Everyone in business has myths related to marketing and selling their products and services. It’s too expensive. Customers can find it cheaper on the web. It takes too long to get it. Your competitor has given me a better deal. You charge me a restocking fee. You’ve likely heard these and countless other ‘myths’ about your business.
Sure, our businesses are changing (i.e., Who Moved My Cheese), and we must be agile in anticipating where the ‘new cheese’ is going to be found. But it’s more than that.
Years ago, when I was training with a company to market and sell slide, video and multimedia presentations to both large and small companies – long before PowerPoint was invented – I came across a plaque outside an advertising agency in Chicago (the name of which now slips my mind). It described the three key things attached to marketing and selling any product or service to customers and prospects. It said:
Price, Quality, Speed
– Pick any two
Think about it. Now, substitute Service for Speed, which just makes it a little broader application for most businesses.
So what does all this mean? Well, customers often believe they have the control over the levels of all three keys — price, quality and service but actually, the sales or marketing professional, business owner or corporate executive knows that to succeed, they must control ONE of the three key factors.
Your company makes and sells custom widgets – very high quality, lifetime guarantee widgets. And your market research has indicated that your prospects and customers want them produced and delivered very quickly. So you have a larger than normal staff, and the best and fastest equipment available to accommodate the orders, which allows you to price the widgets at a premium. Along with that there is a great market for your premium priced widgets. In this scenario, your customers are asking for quality and service (speed), while you get to control price.
Now, what if you discovered that there the market for widgets was priced sensitive. Prospects and customers wanted virtually the same quality product, or even one at lesser quality, but at a more economical price. Is there a way that this ‘formula’ can work for you? Sure there is. If your prospects want control over quality and price, then you control the service level, or speed. The high quality widget company realized that it had lulls in its production cycles and could fill orders for customers willing to wait a little longer to get lower prices.
But what if the market were driven solely on price and speed of delivery? The ‘profit’ formula still works. The widget manufacturer may ultimately have to reduce quality in order to meet the demands of pricing and turnaround.
Some of the things effective marketing should focus on:
- What your prospects are currently buying.
- How your products/services will meet their needs.
- What value your products/services provide versus those of your competition.
- How you will tap into that market.
You wouldn’t want to see your product or service to become the next ‘New Coke’.