You know the dangers of trying to appeal to everyone – But are you considering every aspect of your marketing?
Are you narrowing your social media campaigns to the channels your target profile uses?
Do you use the same language your profile uses?
Marketing has been defined as:
The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 Ps of marketing:
(1) identification, selection, and development of a product,
(2) determination of its price,
(3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and
(4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.
You need a product your target clients will love at a price point they consider good value. Next, you must decide how to deliver your product. Only then can you find a promotional strategy.
The idea of selling to everyone is a nonsense concept. The way ahead is to go niche.
· Niche Product Selection
Choosing the right product is the only way your business can succeed. Price point, product delivery and promotional strategy all follow on from this decision.
There are five aspects of product selection to consider:
- Customer benefits
- Market positioning
Understanding your target customers’ needs is the key. Start by talking to people you are hoping to sell to in a social context. Ask employees, friends, and relatives if they fit your customer profile. You can also use social media to search for problems common in your target niche. Another option would be a consumer focus group.
A case study using the development of hair straighteners will illustrate the marketing principles above.
Hair straighteners filled an urgent need women had when they were first developed in their current form.
The target niche was single women with curly hair who cared enough about their appearances to invest over $100 in a product that would remove their curls.
You need an intimate connection with your potential customers to understand their needs and problems.
Case Study – Until 1980 women straightened their hair using a steam iron and an ironing board. If you tried to straighten your own hair, you had a good chance of burning yourself with the hot iron. Women got around this problem by getting together with friends to straighten one another’s hair. Hair straighteners with two metal plates allowed a woman to attend to her own hair. This was a significant benefit women were willing to pay for.
To be successful, your product must solve an urgent problem better than existing products, just as hair straighteners did in 1981.
Your design must be functional and potential buyers must find it attractive.
Case Study – 1980s hair straighteners featured a one-handed design, so were more functional than a steam iron and ironing board.
Use a focus group to find the most attractive design from a range of prototypes. Guessing or going with your own ideas will lead to disaster.
Not only must your product be fit-for-purpose, but it must also have a reasonable lifespan. Products that are designed to fail one month after the warranty expires are not going to encourage customers to buy them a second time, so longevity is important.
Case Study – GHD has established itself as the leader in hair straighteners by focusing on quality. They cost more than other brands, but customers believe their product is the best and offers the best value.
There will always be a trade-off between quality and price, but you need to avoid competing on price, so design for quality, reliability and customer satisfaction.
Customers need to believe your brand offers more value, more credibility or better products.
Case Study – F
GHD’s product has become synonymous with the product category in the same way Hoover has with vacuum cleaners.
Brand-awareness can be measured using questionnaires. But branding is more than people knowing you exist. You may want people to think of your company whenever they think of a task (e.g., hoovering) or to believe you are the greatest (Muhammed Ali). You can measure the results of an online branding campaign, but it is beyond the scope of this article.
Branding can set your product apart in a customer’s mind, so she is willing to pay a higher price than that charged by competitors.
You will have competitors, but they may be targeting a different customer profile.
Case Study – From packaging decisions to promotional campaigns GHD has emphasized the high quality and up-market nature of its straighteners.
GHD’s market positioning and branding allows the company to charge premium prices.
Be diamond clear on your target customer profile. This group will worship your products, tell their friends how perfect they are and will buy again.
If your customer profile is fuzzy, then narrow it down until you have a group of potential clients who think along the same lines and have similar needs you can satisfy.
2. What Price Point?
Factors governing your pricing strategy:
- How much will your customers pay?
- Your costs
- Competitors prices
- Your market positioning
Whatever you are selling, there will be someone who can sell it for less. They could undercut your price by paying employees less, lower product specs, less advertising or a lower product research budget. You can never compete successfully on price.
Case Study – GHD charges premium prices because their products are marketed as premium ones.
Set as high a price as your market will bear. Over time, your prices will fall as your target demographic widens and production costs fall. This Inc.com guide on pricing gives an introduction to the subject.
3. Product Delivery
If you are selling a physical product, you can sell it online or through retailers. Your retailing channels need to match up with your target profile. If your target profile frequents fish markets, then you need to sell in fish markets.
Case Study – GHD markets its straighteners through hairdressers, as well as online through its website and third-party sites. Hairdressers are a 100% match with the company’s target profile of single women who spend money on their hair.
You should have your own website, which will usually come at the top of a search for your company. For maximum credibility, you will need a merchant account to accept online payments using credit cards.
4. Promotional Strategy
Your promotional strategy has two parts; gathering new leads and nurturing those leads until they become buyers.
Gathering New Leads
If your target customers are online, then that’s where your promotional efforts need to be focused.
The Internet means you have access to specialist agencies as far apart as New York, Paris, and Sydney. You are no longer limited to marketing companies based in your town or even your country.
Internationalization of the market has also led to more agencies that specialize in one niche. Niche specialization means your chosen agency understands your business and your target profile as well as you do. A company specializing in SEO for lawyers or law firm web design in Austin, Texas, will have clients from London, Montreal, and Johannesburg.
Nurturing Your Leads
Brand awareness campaigns may account for some of these 5-7 additional contacts, but you can take control of the process.
Forget social media – Email is the secret
But you need your emails to stand out from the horde.
Would an email signature like the ones above make your messages stand out? Yes, it certainly would. Email signature templates will let you set up an awe-inspiring sign-off like any of the above in ten minutes or less.
Your potential customer needs 6-8 contacts with you before he is willing to buy. The first contact may come from a marketing campaign, but you still need 5-7 more contacts before the customer reaches for his wallet. The natural way to make these extra contacts is via email, and every one of your emails can have your image and other personalization details.
Customers buy from people, so it is vital to make every contact as personal as you can. Email signatures are a great way to achieve this.
The most important part of niche marketing is to understand your target profile so you can learn what is hurting him and how you can solve that pain.
Working out your price point, distribution strategy and promotion methods are just expensive ways to waste time unless you have the right product.
Get inside the heads of those in your niche; learn what rocks their boats and what their bleeding-neck problems are. Develop a product or service that reconnects their jugular arteries and eases their pain. Then think about the other aspects of niche marketing.