What’s new? How are you innovating? What’s your point of difference? These are important questions for any business and especially so in IT. The way you respond to these questions is key to how successful any new initiatives you roll out will be.
New for the sake of it, novelty factors and impulse projects rarely have the longevity to make a real impact. And counting on marketing to spin substance out of air isn’t the solution.
Marketing is not magic. It’s hard work and it works best when grounded in cold, hard reality. Here are some questions to consider before you develop, before you launch and well before you flick it to marketing (internal or external) expecting them to turn straw into gold.
Who needs it?
The pressure to innovate is strong. We get it. We face the same pressures. But you must first and foremost be able to clearly articulate who needs your product or service. What specific problem does it solve? Where is your evidence of the need?
Marketing – as we so often remind businesses – is not about smoke and mirrors. It’s not a numbers game either. The most useful and simple definition of marketing is that it connects services or products with people who need them.
The best marketing campaign in the world would be one where every person who encounters a piece of marketing material feels immediately as though the product or service they are seeing will solve an urgent problem for them. This would mean the product is so well-researched and the target market so specifically defined there would be a 100% strike rate.
Does this happen? Rarely. But as close to 100% is what we strive for. This means the NEED and MARKET must be absolutely rock solid before we even begin to build marketing narratives, strategies or campaigns. You need to know your why.
Why are you the best business to provide it?
This is a bit like the old reprimand your parents used to roll out: If Jimmy went and jumped off a cliff would you do it too?
For example, data is on trend right now and rightly so. But this doesn’t mean you need to suddenly develop a data solution if that is not in your wheel house. Yes, you should research and find out what new products and solutions are out there. And yes, you should see how your offerings can align with new trends.
But don’t throw good money after bad developing something you are not an expert in. This makes it very hard to market with integrity.
And honestly, customers would rather you be clear about what you DON’T do than make false promises about what you can do. If they end up disappointed it’s a long road to get them back on your side.
Can you really stand behind it?
Just because you think it’s a great idea doesn’t necessarily mean it is. That sounds harsh but even the best ideas need time to develop and refine. And others that seem full of promise don’t hold up when interrogated. That’s the nature of any business or creative venture.
Can you litmus test the idea with key stakeholders? Your own customers are your best target audience. They know what you do and why they like you. They know what difference you make in their lives and will provide a good steer about any new ideas.
Don’t sell yourself or your business short. You have expertise. You have years of experience. Why would you risk reputation or actual sales on a new idea that hasn’t been tested or proven?
Hands down, the most successful marketing campaigns we create are the ones where the business owner and key team members are so on top of the product, so proud and passionate about the service, so full of knowledge they are busting to share.
Can you work miracles?
Sometimes it feels like that’s what businesses expect from marketing. So we like to gently turn the frame around now and then.
You know how much effort, human resources, skill, time and money it takes to develop and launch a new product. Right? If you are doing it properly. It’s not a miracle at all. The iPhone didn’t appear fully formed one magical morning. It came after years of technical and market research, prototype testing and hard work.
If you don’t have the time to develop something properly, then don’t handball it to marketing and expect them to work the miracle.
Do the thinking yourself. You can discuss with your internal marketing team (if you have one) or with your partner (such as Mogrify) but don’t abdicate responsibility and then blame ‘poor marketing’ if results aren’t what you hope.
Throwing money at marketing (‘spray and pray’) or sticking your head in the sand (‘suck it and see’) are not the answers either.
In short, if your product or service isn’t very good, or doesn’t satisfy a market need, it will fail regardless of how great the marketing and messaging around it is. Assigning blame to marketing is then just a smoke screen for what might be really going wrong e.g. no clearly defined strategy, lack of research, poor business processes, or insufficient product development time.
The best marketing is a partnership, where both sides bring their expertise and nobody expects magic or miracles. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of this kind of strategic marketing relationship, get in touch with us here at Mogrify. Or take our free assessment as a first step to see how your current marketing strategy performs.