We love working with small businesses and our ultimate goal is to help them succeed, so we have put together a series of powerful small business tips. It begins with defining your products.
No one understands your business better than you do. The same goes for the products or services you offer. For most businesses, there is a certain amount of education required to teach people why they should purchase from you. To do this effectively, you need to have full command of the details of your product so you can communicate them to people in a way that is easy to understand. This may require combing through the unique characteristics of your products or services and determining what specific value they bring to your target market.
Going through this exercise will help you make sure you are providing a service or product that truly meets the needs of your customers. It can also be a game changer in helping you craft marketing messages that provide the information your audience requires to make an informed buying decision.
Below is a list of the three powerful areas to focus on when defining your products or services. Use them as a guide to position yourself to be more effective at marketing and selling to future customers.
What problem does your product solve?
In most cases, the entire reason a product gets developed is to solve a problem. If you have ever watched the show Shark Tank, you already know that youâ€™re only as valuable as the market your product reaches and the sales (or potential sales) your business is able to rake in. Take Tree T-Pee for example. This is a product that was developed by a citrus farmer named John G. Georges (Johnny) to help conserve the amount of water you would need to grow trees. With this product, it is estimated you could reduce the amount of water each tree requires by 93%, which would have a dramatic impact in areas such as California that had suffered a severe drought over the past few years.
As a farmer himself, Johnny was keenly aware of the problem he and his fellow farmers faced when it came to consuming fresh water. With his intimate understanding of the issue, Johnny was able to easily communicate the potential value his product represented to Shark Tank investors who understood it instantly and landed him the business partner and funds he was hoping for. Similarly, your business needs to be able to clearly identify the problem(s) your target customers face and exactly how your product or service can be the solution theyâ€™ve been looking for.
Who is your product for?
Trying to launch a product or service that targets everyone is the same as not targeting anyone. Your product serves a need or desire that simply isnâ€™t shared by everybody. Those who would benefit from your business probably fit in similar demographics, or have shared interests. Studying these can help you start to put together a narrative that tells a story of who your target customer is. Knowing this story can be a powerful step in the right direction when it comes to reaching your customers on a deeper and more personal level.
The feminine product brand, Always, managed to put together a marketing campaign that is a great example of what you can do when you understand who your customer is, how they think and what they go through. The campaign they ran was called #LikeAGirl. It was designed to take back the demeaning phrase that is commonly used to equate to inferiority and instead use it in a context that reinforces the confidence in young women around the world. The beauty in this campaign comes from how the brand was able to harness the overlap between being a company that produces products to support women while supporting a campaign that does the same on a deeper emotional level. In this way, you could say they used an emotional connection as a way to define what they stood for, which ultimately played into the narrative of their product.
The only way to make the same kind of deep connections that Always did and inspire a movement that supports your brand is to have an intimate understanding of who your customers are and what they care most about.
Avoid relying on negative associations to define your product
Companies that spend time trying to grow too fast or attempt to expand and accommodate a wider range of customers can sometimes risk alienating their core customer base. At the same time, they are throwing away time, energy and resources that could have been spent strengthening areas associated with their target market. Some businesses have taken this a step farther by inadvertently insulting their current and potential future customers by trying to define their product through negative associations.
One great example of this was a campaign ran by SanDisk. In 2006, SanDisk decided they would go outside their core business and try to connect with new customers by selling a new portable mP3 player called the e200. By this time, iPods were already hugely popular and many of SanDiskâ€™s own customers were also fans of the newer iPod technology that had come to market. In an attempt to reach new customers and convert people over to their e200, the company launched the â€śiDonâ€™tâ€ť or â€śiSheepâ€ť campaign designed to imply that iPod users were simply sheep who didnâ€™t think for themselves. Unsurprisingly, this did not resonate with Apple customers or current SanDisk customers who were also iPod fans. The brand also failed to include any mention of their product in the advertising, leaving their audience with ads that seemed to only be effective at insulting iPod owners.
When it comes to defining your products, reaching the right audience, and successfully selling to your customers, following these three powerful small business tips is crucial. Remember, it is never too late to start this process, because no matter how young or well-established your brand is, an investment in better understanding your products and customers is never wasted.