How well do you know your product? Can you describe in perfect technical detail the full operation of your product, and can you provide the complete history of both your company and your product? Could you write the definitive book regarding every small change that has occurred over the lifespan of your company or product? If I wanted to find the absolute expert regarding your product, would your name come up first in a Google search, with your picture, and you smiling and waving?
Congratulations, you are an engineer. If your name tag or business card says, “Marketing”, you may be in trouble.
There’s nothing wrong with solid product knowledge. The last thing any company needs is poorly informed sales professionals, that cannot answer some level of technical questions that may arise, without picking up the phone and calling the home office… However, there’s only one person that is so deeply interested in your product that they can tell you every single small detail regarding it, and that’s usually the engineer that designed it. Salespeople, and marketing campaigns, occasionally fail because they forget that the ability to describe every detail of the product does not make a successful sales pitch.
When we become experts in the field, we sometimes forget that our target audience isn’t an expert. The customer is looking to the business to help them solve a problem or fill a need. Chances are, they seriously don’t care about every small detail, seeing as these minor details probably have very little to do with solving the customer’s problem or filling the customer’s needs.
It is the role of a sales person, and a marketing campaign, to inform the customer that your product can best solve their problems or fill their needs, without getting bogged down in the minor details. In one on one sales, this approach is easy; you simply say, “How can I help you?”, listen to the problem, and provide answers that can solve that customer’s needs. The more questions that the sales professional asks, the better they can answer to the customer’s individual needs. When you are working on an advertising campaign, you don’t have the one person that you can turn to and say, “How can I help you?” You have to assume you know the question. The trick is answering the right question, without it being asked of you.
Successful marketing provides brand identity, showcases the product or company as the best solution to the unasked question, and does so in a way that is memorable to the target audience. If your message is simply about brand identity and being memorable, you have only partially completed the overall goal. Spend some time finding out what the unasked questions are. Mine your social media to learn these questions. Ask your customers in one on one situations for their answers.
Treat your engineers well, since they provide your product. Just remember, don’t send them out into the field to do all of your sales work, too.