One of the reasons why working in an agency can be so interesting is that we get the chance to meet and work with people from all sorts of different industries; my day today, for example, includes meetings with a law firm, a construction company, an ice hockey player and a charity, and so it will continue through the week.
This job is not for everyone, however, as many people find the need to flip from one thing to another at speed, and, of course, the ability to learn a lot about a company in a very short amount of time, very stressful. Not least because so many of the company representatives that we meet find it very hard to express in simple terms, exactly what it is that they do and, therefore, what they are actually trying to market!
I have worked for companies where I have had to attend whole day ‘induction courses’ in order, they feel, for me to understand enough about the company to be able to work with them, but despite their best intentions, I have often come away from one of these courses with very little that is useful in regard to the company’s marketing and/or PR. And this then leads me to the crunch; if senior marketing people in the company, who live and breathe it all day long, cannot tell me what exactly they sell and why someone should buy from them, then however do they manage to sell anything at all!
The thing is, when you work inside a company, especially in a senior position, you and the people working with you know so much about it, that you sometimes forget what the key things are that the outside world should know. I have talked (a lot!) in the past about the need to know who you are targeting with your marketing, but you must also know why someone might buy your products or services – i.e. what makes you/your product so much more suitable for a particular customer than someone/something else.
Usually, when we first meet a potential client, we will go through various standard questions about their business, and these include, of course, ‘why you’. And we really don’t want to hear ‘because we are the best’ (let’s face it, you are unlikely to say you are rubbish). What we hope to hear is something akin to an ‘elevator pitch’ – i.e. imagine you have got into a lift on the ground floor and in steps the person that you have identified as the perfect customer for your company – so you have just a few seconds to sell to him/her, before you reach the right floor and he/she steps out, what you do and why he should buy from you – if you have a good and appropriate elevator pitch, you are most of the way towards saying ‘why you’.
Then, If you know exactly the market you are targeting, and you know exactly why you have a product/service that your potential target really ought to buy, then preparing your marketing to attract such a customer is really not that difficult. Or is it….?