The First Step in Marketing
Marketing FOR Customers
In the good ole’ days of marketing (think Mad Men), marketing was something that was done to customers. Options were limited and advertisers had their customers’ attention. Think about it…when there was one local newspaper (and people actually read it) and two grocery stores in town (that basically sold the same things), it was easy for each store to make its pitch to just about everyone who needed to buy groceries.
Today, think about (a) all the options you have to buy groceries and (b) all the different mediums those options have to make their pitch to you. Your choices are overwhelming. That’s why, nowadays, marketing is something that is done for customers.
We live in New York City – let’s look at our options.
The Whole Foods that’s a few neighborhoods away is for people who care about the quality of their food, are less concerned about the price, and have a car or Amazon Prime subscription for delivery.
The C-Town is for people who want to walk to the store and find most everything they need, with reasonable quality and a reasonable price.
The bodega on the corner is for people who want something basic right now and are willing to sacrifice quality.
The boutique, artisan market a couple blocks away is for people who want the best quality of certain items, don’t mind paying a premium, and are willing to go to a few different places to get everything they need.
The farmer’s market that happens every Saturday is for people who want to support local farmers, care about fresh, quality food, and can wait until Saturday to do their shopping.
Each business is alive and well. Why? Because they’ve each positioned themselves for a specific type of customer. Doing so is often defined as finding a niche. In This is Marketing, Seth Godin refers to it as finding an edge or extreme.
So, before you start pumping out content and even before you finalize your offering, the first step of marketing is to find your edge. As Godin says, “Your job as a marketer is to find a spot on the map with edges that (some) people want to find.”
Once you do that, then you can create (or adjust) your offering for customers on that edge and create all your marketing for them as well. If you try to market to everyone, you’ll get lost in the crowd.
The Graphing Method
In This is Marketing, Godin outlines a graphing method to find your edge. Here’s the process (I promise, it’s not as complicated as it might seem at first, and we’ve provided some examples to make it clear):
Pick two attributes of your potential offering, each with two extremes, that people care about. Make one you X-axis and the other your Y-axis. A simple example is price – one extreme is outrageously expensive, while the other extreme is free. We’ve included some other options below. Make sure you choose unique attributes to avoid crowded markets.
Plot the options that potential customers have on the map. Think of these options as alternatives to your offering rather than competitors.
Claim your edge. Find an empty spot on the graph and make it yours. Now you see why the other options are alternatives rather than competitors – you’re selling to different people.
Try out different axes to develop more clarity on where exactly you want to be.
Here are some other attributes to consider:
Customer Support Accessibility
The Graphing Method Brought to Life
Let’s go back to our grocery store options here in NYC. Here are two graphs, each with a different set of axes.
On the left, we look at how convenient going to each store is vs the quality of food available. On the right, the number of options available at each store are compared to the general prices.
Now, here’s a couple of our graphs of alternatives, which will show you how we chose our edge.
On the left graph, we look at the professional appearance of the content vs the amount of time it takes to create that content. Our digital marketing templates and training allow you to create professional-looking content in a fraction of the time it would take you to do it on your own.
The graph on the right shows how hard it is to develop content vs the cost involved in creating it. Our one-time process makes it easy for you to generate content without paying a monthly fee to have someone else do it for you.
Now It’s Your Turn
Whatever stage your business is at, go through the process yourself! If you’re just getting started, your graphs will help you define your ideal customer and build your business for him/her. If you have a well-established business, this method will give you more clarity and hopefully further affirm your direction.
Once you finish your graphs, send them our way! We’d love to see them. And if you have any trouble, let us know – we’ll be happy to help!