4 Tips for Successful Product Marketing
By Eric Corl
When it comes to product marketing, everyone thinks they are an expert, but few can produce results. Why is this so? Most of the problem comes from marketing books, seminars, and courses that detract from the heart of marketing: translating features into benefits. Much of today’s marketing is based on product hype . However, the simple truth of the matter is that people buy things to gain pleasure or avoid some sort of pain. It is critical to understand this as it is the supporting motivation for every purchase no matter how little or large it may be. Think about the last two items you purchased. Why did you buy them? You can boil every purchase down to gaining pleasure or avoiding pain.
That being said, there are four key tips to better connect with your customers:
1) Use terms your customer can relate to, not industry jargon.
This point is illustrated eloquently by Jay Cross of the popular online marketing blog PronetAdvertising.com. In his article “Speak Your Customer’s Language”, he stresses that marketers often become so entrenched in their fields that they believe everyone else knows as much as they do.
“As business people we develop tunnel vision regarding our products. The better parts of our days are spent actively working in our fields. We are more experienced and well-read than most ever care to theorize about. This leads us to use super-specialized language that doesn’t always click with customers. I was as guilty of this as anyone. When I did anti-spyware I was guilty of calling my product a “data-driven Internet security solution” or “gateway threat prevention.” And while these terms do apply in a certain context of knowledge (say, a rival CEO’s), they are outside of the realm of a typical customer’s knowledge base. Now that I’m out of that market I can see it with fresh eyes, including the much simpler terms the common man describes it with.”
The solution to this problem is to discuss your products with people outside your company and outside your market. This is the only true way to learn the outsider’s perspective. Once you get an idea of what this is, you can apply it to the packaging and marketing of whatever product you have to offer.
2) Focus on benefits, not features.
This is one of the most oft-made mistakes in all of marketing. To an extent, this is understandable. When you have spent months or years toiling to create a new product, you are naturally excited about all the little things that make it tick and want to describe them to your customers. The problem, as with the last tip, is that the customers do not share this context of knowledge or enthusiasm. So what is the difference, precisely, between features and benefits?
A feature is what something IS. For example, a 50 number speed dial, or a 6 CD changer.
A benefit is why someone CARES. For example, fewer keystrokes and less hassle changing CDs.
Sadly, Entrepreneur.com notes that “not one in ten companies understands the difference” between features and benefits when it comes to preparing marketing campaigns or materials. For this reason, many well-intentioned marketers stress features over benefits and the bottom line suffers as a result. If you want put your marketing efforts into hyper drive, go over everything you put out with a fine-toothed comb and make sure benefits are top, front, and center. You will be amazed at how much of a difference this makes.
3) Write at a fifth-grade level. Really.
This might sound like we are demeaning your customers, but rest assured that this is not the case. It is simply a fact that most buyers respond better to simple language than complex language. In his book “Meaningful Marketing”, Eureka! Ranch founder Doug Hall notes a study proving this to be so. “Whether it’s the lack of reading done by most adults after high school, the immense information overload people experience, or a little of both, consumers simply shut down when confronted with lengthy tomes. The solution? Read your marketing material to a child in late elementary or middle school. Do they understand your product? If not, what did you need to tell them before they did? Incorporate what you learn into your marketing and you will be astounded at the results.”
4) Know whether your customers are right-brained or left-brained
Most of us are familiar with the idea of diving people into categories of right-brained or left-brained. Right-brained people are supposedly more emotional and impulsive while left-brained people are apparently more logical and deliberate in their decisions. In most cases your customer base will be a mixture of both, but one group tends to outweigh the other. You should make it a point of determining whether most of your customers are right-brained or left, as this can significantly amplify your marketing efforts. For example, left-brained customers will expect fliers and copy with lots of facts, product comparisons, and a clear demonstration of value for the money spent. While this is important to right-brainers too, you are more likely to win their business with enthusiasm and energy.
Running a product marketing campaign with these items in mind will help increase conversion rates on most marketing.
Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of Idea Buyer, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers at http://www.IdeaBuyer.com
You can email him at [email protected]