Tough economic times, it’s more important than ever to be savvy when it comes to marketing your business. It’s essential to target your customers and let them know who you are and the solutions you offer. Smart business owners adopt a “operation business survival” mindset and get to work aggressively advertising and marketing their business when times get tough.
No matter what the talking heads are telling you about the current economy, people still have problems that they’re willing to pay money to solve. The grocery stores haven’t stopped selling food – the power company hasn’t stopped selling electricity. Check out your local restaurants if you need to be reassured that people STILL have money and are STILL spending it on the things they think are important!!!
If anything, this is a GREAT time for businesses who have their eye on their customer’s GDP (Goals, Desires and Problems) to get out the message of where customers can come to find solutions to their problems!
In my book, Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results, I share a story Joseph Sugarman tells in his book, Triggers. This story is a GREAT illustration of the importance of knowing the problems of your target customer.
Sugarman’s tale begins with him joining the worst fraternity on campus with the goal of transforming into the best fraternity on campus. The reason this fraternity was the worst on campus was simple; few on campus wanted to be members of this fraternity. To make the fraternity a success, he would have to work marketing magic on diagnosing what male college students wanted from a fraternity. He dubbed his plan “Operation Survival” because if his plan failed, the fraternity would surely lose their charter.
He began his quest at improving his fraternity’s “marketing plan” by identifying the problems facing young men at college and how joining a fraternity helps to solve those problems. According to Sugarman, most young men join a fraternity primarily to meet girls. Experiencing the camaraderie and brotherhood of the other members of the fraternity was another benefit of joining the fraternity that wasn’t openly acknowledged, but one Sugarman felt was a powerful motivator.
Sugarman’s “Operation Survival” plan was simple: He would invite the most beautiful women on campus to hostess during the get-acquainted events to address the first “desire” of potential members. He also instructed the members of the fraternity to act as if they genuinely possessed a sense of brotherhood with other members of the fraternity to address the second “motivating factor.”
The plan appeared to be doomed to failure at first. The first obstacle Sugarman encountered was none of the beautiful coeds on campus would have anything to do with his fraternity. To make matters worse, the members of the fraternity could barely stand to be around each other. It took great effort for the members to express mere tolerance for each other, let alone brotherly love.
Sugarman had to adopt a couple of “unorthodox” methods to execute his brilliant marketing plan. First, since the beautiful women on campus would have nothing to do with his fraternity, he hired exotic dancers from a nearby strip club to pose as university co-eds and hostesses during the get-acquainted parties held by the fraternity.
To succeed in the second part of the plan, Sugarman had to have his fraternity brethren practice acting “brotherly” so they would project the “camaraderie and brotherhood” pledges were seeking. Each of his fellow fraternity brothers practiced putting their hands on each other’s shoulders and speaking highly of his other fraternity brothers.
In the end, Operation Survival was a success. The fraternity pledged the largest class in history, all because Joseph Sugarman understood the individual needs of men who pledge a fraternity and carefully crafted a plan to persuade his fellow class mates that his fraternity could meet those needs and solve those problems.
I regale you in this tale because your business offers some sort of solution to your customers’ problems. In the case of Joseph Sugarman, his “customers” were other men on campus.
Because he was a member of his target audience, he had accurate insight into what his target market’s problems were and the solutions they were seeking. By devising a marketing strategy that spoke to the specific problem experienced by other young men on campus, he achieved his marketing goals for his fraternity.
What are the pressing issues for your target customers? Can you help them save money with your products or services? Perhaps you can help them to earn more money with your products or services?
Discover what your customers are seeking and then let them know you have it, ready for delivery!
What problems, goals or desires does YOUR business target?