“You don’t find customers for your products. You find products for your customers.” ~ Seth Godin
Take any leading brand in any industry and you will find they are customer-centric. Whereas organisations focussed on manufacturing, or processes and products are always playing catch-up. This may sound obvious; but, many leaders merely pay lip service to the customer being the centre of the organisation. In reality, everything from the automated answering service when you call in, to how processes have evolved that serve employees rather than the client, all point to a company that has lost sight of their customer’s needs.
A true marketer is customer focussed. They find the needs of the customer first and see how they can fulfil those needs. It is rare to find a product or service that has no competition. Not even the Apple iPod enjoyed the luxury of being first, there were already other mp3 players on the market before they launched. Since the 1960s, Coca-Cola employed a strategy called, ‘Share of throat,’ highlighting any product a person could drink as being competition.
Finding and articulating the product or service’s differentiation is the job of a marketer. The differentiator can be something obvious, such as a design feature (e.g. Rolex watches, Apple Airpods,) to something as subtle as the use of colour (e.g. Tiffany & Co. jewellery boxes.)
Most business owners would like to sell their products or services to as many people as possible. The logic seems simple: If more people know your product exists, more people are likely to buy it. Called ‘targeting the mass-market’ (the large hump in the middle of a bell-curve), marketers use television, direct mail, social media, newspapers, billboards, radio, magazines and any other form of mass-media, to advertise their offer to as many people as possible. But, treating any audience as one uniform group also means treating everyone as average.
The truth is no one is average.
Every person has unique wants and needs. As consumers demand to be treated as human beings rather than the next sale, leading brands have responded by delivering a more personalised experience, proving they ‘get’ their client. Offering a service that is no longer a cookie-cutter approach but rather tailored to each clients needs, demands a mind-shift. Instead of aiming for the largest possible audience, as Seth Godin advises, find your minimum viable audience.
Seek out the smallest market imaginable for your product or service. The least number of clients that you can delight, to sustain you. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, focussing only on the clients that you can delight, forces you to step up your game. Because you are listening to what their exact needs are, you are able to be more responsive and relevant.
When Apple launched the iPod, Steve Jobs announced it as:
Besides having a unique and functional design, the iPod became and remained the icon of mp3 players. Today Coca-Cola owns coffee brands, water brands, milk brands, energy drink brands, and even a soup brand. Global brands can compete by targeting a niche they can dominate. By choosing your minimum viable audience, you can compete, and win.
What is your minimum viable audience?
Have an awesome weekend! 😄
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 19, 2020.