Is your marketing creating a market for your competition?

Understanding the market, you are about to enter is critical. If you raise an issue that your product can fix but the customer is not convinced, then they will buy from someone else.

Innovators face the ‘innovators paradox’ in explaining why people should buy their product. This paradox is when the unique selling point (USP) is also the biggest barrier to sale.

Why? because the product or service is new and the market has not seen it before. It’s difficult for the customer to get their head around the product and the benefits. Brands can spend millions on educating the market on the ‘benefits’ but the net result will be that the customers just go and find an alternative.

Cast your mind back to 1999. If someone had said ‘what would be great is selling a camera with a phone’. Most of the German engineers in Siemens would have said “You are crazy’ a phone is a phone, not a camera!

Fast forward ten years to 2009, 6.8 million camera smartphones were sold around the world. By 2011 this figure had increased to 219.45 million. Camera phones are normal we don’t blink when buying a phone – they are available at all levels of the product portfolio.

The paradox was in taking two technologies and putting them together and creating a new product for the market. Remember the resistance to Dyson bagless hoovers? Same scenario for a long time the market just could not understand the concept. It was only when the legacy products were in Argos that people started taking a chance.

So just how do companies break through this barrier without driving potential customers to alternative products or brands?

Understand the challenge. Control the hubris and the conviction of engineers (don’t believe the internal hype) and do the market research. People don’t buy unless they are convinced they have a need. They don’t buy at a high price if they can get a substitute for less.

Every customer views a product very differently. They understand the core and the function. It is the variable or augmented (Wrap-around) features which influence the purchasing decision making of the customer. This is the real challenge in bringing a new idea, a new product to market.

To buy the customer needs to understand the benefits (not to everyone) to them. To achieve this as a brand must create a compelling story that connects. To sell a brand needs to understand what the customer wants, what it understands by the USP and if it is relevant to their needs.

The medium is the message never forget it. The message you lead with and the story you wrap around your product is your engine to drive sales and success. But just what message will you lead with? Is it the right one? Who is it benefiting? Your brand or someone selling a similar product in the same space?