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The Definition of Is

One of the more memorable moments in Bill Clinton’s presidency was his statement to the grand jury “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Marketers should take this well crafted statement to heart.

Do you know the definition of ‘is’ as in “our product is better than our competitors?”

Let’s back up a bit. It’s planning and budgeting time again and many of you are going through the process of preparing programs, campaigns and budgets for 2014.  One critical aspect of this process is testing your assumptions about your market, products and customers, updating them and reprioritizing as appropriate.  I’m sure you are all doing this!

Most importantly, you must test the fundamental assumption of any company, namely ‘Our solution is chosen because it solves our customers’ problems better than anyone else.’

We should never assume that we understand the definition of ‘is better.’  Your customers must provide this information and your job is to learn what each customer means by ‘better.’  Then you can adapt your product (service), messaging and value proposition so that your solution is indeed better in the eyes of your customer.

In broader marketing speak, ‘each customer’ requires that your market segmentation accurately reflects the needs of your different types of buyers.  ‘Solves our customer’s problems’ means that your product meets or exceeds the key buying criteria of each buyer segment.

All of these thoughts are basic to good marketing. All good marketing plans take care of the basics first.

So, do you know the definition of ‘is?’

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