Sunday, October 2, 2011

Who Is Your M.I.C?

The answer to that question is not always easy, and the pursuit of it can be extremely costly. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal from Sept. 30, when BlackBerry, also known as Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), came out with the Playbook last April, the company had not reached agreement on its consumer market and didn’t even have a marketing message. Needless to say, RIM’s tablet has not sold well.

BlackBerry, once coveted by every young Investment Banker, used to have 48% of the U.S. smartphone market; today it has only 11.6%. RIM is dealing with poor earnings, a declining stock price and apparently continued internal confusion on a clear customer marketing plan.

Herman Cain, once considered an oddity in the Republican presidential race, is now third in the latest Fox News poll. Why the surge in name recognition and confidence by the American voters? The answer lies in Herman Cain’s background: American businessman, politician, and chairman of Godfather’s Pizza. This is a man who knows a bit about marketing. The consistent marketing of his 9-9-9 plan, his blueprint for reforming the tax code, is resonating with Republicans and Independents. New thinking and controversial yes – but easy to understand, and voters like it.

Herman Cain understands that the race is not between two governors but about what the customers/voters want to hear. Add to that Chris Wallace, who after interviewing Herman Cain said he found Herm a delightful interviewee and extremely likeable! Herman knows his market (media pundits) and his customers (the US electorate), and he is marketing successfully to both.

Identifying your M.I.C, or your Most Important Customer, is essential for success whether you're speaking or writing. Start by learning to listen and really hearing what your customer is saying and wants. Effective marketing is a process that begins with listening. Successful communication is always a two-way street.

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