Last week Josiah Go wrote an article on what inputs to consider in coming up with a marketing plan.  He listed some 37 issues that have been observed in the marketplace that should be factored in during brainstorming and strategy formulation.  (The same list is printed in our book Fundamentals of Marketing in the Philippine Setting, 2nd edition.)

What that list indirectly tells you is the need to know your customer’s reasons for buying and for doing business with you just as you need to know your own reasons for being.   The list provides opportunities for new product or service development or new ways to operate or make profit.   Many companies still focus on what the competition is doing instead of focusing on one’s core or providing solutions to a real gap in the market as can be observed or even “heard” among consumers.   How many sales promotions efforts have we encountered that just seems like a rehash of a former program or a modified if not upgraded version of a competitor’s?  How many ideas are focused on creating noise for the brand instead of looking into what will compel the customer to cancel out the superficial and rise above the din to purposely seek what is authentic?  Do you have a product or service that can provide real solutions to actual needs and wants?  Wouldn’t we marketers rather that customers seek us out and for the right reason as providing the best value proposition because they believe in your ‘why’?

It was Simon Sinek, author of the book Start with Why, who said “people don’t buy your ‘what’, they buy your ‘why’.”  He used Apple as an example of communicating this ‘why’ so effectively.  Many computers are alike when they market their products with claims of greatness (what) with maybe the highest memory speed, or biggest disk capacity, etc. (how) and expect people to just buy (without the why).  Apple, according to Sinek, on the other hand, does things the other way around:

·         ‘Why’:  Everything Apple does, they believe in challenging the status quo, in making things differently.
·         ‘How’:  The way Apple challenges the status quo is by making their computers beautifully designed and user-friendly.
·         ‘What’:  Apple makes great computers.

The Mansmith Training Group’s (which includes Corporate Achievers Institute (COACH) and Day 8 Business Academy) ‘why’ begins with our belief in the creative or innovative strength and world-class capabilities of the Filipino marketer/corporate leader/entrepreneur .  We express our ‘how’ by making sure we gather the finest marketing and sales minds (substantiated with 3rd party awards and recognition) who can provide the best level of experience and frameworks as well as inspiration in developing future leaders and role models among young marketers.  Our ‘what’ can be seen through the pioneering programs we offer as well as our various advocacies focused on education and youth empowerment.  Because we were clear with our ‘why’ we were not afraid to make ourselves obsolete.

When we came up with Day 8 Business Academy’s pay-what- you- want opening salvo --  we were faced with the possibility of cannibalization and the risk that our Mansmith clients might transfer to Day 8.  But we wanted to reach out to as many SMEs who needed as much help in knowledge and capability-building as our other clients.  We knew we could be relevant to them being entrepreneurs ourselves. We patterned Day 8 after the “church business model” of offering short programs, encouraging frequent visits,  where  you “pay what you can afford”, and networking after.   We offered the same quality of teaching (however compressed and brief, intended for the time-starved entrepreneur)--  because all Mansmith Mentors share the common passion of wanting to mentor and to help turnaround and yes, because we all believe in what the Filipino can do.  Imagine the power of like-minded individuals getting together and making things happen.   As Sinek also shared, “The goal is not just to sell to people who need what you have but to sell to people who believe in what you believe.”Over the years, Mansmith has partnered with such people and institutions and the cannibalization never happened.  Consistent with our ‘why’, Day 8continues to take care of the lost, the last and the least.

So think of your ‘why’ as you look into the various factors affecting Philippine society.  How would knowing your ‘why’ affect how you would design your marketing or communications plan? 
Chiqui Escareal-Go is the CEO and Chief Service Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc.  She will be conducting the 20thDelivering Outstanding Service program on July 21-22, 2016 in Makati.  For inquiries, please email info@mansmith.netor call (02) 584-5858 or (02) 412-0034.