Tag Archive for: customer-centric marketing

A few weeks ago, I participated in a Webex with CompuCom. I was actually impressed. Their presentation on Microsoft licensing was excellent. They had all of the elements of Microsoft’s latest licensing options packaged together in a consistently formatted, modular structured, and seamlessly flowing presentation. Several different SME’s presented each module, including one presenter from Microsoft financing.

With Windows 7 gaining momentum and virtualization now mainstream, every IT manager is getting educated on how Microsoft’s models will impact their IT operations and, just as important, their IT budgets. I’ve got to hand it to Microsoft. It looks like they’ve delivered a string of winners with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and Office 2010. But what puts them within reach (within budget), and what puts Microsoft over the top, is their financing options for enterprises.

In essence, the Microsoft financing presenter said, “Have it your way.” Yes, they do offer their standard financing packages but (and this is a big BUT), if one of those doesn’t fit, tell them how you want to do it and they’ll work with you. This is a play right out of Burger King’s marketing playbook and makes them very appealing to cash-conscious IT managers. Brilliant? – maybe so.

What’s most appealing is the option to structure your financing in the way that you prefer. This “have it your way” approach gives the IT manager a lot of flexibility to meet the needs of their enterprise, yet maintain their conservative budgets in a still somewhat questionable economy. From an IT Manager’s perspective, it’s the best of both worlds. We get to deploy the latest software and keep the budget under control.

I hope this customer centric approach by Microsoft signals the start of a new trend in technology product marketing – where vendors actually listen and respond to the needs of their customers. What a great concept. If other technology vendors would follow suit, they may be able to make more sales and we could have the IT infrastructure revamped and ready for the full economic recovery when it finally arrives. That’s what I call a win-win proposition.

One of the most widely quoted statistics in the business world is the failure rate of new companies. While some quote statistics as high as 80 or 90 percent, others believe that 60 or 70 percent is more reasonable. But while it’s clear that nobody knows the exact figure, what’s more important is the reason why so many businesses fail. For the overwhelming majority of new businesses, it’s due to the decided lack of a cohesive marketing strategy.

Though all sectors suffer from this problem to some extent, it seems to be most prominent amongst high technology companies. Despite the efforts of brilliant engineers, who develop amazing technological innovations, most of these companies fail to make any sustainable impact, and fade into obscurity before they’re even known to have existed. That’s because no matter how phenomenal the technology, even the finest ideas don’t sell themselves. Success takes more than just a great idea and the technical wherewithal to build it – it requires a partnership between engineering and marketing.

Most engineering-driven companies develop their product, then look for a market in which to sell it – the diametric opposite of what should happen. Instead, the best chance for success comes from looking at the market first, then building the product that best serves those needs. This is what marketers refer to as being “customer-focused”. In fact, being truly customer-focused goes beyond merely developing a product that serves the customer’s needs. An entire marketing strategy must be developed, with the target customer at its core.

A comprehensive marketing strategy is comprised of four overarching components: product, price, promotion, and place. Each of these four components must be developed with the target customer in mind, and each must work together, to produce one cohesive strategy. Of course, just as with the engineering of the product, developing a winning marketing strategy is much easier said than done. That’s where a professional, experienced marketing team comes in. Just as code, boards, and chips should never be developed by marketers, marketing should never be conducted by engineers.

The 4Ps of Marketing

The 4Ps of Marketing

Despite the fact that marketing seems “easy” relative to engineering projects, it’s entirely too simple to burn through the budget with ineffective marketing campaigns that are unlikely to yield any tangible results. A winning marketing strategy requires a multi-dimensional view of the customer’s needs, wants, and buying behaviors, as well as the ability to translate that information into a sound strategy.

Though developing and implementing a marketing strategy may seem trivial, or a waste of time and money, it can make the difference between success and failure!