If you could grow your business simply by marketing to your existing customers, making money would be a cakewalk. But to generate new revenue, you have to win over the customers you’re not getting. Who are these mystery customers? How are they different from your current clientele? Most importantly, how do you forge a bond with them across their differences?
Forget “spray and pray” promotion. It’s time to narrowcast, get to know, and then deliver a welcoming message to a specific group. You have to research new customer segments and learn what they need. Then modify your product offerings to communicate that you value that customer. You say to them, “I see you, I value you, and I want you. I’m putting out this welcome mat just for you.”
‘Spray and Pray’ Is No Longer Enough
The marketing environment has become more complex, and consumers have become more sophisticated. No longer does the old “spray and pray” method of marketing – putting your message out there as broadly as possible and hoping it will hit a majority of your prospects – work. What’s changed? Two main things: technology and the massive shifts in U.S. demographics.
Technology has allowed us to laser-in on only the things we are interested in, and we can access information and do comparison shopping more easily than ever before. The power is firmly in consumers’ hands, and social media and networking make it easier than ever to share referrals and comments about a business, good or bad.
The second factor that affects marketing now is the “new America.” The latest Census information reveals startling findings: one-in-three people living in the United States is not white. One-in-six of us is Hispanic. Among children, it’s one-in-four. Blacks are moving to suburbs at a pace that’s never been seen before. And rural counties are losing population to metropolitan areas.
Every company, brand and organization is trying to increase business these days. One of the fastest and most effective ways to increase business is by targeting market segments based upon our differences, rather than our similarities.
This approach challenges traditional marketing thinking, wherein you target a group based upon commonalities. But I believe the better approach is to market to what makes a group unique and different. When you focus on what makes someone the individual that they are, it’s usually less about the color of their skin or their age, and more about their values. Our values point to what our priorities , and that almost always points to where the money is.
This is where “marketing to people who are not like you” comes in. Diversity marketing is the new norm, and this doesn’t simply mean racial diversity. Diversity comes in many forms: gender, race, age, life-stage, language preference, sexuality, and hobbies or special interests are all ways in which people’s differences are recognized. By recognizing these differences and tailoring your product, message or marketing efforts to reflect consumers’ uniqueness, you are validating the importance of a consumer group.
When you focus on a potential customer who is not like you, you will uncover new customers, new ideas and even new products and services that will help you grow your business.
The Census tells us something very important: that we are, as a nation, becoming less of a homogeneous group of people. We are, in fact, becoming many, many diverse groups of people. Learning how to market to people who are not like you will help you grow your business, your profits and your customer loyalty.
By thinking about differences, identifying new key customer groups and digging deep into the hearts and minds of these individuals, you can uncover their values. That, in turn, will lead you to how to market effectively to them. It is no longer about mass marketing. It’s about micro-marketing and marketing to people who are not like you. Expand your thinking to focus on differences, and you will most certainly expand your business.