Sunday, May 09, 2010

Gaining Access to the Consideration Set

How does a product get on to a prospect's short list?

For any given business need a myriad of potential options exist making the potential consideration set too large to manage.  Hyper-choice, or having too many options, creates a kind of paralysis in the decision making process.   So we need to winnow the list down.

Since we've moved past the basic need stage of our lives to focus on wants and desires we're in the realm of emotions, perceptions and beliefs.   From a product marketing perspective this means providing more than just feature check lists.  In fact, facts alone are insufficient for an individual or group make a decision.  There must be more.

I had the chance to talk recently with a client about their white paper.  While written in impeccable prose and marketing terms, it fell short as a tool for generating interest and leads.  Here are my observations:
  1. The pain wasn't agitated enough to create urgency or action.  It was a nice-to-read piece and I learned some things but could easily have filed it away without further thought.
  2. It lacked the empathy required to base a relationship on; the tone was sterile and distant.  I didn't feel like the company was somebody I could easily explain the issues to.
  3. There was no follow-up plan or next step.  I was left with: "OK, now what?" on my mind. And given the objective of generating leads it should at least facilitate the prospect's buying process.
Gaining access to the consideration set often requires painting a vision of the future, offering a plan to get there, and providing the credentials to pull it off.    For in the end, clients buy our products and services when they trust us to either make their problem go away or get them to a new place. 

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