A Company with only a GOOD product but GREAT sales, marketing & service will be more financially successful than a competitor with a GREAT product and GOOD sales, marketing & service almost every time. On the surface, it doesn’t seem right, does it? You would think that buyers, over time, would prefer superior technical performance. But there is no question that “Good Enough” Products are kicking butt.
WHY does this happen? Simple, the great marketers first of all make greater investments in time, money and resources to ensure that prospective buyers are aware that they exist. They Plan to spend appropriately to achieve the sales results they want. Then, they HOOK buyers with a superior brand promise, competitive positioning and key messages that resonate well by tapping a strong need, desire, fear, uncertainty or doubt (FUD) and then RETAIN them with superior Customer experience by caring, communicating, working proactively and responding nimbly to solve problems as they occur. Your product or service is better? Well, the Customer won’t easily let go because they’re reasonably happy or at least not seriously dissatisfied enough to do something about it. If you’re 10-20% better, yawn. 40-60% or more? Maybe…
A Lucky Strike cigarette commercial from the 1960′s said it well:
“I’d rather fight than switch.” The law of Inertia (as applied to human buying behavior) means unless it’s really important, I’m not gonna switch!
What actionable steps for entrepreneurs does this imply?
- Make a Strategic Decision: you have a dramatically superior product and will live or die by that OR you have a really good product and need to dramatically improve your marketing, sales and service. Which is it? Your resources are limited. Don’t sit in the middle – CHOOSE!
- If you choose to be a “best product” play, then your highest priority is to locate and start a conversation with buyers whose #1 criteria for purchase is already technical superiority, provide data that “proves” your superiority and capture external validation/testimonials from technical experts whose opinions matter to the target market
- If you choose to be “Good Enough Product” play, then you want to find a niche where you can dominate or you’ll never go far
- Research your Competition so that you know what they are promising and to whom so that you can create a messaging platform that is superior to your competitors for a specific niche (subset) of prospective Clients. Don’t go head to head against an 800 pound gorilla unless you have high confidence that your “counter offer” to the niche they dominate will resonate well
- Determine the essential Marketing and Sales activities that you must invest in to meet the Goals you’ve determined… and then make those investments.
- This may mean diverting funds away from product development to capturing sales
- This may mean investing in a salesperson or outside business development resource even knowing that it could be a year before you break-even on that investment
Singer Sheryl Crowe posed a question in one of her ballads: “Are You Strong Enough to be my Man?”
My question is: “Are you Good Enough to be my Product?”