Last week we defined Early Stage Marketing as figuring out what the customers’ needs are… and Late-Stage Marketing as satisfying those needs by promoting our new product to them. Many B2B companies (my area of expertise) do a simply awful job of Early-Stage Marketing and then express surprise when their new product fails. They may think the problem was with their promotional campaign, when in fact they had been trying to promote something they were excited about…not their customers.
Not only does great Early-Stage Marketing prevent you from putting lipstick on a pig, it actually informs and improves the way you promote your new product. When you do your up-front homework, you hear the customers’ "hot buttons" as they describe their needs. You learn what customers want in their language.
This is helpful for traditional Late-Stage Marketing, as you try to figure out what to say in brochures, trade-show displays, etc. But it’s critical for web-based Late-Stage Marketing! Recent research by MarketingSherpa indicates that—for large B2B purchases—the supplier found the customer only 20% of the time. In 80% of cases, the customer found the supplier… often via the web.
So SEO (search engine optimization) and keyword selection are more important than ever. And great Early-Stage Marketing—especially understanding customer hot buttons in their language—is the key to getting this right.