"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself."
--- Peter Drucker
Providing a product for a customer is essentially providing a solution for that person. Whether it is a large banner for a high school function, a hundred-thousand dollar LED sign for a business, or a real estate sign for a new agent, they are all solutions. The products may be more of a want than a need for a customer, but what you provide is still a solution.
Some businesses provide a service and not a physical product, but the service translates to a product being provided for the customer and thus it too is a solution. When we think of our businesses as providing solutions and not products and services, we tend to look at selling these things in a different light. In order to offer our customers, as well as to let prospects know what we have to offer, systems need to be put in place to help us move our products.
"A strategy is something like, an innovative new product; globalization, taking your products around the world; be the low-cost producer. A strategy is something you can touch; you can motivate people with; be number one and number two in every business. You can energize people around the message."
--- Jack Welch
Putting strategies in place is helpful in several areas of business. McDonalds is famous for having strategies for everything from the construction of the restaurant to the advertisements, to the cooking of french fries. Michael Gerber in his best-selling E-Myth books explains why having strategies and methods in place is so important for businesses to succeed. These processes help business owners to share successful methods of doing business with their employees so that the product is made, marketed, sold, and serviced the same way every time without having to reinvent the process.
"People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps."
--- Mary Kay Ash
An extension of the company (and by default, an extension of the product) are your team members. Creating excitement and enthusiasm for the product is essential if the product is to sell. If you have an employee who is more like an Eeyore and less of a Tasmanian Devil in describing your products, you will not be selling for very long.
"Let advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn't have to advertise it."
One strategy you can begin to implement for 2015 is to make sure that all of your team members see your products as solutions. Not every customer will require your products as a solution, but perhaps there are some things about your products that you can share with customers that highlight things that may be a solution for a problem they don't know about yet. In other words, brainstorm with your team all of the solutions your products can provide. Get really serious about this and force the team to list 10, 30, or 100 things that your products can do for your customers. Then train your salespeople to offer those perspectives of the products never seen before.
--- Will Rogers
Steve Jobs never believed in market research. He said that he created products for people for the needs they didn't know they had. You can do the same. The beauty of this exercise is that is forces the whole company to know the products inside and out and to feel more confident about the solutions that they can provide.
"When you are having fun and creating something you love, it shows in the product. So when a woman is sifting through a rack of clothes, somehow that piece of clothing that you had so much fun designing speaks to her; she responds to it and buys it. I believe you can actually transfer that energy to material things as you're creating them."
--- Tom Ford
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The current exhibitor list is already online and being updated continually. And most importantly, registration is open!
Billboard in Valdosta:
"Tattoo Charlies. Done while you wait!"
Sign on fence at a crocodile farm in Louisiana:
"Those Who Throw Objects At The Crocodiles Will Be Asked to Retrieve Them"
As seen in Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada:
"All of those who hate speeding tickets, raise your right foot"
We need those funny signs you've seen in your travels, come on, we know they're out there.
Send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.