The science of marketing allows a company to carefully match the qualities of their product and the ability of their organization with the problems, needs and wants of the market.
The art of marketing is to carefully listen to the way in which the market you wish to serve wants to do business and to describe what you offer in the most compelling way you possibly can for that particular audience.
Below the science and the art of marketing is the dirty truth that there is a significant element of luck involved in getting prospects to move towards a sale. Every gambler knows that not every bet is going to pay off, and you have to play the odds. In business marketing the game is to ensure that you touch enough of the right people, enough times, such that you are going to be thought of when someone actually wants to solve a problem that you are able to solve.
Marketers refer to this as the “funnel.” The idea is that you reach out to a very broad range of people through a wide range of media and techniques in the hope that some will pick up your scent, learn your name, and follow your ideas. It’s a funnel with a very large number of prospect names at the top who barely know you, which winnows down to smaller numbers of more engaged, interested and qualified prospect names, and so on.
The pressure on marketing departments to create a large-enough-on-top funnel can sometimes warp the process. Consider for example that if there are a thousand companies in the world that actually could want to purchase the widget you market and sell, then it really doesn’t matter if you reach out to a million companies, as 99% percent of that million cannot possibly be interested. Marketing fulfills their ‘funnel metric’ and is extremely busy but the ultimate goal isn’t achieved.
Now consider the scenario where you know which thousand companies are the right ones to be at the top of your funnel and then marketing and sales bombard them daily with emails and even calls; this isn’t going to help either as the response to being annoying is to be ignored and often to be black-listed.
The real answer is to deeply understand exactly how those thousand companies will go through the process of researching and solving the problem you are able to solve, meaning you need to be:
- Validating (and being able to verbalize) the problem from their perspective.
- Identifying exactly who are the decision makers.
- Identifying exactly who influences the decision makers.
- Understanding their budget cycle and the ‘approvers’ Involved.
- Understanding their current level of satisfaction with how they are currently dealing with the problem or issue.
- Understanding how their needs will change over time.
- Understanding the competition.
- Finding out about the people they (your prospects, customer and competitors) work with.
- Know about their lifestyles (including what they read).
- Understand how they like to learn and network (including associations and groups and their events).
The more you can know about the market you are looking to dominate, the more chance you have of being in the right place at the right time, with the right message.
You still have to be lucky, but this is the kind of luck you can create yourself.