Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reminder: Discover, Don’t Dictate

A tip of the B-to-B Blog hat to the folks at

Those wise folks recently published a blog post which reminded marketers to “Discover, Don’t Dictate” and it struck a chord.

The post is entitled "Customer Value: 4 Tips for Crafting Segmented Value Propositions". In a nutshell, the author reminds the b-to-b marketer to take the time to research and examine what exactly are the top appeals (or value propositions) each market segment has for a product or service. This discovery process helps fuel all marketing messaging.

What Motivates the Prospect?

It’s critical when developing marketing communications, or any business-to-business communications, to take a market-centric approach to what’s relevant, appealing to each prospect segment, and finding their pain-points.  

Before a website is written, before a direct email is created, before a product brochure is printed, it is critical to take the time to discover and truly ascertain what a product or service truly means to prospects.

All About You - or All About Your Customer?

Instead of stressing all about the product, via all that “we we” text, as described in a previous B-to-B Blog post, the focus should instead be on the tried and true “What’s in it for me” approach to marketing content. 

Those key messages, value propositions, will then have a better chance of motivating the prospect.
The “Discover, Don’t Dictate” blog post makes some great points:
  •    Multiple groups/audience segments care about different aspects of a product or service – does the marketing message take this into account?
  • It is of tremendous value to be consistent in conducting detective work to uncover what aspects are truly relevant and appealing.  Don’t just conduct a market research project once, then make the assumption the findings stay the same over the years.
  • One of the most powerful way to discover the market perception is to survey current customers.  It’s powerful stuff to figure out what features/benefits resonate with current customers, what makes them convinced to stay with you, sign up with you, buy from you, etc.
  • Another high-impact way to “discover” the market need is to survey non-customers.  Go to relevant trade shows, networking events and other appropriate gatherings to conduct an informal survey.  Have attendees heard of your product or service? How do they react to your offerings and general industry offerings?

A Powerful Reminder
As mentioned above, this topic has been covered in this blog and other places, but these reminders are always quite helpful.  

It is easy to dictate what we as marketers might assume/think motivates a prospect.  It is more compelling and effective to discover that information directly from prospects, and use that knowledge to create high-impact marketing communications.  

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