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“What do you do?”
You have probably heard that question more than any other whenever you meet new people at business functions or social gatherings. “What do you do?” is a comfortable ice breaker because everyone does something and everyone enjoys talking about what it is that they do.
The question can apply to myriad activities, but it generally implies curiosity about another person’s profession regardless of the setting in which it is asked. It is most likely the first thing uttered by you or the people that you meet. This is for good reason.
“What do you do?” is the essential question in forming bonds and commonality among people. The communications that it generates serve as the foundations for determining mutual interest and dependence. When we encounter potential relationships, whether they are based on business, politics, friendship or even romance, establishing what the other person does, what is important to them, and how what they do relates to us, creates familiarity and comfort as we advance toward deeper exploration of that person’s motivations and needs.
Conversation is Sales
How you answer this common inquisition can spell the difference between launching lasting and beneficial relationships or fumbling through passing acquaintances that will never know how what you do can benefit the people that you meet. Conversations with prospective customers, business associates, donors, neighbors, family members, employees or anyone else with whom you dialogue, can have a profound effect on your success at effectively explaining what you do in a way that helps you attain your personal and professional goals. In fact, the inability to answer this question with clarity and purpose can do more than limit your success - it can be the root of failure in meeting the objectives that you establish.
Because the question, “What do you do?” is so common, it is often regarded as a throw away line that starts conversations and which offers little value to meaningful discussions. Very few people recognize it as a powerful foundation for conversations that, if answered with strategic purpose, can dictate the flow of communications to easily identify mutual areas of interests and potential needs associated with specific personal or professional objectives.
Communicating in Marketing Venues
Prepared executives, business owners and others can leverage the question to benefit themselves and their companies/organizations. The question is so common that it is the most logical foundation for developing strategies that address basic marketing and sales objectives. “What do you do?” is a foundation for these objectives because it pervades conversational sales and marketing as well as advertising, direct mail, group presentations, internet communications, word-of-mouth (or viral) marketing, and every initiative that an organization undertakes to promote itself or its products and services.The key to leveraging the marketing and sales potential of the “What do you do?” question is developing simple, clear and concise messaging that can be easily integrated into a business or organization and accepted by the people who must apply it. The clarity of messaging helps people understand the purpose and benefits of projects, products, services and other organizational activities. Conciseness makes messaging easy for people in the organization to remember and repeat. Simplicity makes it easy for other people outside of the organization to understand and repeat as well.
Like an advertising jingle that runs around in your head for hours after you hear it on the radio, an effectively crafted marketing message can echo throughout your business and the halls of its customers.
Helping businesses develop effective market messaging is one of my personal areas of expertise. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in creating powerful but concise descriptions of what you do, who you do it for, and what is your value to the customer.
copyright 2008 © Cedar Marketing Group, Inc.