If you're still operating under the marketing principles that worked ten years ago, your brand equity and customer base may be slipping away before your very eyes. In fact, in many ways, the strategies that work today are polar opposites to those deemed effective a mere decade ago.
Under the old rules, we created products and services which appealed to the masses and likewise marketed them in that way -- broadcasting to as large an audience as possible with a generic message that appealed to most. Growth was earned by building mass market awareness around your brand and then leveraging that consumer familiarity by creating product-line extensions with equal mass appeal.
Those days are gone.
In today's reality, the Internet and the sheer volume of media outlets have created a highly fragmented marketplace. Brands can more easily identify smaller groups of buyers with their own distinct interests and communication preferences. What's more, thanks to small batch manufacturing, new distribution options, and infinitely more detailed consumer data available to marketers, consumers have come to expect brands to communicate with them in a highly personalized fashion. Refuse to adapt and consumers will simply tune out messaging that doesn't speak to them directly. After all, it's easy to do given the tremendous volume of promotional content they are exposed to in any given day.
So, what are the new rules?
Rule number one: Narrow your target market to a specific niche versus trying to be all things to all people. In fact, the more you can narrow your focus the better, as long as you don't so limit your pool of buyers that you impede growth.
Rule number two: Regularly ask consumers within your niche what they want and expect from your brand and develop products and services accordingly. Great brands listen to the marketplace and respond quickly, versus putting upon consumers what they deem important -- a more egalitarian approach to research and development.
Rule number three: Highly target your messaging and the marketing channels selected to your brand's specific niche. Gone are the days of casting a wide advertising net.
Brands that successfully market in the new economy will forgo the desire to appeal to the masses. They will establish brand loyalty among as narrow a niche of consumers as economically feasible by creating a highly customized experience that is ultra relevant. They will position themselves as specialists able to anticipate and nimbly adapt to the needs of their target. And they will be rewarded with greater profitability.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).