Companies that go to market are faced with a daunting statistic: As many as 95 percent of new products fail. So where exactly do the problems fall? Are you not building the right products? Adding features without adding value? Or not getting your products in front of the right people?
No matter where the problems stem from the outcome is the same: People aren’t buying your products. And no matter how much time, effort or money you invest in building and marketing those products, the reason is often the same: You’ve listened to the wrong people.
Everybody in the organization wants the product to succeed, but most internal stakeholders only have access to one piece of the puzzle—and their input reflects that. Your CEO works off what the market looked like when he started the company. Sales talks to prospects who are already interested in your product. Customer support gets its information from those currently doing business with you. When you only listen internally, you’re only getting those puzzle pieces. But when you listen to the market, you provide products that solve market problems, resonate with customers and fly off the shelf.
The good news is that market-driven companies are 31 percent more profitable than those driven by other factors, according to George S. Day, professor of marketing, Wharton School of Business. Although companies that aren’t market driven believe that the role of marketing is to create a need for their products, market-driven companies know their market and create products that people want to buy.
The marketing four Ps (product, price, place and promotion) still exist, but what’s missing is the most important P of all: problem. The product itself should address a well-understood problem. And the problem should drive the product decisions, pricing, messaging and placement strategy. That means market problems should be the first and most important consideration for any business. Everyone should be listening to the market to find market problems. And you should start all your meetings going forward with a simple question: What customer or prospect problem are we here to solve today?
So how do you get that understanding? We have a saying at Pragmatic Marketing: Nothing Important Happens in the Office (NIHITO). You’ve got to get out of the office and in front of your customers and prospects to discover their problems. How painful is a problem? How often do they have it? Understanding the answers to these questions helps you decide whether it’s a problem worth solving.
As you start to explore your market, Pragmatic Marketing can help. We offer tools and tips—including webinars and articles the industry’s leading experts—to help you put these ideas into action and implement a pragmatic, outside-in approach. http://pragmaticmarketing.com/resources