Whenever I’m asked to develop a website for a customer that is the first question that I ask. Understanding the answer to that question is critical before you embark on any marketing activity whether it’s online with a website or offline with a simple ad in a newspaper.
Many people think I’m crazy for asking that question because they believe that the answer is pretty obvious.
The problem is that, at first sight, it’s not always obvious. For example if I asked you what MacDonalds offers to its customers you would probably say hamburgers or fast food. That’s true but actually what that restaurant chain really offers is quality and consistency. You can go into any MacDonalds in the world and know that you’ll get exactly the same hamburger.
Look at the car company Bentley. They sell luxury cars right? Yes that’s true but what they are really selling is a lifestyle. Buy a Bentley and you are perceived to be a certain type of person – affluent but not flashy, middle aged with a youngish, sporting outlook on life.
Understanding what the company actually offers determines the marketing style. To use another example, a central heating company sells boilers radiators, valves etc. But what it really offers is warmth and comfort and that is what should feature in that company’s marketing. Pictures of living rooms full of happy, smiling people rather than stark images of radiators or boilers.
So stand back and take a good look at your company.
Are you marketing the nuts and bolts that make up the solution when you should really be marketing the solution?