This article is to help you get a better understanding of what’s going on in your marketplace. How to turn around a sinking ship and how to position your product in the mind of the consumer.
Do not focus on price
It’s basic economics, the more you lower your price the more you increase your quantity demanded. So what companies tend to do is fight their battle over price. This will only lead to one inevitable conclusion, you will end up either selling your product with very little profit margin or you will be out of business because someone else can make it cheaper. Do not focus on the price of what you are selling. Lowering your price is not a marketing strategy.
Market your idea not your brand
It is important to market your idea and not spend time or money marketing your brand. People are not stuck to your brand. As soon as the next cool thing comes along, they will dump you for that alternative. The theory is that by getting your name out there you will get people to not only recognize your name, but buy your product. This theory is flawed. People do not buy on just a name, they buy to supply a need or a perceived need that your product solves.
In order to make a extreme point of this, take a look at what is now known as The Bubble Bowl. This was the Super Bowl of 2000. Not many people remember the actual game, but what they do remember is the ads that seemed to doom the companies that ran them. These companies spent millions of dollars on thirty-second time slots only to see their business fail. Some lasted a few months (Pets.com & Computer.com) and some are still holding on today, but are falling fast (WebMD). So what happened? These companies clearly go their name out there, but we unable to capitalize on these views. They marketed their brand and didn’t market a clear message of why you should buy from them and not someone else.
Distinguish yourself from your competitors
Often labeled brand positioning, this is finding your place in the market. The more you try to become the Jack of All Trades, everything for everyone, the more you become the master of none. It is important that you focus on your key differentiator. What makes you unique? As others have put it, what is your unique selling proposition? In simple language this is why someone should buy from you and not someone else. What makes you unique. For Volvo, their unique selling point is safety. For Nintendo, their unique selling point is games for the entire family. These factors distinguish them from the competition. If you want to buy a cool MP3 player you get an Apple iPod or iPhone. They have clearly distinguished themselves as a cool elite product. You need to find out what separates you from your competition in the mind of the consumer. Not in reality. The only thing that matters is what your customers think of your brand.
I recently ran into this as a partner for a CCIE Rack Rental Company. We had been in business for a few years as solely a rack rental company. We then tried to take our brand as a rack rental company and extend that brand to a new line of training products. This venture was a failure. It seemed that people were unwilling to see a Rack Rental company as a training company as well. The product was solid and was from top trainers in CCIE, but the perception of our company was a rental company and not a training company. This is a very telling of extending your brand further than your customers will allow it to go.
Remember to hold true to what makes you unique. The more you try to become the competition the more you will lose yourself and become nothing in the mind of the consumer.
Phrase your offering in plain English
People are bombarded by the minute or even by the second with ads for one thing or another. Don’t be afraid to keep your advertising simple and direct. You don’t need to have an elaborate commercial with fancy CG. You just need to vocalize your unique selling point. Let people know why they should buy from you.
Spend your time selling not entertaining
Leave entertainment to entertainment companies. Marketing is an investment. If you are expecting a return on your investment, then you should steer clear of wasting money on entertaining. I’m not saying that ads can’t be funny, dramatic, emotional, or even scary. However, you are not in the business of entertaining you are in the business of selling. You have a very limited time to get your message across. Start your message by selling to your audience. If people are interested in buying your product, they will listen.
Use common sense
The best advice I can give on the subject of making the most of your brand is use common sense. Don’t try to over think simple situations. All the data and analysis in the world can’t overcome the simple fact that if your product or idea doesn’t make sense then no one will buy it. There are to many alternatives out there, and probably at a cheaper price. Don’t let any one talk you into something that doesn’t make sense. Walmart selling a 2009 Porsche, or a $150 Kitchen Knife? This is an exaggerated example but you can see it doesn’t make sense.
You are only as good as your customers will let you be. Their perceptions about your business are all you have. If you understand these perceptions, then you should conform to them. Don’t waste your time trying to change their mind. Sell to what they already know.