Posts Tagged ‘messaging’

What keeps your customers up at night?

October 9, 2009

Adapting marketing messages to specific audiences is a topic I’ve written on here and in a few of my Forrester reports.  Getting the messages right requires an understanding of the drivers and motivations of buyers.  And, going into new geographical markets means that you’ll need local knowledge; you can’t assume that you know what will resonate in a particular market.  Recently I came across an example that illustrates the point in The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, by Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen Fund.

In 2002, Acumen Fund began investing in the production and distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets in Tanzania.  While initial investment enabled increased production, and subsequent grants hAcumen_bednetselped distribute the nets to at-risk groups, the Acumen Fund’s mission is to promote social entrepreneurship primarily through market mechanisms.  They wanted to extend distribution beyond give-aways so that nets would be available to everyone.  So, they worked to kick-start a distribution network of sales women who sold door-to-door and at “parties” similar to Tupperware or the Avon lady… I’ve digressed but only to establish context.

One woman particularly successful at selling nets demonstrated that she truly understood her audience.  Rather than pitching the nets through public health messages, she appealed to what she knew would really motivate her potential buyers.  Rather than “must” or “should” and details of health improvements, she focused on beauty, vanity, status, and comfort:  the nets got rid of insects buzzing in your ears and made it easier to get a full night sleep; with more sleep the children would do better in school; the nets are colorful and decorate the house; and when neighbors see them they will be impressed with how well you are caring for your family.

The example is bed nets in Africa but the lesson applies to any product or market.  Knowing what keeps your potential customers up at night — whether it’s mosquitoes or cost or competition — is key to crafting the right messages.


Re-write the netbook story for a wider audience

September 24, 2009

Netbooks have cOLPCome a long way from their first appearance as the low-cost device for students in emerging markets — the “$100 laptop” distributed via the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative.   In fact they’ve come so far that they’ve apparently forgotten their roots.  Netbooks are now — like the pug in my previous post — an “accessory” or a “companion.”  But, neither of those messages resonates well with some audiences — like B2B buyers — or in certain parts of the world — emerging markets.   Netbooks are much more than luxury goods.  And, they don’t need to be relegated to children or students in emerging markets.  Many business users don’t need all the computing power in vivenne-tam-netbookmost desktops or laptops.  In fact, for most uses a netbook is more than enough.  And, for users buying a computer for the first time — and perhaps replacing their mobile phone as their primary internet access device — netbooks are by far an improvement: imagine a full screen and a real keyboard for the first time.  Or imagine not having to go to an internet café to use a PC.  Yes, netbooks are a great device for businesses in emerging markets.  Let’s hope that netbook marketers don’t just focus their attention on the fashion runway.

My upcoming report “Re-write the Story on Netbooks: Get the B2B Story Right for Netbooks in Emerging Markets” will be out soon.  Stay tuned.

Global versus local: how do you get the messages right?

September 16, 2009

Some people melt over images of dogs; others recoil.  But, there is apparently a wide range of reactions in between.  And, one of HSBCs airport ads expresses it well.  Not only are there different emotional reactions to images: images also evoke different meanings for people.  An HSBC ad in Heathrow Airport in London shows a simple image of a pug (those small dogs with the wrinkled up faces) with three words: alarm clock, companion, accessory.    Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture.  I only wrote down the words.  Fortunately, I did that.  As I was describing it to someone without looking at my notes, I included “nuisance” among the words — guess that’s says something about what the picture meant to me.


(Click for a full-sized version)

The point of all of this is that marketing messages and images speak differently to different audiences.  Crafting messages that resonate best with a specific target audience requires localization.  For B2B audiences, it helps to know what the business drivers are for the audience: what are the goals of the company, what are the objectives set for specific organization, what are the things that keep the boss up at night.  For example, IT decision-makers across different regions adopt software as a service (versus purchasing licenses of a product) for a variety of reasons.  Understanding those reasons helps to determine the messaging that would resonate best with those decision-makers.  The data suggest cost-efficiency and ROI messages for some regions — North America and Western Europe— and time-to-market and competitive advantages in others — Asia Pacific and Middle East, Africa and Russia.

Global marketing also requires a degree of consistency.   How do you strike that balance?  My new report — Get the B2B Messages Right: Balance Global Consistency And Local Relevancy — discusses the challenge of getting the global messages right for local audiences, and provides some recommendations for how to do it.

Revisiting the Four Ps of Marketing

April 1, 2009

It’s now been so long that I almost feel I should blog about not blogging. And, renew my commitment to getting myself out there in the (dare I use the term) blogosphere. But, I won’t.

The first thing I’ll do is point you to my newest research report, just published yesterday — “Expanding Globally, Marketing Locally: Adapting the Four Ps of Marketing to New B2B Markets.” As one of my colleagues commented, it’s “back to the basics.” (Gosh…I hope he didn’t mean that pejoratively.) A fresh look at the basics is always of value in my book. And, admittedly, I wrote it as much for me as for anyone else. I wanted to lay out a structure for myself and for my future research. Next comes deeper dives into some of the topic areas. But, the structure is there and we can all reference it — me, my colleagues, and our Forrester clients.

moulinrouge_larger3Also feel free to listen to a Forrester Teleconference that I gave last week on the report.

NOTE: This post was transferred to its new home on this blog on 8/28/09 by Zachary Reiss-Davis