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Charles crouch marketing_technical_product_to_my_mother

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Charles crouch marketing_technical_product_to_my_mother

  1. 1. Marketing Your Technical Product/Service ... to my Mother . Presented by Charles E. Crouch Introduction Companies selling a technology-based product or service frequently promote their offerings based on technical features and specifications, but these may not be the main decision criteria used by their customers. Potential customers will also be looking for business benefits to justify the purchase, but these benefits are often neglected n the marketing message. Having a technology-based product or service makes marketing even more challenging because: • Few people understand complex technologies. • The benefits of one technology over another are not clear. • Since people cannot easily differentiate between technologies, all technology is seen as equal. Consequently, a big danger is having your technology seen as a commodity which everyone uses. Then the only differentiator left for competing is price, which is a race to the bottom. B2B is Different from B2C Many technology-based businesses sell into the business-to-business (B2B) market, which is significantly different from the business-to-consumer (B2C) market. The marketplace is more complex. The products and services on offer are more complex, and customers are often quite sophisticated, especially in their own areas of expertise. Order values are larger. In the B2C world processing many small orders to achieve significant turnover is common. A single B2B order can be a thousand times larger, but they occur less frequently. Sales cycle is longer. B2C orders are often made on impulse. A B2B order may have a sales cycle lasting months, requiring multiple steps and contacts. Processes and procedures are more complex. Detailed proposal requests, submission dates, review committees and formal contract signings are common parts of the B2B buying process. Your Potential Customers To successfully market and sell, you must understand your customers. Three Key Questions to ask about your potential B2B customers are: • Who needs to be persuaded? • What actions must they take to select you? • How can you encourage them to do this? Marketing Your Technical Product/Service... to my Mother! Page 1
  2. 2. Customer Types You will typically encounter three types of customers when selling technical products and services, and all can be part of their customer decision process. Decision makers have the power to authorize the buying decision. They are often not technically oriented, and they are at higher levels in the organization. They are looking for reasons to validate the buying decision, to make sure it is the right choice for their organization. Influencers are people who have an impact on the final buying decision. They are attracted to: • Specific information, often technical • Solutions to problems they encounter • Calls-to-action telling them what to do next Tire Kickers are people who are still early in the buying process. They are still important because they may become future customers. The Customer Decision Process The Customer Decision Process is the set of steps a typical customer takes in order to decide to make a purchase. This process has been illustrated using many different forms and titles, such as a customer decision journey, but all describe a set of steps which customers go through. Since these steps form a process, you should guide potential customers through this process to reach your desired goal. The Internet has affected these customer decision processes by changing the relationship between seller and buyer. For example in the past sellers would qualify potential buyers, then approach them with sales proposals. Now buyers actively conduct their own search for potential suppliers, visiting websites and pre-qualifying sellers using on the material they find. Based on this evaluation, buyers will decide who to approach for an offer. As a result, firms may never know they have even been considered as a supplier and then disqualified! Effective Persuasion Your challenge, especially as a technical supplier, is to effectively persuade potential customers to select you at the early stages of their customer decision process. However many people who start the customer decision process through a website never complete it, so your website must be designed to help visitors finish the process. If you look at your website as a series of steps customers take to select you, then you can see why this failure rate is so high. At each stage of the process, anything that hinders customers will encourage them to leave. Making changes to your website and marketing message can help move potential customers along the customer decision process to reach your desired goal. Even a small improvement can have big results because the abandonment rate is so high. Awareness Consideration Preference Action Loyalty Marketing Your Technical Product/Service... to my Mother! Page 2
  3. 3. Properly Position and Differentiate You must show why your product/service is unique, is different from all the others. You must also show why it is valuable to your customers in terms that they, not you, will understand. You can show why your offering is both unique and valuable by leading first with benefits to show uniqueness, then features that promote the value. • Benefits: provide both business and technical, show why your offering is unique and different • Features: show why each one is valuable to your visitors Influencers will look for information, solutions and actions. They will be attracted by: • White papers, reports, e-books • Case studies, especially for their business sector • Demonstrations and free trials • Webinars, conferences, podcasts Decision makers will be looking to validate their decisions. They may visit your website, but will not go very deep into it. They will look at outside trade groups, associations, search engines, etc. to see what others are saying about you. They may even telephone. Tire kickers are still in the early stages of their search. Provide material, such as a newsletter, to stay in contact and supply interesting information so that they will remember you in the future. Design for Your Audience All your marketing material, including your website, must be designed to help your potential customers make decisions. High-value content will: • Educate potential customers • Include information to help them make a decision • Include clear instructions for the next action to take (sign up, call, download, etc.) Charles E. Crouch Online Business Consultant Lecturer in e-Business, Boston University International Graduate Programs Phone: +61 (0) 447 413 070 Email: Website: LinkedIn: CharlesECrouch © 2008-13 Charles E Crouch All rights reserved. You may share this handout with others, but you must give proper credit. Marketing Your Technical Product/Service... to my Mother! Page 3