Stimulate Sales by Answering 4 Key Questions

When was the last time you performed a quick marketing check-up? Generations and attitudes continually change. A unique selling proposition from a decade ago may no longer resonate. Past customers, prime and ready for your product today, may have been overlooked in your marketing and sales plan.

When was the last time you performed a quick marketing check-up? Generations and attitudes continually change. A unique selling proposition from a decade ago may no longer resonate. Past customers, prime and ready for your product today, may have been overlooked in your marketing and sales plan.

Recently I had lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. He was desperate for some ideas to stimulate leads for his business. That conversation reminded me that we all need a check-up from time-to-time about how we’re approaching marketing. The outcome is captured in these four questions that you, too, should ask yourself:

  1. Do you have a good feel for the persona your audience? After the conversation with my friend, he came to realize that most of his market now comes from the millennial generation. He was still thinking and marketing like a baby boomer and realized his dated materials probably weren’t being seen. With each passing day the millennial generation is becoming a larger influence. They are starting jobs, buying houses, and making the purchases that 20- and 30-year-olds naturally do. On the business-to-business side, these younger people are taking over key business responsibilities from an older generation. Don’t look dated and use the media channel your market frequents!
  1. Is your position, or unique selling proposition, clear? Does it pop out in just 8 seconds (the average attention span these days)? With even less time to grab attention, your USP must be easy to digest in just seconds.
  1. Do you leverage sales from your raving fans? My friend, who’s in the real estate business, has the names and address of over 1,700 past buyers. But he hasn’t contacted them in years, thinking they likely weren’t in the market for his services. But they might be now. And they certainly can be good for referrals to family and friends. Are you reaching out to past customers?
  1. Do you think just having a website is going to deliver leads? You have to drive traffic, probably more today than ever before. If you aren’t emailing past customers with a link to a landing page, using content marketing, search engine marketing or retargeting to bring people to your website, your traffic will suffer. People search online differently today than they did only a decade ago. Social media is now a significant way people get news. People search for educational content or reviews.

If it’s time to evaluate your business and marketing approach, ask yourself these questions. With adjustments and updates in what you’re doing, you stand a better chance to stimulate your sales.

5 Proven Ways to Create a Blockbuster Unique Selling Proposition

You’ve heard of USP. A strong unique selling proposition can produce more sales because it works to engrain new long-term memory. A proven way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is through repositioning your copy and design. If you haven’t examined your USP lately, there’s a good chance you’re not leveraging your unique strengths as strategically as you could. Here are five proven ideas to help you refine your USP and create a blockbuste

You’ve heard of USP. A strong unique selling proposition can produce more sales because it works to engrain new long-term memory. A proven way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is through repositioning your copy and design. If you haven’t examined your USP lately, there’s a good chance you’re not leveraging your unique strengths as strategically as you could. Here are five proven ideas to help you refine your USP and create a blockbuster campaign.

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate what repositioning a USP can do to skyrocket response. For client Collin Street Bakery, a number of years ago, we repositioned the product from what is widely called fruitcake to a “Native Texas Pecan Cake.” Sales increased 60 percent over the control in prospecting direct mail with a repositioned USP. For client Assurity Life Insurance, repositioning the beneficiary of the product, through analysis of data, increased response 35 percent, and for another Assurity campaign, response increased 60 percent (read the Assurity case study here).

First, it may be helpful to clarify what a Unique Selling Proposition isn’t:

  • Customer service: Great customer service doesn’t qualify because your customer expects you’ll provide great customer service and support in the first place.
  • Quality: Same thing as customer service. It’s expected.
  • Price: You can never win if you think your USP is price and price cutting (or assuming that a high price will signify better quality).

A strong USP boosts the brain’s ability to absorb a new memory because you’ll be seen as distinct from competitors.

Identifying your position, or repositioning an existing product or service, is a process. Most organizations should periodically reposition their products or services (or in the case of a non-profit, reposition why someone may be moved to contribute to your cause).

Here are five approaches I’ve used to better understand buyers, and create a repositioned USP to deliver blockbuster results:

  1. Interview customers and prospects. Talk directly with customers about why they have purchased or supported your organization. And for contrast, talk directly with prospects about why they didn’t act. You can interview by phone, but a better approach, in my experience, is in a focus group setting. Focus groups are an investment, so make sure you have two things in order: first, a completely considered and planned discussion guide of questions; and second, an interviewer who can probe deeply with questions. Key word: “deeply.” Superficial questions aren’t like to get what you want. Ask why a question was answered in a specific way, then ask “why?” again and again. Your moderator must be able to continually peel back the onion, so to speak, to get to a deeper why. Knowing the deeper why can be transformational for all concerned.
  2. Review customer data. Profile your customer list. A profile can be obtained from many data bureaus to review more than basic demographics, to more deeply understand your customer’s interests and behaviors. You need to understand what your customer does in their spare time, for example, what they read and, to the degree possible, what they think. Getting a profile report is usually affordable, but the real cost may be in retaining someone from outside your organization to interpret the data on your behalf, drawing inferences and conclusions, and transforming raw numbers into charts and graphics and imagining the possibilities. If you have someone on your staff who can lead that charge, another option is to have open discussions with your team as you review the data and to commit to describing the persona of your best customer. Make this an ongoing process. You’re not going to completely imagine and profile your customer in a one-hour meeting.
  3. Analyze only your best customers. As a subset of the prior point, consider analyzing only your very top customers. You’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, where 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Over the years, I’ve conducted many customer analyses. I have yet to find exactly an “80/20” balance, but I have found, at the “flattest,” a 60/40 weighting, that is, 60% of a company’s revenue coming from 40% of its customers (this for a business-to-consumer marketer). At the other extreme, for a business-to-business corporation, the weighting was 90/10, where 90% of business came from just 10% of customers. Knowing this balance can be essential, too, to creating your position. If you were the organization who derived 90% of youir business from just 10% of customers, chances are you’d listen very closely to only those 10% of customers as you evaluate your position. In this instance, if you were to reposition your organization, you have to ask yourself at what risk. Conversely, in the 60/40 weighted organization, repositioning most likely doesn’t have the same level of exposure.
  4. Review prospect modeled data. If you are using modeled mailing lists, make sure you look at the subset of data you’re mailing for the common characteristics of your best prospect. Like the profile of customers (mentioned in the previous point), you need to transform the data into charts and graphs, to reveal trends and insights. Then have a discussion and arrive at your interpretation of results.
  5. Conduct a competitive analysis. Examine a competitor’s product or service and compare it to your offer. Be harsh on yourself. While conducting focus groups, you might allocate some of your discussion to your competitors and find out who buys from whom. As you look at your competitor’s products, make sure you analyze their positioning in the market. Much can be learned from analysis of a competitor’s online presence.

Follow these steps to smartly reposition your USP, and you’re on the way repositioning your own product or service that could deliver a new blockbuster campaign.