Do you know what you need?

Know Every business wants to generate new business.  That’s the commonality.  But that’s just about all that’s the same. 

Some sell high-ticket or very specialized items and services.  They only need a handful of new clients to meet their goals. 

Others are all about volume.  They have a large ability to deliver quantities of their offerings and they want the pipeline full. 

This is where the “one size fits all” marketing theories fall apart. 

The high-ticket/specialty client can and should spend more money per client acquisition.  Their efforts need to be about honing in on exactly the right prospects.  They are likely to spend more money on profiling prospects to make sure they don’t waste a lot of time talking to buyers who have no interest or no ability to buy their wares.

Once they’ve identified “the who,” they can get down to telling their story.  Because the numbers are small, the marketing tactics that most often make sense for them are ones that allow them to speak directly to those potential buyers and no one else.  Direct mail, opt-in e-zines, topic specific blogs, niche newspapers or TV shows and peer-to-peer referrals are all effective options.

On the flip side, the volume-focused client’s goal is to reach a much wider audience. 

They’re willing to catch a few undesirables in their net, as long as they can harvest a lot of prospects all at once.  Because a wider group of people fit their target parameters, they don’t need to invest in a lot of prospect profiling.  They’re looking for a wide reach and frequency to encourage that initial trial.  Tactics that might fit the bill for these marketers include couponing, mass media (newspaper, radio, TV, outdoor) advertising, product placement and sampling.

Which set of tactics fits what you really need?

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6 comments on “Do you know what you need?

  1. It blows my mind when business owners list “Make more sales” as a marketing goal. I feel like saying, “Well, yeah, duh…”

    Which of your products is underperforming?
    Is there a high-margin product that could do well with a new demographic?
    How’s your retention?
    Is there a customer segment that isn’t taking advantage of a particular product line?
    Does it make sense to introduce a new product?

    If your goal isn’t more sophisticated than “Sell more,” your marketing will never be effective, and you’ll fire your marketing agency every six months.

    Of course, a smart agency would help you “know what you need.” Good points, Drew.

  2. Scott,

    You’ll get no argument from me on your comments. The better defined the goals and the obstacles…the better the solutions can work.

    And of course, most businesses won’t just (or shouldn’t just) have one goal. More typical are several goals that layer into and support each other. That’s when the fun begins!


  3. It’s always rewarding to work with a client who appreciates the subtleties and interconnectedness of their diverse goals, audiences and marketing strategies. I love the eye-opening moment when a business owner sees their marketing in a more sophisticated light.

  4. Karin H. says:

    And the question of your post, Drew, hits the nail right on the head!

    I’m sure you know as well as I do how much money, effort and time is wasted of any marketing ‘projects’ that have started without asking that first all important question: do you know what our prospects need in ways of being communicated to.
    No matter if you’re planning a paper ad campaign, a new website, direct marketing offer, open a twitter account or create a Facebook page – it all comes down to knowing where your product is positioned in the world (without or without the wide web ;-))

    Knowing “your place” tells you what (social) media to use.

    So the next time I receive a cold call from a business telling me I SHOULD do this or do that in order to get more sales I’ll tell them to read this post first.

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)
    And excuses if this comment appears double – blog or typepad is playing up?

  5. Scott,

    I agree — seeing the light bulb click on is one of my favorite client moments. I honestly think we are as much educators as we are marketing professionals.


  6. Karin,

    Isn’t it funny that if we would just slow down and really learn more about our customers and prospects and let them tell us how they want to get information and buy — we’d make a whole heck of a lot more money and waste a whole lot less!


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