While finding the niche is tough, I have found creating the messaging to make people raise their hand to show interest is the toughest part
This requires immense attention to the nuances of the words being used. You need to keep chiseling on the words such that you use the least amount of words with the highest impact.
But even before you get down to putting words on paper, how do you make out ” what’s going on in the customer’s mind”
The famous Clayton Christensen experiment on the job of the milkshake was directed to exactly figure out what’s going on in the minds of people who buy a milkshake in the morning at McDonald’s.
You will need to test hypothesis and have the patience to continuously iterate and improve on what’s working and dump what’s not.
Somethings which I have found very useful are ideas from Jay Abraham and Dean Jackson. I would highly recommend reading Jay’s book Getting All you want from What you Have and listening to the MoreCheeseLessWhiskers podcast by Dean.
Once you know the usage, which we discussed in the last 2 posts, you can start making some hypothesis by getting into the shoes of the customers.
In the dry cleaning example that I used yesterday…maybe you could think if they are a single parent doing multiple jobs or they could be a family with both parents working….each could have a different challenge
In the case of the Disaster Recovery example which was a B2B case, maybe the customer has their own DR site is now looking for a different kind of a DR…they would think in terms of the different types of technologies available, feasibility etc. While someone who is going for a DR execution for the first time could be more interested in where do I start from.
Like I said earlier, this is one of the toughest jobs because you have to be creative in conceptualizing and building the message but you have to be scientific in measuring and testing your different messages.
Till next time then.
Yesterday we spoke about a specific usage scenario can create a niche for doing DR for ERP users in states where hurricanes are common.
Lets look at how on the consumer side you could use the same concept.
There are a lot of dry cleaners in every city. If you were to segment by just the demographics you may not be able to come up with a uniquely different niche.
But suppose, your demographic data threw up a lot of families with kids and you were to target parents of kids who play sports.
You create your operation in such a way that you can turn around a dry clean in less than 6 hours.
When my son was school going, there were so many times I wished if we had a dry cleaner who could get the blazer cleaned within a few hours.
Now if you can message to these parents about how you can get their sports stains completely removed within 6 hours, then you could remove one of the major hassles.
For doing this service you could be charging a premium. Once you have made the customer you could still offer the normal dry cleaning as well for all types of clothes but you will create the perception of being a specialist.
Where this strategy could fail is if there aren’t enough school going kids in the neighborhood or if someone is already giving 6 hour dry cleaning for all clothes at all times.
Marketing at the end of the day is also knowing about what your direct competitors are doing as well as what are the other methods for the customer to achieve the same outcome.
As I write these things, I also sometimes get a better understanding of how to solve a problem I am facing. As Joe Polish says – and I am paraphrasing it – the best way to learn anything, is when you are able to teach someone about it.
Till next time.
One of the flaws of identifying a niche by doing pure demographics is painting all customers with the same brush.
My suggestion for identifying a niche is to first segment by demographics and then segment by usage.
Lets say you are a company which provides backup and disaster recovery services. There are a whole lot of companies who can put on their brochures that they provide backup and DR services.
All it needs is a company which has some backup software and access to the cloud platforms to say that you could provide a DR solution.
So how can you differentiate your company’s offerings.
How about offering DR to users of ERPs in zones which are prone to hurricane activity. You could talk about how you are geared to move complete IT operations of your customers to another site in case a hurricane strikes.
Your messaging then becomes very specific to those kind of customers. You then look at what all are the possible options that the customer has to achieve the same objectives. Something similar to what Clayton Christensen speaks about the job of the Milkshake
Based on this you further fine tune your niche and accordingly build your messaging and your go-to-market plan.
This was a B2B example from IT. Tomorrow we will take an example from the consumer side.