In my last diatribe, Niche It Nail It Scale It about your customer avatar, or ideal customer profile, or whatever you want to call it, I talked about a strategy that I espouse, especially for emerging agencies, retailers & startups, which is to dive deep into a narrow niche and the expand to other niches as you nail and scale. But I want to dive just a lille bit deeper into this idea.
Think of your ideal customer avatar as something that evolves over time, but moreover think of your target avatar as a side door to your core value proposition. When I worked at a major furniture retailer, there were two ideal customer archetypes, Pat and Melissa. They each had their own habits, stressors and desires – and they shopped differently – one was more content driven and the other more navigationally driven. So the retailer had to construct the basics of of their website to honor both of those shopping styles.
Regardless of your brand, you have multiple avatars, and some may be more core than others, but you have the opportunity to create experiences that celebrate what that avatar needs and wants. The way that this can manifest itself is almost endless. Two terrific examples are from ClickFunnels & the ASK Method. In the following examples, each company asks you to identify yourself and your needs. From that decision point, they then take you to a content set that is customized to your choice. Essentially they tweak their brand to match what you’ve told them about you. They haven’t subverted their brand, but rather are presenting it from the outside in, from your frame of reference, rather than from the core brand out to you.
Click Funnels is a marketing/sales funnel building software that tweaks its content flow to match your needs. It shapes it’s brand promise to your needs, not the other way around.
Ryan Levesque’s Ask Methodology (terrific book, by the way – worth a read) allows visitors to self-identify so that they get Ask content that is stage appropriate.
So those are obvious and simple concepts of adjusting your offering to fit the self-proclaimed needs of your audience. However, companies can be less obvious about their multiverse of buyer personas. A startup I work with has sales-pitch followup e-mail sequences based on the position of the person in the meeting. A VP would get a different follow up relative to an implementation manager. Since the value proposition for the sale is slightly different based on the potential client role, these parallel follow up sequences unearth various sticking points and opportunities to create a personalized sense of value for each member of the potential client team, regardless of their perspective. Since they have implemented this kind of “multi-verse” follow up strategy, their close rate has increased double digit percentage points, and their implementation time has dropped by 30%. Moreover, early data shows that their churn rate has dropped.
For retailers, this kind of “multiverse” of targets is especially intimidating. There is such a strong sense of brand as differentiator in retail, that retailers are loathe to consider that they have multiple ideal personas. It makes marketing harder – or so they think. This is a completely self limiting thought. For instance, the needs of a retiring couple who is downsizing is different than a young couple moving into their first apartment together. They may buy the EXACT same sofa, but the reasons for purchase are different. The best in-store retailers handle this with great sales people who shape the experience as they guide the prospective buyer through the store. But thoughtful marketing is a way to “pre-identify” which buyer persona is likely to be in play. Discounts and generous credit terms might be the trigger-point for the young buyers and easy, fast, in-home setup may be the winner for the downsizers. By tying the buyer to the message that they responded to, you can create a fuller, more streamlined experience for the potential buyer. This takes work, but in this world of Niche It & Nail It, having the right persona matched to the right messaging action can allow you to authentically present your brand & value proposition in a way that resonates with the target persona. This will create marketing and sales efficiencies for you, but more importantly, create a tighter bond between you and your target buyer personas.
There are multiple tribes of buyers in the world. They each have a language and a set of needs that they want satisfied. For you to grow your brand and business, regardless if you are an agency, a startup or a retailer, it is incumbent on you to learn the needs and language of your buyers, and present your solution in a way that is authentic. Buyer personas do not limit you. They create massive opportunity for you to grab an unfair marketshare in multiple niches, and that will transition to broader market brand efficiency.
Trust me – you’ve got this. Think like your target buyer and give them what they want. It is your key to growth.