It happens to everyone. You’re excited about promoting a new product; you roll out your marketing campaign and… it flat-lines. In other cases, you’re using sales materials that have worked for years when suddenly… nothing. Sales/business comes to a stand-still.
Whether you realize it or not, the world and the markets in it are transforming right before our very eyes. Large mass markets have imploded and a multitude of Micro markets have evolved and are evolving from the wreckage. The music industry is a good example of this.
The newspaper industry is following the same pattern.
Mass markets are rapidly becoming “micro-markets.” The days of one size fits all products and services are over.
Micro markets are specialized markets. Here’s a simple example; a micro brewery creates a specialized product – crafted with a specific type of consumer in mind. They do not target a mass market. They are not targeting a “general public” consumer type. Instead, they focus upon the beer aficionado. This is the type of person who’d opt for a glass of water before drinking a Bud Lite. Funny, but true.
A mass market is a large group of people who have a particular need, desire, etc. If you interview the people within the group/market and categorize their responses, you’d find several sub-groups emerging from the large group. These are the “micro markets.” A newspaper is an example of a publication that targets a mass market. A blog, on the other hand, is the perfect vehicle for delivering a message to a micro market.
Consider your own market. If you have a general message that’s working, I’ll be the last person to suggest changing it. If that’s not the case, I suggest focusing on finding a “market within your market.”
Here are four simple steps you can take immediately to help reveal an untapped micro-market existing within the larger market.
1. Adjust your message. Don’t scrap it. Adjust it. Sometimes you have to say the same thing using different words. Why? Because your audience has become desensitized to the “same old headline.” Infamous ads that worked in the past do not have the same pulling power they did 20 or 30 years ago. Times change and you have to make your adjustments accordingly.
2. Reconnect with “the people.” It’s easy to lose touch. Time, money, energy – all these things are invested (and often lost) amidst a myriad of responsibilities and pursuit’s – day in and day out. Are you sure you’re still in touch with your market, its pursuits, concerns, etc? Take the time and start talking to the people again. Ask questions. Get in touch with their current concerns and needs - don’t guess or assume anything.
3. Provide Solutions the market can afford. It’s easy to justify greed. Don’t be greedy. Greed goes well beyond price-points. Obviously, if it costs a lot to manufacture, warehouse or ship a product – you still have to make enough of a profit to warrant staying in business at the end of the day. Those things aside, consider your pricing structure. For years I’ve experimented with the “small, medium and large” concept. When first starting out, I thought “cheap” was the best way to get off to a fast start. Would you believe I was wrong?!
4. Adjust your short and long term focus. Let’s face the facts, some industries are dying and they’re not coming back. Not like they were and not in our lifetime, either. If I worked in a dying industry, it wouldn’t matter of pride for me to be one of the last men standing. When the writing’s clearly on the wall, why go down with the ship? There comes a time when a new plan is exactly what you need. It happened to me and while it wasn’t enjoyable, I came out much further ahead than I would have had I stuck with the same old, tired out plan.
There are times when sticking with something through thick and thin will lead to great breakthroughs and the rewards will be well worth the effort. And there are other times it’s simply a fool’s errand. Over the years, the US Military learned from experience – an entrance strategy is extremely important but at the end of the day, the exit strategy is just as important.
Don’t begin a project only having an “entrance strategy” in place. Have an exit strategy in place as well. Write it down on paper. How far are you willing to go? Don’t sit about wondering about it. Know for sure. How much time, effort and resources are you willing to invest?
Are you willing to endure some “discomfort” along the way? There will almost certainly be some.
Knowing these things up front will keep you from making emotional decisions along the way. It will help you from giving up to soon or staying with a losing proposition for too long.