Tag Archives: Customer-focused marketing

So you think running with the pack is going to get you business? Think again.

The two shining examples of running with the pack come from the pharma world (just look at all those ads with happy smiling faces…the only thing that differentiates the ad and product category is the demographic of the happy smiling face).

A short while back, I did some primary research into about 50 law firms in the metro NY area – each firm had about 60 attorneys.  Almost half the firms I looked at, had bought the exact same website template – or one so close that differentiation was essentially non-existent.  And that’s before I got to the messaging – which was almost identical. The graphics were equally ho-hum.

As many of you have figured out by now, I’m a crusader for customer-focused market research and marketing.  Almost all legal websites talk about what’s important to the law firm and NOT what’s important to the potential client. It’s all about features and the benefits are almost never there.  Well, chest-beating does wonders for the ego, but does it bring in business?  In this environment, it doesn’t.  With so many me-toos (and very cheap off-shore solutions knocking on your customers’ doors), the only way to differentiate yourself from a myriad of other lawyers and law firms is to do primary research – that’s right – ask your customers’ what they want in a lawyer or law firm.  Listen to their answers.  And only then, with a trusted marketing or PR resource, should you start your website, and other messaging.

Fashion falls into its own category however the same rules of differentiation apply. Why look like everyone else when you can make yourself and your brand just as memorable as the product you’re selling?

It’s such a simple solution that it’s a wonder no one does it.  Of course, the result will separate you from the pack. Which is what you want. Because when you stand out, business finds its way to your door. However, standing out like this takes courage.  Every single company that has used customer-focused market research (my methodology is called Rapid Development http://www.holtzmancom.com/Rade/rade.php and the market research session itself is called OpenMind® http://www.holtzmancom.com/teamwork_openmind.php has had remarkable results. From Fortune 500 clients  to startups to the sole practitioner – in every sector. From pharma companies, to nano-tech companies to a Rabbi (yes a Rabbi  http://www.rabbibleefeld.com/).   Oh yes, attorneys and law firms as well.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

How come no one wants to speak to the customer BEFORE they do marketing?

Seth Godin, marketing guru, in a recent blog talks about the three circles of marketing radiating outward:

1. The outer circle: Take the information about the product that is given you and promote the hell out of it.
2. The middle circle, which has more much more leverage: Tell a story that resonates with a particular tribe.
3. The third, innermost, circle is the story about the product itself: The product you are selling has the communication built into itself.
He summarizes his insights saying go one circle in, or to the middle circle, if you are having trouble selling/marketing the product.

This is all well and good advice. HOWEVER, even the great Seth Godin leaves out one crucial element – and a lot of people do this. No one thinks to ask what the customer wants. No one gets feedback from the customer BEFORE they market. This is so simple and very few people talk about it much less do it. And if they (you, we) did it, we wouldn’t have to worry about circles – actually that would be the fourth and innermost circle. I don’t know what the aversion is to speaking to your customers directly before you prepare marketing materials. Every time we do this for ourselves or a client, the marketing is so much more targeted and successful. How do I know this? The ROI measurements are exponentially higher than ever before (before the marketing and after previous marketing exercises).

The entire Seth Godin post is below.



Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Even – especially – the big guys just don’t ‘get’ it

I was doing some market esearch yesterday and surfing around Plunkett. I came across customer focused research and how that is changing. It seems that now, instead of marketers showing concepts to individuals sitting around a table in a focus group, they can reach even more indiiduals if they show the concepts online.

Excuse me. How is that customer-focused?
The fact is it’s not. The concepts still come from the agency, or the client. And respondents are still asked to react to someone else’s idea of what might get them to shell out money. The only thing different is the delivery system.

In true customer-focused market research and marketing, the customer (respondent) solves the problem by coming up with the ideas. This allows the customer a total free range of thought and ideation. They tell you how they want to be “told and sold”. They come up with the concept, ad ideas, new product ideas, even strategies for reaching them!

In short they tell you exactly how to help them want to buy your product.
Your ROI soars when you give the customer exactly what they want. I have the statistics to prove it. Statistically significant statistics…like increasing a $500 million dollar company’s new product sales by 10-fold, or helping a start-up company attract a larger company in order to do a successful exit, or help a sole proprietor’s bookings increase by 60% six months after putting up a customer-focused website.

And it can all happen is a period of days.

There. Now isn’t that better?

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.