Marketing to Buyers

In February 2007, IMA held its first conference in conjunction with the AMD/ASD tradeshow in Las Vegas.  As part of IMA’s conference, speakers from Amazon, eBay, Google, Marketworks, PayPal, and several other ecommerce companies spoke on a variety of topics.  Here is a recap of the salient points from the Marketing to Buyers seminar given by Paul Lundy of Marketworks

I.          Pillars of Marketing

 1.            Positioning 

Well-positioned businesses communicate distinct, meaningful differences to their desired buyers

            Well-positioned companies have focused positions that draw in a lot of potential buyers, but the actual # of buyers/users is far broader than the company’s positioning

            What is your area of expertise?

            What are you willing to sacrifice?

            What distinguishes you from your competitors?

            What type of consumer do you want the most?

Are your desired customers loyal to a particular brand?  If so, how can you capitalize on that brand loyalty?

Are your desired customers loyal to you as a seller?  If so, why?  If not, how can you increase that loyalty?

What % of your buyers are repeat customers?  How can you increase that %?

Companies That Excel at Positioning

1.            Apple- Fun, innovative technology that works

2.            McDonalds- Fun, reasonably priced fast food for kids

3.            Michelin- Families seeking peace of mind and safety

 2.            Branding 

Collection of emotional and functional attributes that strongly influence a buyer’s decision to purchase.  Perceived by the only legitimate judges (customers).

Consistent branding increases your likelihood of success

Does your business have a clear, distinct image and message?  If not, why not?  If so, can you expand or improve this message?

Buyer Contact Points- Email, feedback, price, store, template, packaging, Me page, customer service, promotions, payment options, website, packing slip, freebies, etc.

Companies That Excel at Branding

1.            Amex- Used by the most prestigious cardholders

2.            Crest- Cavity-concerned parents and their children

3.            FedEx- When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight

4.            Michelin- Safety of your baby is more important than bargain tires

 3.            Targeting 

Who is your desired customer?

What are the buying habits/focus of your target market?  e.g., Are your customers more concerned about customer service, item selection, price, etc.?

How can you expand your market share?

II.        3 Bins of Information Used by Buyers

 1.         User Imagery 

      What types of customers do you associate with your product?

Can your average desired buyer user the product?

How can and does your business stand out from your competitors?

 2.            Context 

            Where do your business and products fit in the marketplace?

            How do competitors and potential buyers think of your business and products?

 3.            Product Information 

            What are the features and benefits of your products?

            Examples of Businesses

1.                  Marlboro (51% Market share)

Core User- Rugged, macho, independent men

Context- Badge of freedom and Great American West

Product- Full-flavored cigarette, flip top red box

Reality- Marlboro’s products are aimed at a small % of cigarette smokers, but its distinctive marketing has helped it capture the bulk of buyers

2.                  Michelin

Core User- Families

Context- Premium tires

Product- Greater peace of mind

3.                  Other Examples


Grey Poupon


 III.       Tips for Businesses


1.            Communicate a distinct benefit to your current and potential buyers

2.         Focus and sacrifice- Do not try to be everything to everyone

3.            Develop expertise and find your niche

4.         Decide whether you are going to be a generalist (e.g., Walmart- No real niche, competes on price) or specialist (e.g., In-N-Out- Only a few different hamburger choices, but their product is superb)

5.         Most businesses compete based on price- find something else to compete on (customer service, product line, outstanding branding, etc.).  Ex. Walmart v. Target- same basic element (low-price), but entirely different customers.

6.            Examine your competitors (those bigger than you, on the same level, those smaller than you, those that succeeded, those that failed, etc.) and non-competitors (those that succeeded, those that failed, etc.)

7.         Find ways to scale your business, but keep your eye on the bigger picture

8.         Find repeatables that complement your business

9.         Good design, positioning, and branding increases your credibility with current and potential buyers.  Look and feel and design is the #1 reason buyers purchase from a particular company/way to increase your credibility.

IV.            Understand Your Buyers

1.         What differentiates repeat buyers from one-time buyers or infrequent buyers?

2.         Why do customers purchase from you instead of your competition (price, products, customer service, freebies, branding, shopping experience, etc.)?

3.         How do you position your business as compared to your competitors?

4.         Do you differentiate your branding by channel/venue (ex. eBay v. Amazon)?  If so, how and why?

V.            Positioning Statement

 1.            Elements of Positioning Statement 

Especially for ___________ (brand lover)

            We are the ________ (frame of reference)

            That ___________ (point of difference)

            Because ________ (support)

 2.            Sample Positioning Statement: Yukon Sports 

            Especially for people who love the outdoors.  We are the online destination for high quality, high performance outdoor gear that enables you to feel more confident and perform at the highest level because we sell only the best brands and highest rated outdoor equipment.