When a discussion yields a fruitful outcome, it just makes my day. Norana came to me the other day to discuss a campaign to boost sales. The idea was good; the details were flawless. I was about to give it a nod, but deep down in my heart there was still something deterring me from doing so which I couldn’t figure out at that moment. Then we drifted away discussing some other topics, and the answer suddenly hit me when our conversation arrived at the subject of how resellers place our products in their websites.
immediate result vs long term impact
Yes, that’s the difference between sales and marketing. One focuses on delivering an immediate result, another looks for a broader aspect and a longer-term impact. Sales activities are good to generate extra income in a very short period, but at FingerTec I'm always inclined to the latter.
I understand that psychologically, customers welcome sales or promotional activities such as straightforward price cuts, 10% discount, 20% discount, and so on; the more the better. We do witness some products or shopping malls starting with a monthly or festive season sales, only to eventually become all year long sales. You can't help but pity them because without any promotion, their business would be seriously affected.
As we are not selling consumer products, I perceive more value can be added, and by adding these values, resellers are building up their own strength too alongside FingerTec products. The value might not turn into instant sales, or some resellers might think of the process as “a waste of time”, but with the right ingredients and direction, it will set you apart from your rivals and make your sales and support easier.
Sales activity short-lived; the money value ends together with the activity. However, long-term marketing activity accumulates value that remains for a long time, and the value even works for you even if you're not aware of it.
One might ask, “Why not do both to boost sales and yield longer term value?” Yes, it’s good to have both, but as a Chinese saying goes, you can’t have both the fish and the bear paws at the same time. When you launch a sales activity, you’ll drive away the resellers to aggressively sell your products, they will not spend time writing their successful project story, they’ll not bother to gather customers’ email addresses and etc. So how about slowing them down in sales, speed them up in marketing? (Some people might think I’m crazy)
I always think pragmatism should be mixed with a touch of idealism; only then we can expect more surprises.
A lot of businessmen on one hand think it’s good to tap on the social media tool, but on the other hand think Facebook and Twitter can wait, but sales cannot. And they also feel a standard website with a URL printed on the name card should be good enough, and regular contents update and upgrade of the website is a waste of investment. Once, there was a “pragmatic” businessman that laughed at us for having a big team to maintain a website.
Yes, we do a lot of “unnecessary” tasks from some people's point of view, but all these “unnecessary” would eventually turn FingerTec to be a great product and a great brand in the Biometrics industry.
We urge our partners to write us stories, to send us some successful projects as a case study, to set up their own Facebook and to maintain it, to keep their website active and plug some of our sales and support modules into their website. Create more local contents in the local language. This month, we have substantial growth of Facebook members from Malaysia, because we gave away a special discount for resellers who joins us at Facebook as a member. And our records show us that partners who have their own Facebook and actively manage it also perform well in sales.
My urge is, spend some time and money on marketing, by adding little more value of your own, you would unlock all the hidden values beneath a great product.
And, we should be having very clear direction for future marketing campaigns after my fruitful discussion with Norana.
by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ