I’m working on the hard part of my marketing startup, doing business development, and I'm starting to get Hawkeye's 1000-yard stare.
Succinctly, I explained what makes my marketing in Atlanta different: Expertise.
I have an MA in journalism and as a former correspondent in Asia and Israel, I don’t just smell a brand’s story, but have story echolocation. Every business needs that in its marketing mix.
But I know enough to stop talking. So Matt, a Fractional CMO for multiple enterprise clients, told me his discovery:
The part in all executives' brains that perceives the wonderful value in the expertise of a CMO--it's gone!
Today the race to hire marketing people with expertise is replaced by the executive’s desire to solve the company’s problem.
This problem may be acute. But more often is chronic--the kind of pain you’ve gotten used to and that you’re not thinking about repairing all the time.
What Matthew has done is create repeatable systems that solve the chronic technological marketing problems of enterprise companies. He’s an expert, and is now targeting clients overseas to bring into the American market.
But he doesn’t sell his expertise.
Instead, he evangelizes the chronic problem these companies face. He gets them by looking for: Pain Agreement.
Creating Your Marketing Around Pain
You’ve heard that your prospect should be nodding heads with you while you’re pitching. But this is deeper. With pain agreement, your entire marketing strategy is about uncovering and relieving your client’s pain.
Their pain isn’t just your pain--it’s the reason for your company. Your work exists to eradicate the pain of your prospect. So you’re not selling your product or service anymore. You’re evangelizing the pain and your Tiger Balm.
Don't lead with one of my least favorite words: 'solutions.'
Instead, develop the language of pain, which according to this New York Times article isn't so developed. We have more words to talk about love, war and envy. But we all live with pain. When we do talk about pain, our description is based in metaphor, which may explain why executives often have a hard time communicating their pains in ways that allow the people best equipped to help them.
The Surest Way to Hear: “Yes, fix my pain.”
Focus in one market, with one problem and one buyer.
Decide what is the most effective problem to solve, with the lowest switching cost. (Don’t go for a problem that will save them 10%, when you can solve one that will save them 30%.)
Become a problem evangelist and learn to explain the architecture of the problem and its solution. (Know what is causing the chronic pain.)
Create a package. Once you’re only solving one chronic problem, you can decide how to offer the product or services, rooted in your expertise, that will assuage it.
Become the buyer of your product to determine what will solve the problem best.
After meeting with Matt, I can see that my website says a lot about me. It also says a lot about the many things I can do for your content and sales material with my expertise. I even show you what that looks like.
But there’s a difference between being client conscious, displaying how your expertise can help, and being client-pain conscious.
Now you’re not in business. You’re a doctor. Doctors only diagnose after hearing what the patient is feeling, and they may even specialize in one kind of operation.
Become a specialist in the one pain you solve.
Devise a repeatable cure.
Find and heal the people with this pain.
It's not always easy, says Hawkeye (Alan Alda) in Yankee Doodle Doctor:
"Three hours ago, this man was in a battle. Two hours ago, we operated on him. He's got a 50-50 chance. We win some, we lose some. That's what it's all about. No promises. No guaranteed survival. No saints in surgical garb. Our willingness, our experience, our technique are not enough. Guns, and bombs, and anti-personnel mines have more power to take life than we have to preserve it. Not a very happy ending for a movie.
But then, no war is a movie."
...At least his clients all came to him.