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Mind Share
June 2004

Marc Robins

Marketing Is Job #1 (Again)


Most vendors and service providers dramatically cut back on their marketing activities during the last three lean years � many out of financial necessity. But today, as a new horde of prospective buyers become increasingly receptive to IP telephony products and services, the time has come for companies to reestablish, reinvigorate, and revamp their marketing messages and strategies.


IP telephony is no longer relegated to the �early adopter� customer segment � it is finally mainstreaming into the general business population. In order to capitalize on this newly expanded market and to start driving new customers into the checkout lane, companies need to focus their energies on getting the right messages out to these customers. Finding the right marketing message that will resonate with the intended group of sales prospects is critical to everything you do in your marketing efforts. In fact, if you have a great marketing message and combine that with effective promotion, you�ll never have to worry about getting customers again.

Remember: Your marketing message is what grabs your prospect�s attention, tells them how you can solve their problem(s), why they should trust you, and why they should choose to do business with you over and above any and all other choices they might have. The key to creating a winning marketing message is to make sure that it matches the wants and needs of those who receive it. Your marketing message should speak to your prospect by appealing to your prospect�s hot buttons or sensitivities � and ideally trigger an emotional reaction.

Once you�ve developed an effective marketing message you can start to use it in all areas of your marketing, including brochures and other collateral, advertisements (print, radio, TV), presentations, Web sites, Webinars/seminars, speeches and workshops, proposals, faxes, and e-mails. In fact, any form of external communication should include parts or even your entire marketing message.
I thought it would be helpful to present a simple five-point refresher on what it takes to create a winning marketing message. Most of this will be �old hat� to many of you � but even so, old hats need to be dusted off every now and then.


Five Steps To Creating An Effective Marketing Message

1. Identify your target market(s). Every successful business has clearly-defined target markets. So the first step you want to ask yourself is �Who or what are your target markets?� Once you have this down, then it�s easier to craft messages for each of these markets.

2. Identify the problems that your target markets experience. Each market segment experiences its frustrations and pains. The secret to crafting marketing messages that will make your markets sit up and take note is to identify their problems and the frustrations they feel as a result of these problems. There�s an old saying that goes, �People don�t care about you, until they know you care.� Identifying your markets� frustrations tells them that you understand and empathize with them. Also, identifying the problems that your markets face will, in turn, help you fine-tune your target markets.

3. Present your solutions to your markets� problems. The next step is to present your solution as a cure for the frustration your markets are feeling as a result of their problems. Identify all the benefits of your solutions and how these benefits will improve your prospects� business. Try to reverse any perceived risk that your prospects might have with taking advantage of your solution. Also, try to position your solution as being easy to implement.

4. Present the results you�ve produced for other businesses in the same situation. It�s not enough just to tell people you have a solution; you have to prove to them that your solution works. People tend to believe other people who are similar to them that have achieved positive results. You�ll need to prove your results by giving testimonials from current and former customers and provide case studies of actual problems that were solved and the results that were achieved. When presenting the problem in your case study, discuss not only the problem, but also the negative results that the company was experiencing and the associated financial consequences of the problem. When presenting the results, try to characterize all the benefits experienced as a result of the implementing the solution, how long it took to get those results, and the financial implications to the company over the long-term.

5. Explain what makes you different from your competitors. Prospects are looking for you to communicate your differences. And those differences need to have perceived value to the prospect. It needs to be something they care about.

Marc Robins has been involved in the telecommunications industry as a researcher and analyst, author and publisher, and marketing executive and consultant for over 23 years, having recently served for five years as Vice President of Publications and Trade Shows and Group Editorial Director at TMC. Most recently, Marc launched a new consulting and marketing-services company offering an array of professional services to the IP telephony industry, and he is also publishing a number of new information resources for prospective buyers of the technology. Contact Marc at 718-548-7245 or e-mail [email protected].

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