An important part of the success equation often has to do with becoming more market driven than product driven. I think many companies are founded on product or service ideas. A huge amount of time is put into developing a product or service that the creator believes in passionately. Unfortunately, that passion can have a way of obfuscating, or hiding what will ultimately become the more important factor in the business: Does the market want this product? Instead, I’ve often seen examples of good folks trying to answer a question that was never asked with disappointing results.

That doesn’t mean that innovative ideas have not emerged in previously uncharted waters and become wildly successful. It happens regularly. But in the larger scheme of things. I think those tend to be the exceptions.

More often, the case ends up being a lot more about trial and error and doing what you must do in order to stay in business. Hopefully you’ll figure out what your customers will buy from you in time to create a proper foundation for your business that will allow you to sustain.

In any of those situations, one of the things many small business owners and operators generally don’t spend a lot of time on is market messaging. We may think, “Who better to speak for the business than the person who created it?” That’s often the rationalization. But the problem with that is, many business creators are too close to their business, and influenced by their passion for what they’re doing. When they try to put their message out to the markets, it’s often skewed in the direction of how they see their product or service, and not necessarily what’s going to move the markets in their direction.

I have seen this repeatedly. It’s common. So, here are a few ideas I try to instill in folks. First, spend time looking at your market and your customers. Spend the time to understand what people are buying and what they want. It may not be as fun as creating products or services and doing the stuff that got you into it in the first place, but somebody has got to do it.

The other thing I stress is simplification. Simplify everywhere and every way you can, knowing that you can always and easily complicate things. We do it all the time and often in the wrong order. It seems to be human nature of sorts.

There is a simple formula we use in everything that has any kind of marketing component to it. I’ve always called it simply, The 3 C’s. They are:

  1. Capture the Attention
  2. Convey the Message
  3. Compel the Action

I have no idea if this is original to me, because, of course, it’s so simple. But the goal is to check off each of those boxes in the process and I can guarantee you, that if you do that, you’ve dramatically enhanced your odds of success. Some have said to me “Well Jeff, obviously you’ve oversimplified.” My response is almost always, “No, that’s an oxymoron in my view.” The more common occurrence is to “over-complicate.” We do that a lot. Just look around.

In future posts, I’ll talk in more detail on how to use the formula and its different applications. But in the meantime, try applying it to something you’re doing and see if you can check off the boxes and note what happens. I’d love to hear your questions or comments on any this.

If you need more information, just continue reading the next post.

Using The 3 C’s Part 2 >>

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