Micro Marketing Is Ideal For Solopreneurs, Because It Calls For Extremely Narrowed But Extremely Intensive Focus On Small Groups Of Highly Targeted Audiences
Micro marketing is based on the idea that if you break down your already tight niche into smaller and smaller segments of specific audiences to target, you can hit the sales threshold faster than otherwise.
Why does micro marketing work faster? The primary reason is that when you address small groups of people whose pain points you can understand deeply, and focus on with great detail, your blog posts and other marketing communication can be very concentrated to their needs.
Your words can resonate with audiences better and at an emotional and empathetic level. Your audiences instinctively begin to feel that you know them and their issues very well, and they feel as if you are writing for them, almost on a one-to-one basis. Trust bonds develop faster when people feel “understood” … and as trust builds, so does sales.
At Solohacks Academy, we love the idea of lean and mean marketing. When you are a solopreneur, having a small but homogenous target audience, it makes it that much easier to produce laser-targeted content that is valuable for them. You don’t need to work with a bunch of different personas and their varied buying journeys. Marketing should be as easy as ready-aim-shoot.
1. What is micro marketing really … and how is different from niche targeting?
Micro marketing is defined by Wikipedia like this:
Micromarketing is a marketing strategy in which marketing and/or advertising efforts are focused on a small group of tightly targeted consumers. For example, markets can be grouped into narrow clusters based on a commitment to a product class or readiness to purchase a given brand. The approach requires a company to define very narrow market segments, and tailor offers or campaigns for that segment.
Taken to an extreme, the level of targeting can sometimes even boil down to ‘one-on-one marketing’ or individual marketing, wherein the needs and wants of the individual buyer are taken into consideration. It revolves around targeting one customer and providing them with products and services which they desire. It often requires mass customisation of products and services. If the marketer is able to carry it out on a large scale perfectly, it proves highly successful.
For instance, offering the chance to customers to customise M&M candies in their preferred colour with custom printed alphabets gave the company a unique way to market their product.”
Because of the ability to focus on small segments and make more meaning and value for them, micro marketing is a business suited perfectly for solopreneurs. But believe me, micro marketing is not a tactic that’s suitable only for small businesses or solopreneurs.
In fact, huge global brand giants have now understood the value of it – and companies like Coca Cola, for instance, have changed their marketing strategy in many countries to micro marketing. As Jay Baer, the influencer-blogger notes: “Social media allows big companies to act small again”.
What he means is that with the Internet now allowing us to focus better on very granular audience segments, even large companies are seeing the value of delivering “content that individually resonates” rather than “content that just mass-educates or mass-persuades”.
Other examples of large companies, that use micro marketing strategies in their business successfully, include Proctor and Gamble and Uber. Proctor and Gamble undertook a marketing campaign in which the target market was African-American women of a certain hair type specifically, for the launching of the Pantene Relaxed & Natural shampoo and conditioner product line.
Uber, in its campaign, managed to understand the specific issues of transportation in diverse global cities where it planned to expand. Naturally, each small geography has its own peculiar transportation problems. The result of this research was an increase in Uber’s footprint through “acute understanding of peoples across the globe and their commuting bottlenecks”.
2. Understanding micro marketing with a simple but demonstrative example
To understand micro marketing better, let’s take an example, say, from the real estate industry. For starters, you would expect that any realtor would have a narrow enough niche … he may be targeting a particular suburb of his hometown, because he cannot personally otherwise handle too many clients taking him all around town on house visits.
But what if the realtor then decided to go even narrower into dealing only in rental houses that are two-bed apartments within a certain price range. Now, his own focus and specialization will grow rapidly, because he can more deeply understand the specific types of people typically looking for two-bed apartments, or whose budget falls within a certain rent-range.
He may see his target audience and their needs more closely than he did before, distinguishing the little nuances that affect their home-renting or buying decisions. He may see more clearly why some sales don’t materialize, while others do.
Understanding the psychology of your target audiences is the most vital part of being able to market to them. You cannot get deep insights into consumer psychology unless you train your magnifying lens on a specific group, and it occupies your center of attention and focus. You have to spend long hours trying to fit into consumers’ shoes, trying on ideas for fit, seeing how they normally behave and what kinds of informational triggers they may respond to.
To put it mildly, you have to know your audiences like “the back of your hand” – which no entrepreneur can ever do with such intensity with larger audiences.
3. The wide advantage you can get from a narrowed outlook on target audiences
In narrowing his outlook, the marketer gains depth. As they say in marketing, the focus of the marketer becomes “one inch wide and one mile deep” – rather than being as superficial as “one mile wide but only one inch deep”.
The marketing and sales arguments such a marketer will then use, to persuade his target audiences, would show them what an expert he is in two-bed apartments exclusively, and why he is the absolute right person to understand single people or small families of two people renting small apartments.
He will acquire a reputation faster as an expert in “small apartment rentals”, and be able to use the right tactics for the right sales to the right people … beating their objections along the way with ease, because he has begun to know these audiences intimately.
In the online sphere, and especially in the times we live, there is no attention or interest left in “general physicians”. It’s a world that is full of “specialists”. If you narrow your audiences down to as granular a level as is viable, you have the chance to be a specialist in your small niche, rather than a “know-it-all” in a larger segment.
This analogy is akin to being the small frog in the small pond, as different from a small frog that is in the ocean. People make it sound like the small frog wants to experience the larger ocean instead of his small pond. But think about this. Wouldn’t the frog be happier as the King of his small pond than just another speck in the vast ocean? If the frog was a marketer, I think I know what his answer would be. He’d say, “I wouldn’t mind knowing the ocean, but I’d be happier in my own kingdom, that I know every crevice of, thank you. Here I am a respected SOMEBODY. There, in the ocean, I would be a NOBODY.”
4. “Crowds of a feather flock together” as you’ll find when you do micro marketing
The other advantage is that people with very similar requirements or issues tend to refer each other to vendors whom they have learnt to trust. Soon the realtor would have less and less marketing to do, because his previous clients would find him more clients similar to themselves.
People with common interests bond together, but more than that, people with common problems bond together even tighter. That’s why micro marketing gets easier and produces results faster, because one client or customer soon begets others for you, with similar requirements.
Word-of-mouth marketing has three distinct advantages:
- It is, by far, the cheapest method of advertising you can ever get – and what’s more, word goes around in galloping seconds across swathes of people of the same interest group. It spreads faster than wildfire, if it’s on a topic of economic interest.
- It’s also all the social proof you need as a marketer. When people who have tasted the value of your communication, marketing and selling styles, and like what you have to offer, they often tom-tom you to others even before they have bought from you. This is because people love to be judged by others by the quality of choices they make in life.
- It’s easy to incentivize consumers who rope in their friends, colleagues or family as your future clients, because it’s not as crass often as given them money discounts. There are various other dignified ways to make loyal advocates of your brand feel special. Some people just love being featured in your ads, or being mentioned for special applause in your newsletters, or being interviewed on your podcasts.
5. Micro marketing allows quicker market arrogation, with brand awareness building
When you decide to micro market, you should actually decide not just on going small in your focus, but your objective should be to corner a part of the market quickly, as your own. You should decide to capture a certain section of the total market segment and serve it in a way that competitors can’t get a toe in.
You should then aim to saturate and arrogate this particular subset of the total target audience. If you fail to do this, your hard work in cultivating the market will actually help other competitors enter your territory and piggyback off your efforts, if they are more fleet-footed than you.
What are the advantages in micro market arrogation? Well, for one, because of the intense focus and reach of your communication to this group, you deeply ingrain your brand into the target group’s psyche – such that you become the only brand they can recall as a “best fit” for them. You should aim to pinpoint one or two critical pain-points of the micro-target, and find innovative solutions that then build your brand equity further within the micro segment.
Overall the idea is beyond going small. It’s about becoming lean and mean. You enter a micro niche, and then guard it like a local warlord would guard his single fortress. When all his attention is on this one fortress, he can concentrate on making it unassailable. That’s the idea.
6. Micro marketing avoids wasteful expenditure on the less-heated peripheral crowds
You may have heard the adage that 80% of marketing money usually gets wasted because you end up “talking to your target audience and its grandmother”. When your target audience is a bit diffused, there is the inevitable risk that all the money you spend on marketing won’t hit the exact target audience you need.
There will be people on the periphery of your audience that you will reach without much result, because they are not highly solution-thirsty audiences.
For small or solo entrepreneurs micro market segmentation makes a lot of economic sense, because it avoids wasteful marketing dollars spent on those without an immediate or crying need for your solution or product.
Chances of reaping good ROI on spends grows – and besides, when you focus tightly on those ready and willing and desperately needing to buy, you get returns on your money faster.
7. Micro marketing goals must be to build customer relationships, retention, loyalty
One of the most important tasks for solopreneurs to carry out with micro marketing is to do “radical customer relationship management”. When your base of customers is deliberately kept small, it becomes all the more important to move as many of those customers as you can towards purchases.
Your objective has to be to handhold them, marshal them through the stages of the buying cycle, and help them consummate purchases. In fact, you must encourage them to go even beyond that into frequent repurchasing and active advocacy.
Your marketing focus should not be about getting a large bank of customers with small spends (i.e. volume-based selling) to make your earnings swell. Your focus has to be instead to increase audience spends and increase your profit margins earned, per person per purchase (i.e.margin-based selling).
You have to try and increase the lifecycle value of each customer (i.e. how much any single customer spends with you over time.) Your three goals behind micro marketing customer management should thus be: closely monitored relationship nurturing; customer retention and encouragement of rapid repurchases; and loyalty and active advocacy boosting.
8. The micro marketing idea is to fly below competitors’ radars, get markets by stealth
With micro marketing, one advantage that you naturally have is that you can maintain communication and relationship management unobtrusively with your customers. Since you are not casting your net far and wide, your marketing voice needn’t be loud and all-pervasive.
It can be quiet, covert, noiseless, and more personal. You can fly below the radar of competitors, thus not giving them an idea of what your tactics are, who you are talking to, what you are saying to your audiences, and how much your results are growing as a result.
Most often competitors try to enter territories where the profitability is very visible, or the communication-loudness calls attention to itself. In micro marketing, surreptitiousness is possible – and advised.
If you are using silent stealth to cream your small crowd, without attracting competitor notice, you’ll make great strides real fast, before the rest of the marketers wake up to your seemingly sudden growth.
9. 10 inspirational examples of narrow segmentation of audiences for micro-marketing
How best do you slice a niche market to create smaller segments of it that are viable enough to become micro markets? You can reap great gains if you think innovatively about who is the most vulnerable group of customers within a niche, whom you can woo quickly, and for a highly specific and resonant reason. Here are some examples …
- You can go local – the more narrow your geography the easier it may be to saturate the market. Geographical markets are easy to break down by, say, zip code, or streetwise, or by suburbs. One businessman has targeted “houses in a neighbourhood with a back garden space of at least five square meters” for his intensive kitchen gardening consultancy.
- You can group people by their physical problems or characteristics – like height or weight, or age group, or health problems. For instance, you may choose women “on the brink of diabetes” or men with “shoulder-dislocation sports injuries”. Your solution for them has to specific to their problems.
- You can break up micro market segments by the kinds of relationships people have e.g. a business I know targets “mothers fed up with quarrelling daughters” to sell sibling-rivalry counseling and therapy services to.
- You can target people with common work problems … one job consultant, for instance, targets people who have not seen a promotion in three years.
- You can target professionals also by their job titles or areas of business focus. This is easy to do when you have social tools like LinkedIn that show such segments clearly. But rather than just use their standard segmentation, say, by salary levels, if you are a wealth consultant you could look for problem areas with their salaries like “those earning $90,000 a year but losing more than 40% of it in taxes”.
- You can segment industries not just by the big players in it, but also by the ancillary product manufacturers in it. For example, you may target automobile seat cover manufacturers as a micro segment situated near most car manufacturing hubs.
- You can sell to businesses tucked within an already niche industry. For example, within the niche of “insurance companies for fishing boat manufacturers”, you could target “insurance companies handling solo fishermen making their own boats”, rather than those insuring fishing boat maker businesses.
- You can target micro segments based on price sensitivity e.g. women looking for home-visit beauty services within a certain price range in a particular suburb.
- You can target customers of other brands by choosing a small segment of their fans and followers e.g. “habitual MacDonald’s eaters between ages 10-15 years, who have ordered a particular veg burger at least five times in the last three months”.
- You can target specifically the customers who have left a particular competitor recently. One small business I know solely targets dissatisfied customers of competitors, without looking for customers of its own. They swear they get red-hot customers “angry enough to switch vendors and buy with a vengeance”.
10. Creating your micro segments – a visual plan can help make it systematic
If you want to develop your options for a micro market, the idea is to start broad and then narrow the category down to the lowest common denominator. It also helps to visualize your step-by-step breakdown, and to focus on people’s behaviors rather than demographics. For example, a jewelry company might segment customers like this:
Image re-adapted for clarity from: WebEngage
WebEngage, who have developed this chart, suggest that: “Looking at this example, a company can take inspiration for campaign on the basis of micro segmentation examples. Perhaps a week before Mother’s Day, the jewelry business could launch a campaign advertising its “sterling silver charm bracelet for Mom” – geared to daughters who shop for their mother at the last minute.”
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
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