When it comes to starting up your own business, it is important to understand that sales and marketing are the lifeblood of your company and should not be underestimated.
If you do not have a clearly formulated product or service, with well-designed Competitor Product Advantages (CPA), coupled with a distinct brand personality and an aggressive sales and promotion strategy, you will merely be courting disaster in the competitive world of small business.
It’s important to realise that you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, so try to ensure that you get it right the first time.
Designing the anatomy of your product or service
All products or service are usually designed in terms of four dimensions:
The nucleus or core product: This refers to the essence of your product, and sums up what you are selling in one sentence. It is often the essence of your marketing slogan, brand personality and the dominant feature of your sales and promotions strategy.
Here we can consider two examples to illustrate the point: A male deodorant may have a nucleus or core product of ‘sex appeal’, while a luxury car would have a core product depicting ‘a sensational driving experience.’ These core products would both be reflected in their advertising campaigns.
The characteristic or tangible product: These are he physical attributes that make up the product.
For example, the male deodorant may comprise of a short iron-based can with a round plastic top. The luxury car on the other hand may be made from the finest steel or aluminium to enhance safety, improve fuel efficiency and provide a smooth, great driving experience.
The supplementary or augmented product: This refers to all the value add-ons and guarantees related to the product that supplement its perceived value to customers.
Here the male deodorant could have a guarantee that faulty merchandise will be replaced, while the luxury vehicle would offer a free motor maintenance plan for a certain number of years or kilometres.
The future or prospective product: This relates to the future applications and potential of the product in respect of internet selling and alternative applications.
For example the luxury vehicle may in time opt to bring out a range of 4×4 vehicles together with a corporate clothing range.
Determining your brand personality and aligning it to your nucleus or core product
It is of paramount importance to determine upfront exactly what brand personality you want your product to portray and then to ensure that it is aligned to your core or nucleus product. If it is not aligned, it may take on a life of its own.
Your CPA (Competitive Product Advantages) and USP (Unique Selling Proposition) will also need to be aligned to your core product, brand personality and marketing slogan. When developing a marketing slogan, make sure it is short, catchy, easy to remember and accurately depicts your core product.
Also important is understanding the market segmentation of your product or service, as well as your specific target market and product positioning in respect of quality and price. Following that you will need to design a simple, cost-effective sales and promotions strategy that will give you the turnover you project.
Then it’s time to implement the strategy, and this needs to be done with single-minded determination. If you and your staff do not make it happen, then no one else will!
Author: Kenneth Fisher CEO: Business Finance SME South Africa at the Real People Group for The REAL Success Network