Problem Solvers: Mick Jagger killed the Mass Market!

This second verse tells us to stop listening to people that are not like us. He points out that credibility can be missing if the source is different from us. The Rolling Stones and this wonderful dance song ingrained the seeds of niche marketing in the minds of baby boomers.

The third verse does contain a sexual reference, yet it also delivers one major point to the marketing game. Timing is everything! Too early you miss the opportunity; too late you miss the opportunity. In the worlds of marketing and life, you must be at the top of the mind at the moment a decision is to be made.

Assume the baby boomers have been brainwashed regarding the mass market as a bad thing, then niche marketing must be the now and the future. How do take advantage of this new information? You win more customers using a niche marketing approach. The following four key elements are necessary for your success:

1. Know Your Customer: This should be a no-brainer for any organization in the 21st century. And we still find organizations that do not understand the importance of "knowing your customer!" An even more important concept is "what is your ideal customer?" You must know and completely describe your ideal customer profile. Without this knowledge, you tend to waste valuable resources chasing business that is not a match for your unique strengths. Several companies have discovered that winning the wrong business can be worse than getting no initial business.

The wrong business will eliminate your profit margins, increase expenses and tie up valuable personnel – with no value added returns. The right business – the ideal customer clone – will improve both top and bottom line numbers, energize your staff to higher levels of performance and increase the customer's overall satisfaction with your company.

2. Know Where Your Customers Are: Without knowing your ideal customer, how could you learn where they go, what they read, and what associations they use. This is the foundation of targeted marketing. Once you know this valuable information, you can choose ways to get in front of prospects.

So how can you use this information? Target your marketing resources to get a higher probability and achieve top of mind. Examples: If your customers are affluent – place ads in sections they read like financial and social areas. Find the organizations that high-level officials give back to their communities and get involved. Get to know them personally and professionally. Another area for a more general approach is to attend trade shows or conferences where they go. If you can give a presentation to the group as it will create higher credibility for you.

3. Solve Their Problems: Stop using details and features – it's the problem they want to eliminate. All your products or services should be identified as to the problems they eliminate. Product managers waste resources by showing the details and whiz bang features of their products – without explaining the solutions. Product managers need to connect the dots of problem solving and measuring their results. Then show the ROI and payback timetables that the customer wants to know. Focus on the problems your product or service eliminates and your sales will increase dynamically.

4. Use Pull Marketing Techniques: Sellers tend to push or pitch products or services upon their customers and prospects. This is the old school tendency that Mick Jagger wrote about in his song – Satisfaction.

The new world is "pull" marketing. This new approach uses three primary techniques: Public Relations (PR); Sharing Information; and Success Stories.

First, PR is the key to creating new product or service brands. It creates a "buzz" for products or services for customers to find you. PR has more credibility than advertisements and are accepts by your customers as truthful. Manage your PR needs is to contact writers in your local markets and trade associations. You want to be quoted in articles of importance as an expert. Offer articles or ideas that pertain to your industry to the local papers, trade journals and magazines. Finally, you can hire a PR firm that understands your business.

Second, share information with customers and prospects. This information does not have to concern your product or company – it just needs to be helpful or important to your customer or prospect.

Third, use success stories to get customers and prospects thinking about you as an option. Use these stories as direct mail pieces, "educational extras," newsletters to customers, attachments to proposals and as a handout or leave behind at speeches or trade associations. The key point is to use "like the customer" stories. Likeness can be in the form of size of company, industry type, demographic group or type of problem they are dealing with today.

In Conclusion, whether you believe Mick Jagger had anything to do with killing the mass market – it is dead! Review how your marketing process is working. If you are less than happy with the results – then use the niche marketing keys to turn your marketing success around. Learn what works so you can say… " I get plenty of satisfaction!"

About the author: Voss Graham is the founder and CEO of Inneractive Consulting Group, Inc. As the author of "Three Games of Selling," he works with companies across the country to develop and hire successful sales teams with above average performance. Voss is a seasoned sales veteran who has worked with companies such as International Paper, The Memphis Group (a Division of GE) and Alcan Packaging, the United Way and Sara Lee Foods. For more information, please email , or call 901-757-4434.


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