Master marketer Seth Godin once wrote, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
How can we get our businesses to escape being another store in the sea of online storefronts? How can we avoid the invisibility of mediocrity? How can we go from having our product be a prop in the background to being the only thing the audience sees?
We start by changing the way we view our audience. In an era where big data analysis breaks down the movements of the masses, customers become numbers and statistics to be calculated and appropriately filed. We must never forget that they are people. They live, dream, buy our products and use the services we provide all for their own personal reasons. The tally marks and figures tell one tale, but marketing success requires you to see the living, breathing humans they represent.
Target a Specific Demographic
Trying to please everyone decreases your ability to make people happy. Marketing to everyone decreases your ability to sell to anyone. Large, broad audiences will have fewer similarities. You may spotlight some features to sell to one demographic and other features to appeal to a different demographic. However, doing so may cause two problems: spreading your resources too thin and creating confusion about the brand story.
Do not try to catch every fish in the ocean by casting your net wide. Focus your efforts on a smaller area instead, but do not go so far as to pass the marketing Goldilocks zone. Having more criteria for your screening process leads to a smaller group of people who are far more similar to each other. You can deliver a single, clear message that resonates perfectly with them.
Less is more.
Learn What Motivates Your Audience
Now that you have readjusted your scope, you must get out there and learn about your potential customers. Make it your ambition to study them and discover what drives your audience and spurs them into action. Try taking some of these actions:Ask your sales team about customers; they deal with them daily.
- Observe your competition’s place of business and see what works and doesn’t work.
- Read product reviews to see what people like and dislike, and more importantly, why they think that way.
- Test the assumptions you have of your customers through surveys.
Learn where these individuals come from, what is important to them, and how they respond to different situations. The staggering amount of information you receive may seem daunting at first. However, within it, you will decipher the Rosetta Stone for consumer behavior. Take note of similarities amongst the different answers. Identify trends and consider what wants and needs will lead to relevant actions.
Knowing your audience enables you to draw the blueprint for a successful campaign. The market changes constantly and what attracts people one day may repulse them later on. Each market is different, and each market changes at a different rate, so you will have to constantly test the water and see which way the currents flow.
Knowledge of your customers is power.
With all our information on the people who collectively make up our target demographic, we can create more impactful messages. It is not enough to understand the people we wish to sell to. We need to help them take a step further.
Somewhere out there, a hard-working parent sets aside a little bit of money in a savings account each pay period to temper the worry about paying for the college education of the snoring toddler in the next room. Somewhere out there, an investment firm has the financial savvy to grow those savings beyond anything that the parent thought was possible. Even if they were to notice each other, a large chasm of doubt and fear lies between them.
Imagine that firm painting a picture of a debt-free life for the kid after college and an earlier retirement for that parent. With their interest piqued, the firm snuffs out fears one by one as facts trace financial pathways with the funds already being set aside. Distant dreams become possible futures. Resistance makes way for excitement.
An effective, impactful message does more than just make your product look good. It inspires the recipients to take action. They are full of wants, needs and fears just like any other human. You must prove that your product gives them the means to do what they want to do. Focusing on features without this goal in mind leads to superfluous showboating. Offer them a way to get what they want and clear away all the doubt.
Helping others fulfill their needs cultivates the reputation for being a company that delivers. When needs arise, customers will come to the place they know worked for others. Their benefits build your business.
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