Archive for Targeting

Posted in Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2011 by Consultant

Challenge the Status Quo! Take on a Dominant Market Player [Slide Show]

111118-01. Intro111118-02. 1. Establish your brand111118-03. 2. Build trust
111118-04. 3. Do something different111118-05. 4. Dive in111118-06. 5. Be patient
111118-01. Intro

We all learned on the playground in elementary school that it’s never a good idea to take on the big kid. That first physics lesson we learned—that larger objects push harder than smaller ones—reinforced that notion in our rapidly developing, dodgeball-obsessed minds.

But was that really an accurate lesson? After all, ordinary-sized David defeated giant-sized Goliath with nothing more than a pebble and a slingshot. So why can’t you? The answer is, You can! But to effectively beat the giant in your industry, you’ll need to focus on these five things.

111118-02. 1. Establish your brand

1. Establish your brand

As a startup, establishing your brand is the first and most important step in building a business. Coming in as a new player, you will encounter uncertainty about your brand from potential consumers who are unfamiliar with your name, products, quality, differentiation, etc. But you can use that to your advantage.

Humans have an innate curiosity and desire to explore. If you disagree, watch a young child be entertained for hours upon hours by ordinary objects, such as kitchen utensils or cell phones. Even though your target market has most likely grown out of playing with common objects for hours, that curiosity remains.

How can human curiosity benefit your brand? Draw on that human trait by positioning your business as something new and unique. Don’t give up all of your information up front; catch your targets’ interest and make them wonder. Their curiosity will take over and subconsciously motivate them to seek, search, and investigate, which will ultimately drive traffic to your website. Then, it’s your job to get them to stay.

So, how do you keep the market share you’ve gained?

111118-03. 2. Build trust

2. Build trust

Customers will not give you their money if they do not trust you. As a new company, you’ll have a hard time building trust via past buying experiences, because your target market has likely never before bought from you. So the next best way to build immediate trust is to identify with your customers on a personal level. Be transparent. As a small business, you actually have the advantage; you aren’t viewed as a faceless corporate monster. Use that advantage to develop closeness with your customers, and you can bet that they will multiply.

111118-04. 3. Do something different

3. Do something different

Whatever you do, don’t try to enter a market dominated by a major player by using the exact same business model as the Goliath. Customers’ brand loyalty to the “big kid” will quickly destroy your business. But finding a way to improve or diversify the market will create an avenue for you to compete.

For example, my company created a new pay-per-click (PPC) billing model that was completely unique in the automotive industry. Having a unique offering allowed us to quickly develop strong relationships with suppliers and create the critical mass necessary to start driving traffic (pun intended) to Netcars.com, our website.

But what if being different doesn’t work? Another benefit you have as a small, upcoming competitor is flexibility. Exxon Mobil might not be able to change its business model overnight, but Mom and Pop’s Convenience Store can. So listen to customer feedback, integrate it, and adapt.

111118-05. 4. Dive in

4. Dive in

We’ve all been in a situation where it was necessary to “test the water.” When I go to the pool, I dip my toe in first to see how cold the water is. But that’s not going to work in a market dominated by a major player.

When you dip your toe into a big pool, you hardly create ripples. On the other hand, doing a cannonball into the pool would create major waves all around you.

When taking on a major player, then, your goal is to disrupt the market—to do a cannonball into the market. So, make your entrance a massive push. Market like hell. Prepare for growth. Staff early. Get the right people on board, and then figure out where they fit into your business as the ripples grow.

After all, you get only one shot to launch.

111118-06. 5. Be patient

5. Be patient

Penetrating a concentrated market isn’t a game of Jenga. (In that game, pulling out one block could cause an entire tower to topple.) Instead, making an impact on the market is more of a marathon, not a sprint. Cheesy analogies aside, don’t expect to bring down the competition overnight.

Keep your brand consistent and unique, continue to innovate, and challenge the status quo. Time will bring results.

* * *

You’ll still have to find your own pebble, but I hope this information will be the slingshot you need to take on the Goliath that your company faces. Happy hunting!

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Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, eMarketing with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

How to Build Your Own Customized B2B Prospecting Lists for Free

customized prospecting list is a great resource for your cold calling, direct mail, and email marketing efforts. If you prefer to “do it yourself,” here are nine steps for building a free B2B marketing database for your outbound marketing campaigns.

1. Identify the industry

Start by picking the industry and, if possible, the sub-industry. Some of the resources listed at the end of this article offer free industry lookup, including Jigsaw.com and Manta.com. You can also conduct a SIC code lookup for the target industries at Osha.gov. Build separate lists if you want to cover multiple industries.

2. Identify companies

Define the broad criteria that will help you identify companies within the chosen industry. You can segment by revenue, geography, number of employees, etc. (e.g., software product companies with a revenue range of $100-$500 million in North America).

Perform searches using those free tools I mentioned to come up with the list of companies. This step will help you determine the market size. If you come up with, say, 500 companies on your list but you need more, adjust the industry criteria and run another search.

3. Select companies

You can now select the companies you like. Download or copy the list of companies to a spreadsheet. Keep all the data you get, such as revenue, industry, number of employees, etc., with the company name in the spreadsheet. That will later help you segment and target your marketing campaigns.

4. Identify titles or roles

Build a list of keywords that appear in the titles of your targets. If your decision-makers are not easily identifiable by title, identify the department your target contact is likely to be located in, such as IT, Human Resources, Marketing, Manufacturing, etc. You may have to conduct role-based contact discovery instead of title-based discovery.

5. Choose level

Define what level of decision-maker, user, or influencer you intend to target, such as manager, director, VP, C-level, etc.; also, clearly note the levels you do not want to target, such as analyst, coordinator, assistant, etc. Doing so will help you select or drop those contacts in subsequent searches. It can also serve as a guideline in case you decide to give this list-building job to an intern or to outsource it to a list-provider company.

6. Standardize spreadsheet format

In the header row, write all the data attributes you want to capture (e.g., name, mailing address, phone number, email). Check the import format of your CRM (if you are using one) to make importing easy. A uniform format will immensely help you organize, segment, and analyze the data.

7. Begin Internet research

Internet research is the most important and time-consuming step. Check out (a) the company website (b) LinkedIn (c) search engines (d) industry associations, etc. Do that in the same order of priority to get the most relevant and accurate information.

Keep filling your spreadsheet with information you get on your prospects. In certain cases, you may not be able to fill in all the data attributes of a particular contact. Don’t worry; just keep moving through your list.

8. Refine the search process

Note the time you are spending on research. Try to optimize the research time and benchmark it (e.g., 10-12 contacts per hour). That will help you budget your time to build the list for your outbound marketing campaigns.

Determine whether you can build the lists yourself or need more resources. For example, if your goal is to build a database of 1,000 contacts, and your research is producing 10 contacts per hour, you know you will need 100 hours of research.

9. Validate

Start calling to verify the prospect list you just built. Many times, front-office staff or an assistant will be able to validate the information. Remember, you are not marketing or selling to them at this stage. Draft a calling script that’ll quickly help you verify the contact information.

Free Web resources for building B2B marketing databases

http://www.linkedin.com/

http://www.manta.com/

http://www.jigsaw.com/

http://www.zoominfo.com/

http://www.thomasnet.com/

http://www.alibaba.com/

http://dir.yahoo.com/business_and_economy/

 

Posted in Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2011 by Consultant

 Marketing Tracks in  Consumer Behavior

Consumer behaviour is key to the impact that society is having on the environment.As well as what people consume directly in the home and elsewhere, our fulfilment of needs and wants lies behind many of the activities that create environmental impacts, such as the production of food and other goods.While new and more sustainable technologies offer great promise, they cannot in themselves ensure sustainability. Only people’s choices can lead us away from unsustainable patterns of consumption.

But there are many conflicting explanations as to why people consume:

  • some economic (to do with prices and technology)
  • some environmental (fulfilling physical needs such as shelter and food)
  • and some cultural (consumption as central to social identity).
Methodologically, consumer behaviour research uses the following types of research designs:
Based on questioning:
  • Qualitative marketing research – generally used for exploratory purposes – small number of respondents – not generalizable to the whole population – statistical significance and confidence not calculated – examples include focus groups, in-depth interviews, and projective techniques
  • Quantitative marketing research – generally used to draw conclusions – tests a specific hypothesis – uses random sampling techniques so as to infer from the sample to the population – involves a large number of respondents – examples include surveys and questionnaires
Based on observations:

  • Ethnographic studies -, by nature qualitative, the researcher observes social phenomena in their naturalsetting – observations can occur cross-sectionally (observations made at one time) or longitudinally (observations occur over several time-periods) – examples include product-use analysis and computer cookie traces
  • Experimental techniques -, by nature quantitative, the researcher creates a quasi-artificial environment to try to control spurious factors, then manipulates at least one of the variables – examples include purchase laboratories and test markets

Researchers often use more than one research design. They may start with secondary research to get background information, then conduct a focus group (qualitative research design) to explore the issues. Finally they might do a full nation-wide survey (quantitative research design) in order to devise specific recommendations for the client.

Posted in Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2011 by Consultant

 Decision Makers

 Finally, a point to consider is, given the characteristics of your offering, what type of decision maker will most likely be interested in purchasing from you. It may be beneficial to rank your prospects based on the following classifications. While you may not be able to make this classification of the prospect prior to the first contact, if your sales personnel are sensitive to these characteristics it can strongly influence your sales strategy.
Ultra Conservative – don’t rock the boat, whatever they purchase must be consistent with their current way of doing things.

  • They are most likely interested in products/services that are improvements to existing offerings rather than something new.
  • Once established as a customer they are seldom inclined to review alternatives.
  • Very negative to technically complex offerings or offerings requiring extensive user education.
  • Cost effective offerings are only of interest if they don’t disturb the status quo.
  • They are likely to react positively to any volume purchasing opportunities.

Conservatives – are willing to change, but only in small increments and only in a very cost effective manner.

  • Will consider new products/services but only if related concept has been proven to be effective. More likely to purchase improvements to existing offerings.
  • Will probably want to review competitive offerings, but will gravitate to best known offering with lowest risk decision.
  • Negative to neutral when considering technically complex offerings or offerings requiring extensive user education.
  • Strongly influenced by cost effective offerings and/or ‘best price’ opportunities

Liberals – regularly looking for new solutions, willing to make change (even major change) if the benefit can be shown.

  • Will usually consider new products/services even if the related concept has not yet been proven to be effective, but only if the potential benefits can be specified and understood.
  • Wants offerings that make effective use of technology, but is not interested in offerings just because they use a certain technology.
  • Will always want to review competitive offerings, but will usually choose the one offering the greatest benefit, even if there is some risk involved.
  • Neutral to positive when considering technically complex offerings or offerings requiring extensive user education.
  • Usually concerned with keeping employees informed and educated, so will often consider educational offerings.
  • Strongly influenced by offerings that most closely deliver the ‘end results’ desired, even if they are not the most cost effective.
  • Often are on social trend bandwagons so react positively to offerings that address these needs.

Technical Liberals – enamored with the benefits provided by high tech solutions and any purchase decision will be biased by the technical content of the offering.

  • Usually consider new products/services even if the related concept has not yet been proven to be effective.
  • Often consider just because they use a certain technology.
  • Will always want to review competitive offerings, but will usually choose the one offering the most hi-tech features, even if there is some risk involved.
  • Consider themselves technically competent and will expect leading edge use of technology.
  • Positive to fanatic when considering technically complex offerings even when requiring extensive user education.
  • Conversion costs usually not a major concern if technical benefits are there.
  • Not particularly concerned with keeping employees informed and educated, so educational offerings are not of great interest.
  • Strongly influenced by offerings that most closely deliver the ‘end results’ desired, even if they are not the most cost effective.

Self Helpers – consistently defines/designs solutions to their problems, likes to acquire tools that help in the innovation process.

  • Will usually consider new products/services, but the related concept must have been proven to be effective.
  • Often consider just because they use a certain technology that is relevant to the development program they have underway.
  • Will always want to review competitive offerings, but will usually choose the one offering the most effective ‘do it yourself’ features.
  • Usually consider themselves technically competent and will expect very effective use of proven technology.
  • Not especially inclined toward technically complex offerings, would rather have user friendly, but thought provoking, offerings.
  • Conversion costs usually not a major concern if offering promises potential for innovation.
  • Usually concerned with keeping employees informed and educated, so educational offerings are of interest.

Posted in Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2011 by Consultant

Multichannel Consumer Marketing Plan

A multichannel consumer marketing plan enables you to reach consumers by the channels they prefer and to increase revenue per customer. Research firm Epsilon Targeting reported that households buying from retailers with a multichannel strategy spent an average of $832 in 2010, compared to spending $385 with retailers selling through a contact center and $360 for retailers operating an online strategy.

Online Information

Identify the channels that consumers use to obtain product information before making purchases. According to consultants Booz & Co., consumers use online sources to carry out product research and to obtain contact information for other marketing channels, such as store locations or contact center numbers. Provide comprehensive product and contact information on your website. Consumers also visit product review sites, social media such as Facebook and forums to check the opinions of other consumers. Set up a forum on your website and monitor review sites to understand consumers’ perceptions of your products.

Purchasing Channels

Select the channels that enable you to reach consumers cost effectively. Consumers buy products through mail order, contact centers, catalogs, retail outlets, e-commerce sites and TV shopping channels. Analyze your sales records to identify current channels that provide the main source of revenue. Review competitors’ websites to see if they use channels that you have not considered. You may miss opportunities by ignoring channels. Booz & Co. reported that German businesses that focused on single channels wasted more than $1.5 billion a year in unproductive marketing.

Integrated Strategy

Develop an integrated multichannel strategy, not a fragmented multiple channel strategy. An integrated multichannel strategy ensures that you offer consistent marketing messages and quality of customer experience across all channels, according to consultants McKinsey and Company. A consumer can research products on your website, contact your call center to obtain more detailed information and visit a retail outlet to inspect or purchase the product, with a consistent experience at each stage.

Data Analysis

Collect sales and contact data from all your channels to build a complete picture of consumers’ research and purchasing patterns. Use the data to match channels, personalize communications and make special offers based on consumers’ preferences. The data from multichannel marketing provides the basis for building an effective one-to-one marketing program with individual consumers, according to Epsilon Targeting.

Posted in Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2011 by Consultant

Why Is the Expectation of a Consumer Important in Marketing?

Small businesses often spend time and effort developing marketing strategies for reaching consumers. These marketing strategies attempt to inform consumers about various attributes of a company’s products, but they may also be affected by the target market, or demographic groups at which the marketing is aimed. An important part of a marketing strategy is meeting consumer expectations.

Facts

Consumer expectation generally refers to the needs and wants of individuals in the economic marketplace. Such expectations are usually driven by people’s preconceived ideas regarding goods or services. These ideas drive consumers to purchase one item over another or avoid companies with which they’ve had a previous bad experience. Consumers may also have high expectations for new products that have been given a lot of exposure through professional reviews or other media commentary.

Purchase Decisions

Marketing strategies often focus on consumer expectations in order to influence the purchase decisions made by consumers. Consumers can be broken down into three groups: those who are expected to buy, those who are not expected to buy, and those who are undecided about making a purchase. Businesses often focus on the latter two groups in order to persuade them to purchase their products.

Dispel Rumors

Negative consumer expectations are an important focus for marketing strategies, because companies may need to dispel rumors or bad impressions about their goods or services. These may be spread by competitors or individuals who have had a previous poor experience with the company. Since such rumors can lower consumer expectations, marketing strategies must address them and focus on correcting consumer expectations regarding a company’s products.

Promote Customer Service

Companies may use marketing strategies to promote their customer service and how it will meet consumer expectations. While consumers may feel wary about purchasing a product from a company, marketing strategies focusing on customer service techniques such as efficiency, reliability and competence may help soothe this uneasiness. Consumers may also have naturally high expectations regarding customer service, and companies can try to meet this expectation by touting their strong customer service department.

Expert Insight

A professional marketing or advertising agency can help companies understand current consumer expectations and tailor advertisements accordingly. Professional advertising agencies may also provide specific resources relating to target markets or demographic groups and the expectations each group has toward specific goods or services. These resource can save companies valuable time when developing new marketing strategies and promoting products.

Posted in Consumer Behavior with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by Consultant

Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning 

Segmentation, targeting, and positioning together comprise a three stage process.  We first (1) determine which kinds of customers exist, then (2) select which ones we are best off trying to serve and, finally, (3) implement our segmentation by optimizing our products/services for that segment andcommunicating that we have made the choice to distinguish ourselves that way.

Segmentation involves finding out what kinds of consumers with different needs exist.  In the auto market, for example, some consumers demand speed and performance, while others are much more concerned about roominess and safety.  In general, it holds true that “You can’t be all things to all people,” and experience has demonstrated that firms that specialize in meeting the needs of one group of consumers over another tend to be more profitable.

Generically, there are three approaches to marketing.  In the undifferentiatedstrategy, all consumers are treated as the same, with firms not making any specific efforts to satisfy particular groups.  This may work when the product is a standard one where one competitor really can’t offer much that another one can’t.  Usually, this is the case only for commodities.  In the concentratedstrategy, one firm chooses to focus on one of several segments that exist while leaving other segments to competitors.  For example, Southwest Airlines focuses on price sensitive consumers who will forego meals and assigned seating for low prices.  In contrast, most airlines follow the differentiated strategy:  They offer high priced tickets to those who are inflexible in that they cannot tell in advance when they need to fly and find it impractical to stay over a Saturday.  These travelers—usually business travelers—pay high fares but can only fill the planes up partially.  The same airlines then sell some of the remaining seats to more price sensitive customers who can buy two weeks in advance and stay over.

Note that segmentation calls for some tough choices.  There may be a large number of variables that can be used to differentiate consumers of a given product category; yet, in practice, it becomes impossibly cumbersome to work with more than a few at a time.  Thus, we need to determine which variables will be most useful in distinguishing different groups of consumers.  We might thus decide, for example, that the variables that are most relevant in separating different kinds of soft drink consumers are (1) preference for taste vs. low calories, (2) preference for Cola vs. non-cola taste, (3) price sensitivity—willingness to pay for brand names; and (4) heavy vs. light consumers.  We now put these variables together to arrive at various combinations.
Several different kinds of variables can be used for segmentation.

  • Demographic variables essentially refer to personal statistics such as income, gender, education, location (rural vs. urban, East vs. West), ethnicity, and family size.  Campbell’s soup, for instance, has found that Western U.S. consumers on the average prefer spicier soups—thus, you get a different product in the same cans at the East and West coasts.  Facing flat sales of guns in the traditional male dominated market, a manufacturer came out with the Lady Remmington, a more compact, handier gun more attractive to women.  Taking this a step farther, it is also possible to segment on lifestyle and values.”
  • Some consumers want to be seen as similar to others, while a different segment wants to stand apart from the crowd.
  • Another basis for segmentation is behavior.  Some consumers are “brand loyal”—i.e., they tend to stick with their preferred brands even when a competing one is on sale.  Some consumers are “heavy” users while others are “light” users.  For example, research conducted by the wine industry shows that some 80% of the product is consumed by 20% of the consumers—presumably a rather intoxicated group.
  • One can also segment on benefits sought, essentially bypassing demographic explanatory variables.  Some consumers, for example, like scented soap (a segment likely to be attracted to brands such as Irish Spring), while others prefer the “clean” feeling of unscented soap (the “Ivory” segment).  Some consumers use toothpaste primarily to promote oral health, while another segment is more interested in breath freshening.

In the next step, we decide to target one or more segments.  Our choice should generally depend on several factors.  First, how well are existing segments served by other manufacturers?  It will be more difficult to appeal to a segment that is already well served than to one whose needs are not currently being served well.  Secondly, how large is the segment, and how can we expect it to grow?  (Note that a downside to a large, rapidly growing segment is that it tends to attract competition).  Thirdly, do we have strengths as a company that will help us appeal particularly to one group of consumers?  Firms may already have an established reputation.  While McDonald’s has a great reputation for fast, consistent quality, family friendly food, it would be difficult to convince consumers that McDonald’s now offers gourmet food.  Thus, McD’s would probably be better off targeting families in search of consistent quality food in nice, clean restaurants.

Positioning involves implementing our targeting.  For example, Apple Computer has chosen to position itself as a maker of user-friendly computers.  Thus, Apple has done a lot through its advertising to promote itself, through its unintimidating icons, as a computer for “non-geeks.”  The Visual C software programming language, in contrast, is aimed a “techies.”

Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema suggested in their 1993 book The Discipline of Market Leaders that most successful firms fall into one of three categories:

  • Operationally excellent firms, which maintain a strong competitive advantage by maintaining exceptional efficiency, thus enabling the firm to provide reliable service to the customer at a significantly lower cost than those of less well organized and well run competitors.  The emphasis here is mostly on low cost, subject to reliable performance, and less value is put on customizing the offering for the specific customer.  Wal-Mart is an example of this discipline.  Elaborate logistical designs allow goods to be moved at the lowest cost, with extensive systems predicting when specific quantities of supplies will be needed.
  • Customer intimate firms, which excel in serving the specific needs of the individual customer well.  There is less emphasis on efficiency, which is sacrificed for providing more precisely what is wanted by the customer.  Reliability is also stressed.  Nordstrom’s and IBM are examples of this discipline.
  • Technologically excellent firms, which produce the most advanced products currently available with the latest technology, constantly maintaining leadership in innovation.  These firms, because they work with costly technology that need constant refinement, cannot be as efficient as the operationally excellent firms and often cannot adapt their products as well to the needs of the individual customer.  Intel is an example of this discipline.

Treacy and Wiersema suggest that in addition to excelling on one of the three value dimensions, firms must meet acceptable levels on the other two.  Wal-Mart, for example, does maintain some level of customer service.  Nordstrom’s and Intel both must meet some standards of cost effectiveness.  The emphasis, beyond meeting the minimum required level in the two other dimensions, is on the dimension of strength.
Repositioning involves an attempt to change consumer perceptions of a brand, usually because the existing position that the brand holds has become less attractive.  Sears, for example, attempted to reposition itself from a place that offered great sales but unattractive prices the rest of the time to a store that consistently offered “everyday low prices.”  Repositioning in practice is very difficult to accomplish.  A great deal of money is often needed for advertising and other promotional efforts, and in many cases, the repositioning fails.

To effectively attempt repositioning, it is important to understand how one’s brand and those of competitors are perceived.  One approach to identifying consumer product perceptions is multidimensional scaling.  Here, we identify how products are perceived on two or more “dimensions,” allowing us to plot brands against each other.  It may then be possible to attempt to “move” one’s brand in a more desirable direction by selectively promoting certain points.  There are two main approaches to multi-dimensional scaling.  In the a prioriapproach, market researchers identify dimensions of interest and then ask consumers about their perceptions on each dimension for each brand.  This is useful when (1) the market researcher knows which dimensions are of interest and (2) the customer’s perception on each dimension is relatively clear (as opposed to being “made up” on the spot to be able to give the researcher a desired answer).  In the similarity rating approach, respondents are not asked about their perceptions of brands on any specific dimensions.  Instead, subjects are asked to rate the extent of similarity of different pairs of products (e.g., How similar, on a scale of 1-7, is Snicker’s to Kitkat, and how similar is Toblerone to Three Musketeers?)  Using a computer algorithms, the computer then identifies positions of each brand on a map of a given number of dimensions.  The computer does not reveal what each dimension means—that must be left to human interpretation based on what the variations in each dimension appears to reveal.  This second method is more useful when no specific product dimensions have been identified as being of particular interest or when it is not clear what the variables of difference are for the product category.