I don’t understand why we don’t do more on a regular basis to connect in a meaningful way with what I think is the largest potential segment of the population; one that represents the largest opportunity in future growth for our business or organization. As small business owners and managers, entrepreneurs, people involved in really worthwhile community groups and organizations and associations, we just don’t do it. Most of us are screaming at the smallest slice of the pie: the people that you might consider today’s potential customers.
I think there’s a really natural reason why we do this. We’re all working hard, we’re pouring resources into communicating what we’re doing, and just busy doing what we’re doing. And so we want to see results quickly to validate the work that we’re doing, and the money that we’re spending, or the effort that we’re putting into our marketing and advertising efforts.
But expecting an immediate return on that really isn’t all that different from a farmer going out into the field, dropping seeds into the ground and then standing there, tapping their foot like Sonic the Hedgehog, expecting the crops to come up that same day. It doesn’t work like that. Those seeds are going to need sunlight. They’re going to need water. They’re going to need air, they’re going to need to be nurtured before they finally come up. And regardless of what segment we might be in, in our business or creative endeavors or community pursuits, the exact same laws apply.
Screaming At “The Slice”
Let me give you an example with a bit of a visual. We’ll get the white board out for this one. Let’s use cars as a segment of business so that you can sort of get into your mind. No matter what sort of media you’re consuming, whether it’s radio or TV, print media, digital media, social media, you’re gonna see, hear, interact with ads for car dealers.
So, let’s suppose this circle (at left) represents the entire population base, the percentage of people, the whole pie, that everybody’s trying to draw from in your immediate sort of municipal area. Now, we’re going to forgive the idea for now, or just excuse the idea that, the world is really this pie if you can leverage what you’re doing online. But we’ll get to that in future videos. For now, we’re talking about the city, the town, the area in which you’re doing business. This is your potential customer pool.
“Today” Customers: The Smallest Segment, The Most Noise
If I’m selling cars, right now, there’s a certain percentage of the population that in the next 30, 60, 90 days, is going to be in the position to be making a decision on a vehicle. They’re going to trade in their lease, they’re going to get into another vehicle, they’re going to upgrade on their finance, they’re going to have an “old beater” that’s finally ready to die that they’re going to need to replace, or something like that. But the people that are in the market to buy what they’re selling in the next 30, 60, 90 days, is probably going to be a percentage that looks something like that (below, at right).
And you know what? That’s probably generous. That slice I drew is almost a quarter of the pie. I think if you look into it, you’ll find the statistics on people that are almost ready to buy it today, or in the next month, two months, three months, is the small segment of the overall population.
Well, it’s that slice of the pie that almost all of us are guilty of screaming at.
“Hurry in and save! Zero percent financing! The lowest factory lease rates! The 10-year drive train warranty! Midnight madness, this weekend only!”
It’s just blaring numbers and data at us that has very little to do with lifestyle or need of that particular customer, just bludgeoning everybody that might be making a decision within the next days. I can tell you that when I made my last decision on a vehicle, I didn’t listen to any of that stuff, because none of it talked about what I was looking for in a vehicle or what suited my needs. But setting that aside for a moment …
“Tomorrow” Customers: The Most Opportunity Gets the Least Attention
If so many of the advertisers are screaming at that segment – they want the crops to come up the same day they planted the seed – what are we doing, and what are they doing, to talk to this segment here (pictured at left)?
I’m in this segment (at left). All of these ads (the arrows in the small segment), are just white noise to me. They’re just numbers that don’t mean anything. I’m not interested. And so when I come all the way back around in this cycle, and for me it’s going to be at least a couple of years or maybe three or four before I finally get back around into where I’m into this segment again (the small slice) where I’m going be what you might consider a “today customer,” or a potential customer in the next 30, 60, 90 days.
What are the advertising messages doing to try to build awareness and a relationship, and an interest with me when I’m in this group (the larger slice of the pie)? Because if you just think about this logically, it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling plumbing services, or lawyer services, or electronics, or cars, or anything that you can think of. The vast majority of the population is going to be somewhere in the “tomorrow customer” crowd. But there’s an opportunity that they might, in some case, or in some day, be in this smaller, more targeted wedge. When they get in there, what is it going to be that’s going to have been done that will make them have your name pop up on a list in your mind?
Well, here’s another thing that marketers and advertisers don’t think of. I’m in the “tomorrow customer segment,” right? I’m not considered a “today customer” for the example that we’re using in this case: vehicles. But what if I have a friend or a family member who is? Don’t we talk to each other about, “Who can you recommend? Who have you used? What have you done?”
So, what story are you telling? What relationship are you building with the larger segment of the population before they get into the sweet spot where they’re just going to get bludgeoned with messages of urgency, but very little that does anything to set apart why I might want to do business with you and why you might be able to uniquely serve one of my needs?
If you were looking to attract the attention of another person as a potential partner, would you just stand there shouting “Marry me! Marry me! Marry me,” to anyone and everyone who passed by?
I sure hope not. So why do so many of us do that with our advertising?
Think about how much opportunity is out there in that largest percentage of the population. Are you telling a story that might be of any way interest to them, so that you’re building a bit of a relationship and they may think of you when they get into that mode of perhaps “buying today?” Think about it, and then look at how you’re messaging and see if it’s serving you.
Not just for today, but for tomorrow too.
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