I was talking to a prospect the other day and they told me that they were debating the value of marketing, channel education, and trying to create market awareness because they were not convinced that it was worth it. They have worked with several analysts, PR agencies, and marketing firms they said, but have not seen the results quickly enough to convince them that it was money well spent, and that they would rely on their sales team to do the educating.
I asked what must have been seen as a seriously goofy left field question of them in response; “Have you considered buying carpeting recently? And, if yes, do you know of any online vendors who could provide you with service?“
There was a pause followed by a cautious answer. “Yeah my wife just looked at that company with the jingle.“ “Exactly” I told them, “and how did you or your wife know to look at Empire Carpeting as a potential vendor?“
The prospect went on to tell me that it was because of continuous advertising, and creating what I call “Mindshare” or the command of your thoughts when you are in need of a product or service. Empire has a catchy jingle and commercials that drive that home.
I went on to point out that I believe the premise going on internally at their company to be fundamentally flawed. Like all DCIG customers, they are in the storage world, and have an inherently technical product that requires education of the buyer in order to create understanding of the product, and have to create a steady and sufficient stream of educational marketing (Blogs, Executive White Papers, Case Studies, and White Papers) to get noticed by people making a buying decision and to carve out mindshare for a potential upcoming purchase.
I told the prospect that in looking at their efforts historically that I saw small marketing and education blips on the radar that were short lived and as a result created market confusion as to their corporate viability, and commitment to the market.
I also told them that customers have an expectation when it comes to vendors. Customers expect that there will be relevant, timely, and current information available for them to read on their own. That information is expected to be available either from an online library, or from a channel partner. They don’t want to have to dig for it; they want it to just be there for consumption.
I pointed out to the prospect that many of their competitors who were both larger and smaller were utilizing multiple analyst firms, a good PR agency, and had a steady stream of different types of content flowing out into the market.
The mix by competitors was well rounded and contained the types of products that I told him that they should be using; namely case studies, white papers, blogging, and executive white papers. To draw in non storage industry examples I pointed out to him that companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Budweiser, Doritos’, Ford, Chevy, and others get their name out every day and they each have huge market shares each, and projected a really strong image having done so.
So we concluded our conversation with my suggesting the utilization of a few analyst firms, a good PR firm, and a commitment to a programmatic effort to get information out into the market so that customers and prospects know that the company is in the game for the long haul. At the end I asked him if he could sing the Empire Carpeting jingle for me, and he laughed when he knew that the point had been made.