Going From Emerging To Surging
The most important market force a business can leverage for growth, is a compelling “Why Now?” Your answer determines on which path you set your business.
This is a thread about How to Leverage the Marketplace Forces that Matter Most for Business Growth. Eight crucial marketplace forces have been identified and are being explored in depth in this series of posts.
Business growth requires that people embrace your products or services. It is that simple. However, for all the energy that goes into creating the selling dialog, the most crucial question often is never asked, let alone answered. “Do you have a compelling ‘Why Now’ capable of moving people beyond interest to action?”
Rapids vs. Rowing
Your answer determines on which path you set your business. A compelling answer to “Why Now” will rapidly propel you to your destination. Anything else leaves you without the benefit of marketplace forces. You will be left rowing to your destination which requires substantially more manpower, time, money and coordination in order to succeed.
I had the pleasure of river rafting down the Grand Canyon. When we reached Lava Falls, the largest navigable rapid in North America, we went ashore to scout it out. The guides were hushed and I was awed by this force of nature. As we prepared to return to the boats we saw a kayak enter Lava Falls, disappear and emerge hundreds of yards down river in a matter of seconds. We cheered in joy.
We had just witnessed a single person in a small boat propelled a great distance very quickly. It occurred to me that this is exactly what having a compelling “Why Now?” answer does for a business (my husband says I see marketing implications’ everywhere!)
Contrast that to being in a rowboat on a lake. It requires considerably more time and effort of people working in a coordinated fashion to cover the same distance. This is something few companies can afford.
As a kid, I went fishing with my grandfather and brother. I didn’t catch any fish but I did catch my brother with my fishhook and learned how hard it was to get even three people working in unison to get back to shore for first aid. When viewed this way, the rapids path is a lot more appealing!
What is a Compelling “Why Now”?
It is a reason that supports making a change. It is very specific to the people and the products we want them to embrace. More often than not, it is time sensitive activities that get people to take action. For example, we all know that a lot of people will say they are interested in a specific new technology, but they don’t take action until they either see a clear advantage or are forced to act (the two ends of the spectrum). It is the people in the middle who often have a lot of interest but very little motivation to act.
Interest and Action are Two Different Things
Teams often assume that interest will convert to buying action given enough money and elapsed time. So marketers are pressured to identify the most interested. However, interest and action are two different things. For example, many people are interested in owning expensive homes or traveling to exotic places. A survey of prospects would support a high level of interest, but purchase behavior would tell a very different story.
Moving Beyond Value Proposition
That’s why job #1 for marketers needs to be sorting out who has a compelling reason to act. When I do target market identification work, my goal is to find groups with a strong reason to act. This is much more useful than identifying interest. A compelling “Why Now?” can get you beyond just a value proposition, to an action proposition.
Ask Early, Answer Effectively
The goal should be to get more people asking this question early and answering it effectively. It is not as easy as it sounds, as it can be overlooked by even talented experienced people. I remember the professor at a prestigious university who had invited me to speak to his class, came up to me afterwards to say he had started a business that had failed, and now, after hearing my talk, he understood why. He had not had a compelling “Why Now?”.
From Emerging to Surging
Experience has shown that having a compelling “Why Now?” is the most important marketplace force a business can leverage for growth. While it takes hard work to identify the answer, and skill to communicate it, the potential of a compelling “Why Now?” statement to take technology products and services from emerging to surging is unsurpassed.
What is Next?
I encourage you to use the comments section to share your experiences identifying and communicating the “Why Now’s?” of your business. After we explore marketplace forces #2 and #3 I will be presenting more examples. The countdown continues. The next post will be…
#2. “Why Me?” Creating a connection that is appreciated.