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The Two C's of Effective Marketing
How to harness the silver bullet to success.
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 by Leslie McKerns
McKerns Development

Leslie McKernsThe two C's of marketing can be summed up as Customers and Competition. If you can understand these two elements of marketing, you can be on the way to harnessing the silver bullet to success.


If you were going to stand in front of an audience, you'd know your audience and you'd know what you were going to say or do to engage that audience. It is the same in business. Clearly define your products or services. It does not matter whether you sell product or services, you still need to perform this analysis simply change the word customers to clients and you'll have the thinking you need.

What is your product or service? Why should anyone care or want this? These are your primary product offerings (strong product and strong need). Next, list all the offshoot products that you have or might consider offering, and rank them in terms of how popular they are or might be. Systemize this process and track the results over a set time period and you will have effective customer preference data to analyze.

A market analysis can let you know the demographics of your customer who will buy, and why? Include buying habits, interests, gender, age and ethnicity, and most importantly, geographic range. You must know whether the customer will find you locally, nationally or internationally, and what that costs you to reach the long distance vs. the short distance (local) customer. Think of it this way, sure, you could pack a pizza on dry ice and ship it around the world but what will it cost you to do that? And is there a strong market, and therefore, reason to do it? Consider whether you can be the local supplier to a wider audience.

Note how the big guys do it. The next time you buy a book from Amazon and log on to your account to buy another, you will see what you bought last time and some suggestions for what you might like now Customers who bought this were also interested in ...

Notice how they use this to Cross-sell (the practice of suggesting related products or services to a customer who is considering buying something.) It is not only the fast food franchises that ask, do you want fries with that the clever retailers do that too. Can you think of services or products that you can bundle and cross-sell when your clients or customers buy from you?

There is also the process of upsell. Upsell is the offering of a more expensive product or service during or after the buying. An upsell might happen naturally, after a sale, if a customer bought a product with less features or a less expensive product, was generally satisfied with the experience or product, and will now consider an upgrade.  An upsell might happen during the buying process when a customer or client can be gently led or educated towards a more comprehensive or expensive product or service.

An important note to remember is that today's consumers are highly sophisticated and therefore the cross-sell or upsell must truly reflect a customer's needs and be seen to be beneficial, or it won't be considered, and you will have lost that important element of trust.

What are the reasons people buy? Geoff Ayling (Rapid Response Advertising), lists the top seven reasons as:

  • To make more money

  • To become more comfortable

  • To attract praise

  • To increase enjoyment

  • To possess things of beauty

  • To avoid criticism

  • To make their work easier


Think about what makes your product or service different from your competitors'. Think also about how it is the same, yet why a customer or client still might buy from you. These are your differentiating factors, and it is essential for a business to know the factors and constantly retest these assumptions.

An interesting factor is that your strongest competitor might not be the guy down the street, but the customer currently doing nothing as in None of the Above. If you can figure out a way to get this customer or client, you have a powerful marketing tool. And therefore, getting None of the Above as your client or customer is a unique platform upon which to build a marketing plan.

Understand the Two C's of Marketing, Customers and Competition, and you will be able to harness your own silver bullet to business success. 

McKerns Development: more than 20 years in strategic 
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