4 marketing myths that cost product business money
When launching a new business venture, it’s hard not to get caught up with all the latest marketing buzzwords and industry jargon. Pain points. Brand loyalty. Product Quality. Niche markets.
All four of these terms have a certain level of importance when it comes to business planning, but there are a lot of myths out there as to how they should be dealt with and how much time, effort, and money should be spent on each.
Myth #1: It’s all about identifying client pain points.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t aim to solve your customer’s problems. Of course that should be your starting point. But too often, product companies spend way too much time and money focusing on (and even sometimes creating) “pain points” and not enough on the overall customer experience and what sets them apart from their competition.
Take Uber as an example. Uber managed to disrupt the entire taxi industry by being unique and extremely convenient. Uber went way beyond solving the pain point of “needing quick transportation.” In doing so, they didn’t just create an alternative to taxis. They gave the current generation of mobile-obsessed consumers a new way to live their lives. (The term “Uber” is now used as a verb.)
Identifying customer pain points is just the beginning. Don’t waste time and money by making up pain points that don’t really exist. Your budget is best spent on developing the entire customer experience and making it better than the competition.
Myth #2: We have to do whatever it takes to ensure customer loyalty.
Product companies tend to waste a lot of money on bells and whistles when it comes to encouraging brand loyalty. Is it really necessary to be spending a large chunk of your budget on expensive advertising, promotion and gifts?
The thing is, your customers don’t really care about these things. They have way too many t-shirts and chances are they’re fast-forwarding through your expensive video commercial or closing out of your emails because they find them annoying (check out PERC formula for building true relationships in written sales communication). What they care about is your product and how it fits into their day-to-day life.
You don’t want to just create customer loyalty. You want to create passion. Think about it. Apple created a cult. Google created a habit. Salesforce created a new world in which to do business.
Focus more of your effort (and your budget) on how your product can become a part of daily life for your customer. Love leads to loyalty.
Myth #3: The more features we put into a product, the more customers will like it.
Product-development teams tend to believe that adding more features creates more value and they pour too much money and too much time into this process. This is why some products are so complicated and not user-friendly.
In order to truly create more value, developers need to think about the overall customer experience, not just how many bells and whistles they can jam into an application. It’s a good idea to test out every feature with a product user focus group to see if it’s really needed. Doing so can also help you get a better idea of the user experience in real time.
A great example of a company that focused on the user experience is DocuSign. Their initial product was just a simple way to sign documents electronically. No bells and whistles. They were then able to build on the success of that MVP and create other solutions, such as DocuSign Payment and DocuSign Mobile.
Myth #4: We should create a niche in our market in which we can become the leader.
Most software product companies are entering into an already saturated technology market where the competition is fierce. Instead of thinking about creating yet another “niche” within the market and spending tons of money trying to keep up with your competitors, why not think about creating another market altogether?
In the book Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, the authors compare the competitive business landscape to two oceans: a red ocean consisting of shark-infested waters where everyone is fighting for their share of the market, and a blue ocean, which is an untapped peaceful and tranquil body of water just waiting to be discovered and developed.
What are some examples of Blue Ocean Strategy companies?
- Intuit’s QUICKEN reinvented personal financial software.
- Accion Systems created a new way to provide satellites for the masses.
- Apple’s iTunes changed how we listen to music.
These companies weren’t content with just trying to compete from within their own market. They swam as fast as they could out of the red ocean and created their own sea of change. (And they drowned their competition in the process.)
Invest your development and marketing dollars in creating a “new” market instead of a “niche” market. You’ll have less competition and more of a chance to become the next Apple or Starbucks.