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Ask and You Shall Perceive

Jan 8, 2008
The single most important secret for successful marketing has nothing to do with your products, sales letters, Web site, or other marketing materials.
Here is the single most important secret for successful marketing. It is simply this

First find out what your customers want and then create products or services that match their desires.

Too many businesses start by creating the product or service, and then spend most of their marketing dollars trying to persuade people to buy it.

Sorry, but that is exactly the wrong way around

It does not matter whether you are selling pet food, real estate, life insurance, bookkeeping services, Lear jets, airline tickets, adult education, or anything else under the sun.

Products do not pay you PEOPLE do. A can of dog food, a house, an insurance policy, a ledger, a Lear jet, an airline seat, or a textbook won't ever stick its hand into its pocket and pull out a cheque, credit card or cold, hard cash. No, it's PEOPLE who do that.

So does not it make sense to look for your market first, and then create a product for that market?

I am guilty of it myself

Hey, I am just as guilty of this as anybody else. Some of the products I've created have worked really well; others have bombed. Now, when I was creating the duds, I certainly was not saying to myself, you know, Gihan, this product is not really that great. In fact, it is probably not worth your while. No I thought it would be the best thing since sliced bread, and I had visions of thousands of customers buying it and making me an instant millionaire.

Just like we all tend to do when creating our own products and services.

Because, you see, I made the fundamental mistake of product creation: I didn't research the market first.

Here's how to avoid that mistake

Of course, that's all in the past, and now I do careful market research before launching any new products and services. I suggest that you do the same.

How? The answer is simple. In fact, some people will say it's TOO simple, so they won't bother with it

All you have to do is to ask your potential customers what they are interested in.

There are many ways to do this on the Internet; here are just a few:

1. Research Overture.com at inventory.overture.com to find out what people are searching for.

2. Buy some cheap advertising in Google at adwords.google.com
to conduct an informal survey of potential customers.

3. Send e-mail to your database, asking them about the biggest challenges they face in their business.

4. Survey every new subscriber who joins your mailing list, asking them that same question.

5. Ask your past clients what OTHER products and services they would like you to offer.

I have done all of these at different times, with varying degrees of sophistication. Almost every time I have done it, I have got some surprising and unexpected results, which have been immensely useful in steering my business in the right direction.

These are all very cost-effective methods of doing market research. But the most important thing is not the cost, but the willingness to do it.

Please set aside some time as soon as possible to do this sort of market research. The sooner the better.
About the Author
Ranju is assistant to Gihan Perera is the author of "The Seven Fatal Mistakes That Most
Web Site Owners Make - And How To Avoid Them" and "Spin: Turn One Idea Into Hundreds of Information Products". Visit http://GihanPerera.com and get your complimentary copies now.
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