Common Challenges of Rushing to Market
Businesses and product teams are often eager and quick to ‘get to market’ with their latest solutions and marketing campaigns. With competition looming and customers yearning for the latest and greatest, we get the haste. Yet, while speed-to-market is critical, skipping the creation of foundational marketing assets—like defining your audiences, researching their purchase preferences and behaviors, and establishing consistent messaging and positioning—can set a company up for challenges down the line.
There are Internal organizational challenges…
- Inconsistent positioning across the organization—which means your sales and marketing teams might see and position the solution in a different light
- Wasted sales efforts from reaching the wrong buyers through the wrong channels
- Wasted advertising budget reaching the wrong audiences with the wrong messages
- Lost deals and missed opportunities from not positioning solutions in the most compelling manner
…that translate into External challenges customers face with your solution and brand…
- Disconnected customer experiences—which leads to customer confusion and inconsistent experiences with your brand
- Missed awareness—because customers don’t see your solution on the channels they prefer to engage (this goes back to our saying, “customers choose channels, channels don’t choose customers”)
- Irrelevant marketing messages with no audience resonance
- Customer attrition or slow revenue gains—because frankly, it looks to the buyer like your competition offers a better and more personalized solution
3 “Must-Have” Foundational Marketing Assets for Business Success
For any new product launch, rebrand, or campaign, it’s easy for marketing and sales teams to get ahead of themselves. Typically these teams jump right into customer-facing content building and that’s understood. Putting tangible, explanatory assets in front of potential customers is critical. Even so, before pressing go on a new and shiny campaign or dialing for dollars, there are three internal assets every business should have. These assets are core to building a robust go-to-market strategy and matching customers with relevant content. These assets are also shared between both marketing and sales, connecting the divide in sometimes uncoordinated efforts.
So what are these foundational marketing assets, and why are they important?
(1) Buyer Personas
What are they:
Buyer personas are characters created to personify your target customers. They help you paint a picture of prototypical customer demographics like age range and occupation. Additionally, they help you understand psychographics such as pain points, solution priorities, and how they make purchase decisions. Start with one or two core buyer personas; however, you may grow that into five or six later down the line. While there is no magic ‘maximum’ number of personas you should have, personas are only valuable if you use them. Don’t create more personas than your organization can act on.
Why are they important:
By defining your target customers and sourcing data on their unique characteristics and buying behaviors, you can inform highly relevant and more effective sales and marketing efforts. Defining and documenting personas also helps ensure all sales and marketing team members are aligned on the target audiences and how to approach different buyers in a more personalized way. Furthermore, your marketing and messaging can resonate with prospective customers; making them more likely to purchase.
Learn how to develop actionable segments and personas in our 10 Step Checklist:
(2) Buyer Journey Maps
What are they: Buyer journey maps document a persona’s typical path-to-purchase, including the steps they typically take in their purchase journey, as well as their pain points, needs, preferences, and sentiments along the way. While some journey maps stop there, we recommend journey maps that also explain how to effectively activate sales and marketing efforts along the customer’s journey. The customer journey is really just the best channels, supporting content, and messaging for each stage. Journey maps should be built using primary research collected from existing and/or target customers. Ideally, each persona should have its own buyer journey since different audiences likely have different purchase preferences and behaviors.
Why are they important: Journey maps, that are data-driven and actionable, help sales and marketing teams identify how to best reach different audiences with the right message, through the right channel and/or content, at the right time.
Learn how to develop a buyer journey map:
(3) Messaging Architectures
What are they:
Messaging architectures define a set of consistent messages that should be used across sales and marketing communications. This also involves assets that convey the value of a company, product, or solution. Organizations may have multiple messaging frameworks. For example, an overarching messaging framework might describe the organization or integrated solution-set as a whole. But one might also want individual messaging architectures for each product line. In addition, organizations may create variations of each messaging architecture for different personas.
Messaging architectures typically include an overarching message, 3-5 main value propositions, supporting messages, and proof points. Overarching messages are similar to slogans and value propositions are the core benefits you want to communicate. Proof points provide evidence and credibility to your messaging architectures.
Why are they important:
Strong messaging architectures are data-driven and equip companies with compelling messaging that will resonate highly with target audiences. You can achieve data-driven messaging architectures by following quantitative and qualitative research. Messaging architectures also ensure that sales and marketing resources are using consistent, approved messaging to represent the brand or product. They also ensure sales and marketing are using the best available messaging every time.
Learn how to develop a messaging architecture:
It’s Not Too Late to Reset Your Go-to-Market
While it’s valuable to develop personas, buyer journey maps, and messaging before launching new products or solutions, it’s never too late to create these foundational marketing assets. The benefit of building and continuously refining these assets can be tremendous. In a competitive landscape, resetting who your buyers are (personas), their unique journeys (which may have drastically changed in the pandemic landscape), and unique differentiating messages, can set your business above the rest. Allow your marketing, sales, and product teams to better reach the right audiences, the right way, with the right messages to close more deals by developing actionable segments and personas, a buyer journey map, and a messaging architecture.