Suffice it to say that the world of business is a crazy place. Failed products, unlikely value propositions, and endless data down to the minutiae of how a customer in Iowa spends his time at 7:43 in the morning. In a crowded arena like this one, new ventures may have a difficult time rising to the top and seeing success. It can be very difficult to make connections with your customers, and more than 95% of new products launched each year end in failure—and we’re talking about those from established companies too.
Marketing is incredibly important, as you likely know, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally to everyone. Here are a few of the major barriers that keep new products’ marketing campaigns held back—and how to break through them.
1. “Un-Targeted” Messaging
Your messaging needs to be spot-on. Period. That’s because the modern customer is simply drowning in options.
The solution? Talk to your customers! Pay attention to what they’re saying right down to the words they use to describe their struggles. Knowledge of this can seriously help you determine how to position your brand, including the precise words you ought to be using in your campaigns.
Your findings can then be transformed into a messaging style guide that acts as a sort of holy text for all your content creators and marketers as they target your product’s demographic. Test it on your audience, collect feedback, and run some A/B testing. Even truly inspired messaging isn’t going to hit the mark if it doesn’t speak to the correct audience.
2. Highlighting Products Over Solutions
Most product creators tend to prioritize product over customer. Instead of highlighting the value that a product provides, however, you might highlight the features of the product itself—or the uniqueness of your offering.
In addition to taking focus away from what makes your product unique, overly broad, non-customer-focused positioning can also make your product seem like just another product in an overcrowded marketplace.
To separate your product from your competitors’ offerings, narrow your messaging to one clear message. Include two or three key benefits that define your product in an appeal to the target audience and are supported by evidence.
In addition to being more engaging, this kind of thinking also reduces product complexity and maximizes return on your investment in content and positioning.
3. Lack of Urgency
People buy based on urgency. If they need your product right now, they’ll buy it. On the other hand, when they’re not quite ready to buy, they might start exploring other options.
A lack of urgency might be at the root of one of the biggest challenges you face when trying to get your message across. In most cases, the goal of your marketing is to encourage a customer to make a decision quickly, often at the cost of an inferior product.
To avoid this pitfall, start by tailoring your content to the appropriate audience. For instance, if you’re selling a business or software solution, you might only deliver copy to decision-makers. If you’re selling consumer products, the situation is different.
You might be telling your customer to “make a decision today” if he’s planning on purchasing right away. In this case, the message is all about time pressure. Try to reduce the pressure and present your product in a way that will inspire buying, even if the customer isn’t ready yet.
In reality, not everyone in your organization is working toward the same goal. As a result, your message might not be reaching every member of the audience. It’s okay to have different audiences for different types of customers. For instance, a sales team might be more interested in closing deals and driving sales, while a customer service department may be interested in receiving customer support and helping clients solve problems.
While many of these issues can be addressed by focusing on your message, let’s be real. If you’re a small business without a lot of resources or a product to sell, it’s easy to get sucked into the problems described above and present yourself as one-dimensional with unclear pricing or jargon-riddled copy.
Alternatively, like a professional advertiser might do, you could also use creative strategies to come up with the same marketing themes and messaging that generate the highest response rates. However, this is not an excuse to stand by and offer marketing that simply misses the mark. Getting back on track with marketing basics is a key first step to succeeding with marketing in 2019.