Many people think that product + campaign = marketing, and that marketing = sales. But this seemingly simple equation is missing a vital element: the end-user. The purchaser. The market. Without a deep understanding of their customer base, even the most experienced marketers are left at a loss. That’s because any marketing campaign that doesn’t thoroughly consider the end-user is, at best, generic. At worst, offensive.
Stressing that you should know your customer base may seem obvious, but most companies and channel partners are functioning without this knowledge. They’re basically walking blind, trying desperately to peddle a product to a prospect they can’t see.
Now, a good economy can hide this (very big) mistake. Vendor leads, inbound phone calls, and a couple of larger customers can sustain a business. But today, the phones aren’t ringing. Worse, vendors are cutting back on their investments. In order to successfully market your product, you need an end-user database. To start, ask yourself the following:
- What do I know about my customers?
- Who are my customers? Am I selling to purchasing agents or the CEO?
- Where do my customers get information that influences their buying decisions? Websites, blogs, magazines, key influencers?
- What are my customers’ personal goals?
Vendors, meanwhile, should also take stock of their reseller capabilities:
- How many of our resellers have marketing resources?
- At what level are those marketing resources?
- How effectively are our marketing investments being utilized? Are we seeing a solid return on investment (ROI), or could we better utilize funding by driving broader end user lead generation, product development, or more sales resources?
- Do we offer appropriate support to resellers, in the form of people, tools, or education?
Without real answers to these fairly basic questions, your marketing efforts are dead in the dust.