We know that every business is different. But the one similarity they all have is the need to grow. And here are a few creative (and proven) ways to do this:
Take internal inventory – what in-house capabilities have you overlooked? Is there something you’ve been outsourcing or purchasing elsewhere that would make sense and be feasible to do yourself? Having an objective third party talk to your employees could be a great way to uncover talents and resources you didn’t even know you had.
Be a category rabble-rouser – your competitors are leading customers to the front door…why not divert them to the intrigue of the fire escape? There’s more than one way to engage your consumers, in fact, there are many. Why not conduct some shopper insights detective work and find points of contact that are yours for the taking? Now more than ever it’s a constant battle for consumers’ attention – conventionality isn’t the answer.
Get out of your ‘targeting’ comfort zone – have you looked at your product or service from all angles…or are you stuck on a linear path of “this is what we do”? That’s where segmentation can be a valuable tool. There may be occasions where, unbeknownst to you, your product is a great (and lucrative) fit for consumers — something that would be nearly impossible to detect by simply focusing on the demographics of your market.
Become essential – how can you make your market’s lives so much easier or enjoyable that being without you is not an option? This is where uncovering the market’s unmet needs is invaluable. Immersing yourself in their daily lives and discovering the ‘gaps’ provides the perfect opportunity to create a solution that becomes a necessity. (i.e. Do you remember life before cell phones and email? Many of us wonder how we ever communicated or got things done!)
These techniques are versatile. They can be applied to products or services — consumer or B2B – across industries.
Try one or try them all.
Just remember that market growth isn’t about luck. It’s about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right product or service. These four approaches can help build the strategy to get you there.
Some people start their workday commute with a strong cup of black coffee. But on days they work from home, perhaps a Chai latte seems more appealing. And in the evenings, unwinding with Chamomile tea may be a relaxing bedtime ritual.
As a marketer, it’s important to know these kinds of things about your target customer and to probe deeper to find out:
- What motivates their choices?
- Would their choices change in the company of a friend or family member? (Perhaps hot chocolate on wintry Sunday afternoons is a tradition with their kids)
- And, most importantly, how can you use that information to effectively reach current and untapped consumers?
So what’s the occasion?
A major distilled spirits company wanted to know what influenced consumers’ choice of alcoholic beverages. Historically, they‘d viewed their market by demographic criteria (e.g. Urban Caucasian males aged 21 to 25).
Unfortunately, this didn’t give them useful insights about how groups of consumers actually behaved or when and why one drink was chosen over another.
To really understand the dynamics of beverage selection, we segmented their market by usage occasion. In other words, when consuming a particular drink…
- where are consumers?
- who are they with?
- what are they doing?
Digging into the research data showed that people made very different drink choices when on a date versus going to a girls’ night at a local club versus meeting friends at the local bar. By understanding the environment the consumer was in, we could start to understand why and whether someone chose a vodka martini or a beer.
Segmenting your market by usage occasion is an often overlooked but potentially powerful source of insight about the market. It allows you to better engage with consumers by tailoring your message and media choices to each occasion.
On a more strategic level, it helps you decide which usage occasions are most sensible and lucrative to try to capture.
Continue to discover more tactics to effectively reach your target customers. Check back soon for one more installment of this series. More great tips to come.