From Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce...
The Mad Men approach to marketing was to make your product appeal to as many potential customers as possible. It begins with the assumption that everyone should have your product, they just do not know how much cigarettes will improve their lives yet. So the marketing specialists primary goal was to point out why your product has mass appeal, even if it doesn’t. This is a form of passive marketing, with billboards, bus signage, and even Google and Facebook advertising.
This works well for consumer essentials - products that serve a fundamental purpose like laundry detergent, clothing, gasoline, etc. These are items that everyone will buy, you just need to show them why they want to choose your product.
To “Set It and Forget It”
This broke out of the essentials market with Ron Popeil and the infamous Infomercial. He bought cheap advertising time and put on a show to present this wondrous invention that you didn’t even know you needed. All manner of gadgets, cleaning tools, and exercise equipment have been shown on late night television because it works well to gather a portion of the insomniac market to turn over their credit card number to purchase an item that they will eventually sell in a garage sale for pennies on the dollar.
This is a love-em-and-leave-em type of sales approach, and is not a great way to attract customers with which you would like a long term relationship. For services that make continuing revenue from monthly recurring charges - this is probably the worst way to attract customers. How many MagicJack customers do you think are still happy?
From Targeting Marketing…
The next step up is to use targeted marketing, through Google, Facebook, and other content providers. We have seen recently how much data is gathered on the users from these “free” services, and they can use those analytics to fine tune advertising to a customer.
But, you first have to know what customer to target. You need to do a lot of legwork to find the parameters and permutations to optimize your advertising dollars. You place a lot of faith in the service provider to cast a net. You are still attracting a wide variety of potential customers, based on shared interest. If someone accidentally misspells a search word close to yours, you may end up targeting someone who wants to learn about “Vines” and has no interest or need for “Voip”.
While this is not an awful approach, if you do not set your messaging to be very specific, you can generate leads that can cost more to make your solution fit their needs than the profit you will ever earn. It is easy to go underwater chasing a lead that wants a service you do not quite have perfected yet.
To Focused Marketing
With a focused marketing model, you are no longer trying to give your product appeal to everyone who can hear you, or targeting a quick sale, or casting a net so wide that pre-sale qualification costs you hundred of dollars. You are offering the products and service that you want to sell. No one is going to list their entire product catalog in an ad, of course.
A good camera salesman will first offer you the camera he wants to sell. This could be because he trusts the brand better, lessening the chance of a return. This could be because he makes more commission, spiff, or bonus from the particular model. Whatever the reason, he is offering what he wants to sell, first. A good salesman will never offer you a loss leader if he can get away with it - as it costs his company money to sell that product.
This approach means that you are in control of the type of customer who is more likely to call you. You own the message, after all. Do you want to sell call centers because your technicians are very fluent, then advertise your call center and what it can do. If you want to sell call recording because it has a great margin, advertise your call recording. If you do not want to deal with the headache of low cost licenses with very few features and a paper thin margin - then don’t set yourself with a loss leader by advertising “starting at” pricing.
The point of this approach is to appeal to the customers who want exactly what you want to sell. If they come in for the call recording, and you end up selling low margin seats, too - so much the better. But if they come in for the price, they are unlikely to agree to being sold up.
By being strategic in the type of products and service you are showcasing, you will attract more profitable customers, you will be more able to make the customer satisfied and loyal, and you will spend less time trying to tailor a solution you have into something it is incapable of providing.
So, what kind of products do you like to sell? If you could draft the perfect order, what would it look like?
Now, go forth and find that customer.