There’s an important role for creative work, clever jingles and tag lines, but they won’t work for you reliably unless they are built on a solid understanding of the market.
Market research is a large and complex discipline, worthy of a book in its own right. If you have the opportunity, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced market research company to design and execute a thorough study of your market, in a manner that will directly help you to prepare an effective strategy and campaign.
That’s not always possible, for reasons of time, budget, or perhaps your company has a policy of avoiding external contractors. Don’t despair—there are many efficient and robust ways in which you can gather your own market research data without depending on an external vendor. They can be very effective, depending on the qualities of the knowledge and skill you are able to tap into.
These methods are quik and suitable for a workshop or group meeting, perhaps combined with some interviews or conversations with customers and sales people.
Good marketers don’t just let the creative process happen: they gather data where and how they can, and they build an ongoing resource of market information that they re-purpose as needed. To capture and organize the information you need to create powerful messages, it’s a big help to have a pre-defined structure for organizing your information as you gather it.
We call this the Marketing Knowledge Base.
Effective marketing builds on a solid understanding of three primary factors:
- The value your company delivers through your product
- The competitive environment in which you operate
- The customers who benefit from the capabilities you provide.
The marketing knowledge base is a structured way to capture the information you need to understand these three things. The marketing messages you deliver are constructed from these elements.
Naturally there are many other factors that are also important to a product manager: pricing, product management and evolution, schedules and events, to name a few. We will begin by understanding the core issues, and then you will be equipped to expand your marketing knowledge base once the basics are in place. The basics are enough to begin to build powerful marketing and selling messages.
In the next sections we’ll consider each in turn.