Thanksgiving approaching only means that Christmas is right around the corner. As consumers prepare to get bombarded with holiday advertising and companies begin wondering how to push their products, businesses may be missing an enormous opportunity if they adhere to the outdated product-driven marketing strategy rather than adopting a market-driven strategy.
A market-driven strategy puts priority on the consumers in order to devise the underlying objective. Put simply, a market-driven strategy asks the question, “How can I tailor my product/service to what consumers want,” rather than, “How can I sell or push my product?”
By focusing on the consumer first, companies can gain great advantages that aid in the marketing and sales of their products or services. Developing a market-driven strategy involves aligning internal operations as well as external communications in order to affect every aspect of customer value, and therefore is not a short-term solution. However, when done correctly, a market-driven strategy can provide excellent results and even reduce long-term costs.
Here are a few tips to consider when developing a market-driven strategy:
- Think like a customer. I don’t mean think about why they would buy your product or service. Think about how your product/service makes their life better, what is missing from your product, what competitors offer that you do not.
- Focus on benefits, not features. Features are relative to your product or service while benefits relate directly to your customers’ experience. Think of cell phones as an example. The advertisers do not say the phone has a 1540 mAh capacity battery (feature), they say you get up to 480 minutes of talk time (benefit).
- Be honest. Our mothers taught us this important quality, but people (and companies) have a difficult time being honest about their own product or service. In order to be as competitive as possible, you have to at least know what the positives and negatives of your product or service are. Even if you are not able to change a negative aspect, you can at least be prepared to address it.
- Get outside opinions. All companies fall victim to “drinking their own Kool-Aid” and will inevitably miss important factors because they simply cannot view their product as an outsider. That is why it is important to get honest opinions from friends and colleagues from another company.
- Check your ego at the door. For this process to be successful, companies must be willing to recognize their faults and weaknesses. This process can often be terrifying for people and very uncomfortable, but it is truly the best way to develop a competitive market position.
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