? What is the market’s present state of knowledge about your product and the satisfaction that your product performs? (A headline that works with a market in one stage of awareness won’t work with a market in another stage.)
Once you have defined your product, identified your market, and determined the strongest benefit that satisfies their desire most deeply, you’ve got what you need to get going.
What are your next steps? Speak with your copywriter and graphic designer and share the information you’ve compiled. Working as a creative team you can plan the best way to communicate with your audience, engage them, and motivate them to contact you.
Have a tip you like to use when creating powerful marketing materials? Please share your ideas in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Here’s to your sweet success!