Marketing Forward

“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”  Steve Jobs 

Zoltar from BIG - The movie telling predicting the future
It seems obvious to say but marketing is about tomorrow. Not today, not the past but the future. You may pivots on the past, builds from today but clearly marketing activities forces you to look forward.  

Take the example of launching a new product or service. It is all about tomorrow. You realize that in order to grow your brand you need to either bring something new to old or new customers or you need to bring something old to new customers. You need a marketing Ouija board to help guide your journey. Or maybe a marketing GPS system would help you navigate. Remember Zoltar from the movie BIG who helped grant Tom Hanks his big wish about his future? Maybe he can make a big difference by granting you a wish. 

It comes down to trust. You need to trust your own vision of what could be if you think through what job this product/service will do for someone. Without that unswerving confidence in your own idea, most new products and services fail. To gain that confidence, you need to ask yourself some tough questions.

My Seven Questions

Here are 7 simple questions to ask yourself as you think about offering something new.

WHAT IS THE NEED: Will this product or service truly serve an unfulfilled market need or are you guilty of developing a “me too” approach? 

WHY IS THIS NEEDED: Does one of your current products or service not fit this segment you want to enter? How do you know this? What is it based upon?

WHAT IS DIFFERENT: How will this product or service be different from others who are trying to serve the same segment?

WHO ARE YOU: What tactical communications will you use that will allow you to engage and communicate to this segment? Will they even know you or are you starting from scratch?

LICENSE AND PERMISSION: Does the brand name you will use for the product or service fit within your current architecture? Do you have permission from your users to go into this segment or will you dilute what your brand stands for?

HOW WILL YOU CONNECT: Emotionally, what benefit will your customers get from what you offer? (peace of mind, sense of self-worth, courage, etc.)

WILL THIS DILUTE: Do you have the resources to do this and will it dilute your efforts on other more profitable segments that you are also trying to serve?

Data is history.
You can’t build a data base about the past to predict the future. You can assemble data points as references but you need to trust in an inner guidance that believes in the need. Research, surveys, focus groups and historical data sets help you understand history. The future isn’t quantifiable and subject to a DOE (design of experiment) like scientist use. Standing on your pile of data, you must take a leap of faith. 

Predicting the future - what's in your crystal ball?
That is what I love about marketing. Someone has to really believe in a vision and get others to follow them for the ride. Without that trust and boldness, we would take small steps all the time. Do you really believe in the future vision for this product/service or are you just going along for the ride?

What do you see in your crystal ball? 

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