I’ve read through many predictions for the coming year about marketing and sales, but feel that in reality making predictions is meaningless unless marketers address several foundational requirements. So predict all you want, but what really is important is a few key imperatives.
We are overrun with talk about content marketing, the importance of challenger sales techniques, and the impact of big data on marketing to and reaching the customer. Stop listening and get busy with a focus on three imperatives because without them nothing else matters. These imperatives come down to three words: alignment, relevance and research.
1. Alignment is about how well your value propositions, offering and approach match buyer preferences. From our research we see value propositions are frequently miss-stated, missing or misaligned with what buyers consider important (up to 30% of digital assets fail to touch on them). According to Lisa Dennis, President of Knowledgence Associates and author of the book360 Degrees of the Customer, marketers have a very inconsistent understanding of value propositions and need to think of several success keys:
“Buyers too often mistake features and functions for value propositions,” according to Lisa. “After assessing thousands of pieces of content and working with technology vendors for over 15 years on value proposition development, it’s clear that we need a reality check on what a value proposition is and what it is not.”
Many technology value propositions are not distinct, are thinly veiled advertisements, and generally end up sounding the same. “The key is to map your value propositions to your differentiators, ones that actually matter to your target audience.” Dennis continues, “in every workshop we do, we see that how teams define value tend to be generic, not defensible and worse yet, can’t be quantified in any way. The best value propositions are formed from an outward-in perspective – how the buyer would see it, how they would describe it, and why it is important to them.”
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