Tuned In – Valuable Insight in Finding That New Avenue for Growth

In Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs, Craig Stull, Phil Myers and David Meerman Scott describe the ‘Tuned In’ methodology that your company can use to find your next avenue for growth.

‘Tuned In’ creates a product or solution that is a ‘Resonator.’

  • Resonator
    • The perfect solution to a specific problem
    • A product or solution so powerful that it sells itself
    • An offering that connects to what your market values most
    • An idea that people immediately understand has value to them
  • Such a product or solution leads to buyer experiences that resonate because they perfectly address market problems that the buyers are prepared and willing to pay money to solve.
  • The ‘tuned in’ organization constantly listens, observes, and understands these specific problems
  • Unfortunately, too many companies are tuned out and just guessing what the buyers want and need
    • When was the last time you bought your company’s product?
    • Remember that “your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” The buyer’s opinion is what matters.
    • You do not know more than your buyers about how your product can solve their problems.
    • Your business must be continuously problem solving for your market
  • A word of caution: getting tuned in is more than just listening to your existing customers

A Summary of the ‘Tuned In’ process

  1. Find Unresolved Problems – How do we know what market and product to focus on?
  2. Understand Buyer Personas – How do we identify who will buy our offering?
  3. Quantify the Impact – How do we know if we have a potential winner?
  4. Create Breakthrough Experiences – How do we build a competitive advantage?
  5. Articulate Powerful Ideas – How do we establish memorable concepts that speak to the problems buyers have?
  6. Establish authentic connections – How do we tell our buyers that we’ve solved their problems so they buy from us?

Step 1: Find Unresolved Problems

  • Stated needs v. silent needs – e.g. losing the remote control to the TV is a silent need that is frustrating, but rarely articulated.
  • Look for problems in your entire market, not just your customer base
    • Current customers
    • Evaluators
    • Potential customers
  • Don’t use salespeople for conducting buyer interviews because they are not skilled at this kind of interviewing; they want to sell.
  • Do face to face interview or meet people at conferences or read publications or blogs

Step 2: Understand Buyer Personas

  • For one product, there will often be several types of buyers or buyers’ groups that the product solves problems for; create a persona for each one.
  • Use buyer personas to develop empathy with and a deep understanding of the real people whom you solve problems for.
  • Tactic to create breakthrough experiences
    • Break down buyers into distinct group
    • Understand what problems they have and how to solve them
    • Catalog everything you know about each buyer persona
  • For each buyer persona, develop a written document
    • What are your buyer persona’s problems?
    • Are they willing to pay money to solve these problems?
    • What is the ideal product or service that can help them?
    • How can we reach them?
    • What media do they rely on for answers to problems?
  • Name your buyer persona
  • Your goal is to commit to an ongoing process where you continue to learn more and gain deeper insight into your buyer personas.

Step 3: Quantify the Impact

  • Before you create a product or service, you must know that the problem you will solve is urgent and pervasive, and that buyers will be willing to spend money to solve it.
  • Absent any real data, conference rooms are just full of opinions.
    • “Your opinion [about what the buyer wants], although interesting, is irrelevant.”
  • Show your buyers a prototype and ask them
    • What problems does it solve?
    • How would they benefit from using it?
    • What impact would it have on them, their families, or their companies?
  • What is the incremental impact of your product?
  • Make a ‘Tuned In’ business proposal
    • Detail the unresolved problems that you are solving
    • Who will your solution impact (what buyer personas) and how many such people are there?
    • What product or service will you create to solve the problem?
    • How does your product or service impact buyers?
    • How will buyers quantify that value?
    • What will it take to convert prospects into customers?
  • Only measure what matters

Step 4: Create Breakthrough Experiences

  • People are buying a total experience. So, create one that resonates.
  • Types of experiences
    • Discovery
    • Using
    • Service
    • Packaging
    • Buying
  • Determine your organization’s unique abilities to deliver superior value to your customers.
  • This is your distinctive competence.
    • This is what you excel at that your competitors do not
    • Examples:
      • An important product or service feature
      • Ergonomics
      • A distinctive business model
      • Deep understanding of one particular buyer persona

Step 5: Articulate Powerful Ideas

  • A high end architect asking: “Tell me how you live?” Instead of: “How many bathrooms do you want?”
  • What do you want your buyers to believe?
  • What is most compelling?
    • Affinity mapping – not just “I need to save money.” But deeper: “I don’t want to pay for a car that I use only a few times a month.”
    • The Elevator Speech
      • The Elevator Speech is our company’s compass
    • The Acid Test
      • Does this explanation make sense to you?
      • What does this product or service do?
      • If you heard this, would you be interested?
      • Would you want to buy or at least move along to the next step of the sales cycle?
    • Create a hook that resonates and can be remembered
  • Beware mission and vision statements
    • A poorly articulated set of ‘messages’ has the power to turn buyers away from your organization.

Step 6: Establish Authentic Connections

  • Look at your marketing materials and compare the use of I, me, we, us, our or your company’s name to the number of You’s or Your’s. There should be far more you’s and your’s.
  • Look at buyer’s keywords in Google and other search engines. Look at blogs, chat rooms, etc.
  • Remember buyers turn first to the web to solve problems
  • While ‘tuned out’ organizations spend the big bucks on direct mail and advertising, buyers are busy using the web to make product and service decisions.
  • Think like a publisher – publish your way in with great content that your buyers want to consume.
  • Target specific buyer personas with content and programs that you create especially for them (van conversion company example)

Cultivate a ‘Tuned In’ Culture

  • ‘Tuned in’ sales and distribution
    • Beware of old style messaging techniques that focus on product attributes rather than powerful ideas your buyer can relate to
  • ‘Tuned in’ employees (Southwest example)
  • Top ten actions to create a ‘tuned in’ culture
    • Get out of your office and talk with buyers about their unresolved problems
    • Identify your buyer personas. In order to make them real for you and your colleagues, name each buyer persona, build a profile for each, and cut a representative photo from a magazine to represent them.
    • Define your distinctive competence. Make certain everyone on your team understand what it is
    • Don’t go to an internal meeting if you’re only going to give your own opinion. Instead, be the person who goes to the meeting armed with data.
    • Always ask where “facts” come from, to disqualify mere opinions from your decision-making process.
    • Map your products and services on the ‘Tuned-In’ Impact Continuum (low to high impact). Build a plan to increase the impact.
    • Don’t talk about what your product or service does. Tell customers which of their problems the product or service will solve.
    • Count the number of times you say “our” and “we” on your web site. Write for your buyers by using “you” and “your” instead.
    • Remove corporate gobbledygook, such as mission statements, from your external communications.
    • Become a thought leader in your market and industry.

Unleash Your Resonator

  • This methodology work in many contexts
    • Find unresolved problems in the marketplace
    • Know prospective customers and their problems better than they know themselves
    • Build a business case based on quantifying the impact of the offering in the market
    • Create breakthrough product experiences that solve market problem by leveraging the organization’s distinctive competence
    • Clearly understand and articulate the powerful ideas that resonate for buyers.
    • Establish connections by communicating to a well-defined set of prospective customers the way the customers want to be communicated with.
    • Distribute the product experience in the way that makes it easy for people to buy.
  • In short, live in the potential customer’s world, especially by interviewing and studying potential customers.
  • Beware. Your momentum is working against you because it is just easier to stay ‘tuned out.’
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About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
This entry was posted in Growth and Strategy, Sales and Marketing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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