Professional Development - Marketing Communication: Communication With A Purpose
by Gene Muchanski
Marketing communication is very important to the success of our businesses. So much, in fact, it may well be the core function of marketing itself.
The purpose of any business is to create products and services that help people. The kind of help we provide depends on our core competencies to create products and how the customer uses them. So our business begins with the customer and not with our Engineer! To understand how our products are going to sell in the market place, we need to know how the customer is going to use them and why. Focus groups are a big part of what marketing can do to help you understand how the product will be used by the customer and what features and benefits will be needed to make the product useful to the consumer. The skill set here is "listening" which is the most important part of the communication process.
We've seen too many times, what happens to products that are created by designers in the privacy of their labs without giving thought to the marketing process. They build products they think are great and wonder why they just sit in the warehouse. Well, it might have been a great idea to them, but not to their customers. Then they get mad at the sales people because sales are flat. The better way to create products is to introduce the marketing concept before the products are designed. Building products based on consumer input is a much better way to go. You communicate with your customers and they tell you what they would buy. They will tell you if the product has value to them. You can then build prototypes and ask them for their comments again. After a few changes, ask again. Keep doing that until you get it right. Now you can go into a small production run to see if the new product will sell. If it does, you have a winner and can go into full scale production. If not, there's a problem somewhere.
Pre-production communication is important to our business but only if we ask the right questions and get the right answers. Before you design your pre-production campaign, ask yourself what it is you want from the customer and make sure the customer knows what you are looking for. That's communication with a purpose.