The cliché goes, ‘You’re a unique and special individual. Just like everyone else.’ This essentially means that, as much as we like to see ourselves as different, are we really? More to the point, if you’re just marketing the same features and benefits as everyone else in your industry, how can you be unique and desirable? Naturally you work on your brand story, letting customers in on the secrets that make you so special.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this was all it took to get loyal customers?
As we all know, engagement is the beginning of buy-in, lead generation, and sales. Just hearing your story does not guarantee engagement.
Say you’re an ice-cream company. You come to the decision that you will increase sales by going to your customers. You know, the old school way. You decide to send out mobile ice cream carts and ice cream vans, complete with the music that can be heard from streets away. You love the idea that your customers will see your company as authentic, and that they’ll get the change to engage with you as they buy your product. Also, you’ll be creating an opportunity for repeat purchases, because you’ll be back tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow.
But sales aren’t as great as you thought they would be. Why?
Apart from the fact that your product could be rubbish, it could be that you are marketing to the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What are they like?
Before embarking on any marketing activity it is worth taking a moment to explore your target market. By taking a moment, we actually mean spend some real effort, because knowing your audience could make or break your sales success. In the olden days, a company would define their target market in terms of demographics. Nowadays the savvy marketer defines their ideal customer by building a full character sketch. When creating a persona, you want to go beyond their age, location, interests, income bracket etc.
The things to uncover are their pain points.What is causing them real pain, and how can your product make this hurt better?
It isn’t enough to say, All kids love ice-cream. It isn’t even enough to say, This neighbourhood is perfect because these kids get pocket money. You’ll do better if you dig deeper. Here’s a simplified example.
Of the kids who love ice-cream:
- what are their ages?
If you know their ages, you can determine:
- when will they be home?
- are they likely to come out to the street?
With these answers, you can adjust your marketing. You’ll know what time to be on the streets, if at all. But say you have a competitor ice-cream vendor in this suburb, what then? Why should they choose your ice-cream?
Say you discover that these children are deeply concerned about the future of the planet. They always choose an environmentally friendly product over one covered in plastic or made from resources that are not sustainable. How can your offering help them to feel good about buying your ice-cream?
A solution could lie in your packaging. Would it make a difference if you insisted that anyone buying ice-cream in a tub brought their own container? As with anything in marketing, you’ll have to test, test,test. Once you have empathy with your customer, you’ll have a better idea of what messaging or content to create and test.