Consumers don’t want to buy products... they want their problems solved.
Consumers don't want to be sold a service... they want the service to solve a problem that they can't and don't know how to deal with.
So if you can do it for them, and solve that issue, they will buy from you when they want that problem solved.
Want an example?
I recently wanted to invest in a reliable set of tools that will (hopefully) last for years, but which ones should I buy?
The answer can be, and most frequently is, much more complex than you think, and the marketing that I witnessed made me write this post.
In a couple of words - the marketing I saw was... terrible!
It wasn't aimed at someone like me, and certainly didn't aim to resolve any problems I had - so it got me thinking about other industries who do this and how often they miss the mark?
Take the cosmetics industry, for example...
The majority of companies in this space don’t just sell make-up... they sell lifestyle ideals; glamour, confidence, and style.
But do they target those who may have skin allergies? Prefer a greener product? Some do - but very, very few.
Think about this in a problem-solving context from the perspective of the cosmetic industry marketing teams; people who may not feel glamorous, confident or stylish - will if they use a particular product. This lies at the heart of most cosmetics advertising, and this concept applies to many other industries, too. They want to hit the widest possible target, and then sell to them. That way the money they spend is more likely to give them a return.
But by doing so, they also miss out on other niche's who may be ripe for targeting with their message.
Now, I agree that all marketing should be targeted, and most businesses try to spread that target as wide as they can - they do miss the target of people outside that area because of that sometimes extremely narrow targeting.
Let me give you a metaphoric example - I may have used this before in a previous post - you as an archer are standing on a fog drenched medieval battlefield - you have lost your way - you can hear people fighting all around you - you can choose to fire one arrow in one direction - and you might hit someone - doubtful it will be the right person - or you could fire arrows off in all directions and maybe hit a couple of people - OR you could fire a bunch of arrows in a small narrow arch and increase your chance of hitting someone - but then you miss the big armour clad knight coming up from behind you ready to clobber you!
Ignoring the other people in the wider market who might be looking for your products solutions will work against you. You are still might be able to solve their problems, but if your marketing message doesn't hit home with them - they won't know that you are there, and they could very well be a big market segment that you weren't aware of that exists.
In my opinion, there is NO such thing as a perfect customer. Using data and demographics to find someone like them, gives you just an indication of who they might be. Letting them know you can help them solve their problem is all well and good.... AND maybe if you have a good, persuasive, compelling marketing the message will reach them - but what about everyone else?
That's where mass media does it's best job - you are talking to the masses, a lot of people, some of whom may be those you are specifically targeting, but the rest aren't - yet! AND they might also know someone who can use your product or service, but if they don't know you exist... you get the point.
Anyway, I was telling my father in-law about this problem and he said to me that he only buys X Brand of tools because they last - no matter how they are treated and how much work he does with them. Now THAT was exactly what I wanted to hear. So I purchased a full set of those tools (I have yet to use them - but I know that when I go to use them - they will take any punishment I can give them because of a personal recommendation).
The thing is - these tools are not targeted at someone like me - they are meant for professional mechanics, working in a motor vehicle workshop. I have never, ever seen these tools marketed anywhere - because the company only sells to that niche market... they are missing out on so many more 'happy to spend with them' customers because of this narrow marketing.
Are you doing the same thing and just marketing on-line? Just in print? Are you ONLY targeting your demographic group or businesses?
Having your marketing message target those groups is all well and good - but don't forget that there are other problems out there that your product or service could be the solution for - you just need to let people know that you exist and what you do.