The Product, The Whole Product, And Nothing But The ProductI morphed the title of this article as I thought about the yesteryears of my youth, having a fascination with becoming a lawyer. Intently watching TV shows in which a character was asked to testify in a court room, I noticed certain absolutes.
Each person who took the stand was approached by a member of the court, instructed to raise their right hand, and asked to solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. After the witness affirmed that they would do so, it was time for the attorneys to go into action.
As they did, I was amazed at how prepared they were, how they knew the right questions to ask, and how their closing remarks were perfectly vital in persuading the jury and the TV audience. And while I later came to understand that the actors were following a script, the presentation made by those attorneys also made a lasting impression on me.
In fact, the concept has helped me realize how important it is to be prepared to deliver the whole product to the market in order to convince the audience to buy.
During the course of my marketing experience, I have learned whether you are marketing an existing product or introducing a new product into an existing space, you need to present the whole product. Not just the primary product offering, but all of the secondary services and offerings that a buyer may look at when considering your offering.
Marketing the whole product is not just about creating a new gadget, technology or service and then getting into your space, but it is about presenting everything to the buyer that is necessary to define, support and drive them to take action. It is all about creating the vision in your potential buyers mind that your offering is the whole package. The concept of presenting the whole product is sometimes overlooked when trying to get to market quickly or when presenting a new offering into an established space.
Sometimes companies sacrifice long term market penetration for short term gains. They have not thought beyond the core product when preparing to offer the product into the market place. Any new entrepreneur, or any marketer trying to take a new product into an established market place, cannot underestimate the value of thoughtful preparation.
The iPod commercials that ran before and during the initial offering of their product offer a great example of thoughtful delivery. There were no questions that Apple was targeting youth and young adults who grew up in the digital age, commonly referred to as digital natives. They were targeting buyers who wanted to be distinguished in the marketplace around the coolness factor of a new handheld musical device. Their successful commercials, based upon a whole concept campaign, spawned an entire industry around their digital offerings.
While it is true that new product offerings and entrepreneurs do not have the marketing budgets that Apple does, it is important to recognize that a whole product offering can be presented to the market!
The best way to know whether you are prepared to deliver the whole product to the market is to imagine that you are being brought in to testify before the court. You know you had better be prepared when questioned by those attorneys. You would do a lot of searching inside of yourself, examining what may be asked, how to best respond, and be confidently prepared for cross examination. To stack up against your competitors, you had better be able to confidently answer a majority of the questions your prospective buyers ask!
You are well on your way to delivering the whole product to the buyers if you can answer the basics to some of these questions:
Who is your primary buyer and why?
What are the top 1-3 Why to buy? messages that you want to deliver to the market?
What are the top 3-5 features you want to emphasize and why?
What is the differentiation positioning of your offering?
How does your product compete and compare against other offerings in the marketplace?
How is your company going to support the product?
What is your companys discount structure for multiple purchases?
What is your return or cancellation policy?
Is the offering or the services around the offering more important?
Finally: If you were to buy this offering from a competitor, what questions would you want to have answered before you paid good money for it?
As a marketer, you need to be prepared to deliver the whole product. That means you need to think through the questions and have answers that may be asked by press, analysts and buyers. You need to create an entire vision, and be able to confidently communicate it. Like the person testifying in a court room, you are prepared to withstand the cross examination of your competitors offerings.
You cannot wait to get all the answers before you go to market. It is not necessary to know it all or second guess everything. But you can prepare to confidently explain what makes your offering great. Because you have prepared yourself, you can deliver the product, the whole product, and nothing but the product.
R. Dean Taylor is currently the VP of Marketing and Channel for COMPLETExRM, a leading provider of Enterprise 2.0 CRM and co-developer of PlanPlus Online by FranklinCovey. Mr. Taylor has over 19 years of strategic and tactical marketing experience focusing on identifying and creating new channels, markets, product offerings, and establishing brand recognition worldwide. As a founding executive, he was responsible for launching Caldera's Linux product line and channel worldwide. Additionally, he was at the forefront of launching Linux into the worldwide marketplace and worked strategically with Oracle, IBM, SUN, HP and others to help bring their Linux products to the market and channel. He has held marketing and channel management roles for companies such as Novell, WordPerfect, IBM and Sanyo.