Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett
Ten Lessons I Wish I Had
Creating and interpreting financial statements and conducting a breakeven analysis - all are useful skills learned in business school. However, some lessons you learn from the school of hard knocks!
Success takes time. New technology does not catch on overnight. In 2010, when the Internet was already 15 years old, fewer than 30% of the world’s 6.5 billion people were accessing this relatively new communications channel.
Most decisions have unintended consequences. You will have fewer unwanted surprises if you begin new initiatives by thoroughly researching the opportunity. How will pursuing the new opportunity affect your company as a whole? For instance, will the new opportunity drain resources needed elsewhere?
Buying intention is not the same as making a purchase (taking action). To be agreeable some people will tell you that they intend to buy your products. To get better data, you must ask probing questions that will give you a full view of the customer’s situation and the customer’s needs.
Satisfied customers are not always loyal. Some like change and will jump ship even though they like your company and your offerings. Dissatisfied customers are dangerous. Studies show that they tell nine people why they are dissatisfied. You should try to find ways to satisfy them.
Price is not necessarily the primary purchase motivator. Functionality, convenience, and habit also influence purchase decisions. Customers seldom buy when told a product will only cost a few dollars a week.
When you lose a sale, it is not necessarily because a competitor won the sale. Often it is because companies are indecisive and do nothing. Sometimes it is because companies decide to use internal solutions. But, these prospects can later change their minds and purchase from you.
To size your market, use a bottom up approach. Estimate the potential for your offering in each market segment, preferably by speaking with decision makers in each segment. Don’t rely on top down estimates based on the percentage of the total available market that you expect to capture. Such estimates are based on wishful thinking and two questionable numbers—the total available market and the percentage your company will capture.
Rapid growth is nice, but only if your company has the ability to scale the product or service fast enough to meet demand. Stock outs lead to customer dissatisfaction.
Ethical considerations matter. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Don’t compromise your principles.
It’s all right to ask your colleagues for help. No one has all the answers.
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