Effective Marketing; How to Get it or tell if you already have it

Mitch Gooze




If you aren’t the #1 or #2 supplier in your market segment or market niche, no matter how small that niche is, at some point in time you are going to be in trouble.


To be successful, you must be the leader in your market. You achieve that status by defining a market of adequate size in which you can become the top supplier, or by choosing a very large market in which you can work your way up to one of the top two positions.


“All markets stop growing.” -Mitch Gooze


When you market stops, growing, things get real interesting real fast.


  • Some markets start growing again. If you’re a big fish in a profitable pond, you can survive until the market starts growing again. The big fish can also survive if it has the ability to fund spawning new ponds.


“In the absence of a value interpreter, all sales discussions degenerate into a spitting contest on price.” -Robert Johnson


One of marketing’s jobs is to provide the value interpretation to the sales force before sending them out into the market. To be the market leader, you must understand two key concepts:


  1. What is the value you provide?
  2. Who might want to buy that value at your price?


The marketing function is to think through the strategy of where, how and who to fight. The sales function is to execute the tactics of the fight so you win the battle.




You can only understand the value you provide by looking at what the customer is actually buying.


  • Stop looking at what you are selling and look at what the customer is buying.
  • If all customers wanted to buy the same thing, everything would be a commodity. Look at it from the customer’s point of view.

EXAMPLE:     A car is basically a mode of transportation. But when people buy cars, they aren’t always buying transportation.


  • Product: Toyota Corolla
  • Customer is buying: Car (transportation)
  • Product: Lexus
  • Customer is buying: Great car (without overpaying for prestige)
  • Product: Mercedes Benz
  • Customer is buying: Prestige


EXAMPLE:     A West Coast granite company gets a 6% price premium because they always deliver on time, as agreed. Their customers know this and never buy anywhere else because it’s very expensive to have road crews standing around waiting for granite to be delivered. They aren’t just buying granite; they are buying better productivity for their road crews.


EXAMPLE:     Rubies are 45 times rarer than diamonds, yet diamonds are much more expensive. The public perceives that diamonds are forever.” That leaves rubies with something considerably less permanent. Customers are not buying a pressurized piece of carbon that is millions of years old; they are buying an expression of love, loyalty, romance, etc.


Once you understand what customers are buying, understand who might want to buy it. If you don’t know this, you can’t target your sales organization to try to sell to the right people.




“There will be no market for products or services everybody likes a little; only for products or services somebody likes a lot.” -Laurel Cutler


There are five ways to segment a market according to who might buy:


  1. Geographic: Location
  2. Demographic: consumer-oriented, human, psychographic profile of people
  3. Demographic Consumer-Oriented, psychographic profile of businesses
  4. Decision Maker: Who makes the buying decision
  5. Usage: How the product is used.


The secret to being the market leader is to find products and customers that are such a great match that you become the preferred supplier. Don’t forget: the customer has to like something in order to buy it.






To understand what customers might like, learn to think like a customer.


Most businesses say they serve customers; in reality, they serve themselves. Move from thinking like a producer to thinking like a customer:


  • Producers think they are making products; customers think they are buying services.
  • Producers worry about visible mistakes; customers are lost because of invisible mistakes.
  • Producers want to run their processes smoothly and without errors; customers want to have their dreams fulfilled.
  • Producers think their technologies create products; customers think their desires create products.
  • Producers organize for managerial convenience; customers want their convenience to come first.
  • Producers seek a high standard of performance; customers care about a high standard of living.


Ask your employees what the most important ingredient in your business is. Most will say technology, manufacturing, finance, etc. On average, only one in ten will say the customer. Without customers you don’t have a business.


You have to get customers to want to do business with you. If you can’t, you will go out of business; it’s only a question of when.




“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” -Edward Abby


Too many companies are enamored with growth for growth’s sake. You want to be the market leader, but not at the sacrifice of profits. Focus on growing profits, not sales.


Profitable growth comes from providing uniquely valuable solutions to customers. Ask these two questions:


  1. Can you provide additional value to existing customers?
  2. Can you apply your ability to provide value to new customers and their unique needs? “The trick is to make sure we get all our focus on the customer.” -Ed Lucente All prospective buyers do not need and want the same thing.
  • Customers have to need and want something to buy it. They will buy things they want sooner than they’ll buy things they need. They will justify a need in order to satisfy a want, but not vice versa.
  • Uniquely satisfy the customer by recognizing what it is they are really trying to buy that they can only buy from you.
  • Focus on what your customers buy from you that you do exceptionally well.


“Great devices are invented in the laboratory. Great products are invented in the marketing department.” -William Davidow


There are no untapped markets, just under-served markets. Look for how to do a better job for customers who want what you can uniquely provide for them. If you do this better than others, you will be the top supplier in your market.


“A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.” -John Le Carre’


You will never learn to understand what customers want and what makes you uniquely valuable by sitting in your office.


  • You must spend time with customers.
  • Marketing professionals can’t understand the marketplace and communicate their solutions to the sales organization if they aren’t actively out in the marketplace.

Marketing professionals DO NOT sell; they try to understand what the customer is buying.


Sam Walton (Walmart) and Bernie Marcus (Home Depot) built two of the nation’s largest retail empires by focusing on the customer. Until he died, Walton spent about 80% of his time in the stores with customers. Marcus spends about 70% of his time with customers. As their companies grew, they hired people to take care of other areas such as finance, operations, etc., so they could stay in touch with the customer.




“When the rules of the game prove unsuitable for victory, the gentlemen of England change the rules of the game.” -Harold Lash


One trick to becoming the market leader, especially if your market is dominated by somebody else, is to change the rules of the game.


  • If you can’t win the game that’s being played, change the rules and play a different game.
  • Look at how you can give the customer what he wants and change the rules to give your company an unfair advantage.


EXAMPLE:       Canon wanted to compete with Xerox in the copy business, but Xerox had a tremendous advantage – a worldwide sales and support organization Canon couldn’t afford to replicate. Canon changed the rules of the game by inventing a copier with replaceable toner cartridges so the user could change the toner without calling a service person. They gave the customer what they really wanted – more convenience – and captured a huge portion of the copier market and changed the game forever.




“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” – Leroy Satchel Paige


Never lose sight of the importance of talking to customers, understanding what they are trying to buy, and understanding what they can get from you that they can’t get from anybody else. Only by understanding and applying those concepts can you ever become the market leader.

A 9-year old boy was selling newspapers on a busy street corner. On each corner were older teenage boys also selling the same newspaper. Yet, people would often cross the street to buy a paper from the 9-year old boy.


One day he got up the courage to ask one woman, “Excuse me ma’am. Why did you walk across the street to buy a paper from me? The lady replied, “Because you always say, ‘thank you.


Sometimes, people are actually buying very little things from you. But once you know what they are, you can leverage them and become the leader in your market.


TEC – Effective Marketing How to Get it Or Tell if You Already Have It – Mitch Gooze