Monthly Archives: February 2009

Targeted Marketing: Who

This post is first in the series of exploring targeted marketing.

It is very important to identify the right set of audience you got to tap in for your product. Simply putting, if you are opening a steakhouse, advertising to vegetarian audience will not serve the purpose. You need to identify who is most likely to use your product.  Targeting the product to the demographic which is most likely to be your customer will lead to greater impact.

Few other factors come in picture while determining the right audience. One such factor is the current stage of the product. Are you launching a product, or the product is already there in the market for sometime? If you are launching the product, you need to identify the mavens in your industry and target all your energy in winning their support. Mavens are the community experts. They are the early adopters. Pitching the product to mavens and gaining their support is as vital as anything else. If you as a marketer are able to sell the product successfully to mavens, you have in a way recruited the best sales force out there to market your product. These passionate users serve as consultants in the market whom the masses look for before making a buying decision. If the product is already accepted by the mavens and you are looking to cross the chasm, provide tools to the mavens to push you across. To accelerate the growth, shift focus to the larger set of audience in the right demographic who normally go for the tried and tested products.

Nailing down who your target audience is fundamental for the success of a product in any market. Who element not only shapes the marketing, it shapes the product itself including the pricing of the product, the look and feel of the product and the product placement.

Targeted Marketing Pillars

Who, What, When, Where and How: the four Ws and H every company needs to cover while developing the marketing plan for a product.

You might have the best software solution for customer relationship management in the world, or for that matter the best baby soap, but till your customer knows it, and believes in it, it’s of no use.

No matter how big or small your marketing budget is, if you are not targeting the right audience with the right message, at the right time and the right place, using the right medium, it is of no use. In the next few posts I will share some thoughts to explore each one of these rights.

How to KISS

So now that we know KISS is easier said than done, it’s time to take a stab at the more important question: how to strike the appropriate level of simplicity? I believe there are two ways to get it right to a large extent. First is by creating a facade. A lot of simplicity can be obtained by creating a mask to hide the details. A customer does not need to deal with the inner functioning of your system. There is a big difference between knowing the inner functioning exists and dealing with it. Driver of a BMW knows that a great deal of engineering excellence goes in developing that engine for the car, but need not have to deal with it. Knowing that makes them pay for it, and not dealing with that makes it easier for them to use it. Similarly, if you are dealing with marketers in search of sophistication, you need to make sure you explain the system and the wealth of engineering sophistication working behind it, and as a special treat to them, they have got a simple personalized interface to deal with it.

This brings us to the second point – personalization. Having personalization as a required feature in your product or service can make even a highly complex product get the traits of simplicity. You want to serve every customer out there and extend the reach of your product. But every customer does not want everything you have to offer. The customer should know that you have all the check-boxes checked when they are choosing between offerings, but they do have a specific set of requirements that need to be fulfilled at this time. Cater your product to meet those needs. Think of Amazon as an example. Amazon has more than 50 stores selling things varying from books and electronics to bags and shoes. But they personalize the website with focus and recommendations based on your needs and past shopping experience. In a very similar fashion, you got to personalize your offering to meet the needs of the customers and make it easier for them to discover the supplemental offerings if they ever have a need for it.


KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid –  is easier said than done. It is ironical that to keep something simple is not that simple to do. Though KISS is a software development principle which states that design simplicity should be a key goal and unnecessary complexity should be avoided, it can pretty much be applied to any business in almost any field. 

What comes in way of KISS? I think it is the urge to do it all. We want to do everything and serve everyone. We don’t want to miss a single customer. We keep adding features till our product or service is complex enough to need a simple list of instructions to explain how to traverse through the maze, and often times in the process throw simplicity out of the door.

I believe checkbox features play an equally significant role in killing simplicity. These are the features you got to have to make sure you match your offering with your competitors’. This is something like a necessary evil to retain and attract customers, but the way we do it sometimes kills the simplicity of the offering. 

Another thing that prevents from keeping something simple is the notion of value that thing provides. A general understanding is that the amount of sophistication is directly proportional to the amount you can charge for it. We embrace sophistication. Marketers love the idea of sophistication. Well if something is this simple, why do you expect me to pay so much for it? So we take the easy route, make it look more complex than it’s got to be and attain the goal.

The list of reasons and excuses can go on and on. In a nutshell, KISS is easier said than done!