Don’t Fall In Love With Your Ideas
Industrial marketing isn’t all that difficult. First, perform some basic market research to determine what your market wants. Second, create the optimum mix of strategy and tactics. Next, utilize proper consultative and enterprise selling techniques. Last execute all of the preceding perfectly. It’s all so simple, right? Before you know it you will be an industrial marketing champion, your company will be joining the Fortune 500, and you will finally be able to buy that tropical island.
There is, however, a major stumbling block you may not have considered that can destroy your industrial marketing. What do you do when your market research (the first step in the industrial marketing process) stops you dead in your tracks? How do you proceed when your marketplace gives your offerings a resounding no? How do you react when, despite your best efforts, you can’t seem to generate interest (or sales) in your offerings? The answer, which comes courtesy of my father over 40 years ago, is a bit harsh but will save you untold hours of costly aggravation.
When I was about ten years old my father told me something I have never forgotten. He said, “Andrew, don’t fall in love with your ideas.” This was very good advice. One thing I have learned is that ideas are a dime a dozen and can be easily generated. Good ideas are far rarer. Sometimes ideas that seem wonderful can not withstand “real world” scrutiny.
While you might think the real skill in selecting good ideas is discernment, it is actually in accepting the results of how these ideas respond to unbiased scrutiny. To put it more simply, sometimes upon further inspection your wonderful idea isn’t wonderful at all.
Frankly I am often disappointed (but not surprised) at the number of manufacturing executives who disregard the results of their market research. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they choose to press on and try to market offerings that are simply not wanted. They are the authors of their own industrial marketing problems.
Sometimes new (and established) offerings are in declining demand, or irrelevant, or are being replaced by different offerings. Sometimes your offering is simply a bad idea. Regardless of the reason for lack of interest, if your research reveals little demand for your offerings take it to heart. The world is full of poor product and service ideas that management viewed as being sure things. Get to work generating better ideas and ask your marketplace for feedback.
Don’t fall in love with your ideas but with your market research results. Seek the answers and abide by them. Remember even the best trainer can’t make a three-legged horse run.