Friday, December 10, 2010

Marketer's Job: Showing the money

A marketer's biggest dilemma is a client who misunderstands his service.
"A writer who is in a hurry to be understood today or tomorrow runs the danger of being misunderstood the day after tomorrow." ~ Johann G. Hamann
Most of the times marketers face the challenge of being misunderstood. During the days when I was part of a startup, I felt that even if I'd break my head, the client will not really understand what my firm was offering and the benefits it gave.
It was really frustrating then, but now when I look back it seems rather funny. In fact the clients some times to be polite said many things that were funny. Ad Age carries a list of such funny statements in their recent article. One of them is "We don't want 'friends' or for people to 'like' us. We want customers."
Looking from the client's perspective it is not that wrong actually. They want more business and more money and that's why they are willing to shell out a few bucks on us. My start up was essentially an online consultancy and a we were a bunch of young enthusiastic engineers trying to make a difference. In those days it was mostly reading TechCruch, Godin, Mashable, Gates, Jobs, BarCamps and we thought we could be the next one. In that hurry the business shut down even before we could see some cash. And then I came to Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow to do a PhD in Marketing Management. My course work here indeed taught me quite a few things but my most important lesson was the one I learnt during my internship at IBM Research with the business development team. In the end as a business you have to show your client how your service can get him the money. You've got to show him how his cash flows are going to change after he uses your service. You've got to show him the big dream, pump it up by a couple of graphs, scenarios and show him the returns on investment. He is not at all bothered by the innovativeness of your service. You've gotta show him, what is in it for him. It is quite similar to "Show me the money" from Jerry McGuire. If you can show him the money, that account is yours.
On the contrary if you show him how innovative your service is, he is simply thinking, "Oh! That dude is going to charge me for all that fancy stuff".