You can have the best products in the world, but by marketing products to your target market, you have a better chance of meeting your sales goals. In a world where more and more people buy online, facing market saturation fueled by emerging brands in profitable industries, you really must go above and beyond your competition to make your company and products stand out from the crowd and to entice people to make purchases or increase your share of their market spend. And, marketing provides the vehicle to meet market challenges.
What is marketing?
According to the American Marketing Association, marketing involves:
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Hence, most marketing experts use the 4Ps as the guiding principle for developing marketing strategy. These 4 elements are:
- Place (distribution)
Yet, every student who ever took a marketing course knows that matching your marketing strategy to a specific target market or target markets determines the success of that strategy.
We know that people aren’t the same; they have different incomes and lifestyles, different wants and needs, and different attitudes and beliefs. These differences make for a richer world, but they place havoc with your marketing strategy since consumers who love one brand are indifferent or even hate another.
Face the reality that consumers buy solutions, not products. And, not everyone has the same problems, not everyone is motivated to solve a problem (since consumers face any number of problems and you can’t afford to solve them all), and not everyone believes a specific product will solve their problem.
Hence, success comes by matching your products with a specific target market or markets that are most likely to buy your products. Here’s a great example showing 2 brands that appeal to 2 different target markets. Both are successful, despite their different approaches to marketing products within their product lines.
This commercial clearly positions a Mac as cool, hip, and casual, while a PC is formal, straight, and functional. You could say the commercial is great at promoting both brands since some users prefer the solidness of a PC over the trendiness of a Mac. The last thing a brand wants is to appear the same as their competition or, possibly worse, to have no image in the minds of consumers.
Thus, your goal in marketing products is to give your brand an image that resonates with your particular target market; an image that makes them feel good about their purchase and good about themselves.
Great tips for marketing products
Know your target market
First, must understand your target market. What do they like? How do they live their lives? What factors are most critical in making a purchase decision in your niche, we call these “hot buttons”? Where can you reach them?
Next, research your competition so you visualize how you’re different from competitors, which is key to building a marketing message. You can’t just say your products do something, you must articulate what you do better than your competition to give consumers a reason to choose your brand.
A perceptual map helps build this understanding by locating brands within your market along a 2-dimensional axis representing consumer hot buttons (with software, you can create multi-dimensional perceptual maps by adding additional hot buttons. Here’s what a perceptual map looks like in the candy market with cost on the x-axis and quality on the y.
Position product to appeal to your target market
Positioning involves taking your understanding regarding what your target market wants and translating that into product features, marketing messaging, product placement, pricing, even packaging plays a part in positioning. Consistency is the key and each element of marketing products must fit into a neat position in the minds of your competition.
Take Godiva chocolates for example. Godiva is expensive by anyone’s standard so they don’t sell it in every convenience store. You don’t even find Godiva in the candy aisle of your local grocery store. Rather, Godiva is sold in specialty stores; they even have their own stores in some upscale retail centers. The gold packaging reinforces the notion of something extravagant and expensive. Specialty packaging for holidays and market messaging also supports the position of Godiva as a high-quality product worth the extra money. Is the product the “best” chocolate in the world? Objectively, no but everything about the brand’s positioning makes it an excellent gift or a special treat.
Think about unique packaging options, like smell-proof mylar bags, and how they might enhance the appeal of your product by helping you stand out from the crowd. For instance, certain artists, certain graphics, and more companies have consumers that might find this option novel. By using this unique packaging option, they enhance their sales.
Reach consumers where they are
To reach consumers, your message must find them where they are, whether that’s on digital platforms, like social media, in print used for direct mailings or embedded in magazines, on TV, or even outdoor advertising on billboards and bus benches. Part of knowing your target market means knowing which media attracts their attention.
On social platforms, you’ll find differences in the types of users they attract. The following graphic shows age differences across the major social platforms. Check out the full list of differences across social media users on each platform by using the link at the bottom of the graphic.
Frame the right message in marketing products
Your message must resonate with your target market and that means everything about your message from the words to the color palette to the actors used in messaging. You may not know it, but colors suggest certain emotions and bring up certain connotations, like Godiva’s golden packaging. Match your colors to the message you want to send
The same is true regarding the actors hired to represent your brand. An actor with a wholesome image works well when selling things like insurance while a TikTok star is great for selling trendy fashion brands. Be aware that actors and their image change over time, think of Tiger Woods during his adultery scandal, and associating an actor with your brand creates a lasting impression. Choose actors carefully or avoid them altogether by using a gecko as your spokesperson or using images of a dead actor in marketing products since it’s unlikely their image will change over time.
Of course, these are just a few of the great tips for marketing products but, hopefully, you’ll find them valuable. If you have other tips you’d like to share, please use the comments below.
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