Businesses, whether startups and aspiring small business, or established brands looking for a new breakout product or relaunch, first, fall in love with their solutions and second, presume customers will as well. As a result, many businesses under-invest in marketing during the planning process. They consider marketing a cost that can be cut out rather than an investment to be made. And they misappropriate the dollars that are set aside for marketing.
I developed the Optrian Marketing Methodology to address this. The methodology includes tools that help identify and prioritize the marketing spending plan, given whatever budget is set, and lays the foundation for the marketing strategy that addresses journey people take through decision “gates” before they buy. There are three premises in the methodology:
Premise #1: People buy products or services that have the features they need
Premise #2: People buy from people they perceive to be like them
Premise #3: People buy on emotion
The marketing strategies, whether its product marketing, identifying the right product or service; channel marketing, motivating and equipping a channel to sell; or marketing communications, branding and positioning the product, have to address the premises.
The Optrian Marketing Methodology builds marketing strategies and go-to-market plans that address the decision-making journey of the person who is buying and the needs of the people selling to your intended customer. Customers will journey through three gates before they decide to buy. Your making story has to satisfy them at each gate and move them to the next. Here’s the first part of the journey:
Gate #1: The Logical Gate is 20-25% of the Buyer’s Decision Criteria
This is the first gate addresses the first premise that a buyer goes through on their journey to making a purchase. It’s the classic features/benefits/checklist. If your customer wants a blue-ink pen, and you have a red-ink pen, they aren’t going through that gate. Move on or change your offering. Don’t waste resources pushing a sale that has little chance of happening, and if it does, it likely won’t have much customer satisfaction or return loyalty.
For many companies, the Logical Gate is their story, placing 55-70% of their marketing and sales efforts on “what” it is they’re selling. In the Optrian Marketing Method, your go-to-marketing strategy weights the importance of this gate in the 20-25% range of importance to your customer. We make it more effective by not only articulating the features, but also knowing the benefits and why it matters to your customer. The Logical Gate of not only answers “what”, but also answers “so what, who cares”.
If your customers accepts that you have the right product and agree with the benefits, they pass through the first gate and you’re 20-25% of the way to convincing them to buy from you.
Gate #2: The Similarity Gate is 60-70% of the Buyer’s Decision Criteria
Commonly, businesses overlook the Similarity Gate. Some nail it – fashion and automotive for example. Buyers see themselves in that dress or behind that wheel. Those products, and their brands, become extensions of the customer’s psyche. They relate. They are similar. They buy.
This Similarity Gate tackles the second premise – people buy from people they perceive to be like them. That’s why in the Optrian Marketing Methodology, the Similarity Gate is the big guerilla in the room. We place the decision-making importance to a customer of this gate at 60%-70%.
If the Logic Gate affects the product definition, the Similarity Gate affects the buying experience. If you see yourself as a champagne and caviar person, you look for high-brand products and high-touch experiences and buy in luxurious places. So to craft the marketing storytelling for the Similarity Gate, we dive deep to understand the business – what are the resources, abilities, tools, channel, support, identity, branding, etc. available to prompt a successful Similarity Gate decision.
It’s exhaustive but immensely fun and satisfying. At the end, your go-to-market strategy has to shape everything for similarity to the customer – the person – to whom you want to sell. Words, images, packaging, how a phone call is answered, a web page, a uniform, a sales person, a color, how an order is taken, how a bill is presented -- everything matters.
You may have a killer product or service, but if the channel and marketing doesn’t support the experience your customer expects, you aren’t similar and they won’t pass through that gate. How important is this? The Similarity Gate is 60%-65% of the decision making process. It’s how you connect with the right customers and, especially in commodity markets, how you differentiate from the crowd.
Gate #3: The Emotional Gate is 10-20% of the Buyer’s Decision Criteria
So you’re product features and benefits were right on target. Your buying experience and brand really connected with your customer. But you have to get them through the last get, the Emotional Gate, before they’ll buy. People buy on emotion and the stronger the emotion, the more likely they’ll buy today instead of six months from now.
The Optrian Marketing Methodology helps us to define the emotional triggers that then get woven into words, images, colors, videos, sales pitches, phone scripts, flyers, brochures, ads, offers, etc. You may need a marketing program that includes developing tools for use at the start of the sales funnel to identify the emotional triggers. Does your customer have an issue on reducing cost. Pressure for supply to complete a shipment. Anxiety about the timing of a delivery. Fear of getting fired. Or conversely, could they be a hero, get a promotion, woo a partner, share their joy and love.
What emotion is played up depends on a lot of factors, and can change over time, but weaving it into the strategy and execution is key. The Emotional Gate is 10%-20% of the buyer’s decision criteria and the last threshold to cross before buying.
So to tell your marketing story successfully, whether it’s to launch or reposition your brand, your product or your service, don’t assume they will come if you build it. Use your marketing budget to create a story that takes your customer on a journey through the three decision gates and puts you on the best sellers list.
Every story has a structure. In the context of marketing, the method of storytelling shapes the strategies, the implementation, the resource and budget allocations, and the success.
Our methodology is called Optrian, which means three decision gates. We believe that a buyer goes through three gates before they decide to buy. If your marketing story doesn't take them on that journey, you won't get the sale. Read on the learn more and contact us for a complimentary consultation for your business.