If it isn’t personal, it should be. Think about it, if you own a company that sells beauty accessories and cosmetics, will you have the same audience as someone who provides balaclavas?
It’s possible, but unlikely. Someone who is looking to cover 85% of their face because they’re a hunting, camping or paintballing enthusiast is not necessarily the same person who would be keen to purchase fake eyelashes and eyeshadow palettes—at least, not at the same time.
Rather than chase the people who may want what you offer every now and again, spend your time chasing the beauty aficionados who will buy your product on an almost daily basis.
There are hundreds of different marketing tools and strategies out there, and what works for one company may not work for another. And, when promoting a product, how you measure the success of your campaigns will differ, too.
A personalised PlayStation strategy
Not every company encourages you to buy what they offer. Some actually make it very difficult for customers to part with their money (this is definitely a personalised approach and not a tactic every business should use, for a number of reasons). To actively deter customers from buying your products can create an air of decadence and exclusivity, which, for some brands, can increase demand exponentially.
The PlayStation 5 console has just been released as I write this. Whether deliberate or not (and I assume it is, given the marketing budget and annual profits Sony has to play with), Sony has only released a small number of them to retailers. The ensuing panic amongst parents to secure a console for their offspring for Christmas has been widespread. The winners, of course, have been the entrepreneurs who bought up the little stock available to sell on at vastly inflated prices.
When Sony eventually releases the next batch of consoles onto the market at the RRP, there will be thousands upon thousands of people begging to buy them—and perhaps some people who didn’t even know they wanted one, until they realised they may miss out on what is the must-have console of the year.
Had Sony simply sent their entire stock of consoles to retailers in one go, do you think there would have been as many people going crazy for them? Probably not…so, well played, Sony, well played. Though, if you’re one of the parents striving to buy a console this side of Christmas, you may be more inclined to describe the company’s marketing strategy as frustrating…
Small businesses find it difficult to be as strategic as Sony with their marketing. They don’t necessarily have the time, budget or experience to be able to forward plan huge campaigns, as their time is gobbled up with fulfilling orders and firefighting. As a result, the content they put out tends to be scattergun and sporadic, empty and one-sided, and it only serves to show the brand exists.
Certain aspects of marketing can be a case of trial and error. However, if the little time you do manage to carve out for promotion just feels like you’re shouting into a vacuum or talking to random people who may or may not be your audience, why do it at all? If you’re too busy to target your content, measure its effectiveness and learn from its actual results, there’s little point bothering in the first place. Remember: it’s better to master just one method of marketing than incorporating a number of techniques and strategies and carrying them all out poorly.
Think about Maud
Spending just a little time personalising your marketing will be worth the effort. Have a good think about what it is that you offer, and who would benefit from/use/love it the most—and, most importantly, why you’ve come to this conclusion.
For example, why would Maud, aged 70, in retirement, with a passion for making and amending her clothes or crafting, buy your sewing machine over your competitors’? Which features of a model will she enjoy in particular, or does she just want a simple machine that does what it says on the tin? What’s her budget likely to be? How much space in her home will she likely need in order to use it effectively? What could she produce, what end results could she see? How easy are the instructions for her to understand? Lastly, and probably the most important question with regards to your marketing…how will Maud know that you have this super-duper sewing machine for sale? How can you bring it to her attention? What questions will she have about laying out the money for such a purchase that you could qualify in your advertising?
If you personalise your adverts to your target customer(s), like in Maud’s example, you will be spending your time and marketing budget wisely. You won’t be throwing a handful of sales messages into the air, hoping they find the right people when they fall back to Earth; you’ll be effectively informing a buyer who wants what you offer that you have what they’re looking for.
Whatever the tool, whatever the technique, whatever the platform, this represents effective marketing.
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