Tech Biz Tips --Marketing vs. Selling
Photo: Robert Donnelly Photo Credit: Courtesy Robert Donnelly
Robert Donnelly | Courtesy Robert Donnelly

Entrepreneurs are great salesmen because they are selling their creation for a better world. However, at a certain point in the evolution of their business they have to embrace marketing for the ultimate success of their brand.

Selling is asking for the order, whereas marketing is creating a demand in the mind of customers so that they seek out your brand. The goal is to have customers say: “I love it”, e.g. I love my iPhone.

Apple and other successful high tech firms have been able to create such an aura of technical superiority about their brand that loyal customers are anxiously awaiting the next generation of devices. For the winners, sales of each new device are surpassing the historic sales of the current generation.

Steve Jobs was able to create new devices that have been described to be “the epitome of cool’. He was able to anticipate customer’s requirements before they even knew they had them.

Brands exist in the mind and marketing is the battle for the customer’s mind. The mind is like a dripping sponge and the only way anything new can get in is to displace something that already exists. Marketing is all about perception.

We all have what I refer to as a “mental product grid” like a gigantic ice cube tray with a cubical for every product or service we buy e.g. aspirins, toothpaste, cars, etc. The goal again is for your brand to own that position in the mind.

Ownership is based upon your perception of the unique value proposition of your brand. Mercedes Benz claims that they have “the best engineered car in the world” and their major competitor BMW claims to offer “the ultimate driving experience”.

Both of these automobiles are basically the same in terms of quality, performance, and price. However, each has been able to convince their loyal customers that their brand is better than their competitor.

This age old battle for the customers mind has taken on a new relevance as technological innovations have accelerated, and big data algorithms are generating predictive analytics that are fueling one-to-one mobile marketing strategies that are shrinking the life cycle for more and more new products.

Today’s tech entrepreneur has to become more of a marketer than a salesman if they are to win the battle for the customers mind.


Bob Donnelly is an author, educator, and brand builder for businesses and individuals. He is an entrepreneur himself and has started and sold several technology based businesses. He teaches Entrepreneurship & Innovation MBA courses at Saint Peters University, and also for an online global university. His book,  GUIDE BOOK TO PLANNING - A COMMON SENSE APPROACH, is available on Amazon in a soft cover edition, an E book, and an audio book. He can be reached at: rdonnelly@saintpeters.edu

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