Often the first question I ask new clients is to describe the community they serve? Simply put, who is your target audience?
I get a mix of reactions that include:
- Everyone in the world
- Everyone in our category
- People in business
- Everyone with cash
It isn’t easy marketing a product and then searching for someone to sell it to.
This is backward and requires a deeper look at your approach.
When you understand a very targeted audience like new moms with twins, you can create your product to fit their needs. The product won’t be the same as a target audience based on new moms with one child. How can your product solve a distinct problem for a community if you don’t have a narrow view of who you want to reach? Focus on a thin, narrow, sliver of a target.
Find a Community, then Develop a Product
There are so many examples of companies that started with a very specific community in mind before they created their first product. My daughter Fanny told me about one that resonated with her in Wilmington, NC. It hasn’t opened yet because they have a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. But the idea is a great example of starting with a community first before you create a product, service or store.
The Scratching Post Cat Café – What is a cat cafe?
For people who love cats, this is a safe, clean, happy and cage-free environment for kitties of all shapes and sizes. It’s a place where you can curl up with a book in your hand and kitty in your lap! Cat cafes offer a unique experience for both cats and humans! Cats will be able to live in the cafe free of cages and spoiled by customers and staff.
They also provide an opportunity for some stress relief! Cuddling and petting cats is scientifically proven to lower your heart rate! The concept began in Asia and quickly spread to the UK and now the United States. Often these cafes have adjoining coffee shops that are separated by a door, from the cat cafe. That way, you can bring your latte to a different, adjoining space and play with kittens while you sip your coffee.
This café isn’t for everyone, like people who don’t like cats or who prefer dogs. But it is narrowly designed for a specific community. It provides stress release for people who love cats. Who is this cafe targeted to reach? People like Fanny, are their target market. people who love cats, love stress release and enjoy coffee and want all three things at the same time.
Here is a link to their Kickstarter campaign if you’d like to contribute.
A few more examples:
- Untuckit – The community is young, professional men who don’t want a casual shirt that looks great and doesn’t have to be tucked in. So, not just men, but young men 18-39 who like the casual look of an untucked shirt that doesn’t look weird because the shirt was designed to be tucked in. This is a narrow target and not for everyone.
- Lefty’s – A website for the 15% of the population who are left-handed and need kitchen, office and gardening tools. Why not sell both types of scissors and spatulas for left-handed and right-handed folks? If Lefty’s did that, they wouldn’t be serving THEIR community of left-handed people who enjoy cooking and gardening.
- Blanc de Bleu Cuvee – A sparkling blue wine for weddings. (Something old, something new, something borrowed, something Bleu) In this example, this sparkling wine is occasion specific, serving a distinct occurrence that ties in with the essence (blue color) of the brand. Sparkling wine (and champagne) are consumed at weddings more than any other occasion. So, a slightly blue-tinged sparkling wine serves a unique community during a specific event.
Marketing is so much easier when you start with a community in mind that you will serve. It gives you a clarity when you can say that my product is designed for people who are members of this community.
One more quick illustration of this strategic approach to product development.
Imagine you have a brewery that makes craft beer.
Think how different the product, package, and image would be if you were making it for Harley Davidson Motorcycle fans versus beer for ballerinas.
Start with a community. Then create a product just for them.
What community do you serve? Are you making beer for ballerinas or boys on bikes?
Need help with a new product launch designed with the marketing in mind? Let’s talk. I serve businesses who need help growing sales through strategic and well-targeted marketing. 919 720 0995 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Scratching Cat Cafe/Wilmington, NC.