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What’s Your Story?

I had a very interesting chat with a friend today about a possible service concept he’s considering.

During the course of the conversation, we discussed the essence of the proposed service offering along with the possible technologies that it could be built on.

marketing message, market strategyWe covered a lot in the hour or so we were talking and the final part of the conversation moved away from the concept onto “what’s the message?”

A pause and then jargon speak.

The one mistake, that I will gladly admit to, when I started my business a couple of years ago was not shaping the message for the market prior to the product being fully ready.

The focus was on the technology, the cool features that the product would bring the users and how we would get the message out there.

But we had forgotten the key part: what was that message?

I am a technology manager by trade, my business partner is a techie. We didn’t know much about  shaping a marketing message than my cat knows how to open a tin of tuna. In fact, I’d say the cat would be ahead!

We sat down and devised a message on our own. Like that was going to work! At that point, we decided to engage with a marketing professional who started to coach us on what we were doing. To say that we went back to the drawing board would be a classic understatement. We essentially started over and after we’d finished the overhaul, had to go back and adjust the product which cost us time and cash.

We learned that we had to really understand what we were taking to market and what the message for our customers was rather that what we thought they wanted to hear.

The same applied in my conversation today. At the end of it, the conclusion was to work out the market offering and understand the message from the client side before anything else happened. This, thankfully, has been decided before time and effort has gone into anything else. A lesson learned and applied!

The market message really is vital, without one your business will struggle to find its definition and niche. What are your thoughts?

Photo: Sugarpond

Budding entrepeneur working on software product solutions for business. My background is mainly operational and senior management roles in mobile telecoms and software houses. Areas of expertise include professional services, out-sourcing, team management and general operations management. I've made the conscious decision to create my own company having spent the last 20 years learning in the corporate world. In my contributions to this forum, I will share some insights and learnings that I've picked up along the way and hopefully they will be useful to some or all!

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  • Nice one Barney.nI guess, naturally we prioritise anything related to our background and expertise. But that’s how it goes 🙂 We all have to learn it the hard way.nWe went through kind of the same thing a year ago with our blog (I share with with @ivanwalsh a few days ago) We though we had to eat the social media elephant in terms of content and write for everybody interested in the topic. Wrong. Our customer are professionals in Marketing and Communications departments that want to learn how to implement social media within their Marketing mix. Then, we started writing for them and our content began doing much better.

  • Facundo

    Hi Barney, nice post. I completely agree. Bringing your subject to the sales arena, this year I’ve been questioning our message even in succesful sales. This is where we have a client on board and we had explained throroughly what we do prior to service commencement, but still results are not exactly as we all planned (thought), because the client thinks that we’ll be providing something that we do not. Then I understood that even if I state categorically what we’ll do or won’t do, they can always believe they are buying whatever they think. Conclusion: I’m re-thinking whether to adapt services a bit or even insist more on the boundaries of what we do. Probably the smart choice will be the former…

  • lol, “We didnu2019t know much about shaping a marketing message than my cat knows how to open a tin of tuna” One of the greatest Bloggertone lines ever! Dare I say it perhaps the message is something that we here at Bloggertone need to re-address in the new year. Bloggertone was initially a business blog, now it has become something more? Great post!

  • Anonymous

    Great advice Barney. Where i’m working we’ve taken the same approach to creation of our intranet. It’s not our team’svarea of strength so we’ve utilised contractors and have a site which is a thousand times better than anything we could do

  • Love your post Barney, message to market match & knowing who the ideal customer you are aiming your business offering at are the two linchpins in marketing; after that it is all about the communications and once you know who you want to buy what you offer, then you can talk in their language and build relationships that grow business.

  • Thanks Sharon. Spot on and a lesson well learned on my side (better late than never:) )

  • Hi Frank. You’re right to do it. Sometimes it can stretch the budget but spending that little bit more with people who do the “thing” for a living makes a huge difference in the longer term. Thanks for reading

  • Thanks Niall. Not sure where that analogy came from – but it seemed to fit 🙂

  • Hi Facundo. I believe that the challenge you face is similar to most smaller businesses. Getting the balance right between adapting your services but staying true to your own purpose is a tricky line to tread – particularly when revenue are on the line. Whatever you do decide to do around your service adaptation will need to be bound anyway with you “in-scope” “out of scope” definitions otherwise the same thing can/does keep happening. Thanks for the comment.

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