Marketing. It’s a word that simultaneously excites me and makes me cringe. Platforms are constantly changing, making it difficult to reach a target market (ahem, Facebook), prospective customers are tuning out more and more because there is a constant glut of information being thrown at them, key performance metrics that trended positive six months ago may not mean much now because marketing channels are flooded with content and becoming largely ineffective.
So the question is…with all these obstacles, how can you make your company stand out against the competition?
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. But I can tell you that testing the effectiveness of marketing channels is becoming critically important to companies with small budgets and the best way to test is to first get feedback from your potential customers. Hence, the reason why marketing excites me. Valuable feedback yields potential for new ideas and opportunities for innovation. YAY! Right up my alley. =)
This leads me to my latest project. I NEED YOUR FEEDBACK!!!!! Why not give you all a shot to win a cool prize for taking the time to take my super-quick book marketing survey???
ONE random winner will win a $50 Amazon gift card and FIVE random winners will get swag packs! The contest will end on April 1 and I’ll announce winners on my Facebook page on April 2.
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE SURVEY
If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to have a thick skin. You’ll come into contact with plenty of naysayers who will try to blast your ideas to smithereens. Don’t let them break your stride. LOL. I’m totally dating myself by making that reference…
One night, Hubby and I had dinner with a dear friend of mine and we were talking about her new men’s skincare company. Hubby asked some pretty probing questions and she got very defensive about her products and strategic direction. And trust me, he was going pretty easy on her.
Beware, questions like these come up more often than not and you’d better be ready with convincing responses if you want to convert a prospect into a customer.
- What makes your product so much better than the competition?
- What’s the value proposition of your product/brand?
- How will it benefit me?
- Why should I pay your price when I can get the same thing cheaper?
- In short…what the heck makes your product so special?
But not everyone can handle the questions. Some people are just very invested and they take their endeavors way too personally to separate themselves.
Getting defensive is a natural reaction. After all, someone is challenging the idea you created and made a reality. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Remember, not everyone will see the same value in your offering and that’s OKAY.
You know the saying….about opinions… =)
My advice is to figure out the answers to the questions BEFORE someone asks. S/he may not care for the responses or run out and buy your product but at least you’ve considered the objections and know how to handle them when they arise.
And that puts you ahead of the game.
There is a really good reason why feedback is so critical in the product development process.
Hmm, interesting. Tell me more.
If you go down a path without prospective customer feedback, you run the risk that you will never be able to gain traction in the marketplace. You WILL feel strongly about your product. This is pretty much a guarantee. It’s hard not to take criticism personally when you’ve poured your heart and soul into your idea but develop a thick skin because not everyone will love it like you do.
Before you spend tons of cash to develop something you love, something you HOPE others will love, test it out. See how you can make it even better, more marketable. Gathering feedback from your target audience is the best way to find out if you have something people will want to fall in love with. After all, they are the ones who need to pony up the money to buy it.
Always aim to enhance your product but don’t go to market with too many variations. When we launched Krina, we went out with seven handbag styles, each available in about eight different colors. We didn’t get feedback until AFTER our prototypes were designed. And we’d already paid handsomely for the samples. The thing is, we just didn’t know which styles would take off so we diversified…a little too much. Bringing many variations to market means you have enough products to appeal to a lot of tastes but then you get stuck making one-offs. Extremely costly, folks.
Be aware that there is risk in trying to satisfy too many masters. Gather insights from a prospective audience, identify synergies among the sound bytes and prioritize the recommendations. You can’t boil the ocean and some recommendations may cost much more than others. Keep things simple to start. If you have a solid first iteration, you can always improve upon it as time goes on. Just make sure you start out with the right product offering to begin with and everything else will fall into place.
Today is a good day. I feel very relaxed right now. It doesn’t hurt that I’m getting a pedicure as I type, but that’s not the real reason. I just feel like I have a lot to look forward to on this journey toward publication. I don’t know where it will lead me, but I’m okay with the unknown. For now, anyway. People who know me well are fully aware that my OCD will only allow me to flail around for a very short time before I start to get antsy.
I just printed out my final manuscript. Of course, I had to check with my editor twice this morning (before 7 a.m.) that it really was polished and perfect and ready to submit (or whatever). After telling me for the umpteenth time to relax and stop being so insecure, I decided today was the day that it was ready for prime-time.
So he’s reading while I’m getting my feet scrubbed. I can’t wait to get his feedback. He’s been so amazing and supportive throughout this whole process. I’m really lucky to have such a wonderful partner who is so invested in me. =)
Just as an aside, it’s kind of hard to blog about my book when nobody really knows what I’m talking about. The assurance that “you’ll see what I mean sometime in the not-so-distant future” will lose its luster pretty quickly. I need to figure out new things to chat about in the interim.
And since my mind is so clear today, I actually have time to think about things like whether or not I want to take a shot with some new fake eyelashes tonight. I have some really awesome bejeweled ones that’ll look fantastic with my outfit! Like I said last night, I’m taking the weekend OFF! =)