Sometimes We All Need A Reminder About Simply Addressing the Buyer’s Problem

January 7th, 2014 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

Look, buyer adoption and problem solving as core approach versus product education and market evangelism is not easy. Sometimes we even need to be reminded of why this is so critical and so powerful. I got a call last week from a friend who is working with a technology company looking at doing a new product launch. They wanted to leverage social marketing to boot-strap their launch. We spend so much time on the complexity of our client’s disruptive technologies that I forget that sometimes it is about simply being a better way to build a market.

We, Social Gastronomy, are better at building markets today because we have built upon our experience doing it the traditional way for a lot of years. I was researching marketing over the web for an advertising firm in 1994. The internet class gave out disks with Netscape release .9 beta. Not sure which is scarier – how long ago in regards to Netscape or the fact we used to call it advertising. We funded the start of Social Gastronomy with a couple of engagements with myself as acting part-time CMO for several start-ups and Joanne doing the social marketing execution. I have been bootstrapping early stage technology companies marketing almost my whole career. I started with fax marketing in 1993. When digital marketing was just fax; pre-internet, pre-email. The communications technologies may evolve, the buyers have gotten much smarter, the information may have gotten more overwhelming, but at the end of the day; we are in the people business. We are here to help understand, connect with, and assist our buyers in solving a problem. Whatever problem THEY think they have. Sometimes, you just have to step outside of your box and remember it is about their problems and their context. So here is a part of my response to how we can help bootstrap a market launch…..

Your company is looking to launch a new product that they believe is a good fit for social media marketing. My belief is that you should consider buyer adoption planning before executing a social marketing launch campaign. The challenge we have seen with technology launches is that these new products are usually entering a new market and they are heavily dependent upon reaching critical mass awareness sufficient to generate word-of-mouth. With the little information that you provided, it sounds like the company will be best served with a very targeted application strategy to identify niches that they can penetrate and concentrate to reach critical mass. The key will be to understand the context of these buyers’ needs in terms of what tangible business problems the product will be able to assist in solving. We are seeing that the key to driving adoption is to reorient the thinking around markets as individual buyer problems rather than category-level campaigns.

For uneducated and unaware buyers, how do they know they need your product? Do you try and carpet-bomb every social media platform with some type of evangelism message? We have developed a methodology to identify what underlying business  problem the buyers are discussing peer-to-peer, leverage that insight to model their decision process, identify where they go for decision support online, and build a targeted content and engagement strategy to drive inbound lead generation. The end result is a “measure twice, cut once” laser targeted approach to online social marketing campaigns built upon the target buyer’s decision process around solving tangible, “must have” problems solved. We executed this approach for a client to target dentists for purchase of digital dental imaging software. Within 3 months, we had a significant volume of inbound opportunities, within 6 months, we were responsible for 1/3 of their inbound opportunities. Given that they were spending over 1 $M a year in brand marketing and only $7,000 a month with us; the cost per lead (and tracked associated sales) was eye opening for them. I believe we could significantly accelerate your market growth and lower the cost of market development with targeted adoption planning and execution.

The key to success in adoption is to simplify the decisioning process for the buyer. The technology is complex, the change in behavior to adopt is even more complex, but the decision process should be simple, intuitive, anticipate their risks, their stakeholder issues, and help them reach decision as to how to solve the bigger operational decisions they need to make to implement your disruptive technology. Buying technology is not the same as solving an operational problem. If you try to address that during your technology implementation, you are too late to assist the buyer in making the decisions they need to move forward, too late in helping them get comfortable as to how much work is required on their end, and too late to help them contextualize the opportunity costs of the competitors, partially fixing, or worse, doing nothing (no-decision).

Given the nature of your client’s new product, we would be glad to sign a NDA to learn more and have a more detailed  conversation as to leverage our unique adoption capabilities in prep for your new market launch. We have done many product launches over social media so we know how to prepare and execute marketing campaigns. The key is to make sure we understand what strategic business problem(s) the buyers really have so that we can translate your technical disruptive innovation appropriately. Bring your technology into their world premarket, not just wait until your sales process or the larger market develops.

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at www.socialgastronomy.com/blog. For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/rosenhaft or contact him directly at mrosenhaft@socialgastronomy.com.