It’s tough. The more technologically advanced our customers get, and the greater the increase in tonnage of landfill that crosses my desk in the form of direct mail, combined with growing industry skepticism, the more I really want to stop sending postcards before a tradeshow at which we are about to exhibit.
If you are anything like me, which assumes you are reading a marketing blog because you do, in fact, have something to do with marketing, then you receive, on a daily basis, copious quantities of unsolicited direct mail.
And, if your reaction to receiving said direct mail is anything like mine, at least ninety-nine percent receives the focus of your attention only as long as it takes to move it from your desk to your trash can.
After speaking with several acquaintances, in and out of marketing, the consensus is clear, and their collective desire with to discontinue contribution to landfills, overwhelming.
If this is in fact the case, why do I insist on sending a postcard prior to a show advertising our product and inviting the attendee to visit our booth?
Answer : The THREE OR FOUR individuals who proudly display the postcard when they visit our booth.
That’s it. It amounts to a discernible .0008 rate of known return. By the numbers I should never pay for it. Yet the attendees are part of our target market, they attend shows like the ones at which we exhibit to learn, and the opportunity to showcase our brand in this way is just too good to pass up.
That being stated, I have never, nor can I ever see myself sending out direct mail blindly. But when I have the opportunity to reinforce our tradeshow messaging it makes sense.
So rather than jump on the “Direct Mail is Dead” bandwagon that seems to be cropping up, I will say that just like any other marketing tool, one needs to determine if and how it can be effective. And also, just because your direct mail piece can be used solely as a coaster, do you really want it to be?
Any other instances in which you have successfully utilized physical direct mail?
In the next few weeks we will be releasing a new product to the world. We’ve spent almost a year on development.
It’s going to be a great product, and bring real value to our future customers.
In order for me to type that last sentence confidently, a great deal of work had to go into not just the creation of this new software, but in determining market need, saleability, and perhaps almost as important as the quality of the product – who my target market is and how to get them to buy it.
Needless to say, the market need for the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in (UIUSD), after speaking with quite a few Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) admins, is pretty ripe. The software is priced competitively, and we feel that reception will be overwhelmingly positive.
The biggest issue?
Our target market is almost too defined.
You read correctly, I did just declare that we know EXACTLY who our target audience is and where to find them, and I made it read like it actually might be a slightly negative thing.
The reason I feel this way is due to the extremely specific, and small number of individuals to whom I need to market.
As an illustration, the advantage of our existing product is that target messaging carries with it secondary, and even tertiary possibilities depending on the interaction. For example, our current product, the UIU, is designed to work with any operating system cloning and deployment solution to reduce the number of OS images an organization needs to maintain down to ONE by, among other features, handling all the drivers needed for any hardware component. The messaging is such that any entry-level help desk individual, IT Manager, all the way up to CTO or CIO of any company utilizing anything like Ghost, Altiris, Zenworks, , Acronis, FOG, ImageX, etc., can be made aware of the time-saving benefits.
In contrast however, the UIUSD is a plug-in specifically for SCCM and as such, our target market is limited to SCCM admins only in Enterprise environments actually utilizing SCCM. In addition, the innate complexities of the robust SCCM platform greatly reduce the likelihood that anyone in the organization not intimately familiar with SCCM would benefit from the kind of targeted messaging able to generate quality leads.
So on one hand my job with our new product is easy when defining my ideal prospect, but on the other hand, quite a bit more difficult in planning campaigns that reach the exact right person at the exact right time.
Won’t stop me from selling the heck out of our awesome new product though.
Have you ever had a target market that was too specific?
When I set out to write a blog post, I diligently do a bit of research to see what is being discussed about my current post topic. Largely to gain any insights on current ideas, but also to make sure I’m not unintentionally lifting any content, or coming across as foolish. When researching for this post I was really quite surprised at the lack of comprehensive coverage of ‘how to define an ideal customer’.
I define a customer as one who has purchased something from Big Bang and everything that goes along with said purchase. A customer was at one point a prospect/lead, but all my prospects are certainly not customers.
So I was quite surprised when almost every item I found when searching for ‘defining ideal customer’ dealt exclusively with defining an ideal prospect.
I think this is woefully shortsighted. As essential as defining a target market/demographic/prospect is to gaining a customer, the buying habits, satisfaction with product, and most importantly, customer loyalty, are necessary to defining an ideal customer.
In order to successfully do this, Big Bang needs to understand not just what caused a prospect to become a customer of our product, but how that product improved their image cloning and deployment program, what features can we add to make it even more efficient, how their environment changed over time, how effective was support, why they did, or did not renew after their first year, how long they have been a customer, etc.
If I don’t understand these essential qualities of a customer, how can I possible define one, let alone make the necessary adjustments in order to build a lasting relationship?
After all, if I can continue with our current software renewal rate of 92% with each new customer, the long-term revenue implications are obvious compared to a single purchase with no renewal.
Target prospect + purchase + customer satisfaction/duration = Ideal Customer
About Big Bang Blog
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|About Adam Murphy -
Adam is the President and Owner of Big Bang LLC and espouses a pretty progressive small business philosophy based primarily around hiring the right people and getting the hell out of their way.
|About Nate Bauer -
Nate is the Marketing Director for Big Bang LLC and pretty much spends his days tip-toeing on the pinnacle of how to most effectively implement strategy given the wide open cookie jar of small business marketing possibilities.
|About Kelley Burian - @kelleyburian
Kelley is the Sales Director for Big Bang LLC. Responsible for everything from GSA contracts, resellers and international customers, she has her hands full doing whatever she can to make sure our valued clients are thrilled with our fantastic products.