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I’ve noticed over the last year that a lot of different industries are experiencing what might be a real-life game of capture the flag. Real estate, insurance, coffee, orthodontics and many more local categories are seeing a surge of young 30-40 somethings who are extremely energetic and tech-savvy enter their competitive landscape and for the seasoned business owner, this can be a bit worrisome. The idea of a challenger to their target customer base can be frightening for those who have relied on handshakes and face-to-face meetings for the length of their career.
On the flip side, those young bucks who are masters at social media and online sales funnels may be finding it challenging to seal the deal since they don’t have a respectable number of years under their belt and find in-person networking a bit intimidating. If you haven’t “seen it all,” it could be a chink in your armor and if we’re talking about services or products that are on the higher end of the investment spectrum then that can be a definite problem when trying to meet monthly projections.
So what is the solution if you’re sitting in either of these camps? Optimally, you’ll want to explore how you can hire, collaborate or create a strategic partnership with the opposing team. If you’re able to do that, you’ve essentially assembled the A-team.
Whether you join forces or not, you’ll want to be sure that your marketing game is diversified and continually expanding, but before you do anything, there’s one thing both sides need to do. It’s simple, talk with your target customer(s) and if your target customer is gradually getting younger, it’s even more crucial to have those conversations.
Unless you do this, you’ll continue to be operating on assumptions and guesses. While these might be well-educated guesses, you’ll be experimenting with your hard-earned money, time and resources to see if you’re right, so find some time to hear it straight from your customers’ mouths. Invite your optimal customers to lunch, coffee or just a chat with you. In exchange, offer them a gift card, special VIP bonus, or something special that demonstrates your appreciation for their time.
As a local marketing strategist, I force my clients to hold these conversations as the smallest details that a client shares can mean the difference between them and similar customers walking through your door or shopping with your competitor. The beauty of this tactic is that 95% of local businesses DO NOT do this. So by now, you’re probably curious what to ask. Essentially, you’ll want to get to the point where you know your customers inside and out, from what frustrates them in life and with your industry to where they buy their groceries. All of this intel will be invaluable to you, some of it will be immediate and other information will be assist you 6 months down the line as you implement your marketing plan.
Here is a beginning list of questions to get the conversation started:
You get the picture, but as you walk through some of these questions, you’ll begin to pick up on the fact that the lifestyle they are living and breathing may very well dictate how you can infiltrate the marketing they’re already being bombarded with so you can get their attention to let them know you exist.
Now that you have an idea of what they’re all about, it’s time to dive a little deeper to determine what their essential needs and wants are, as well as what will ultimately make them happier and basically make their lives easier for them. Here are a few questions you should be able to answer so you can fine tune your brand messaging and overall marketing communications.
Once you have all this information in your hands, you will have been given the road map to reaching your target customer. And if you’re battling those who you feel have a leg up on you, you now have the secret weapon to race across the competitive landscape and grab that market share that you need to get your business back in the game. You may be feeling like you’re in a Spartan race right now, but with this new intel, the ability to now craft your brand communications so they resonate with your customers, and a marketing plan that’s rock solid, your competition is going to be shaking in their boots.
If you're looking for the secret weapon to adapt to your changing competitive landscape and ever-changing target customer, be sure to review our services as we're fired up to help you go BIG with your business.
As founder of The Root Group, Bryce Root has a sincere passion for helping small business owners via his 20+ years of diverse marketing experience.
The Santa Cruz Business Insurance Experts