Sonny Corleone (James Caan; The Godfather)
“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”
Jim Rohn (Motivational Speaker and Author; Twelve Pillars)
“Nobody cares about your products, except you. Create interesting content.”
David Meerman Scott (Author; The New Rules of Marketing)
Go to market like you’re going to the mattresses.
There’s a scene in the first Godfather movie where Sonny, played by James Caan says he’s going to go to the mattresses if he doesn’t get what he wants. Under the bed mattresses is where the gangsters hid their weapons. Going to the mattresses means going to war with a rival mob family.
Going to the mattresses is how you should approach your Go To Market strategy. The only difference is that instead of going to war with a rival mob family, you’re going to war with your own perspective. For example, instead of thinking that other people really care about you and your product, you have to assume that they couldn’t care less. Instead of thinking that attending tradeshows and paying for really expensive graphic design will make you millions, you have to follow up, divide and conquer, and turn yourself into a thought leader.
Your Biggest Obstacle Is Yourself
I’ve created several big fat failure products before I created anything successful. My first product was a wrestling program aimed at high school and college athletes that I spent 6 months developing and then put online without so much as a whisper on Facebook or any other social media site. It bombed because no one knew about it, and because I didn’t follow-up with anyone who visited the product’s webpage. A year later, I launched a line of greeting cards. It did well for a while but then flat lined completely. I sprayed my entire email list with expensive advertisements but it didn’t help the cards sell. Why?
In business and entrepreneurship, your Go To Market strategy refers to the channels that you use to connect with your customers. It also refers to the organizational processes that you and your company develop to guide your customer’s experience, from initial contact all the way through to fulfillment. If you’re getting ready to launch something online (or offline), don’t let how much you love your product, or how much time and money you’ve spent creating your product, color your Go To Market strategy. Your passion, cash, and effort, by themselves, will not help you sell. To sell, you have to have the right strategy. To sell, you have to have the right perspective. This means going to war.
Go To Market Like A Gangster
I met Craig Morantz in Toronto at MastermindTalks last spring and was immediately impressed with both his Go To Market knowledge and his no nonsense nature. Criag is the President of Shifthub, an employee engagement and staff scheduling platform for businesses. Since the age of 15, Craig has started and sold a number of businesses, the most recent being the sale of Aware Marketing Group, which Profit Magazine recognized as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies 5 years in a row. Currently, Craig is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone, Canada’s largest tech startup incubator. I asked Craig to share his advice on how to best bring a product into the marketplace in today’s economy.
1. No one cares about you.
There’s a scene near the end of Goodfellas where Paulie Cicero turns his back on the main character Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta. That’s when Henry realized that no one in the mob family really cared about him. It was all business. This is how you have to approach your Go To Market strategy.
No one cares about you, your product, your brand or how awesome your company is. NO ONE. Who ever you are trying to reach is dealing with an overwhelming amount of noise. If you have not heard directly from your customers on why they use your product and what parts of it they could not live without, then stop messaging them until you do. Anything you develop internally, without customer feedback, is ego and conjecture.
2. Divide and conquer.
During the second half of the 20th century, Chicago’s Mafia, known as the Outfit, was the most powerful Mob in the history of organized crime. One of the Outfit’s keys to power was their ability to divide and conquer. They divided the Westside of Chicago into 5 different groups: the Rush Street Group, the Cicero Group, the West Side Group, the South Side Group, and the Chinatown Group. Then, they ruled each group together.
In the same way, break your go to market strategy and customer groups into segments. If you are sending the same marketing message to prospects as existing customers you are failing. They are in completely different zones. One has committed to you, the other has not. In the case of prospects, it’s like it is 1 A.M. in a bar and you’re trying to close the deal. In the case of existing clients, it’s your first year anniversary and you’re trying to expand your relationship. You have to give more of yourself in the latter scenario.
Break prospects into verticals, whether by geography, industry or size. Create messaging specific to each group. Make sure they are not receiving a spray and pray marketing campaign. The systems exist so you can send a message to clients in St. Louis and a different one to clients in L.A.
3. Follow up is king.
I like the scene in Goodfellas where Henry and James Conway, played by Robert Dinero, are hassling Morrie, their client who sells wigs. This is how intensely you need to follow up with your clients (minus the violence of course).
Create a system that ensures everyone continues to hear from you. The fact is, 95% of people are not ready to buy when you reach out to them, maybe even 99%. A well thought follow up strategy that puts every one you talk to, or that responds to an outbound campaign, into a nurturing customer touchpoint plan is essential.
4. Be a thought leader.
The most famous line in The Godfather occurs when Don Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, says, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” In the same way, you need to offer your clients something they can’t refuse. You have to offer more than good design. You have to offer more than showing up to a conference. Offer these two things: great leadership and great content.
Spend a lot of time and money on being a thought leader, more than you spend on your graphic design, advertising and trade shows. Content marketing gets spread, banner ads do not. Content marketing gets consumed, trade shows are full of hung over people.
Which of the above strategies do you agree with the most? Which one do you agree with the least? Write down your answers in a comment below.
Craig’s skill set includes sales strategy development, creating and implementing go to market strategies, sales process implementation, customer experience development, negotiating, marketing segmentation & deployment, importing, building engaging cultures, brand development, leadership training, lean manufacturing and financial reporting analysis. Craig’s specialty is helping companies find the magic of the ultimate customer experience.
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